Bryon and I had plans. We wanted our daughter and any other children we had to see the world. I told Bryon that I wanted to take a trip to Boston every summer and take our kids to a Red Sox game at Fenway. Bryon agreed and he countered that he wanted to take our children to New York City at Christmastime. I agreed.
But our trips never happened.
We did have a couple of hours in Boston as a family and we did ride the swan boats.
In case anyone is wondering, that is a “P” on Bryon’s hat. He bought that when we saw the PawSox at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He liked it because the hat confused people…except for true Red Sox fans.
Ironically he is not wearing that hat in the picture from the PawSox game. Go figure. But I like the picture and will still share it.
I always planned to take my daughter to a Boston Red Sox game but I was waiting until she got older. Then I won some Red Sox tickets and decided that there was no better time than the present.
One of my best friends enthusiastically agreed to attend the game with me. Even though she grew up in Western New York, she is a hardcore Red Sox fan. Since I asked her to go, she offered to pay for a hotel room near Fenway Park. Of all the time I spent in Boston, it dawned on me that I have never spent the night in Boston. Well, unless you count the first couple days of my life. But I don’t remember that. I usually stay out in the suburbs and take the subway, commuter rail, an uber or I drive. I was excited to stay in the city.
Our drive to Boston was uneventful. A straight shot on I-90. We didn’t even need to stop for gas.
My friend booked a room at the Hilton Back Bay which was a 0.4 mile walk to Fenway. I don’t know the cost of the room but I can tell you that our room was clean and parking was free. We arrived before check in (meaning we couldn’t check in until after the game) and left the city after check out the next day and the hotel let us keep our car there the whole time.
There also was a pool that was clean and well-kept.
Since we arrived and couldn’t check in before the game, we kept our luggage locked in the car. The walk went quickly. Our tickets told us to enter at Gate E on Landsdowne Street but we entered at Gate D, which was Jersey Street (formerly Yawkey Way).
There were employees giving out stickers to small children and they advised us to go to fan relations to pick my daughter up a “first time at Fenway” pin since it was her first time.
Tip #1: The “first time at Fenway” pins are for adults and children alike. So if you attend a game for the first time- get your pin!
We did some shopping on Jersey Street because I couldn’t resist. I live in New York where Red Sox merchandise can be scarce. My daughter wanted a pink Red Sox shirt and a pink Red Sox hat which I obliged. And a toy Tessie. I may have also bought her a pink Red Sox hoodie.
Tip #2: When travelling with a fast growing kid, I buy souvenir clothing a size or two bigger so it lasts longer. Souvenir clothing can be pricey and this method helps me justify spending the money because, hey, she can wear it for a year or two.
The morning of the game, I was tearing apart my house looking for MY Red Sox hat. I found Bryon’s Red Sox and Paw Sox hats. I found my daughters infant Red Sox hat. But no clue where mine is. I wanted to wear a hat so I was going to buy another and I was pissed about it. But at the store, I saw so many styles. I decided not to get another traditional cap and instead I got the seersucker Red Sox cap.
Tip #3: Diversify your Red Sox Wardrobe.
Tip #4: Seersucker is a classic summer style and it is lightweight. A seersucker baseball cap is an excellent choice for sun protection without the sweat.
My friend did not own a Red Sox cap. She was hesistant to buy one but ultimately did because…
Tip #5: Everyone looks good in a Red Sox cap. It is impossible to look bad while wearing a Red Sox hat.
Our seats were in left field. We began to walk our way over. I decided it was a good time to feed my child. So we stopped for Fenway Franks.
I know it’s not fashionable to like hot dogs but I will always love hot dogs. To quote doug Heffernan from King of Queens, “If eating hot dogs is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.”
My daughter likes Ketchup on everything (yuck!). I like mine the way God intended, with mustard and relish. Now, a perfect hot dog would also have onion but the offerings were ketchup, mustard and relish and I was perfectly happy with mustard and relish.
My daughter’s first Fenway Frank. I think she liked it.
I have no clue what number Fenway Frank this was for me.
My daughter was apparently going low-carb on this meal because she didn’t eat the bun.
Tip #6: Feel free to enjoy food before the game. The concession lines get long and you don’t want to miss any of the actual game, right?
Now you may have noticed my daughter was in a stroller.
I went back and forth on this. My daughter is at that awkward age where we hardly ever use the stroller. I can count on one hand the amount of times we used it this past year (Chicago x 2, Cedar Point and Fenway). She is a strong walker but I knew after walking a half a mile each way to and from the game and walking around Fenway that my daughter would get tired. And then she would be begging me to carry her. And she isn’t exactly a tiny little baby anymore.
My friend also brought up an important safety issue. The streets around Fenway get crowded and it gave us peace of mind to have her buckled into her stroller.
Tip #7: DO NOT FEAR BRINGING THE STROLLER TO FENWAY.
First, I recommend bringing an umbrella stroller, not a large stroller.
There is no official stroller check in but I will tell you my experience.
I took the stroller as far as I could into the stands. I broke the stroller down and went to put it under our seats which is park policy. BUT…it didn’t fit under our seats. The usher kindly told me to drop it off at fan relations and told me where the closest one was located. I brought it to the fan relations stand. The man working was very nice and just told me to put it in the pile of folded up umbrella strollers and that I could pick it up after the game. Which was exactly what I did. Easy peasy.
