Saturday, December 8, 2012

Boston, Massachusetts

You know how I said we absolutely love Massachusetts? Boston is another of the major factors in that love affair. Ron had been to Boston as a child and his only strong recollection of the trip was of throwing boxes of “tea” overboard from the decks of the USS Constitution, so most of our trip was pretty new to him too.

We were really lucky to be able to spend the entire day out in port. Even so, there wasn’t a fraction of enough time to do everything that we wanted to. We started the day by heading downtown to Quincy Market where we poked around a little bit and then picked up the Freedom Trail near its midsection. We crossed the street to the site of the Boston Massacre which occurred in 1770, and went onward to The Granary Burying Ground where lies Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and Mother Goose, and then to the Old South Meeting House, Boston Commons, and many more locations along the way. Everywhere we turned there was something interesting of historic or pop significance. I was gleefully overwhelmed by the adventure and was almost sad when our stomachs refused to carry on with us without first being fed.

We find the greatest places to eat. This is not accidental. We’re very, very cheap…*ahem*… I mean frugal, and if we’re going to spend money to eat off of the ship, it’s going to be impressively delicious or incredibly unique in some way. We do our homework, and are rarely disappointed. In Boston, our options were plentiful but we decided on Sam Lagrassa’s. I don’t know if we have ever been as utterly besotted with a food item as we were with the sandwich we ordered from this place. It was divine. Pastrami, coleslaw, and mustard between two unbelievably soft slices of rye bread. Gah!!! It was one of the very best things either of us has ever eaten. Like totally to die for. It came with French Fries that were super crispy and delicious. I loved them and I rarely like French Fries. We almost didn’t have too much of an expectation for this place because it was on Guy Fiari’s Food Network Show, Diner’s Drive-Ins, and Dives, and often places that get a lot of television coverage get overrun with tourists and then the quality disappears. We’re pretty careful about reading reviews and articles from other places (like Yelp! And Trip Advisor, and Lonely Planet etc) to see if one of Guy’s picks is worth our time. This is our second “Dive” and we’re two for two successes. Outstanding! You simply must put it on your list.

After all that amazing history and the incredible lunch, we felt like we should try something a little different so we took the Charlie (or the T) to Jamaica Plains to check out the Sam Adams Factory. We love a good factory tour though neither of us has ever cared too much for Sam Adams beer. The tour was interesting and we had fun sampling dried barley and wheat kernels before we were ushered into the tasting room for 4 free samples of Sam Adams micro-brew. If you don’t know, micro-brew is different than craft beer. Micro-brew is made in smaller batches than those in the large brewing companies, but craft beer has to meet certain specifications. A Craft brewery is, according to the American Brewer's Association, a "small, independent and traditional", and gives a production size of less than 6,000,000 US beer barrels a year and can not be more than 24% owned by another alcoholic beverage company that is not itself a craft brewery. A Micorbrewery simply produces a limited amount of beer per year.We’re more fans of craft beer than micro-brew. As we sipped our tiny brews, we noted that the beer fresh from the brewery was remarkably better than anything we’ve ever had in a bottle or on tap back home. It was really impressive how different the tastes are! We noticed that a couple years ago when we toured the Coors Factory in Golden Colorado, but Coors is still Coors. Sam Adams almost tasted like a different beer. We later got to sample some Boston Brick Red which is only served on tap in Boston. You can’t get it anywhere outside of Beantown. Ron liked it more than I did. It had a tart cherry finish to it that just isn’t my style. But we’re both glad we got to experience something so local.

And that was all we had time for in Boston. It was a lot to fit in for one day but I was ready to keep on going if only the ship weren’t leaving. There is so much left to do. It’s another one of those places we can’t wait to get back to. There aren’t many of those on our list, but Massachusetts certainly stole our hearts.  

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