Our seats were in left field. While I personally feel that there is no bad seat at Fenway (except maybe behind the foul poles) the seats along the third base line and left field are not in the sun.
Tip #8: Avoid the sun by sitting along the third base line and left field. Just be careful of the foul balls.
Mother-daughter selfie at Fenway!
Bestie Selfie at Fenway!
If you are a beer drinker, the only beer worth drinking is Sam Adams, because…Boston…d’uh. Usually I only drink stouts, porters and pumpkin beer, when in season. But I do love a good old Sam Lager. I did try the seasonal ’76 beer. I was hesitant because it smelled hoppy and I don’t like hoppy beer. But I couldn’t taste the hops despite the smell.
Tip #9: When in Fenway, drink Sam Adams. It’s the Boston thing to do. Try the ’76 seasonal beer. And as always, drink responsibly. No one wants to sit next to a rowdy asshole. Even if that rowdy asshole is you.
Speaking of being in Boston, I have another tip. I am sad I even have to bring this up but my friend is guilty of teaching my daughter to say this. I will forgive her. This once.
Tip #10: Don’t ask/tell people in Boston to say “Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd.” We have heard this before. No one says it. You might as well call Boston “Bean Town” while you are at it.
If it were up to me, I would have sat and watched the whole game. But my daughter is three (and a half- that half is important) and I knew nine innings is too long for her to sit still. But there is a kids clubhouse with games, crafts and face painting. So we left during the bottom of the third inning.
The concourse was packed! Glad we ate before the game because I wasn’t waiting in any of those lines. (Fun fact about me- I hate, hate, hate, hate waiting in lines).
The clubhouse is all the way over by right field. We had a long walk but we bumped into the real Tessie.
We had a little trouble locating the club house but we asked Tessie’s attendants and they gave us directions. I had been finishing an adult beverage (okay, Sam ’76) and I assumed they wouldn’t be allowed in the kids clubhouse. So I, um, finished it rather quickly. But the joke was on me because there is a bar in the kids clubhouse. Don’t worry, you had to be 21 to order from it. The best part was, the lines were much, much shorter.
Tip #11: Beer lines in the kids clubhouse are much, much shorter than the beer stands in the concourse. Again, drink responsibly. Especially if you have a child to take care of.
Our walk took at least an inning. My daughter was playing with some plastic fruits and vegetables. At least the game was on TV’s so we got to see any important plays.
We made our way back during the sixth inning. We took a few photos and my friend procured nachos.
Tip #12: While the nachos were adequate, stick to the Fenway Franks.
We caught the last three innings in the seats. I didn’t get any pictures. I did send my friends on SnapChat a video of the crowd singing “Sweet Caroline”. I have it saved but I am not going to subject you to my singing. I had had a few Sam Adams.
Who am I kidding? I can’t sing even without the Sam Adams. I think my Dad once compared my singing to the sounds of a tortured cat.
So I won’t subject you. Only my SnapChat friends get that pleasure.
The game ended with the Sox winning 4-2.
We held back and waited for the crowds to thin out before rushing out. I am not a fan of crowds and thought it would be easier to manage after waiting for the other impatient fans to leave. I didn’t see the point to hurry out of there to wait impatiently to leave. So we stayed in our seats for a bit and people watched. Then I got our stroller and we left.
Walking back to our hotel…let’s just say that Google Maps took us on a scenic walk. Way out of the way. And I had to pee. Not fun. Spoiler alert: I made it to the hotel.
We checked into our room and then we went swimming in the pool. I suggested getting Boston Chinese. It was 10:30 pm and most places were closing but there was one open until 2 am and it was only 0.1 miles. My friend went to pick it up so we wouldn’t have to bother with delivery. The food was delicious but it was not the Boston Chinese that I grew up with. I was disappointed. The rice wasn’t even brown. Maybe Boston Chinese is a suburban thing. I promised my friend next time we would have proper Boston Chinese food.
If anyone is interested- Dumpling Palace. Good, just not traditional Boston Chinese.
We had booked Duck Tour tickets online for the 11:30 am tour for the next morning.
Tip #13 Book your Duck Tour tickets online and early for optimal choice in seating. They book up fast.
The next morning we checked out (the hotel let us keep our car parked in the garage for no extra charge) and we grabbed breakfast at the Au Bon Pain in the Prudential Tower. The Duck Tours were on the other side.
We got there a half an hour early so we walked around a nearby Star Market. My grandmother shopped at Star Market and it was nowhere near as fancy as this Star Market. This one was fancy. I am going to say something that might be sacrilege to my friends in Western New York but this surpassed, or at the very least, rivaled, Wegmans.
The Duck Tour was awesome. I had never been on a Duck Tour. I am native to the Boston area and I was a history major and I learned so much on the tour. Our guide was Skip the Skydiver and he was hysterical too. I highly recommend the Duck Tour as a good way to see Boston.
Where everyone knows your name…
My friend and I decided that this is something we should do every summer.
Have you been to Fenway Park?
What is your favorite thing to do in Boston?