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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Harbor view, Celtics win make for memorable Boston get-away

Freezing rain is pattering loud enough to hear through the plastic sheeting covering on my office windows, through which I can see people and cars sloshing through the intersection. It’s slippery, messy and miserable.
Time to think about Boston — and California.
My husband and I took a long weekend to enjoy a city we used to visit regularly but hadn’t been to for fun in years. We lucked out with decent weather by March standards, a special Impressionist exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts and a Sunday night Celtics win. I splurged on a waterfront hotel overlooking the Boston Harbor, a change of pace from Copley Place. (The only thing that would have made the view more perfect would have been mountains in the background rather than Logan Airport.)
We wandered around and through Quincy Market and happened upon the open-air market for fruits, vegetables and fish. It was also the day of a pub crawl, so the streets were busy with green-shirted 20-somethings whose crawling after-effects were being hosed off the sidewalks the next morning.
The official impetus for the trip was to see the Celtics one night, which meant my husband would be taking me out to a nice dinner the other night. It was dry and warm enough to wear heels to walk to Strega’s for dinner, but I texted my son Joe in Chicago to acknowledge what he already knew: that the so-called Windy City is less windy than Boston. Another difference: It’s easier buying a train ticket in Chicago.
In the old days (zzzzzzzz, who wants to hear a story?), someone sat in a booth near the turnstiles at the T stations and slid tokens through a mousehole-shaped hole. Last weekend, a patient native first helped a foreign visitor and then me through the touch screens to buy a “Charlie Ticket” to ride the train.  Couldn’t they just design a screen that says a trip costs $2.50, how many do you want? The Boston train system itself is easy to navigate but the ticket machines are, as my mother used to say, from hunger.
The Boston Garden, or whatever it's called these days, was still right off the green line, but much easier to get to than last time I was there. I don't think there's a bad seat in the house. I got a pretzel and a soda for less than ten bucks. And now I know the new starting lineup, more or less, or whatever it's called in basketball.
I really like Boston. It’s a walkable city with lots of different neighborhoods, rich history, interesting architecture and, as long as you don’t talk about the New York Yankees, friendly people. Though a relatively quick trip, it was a refreshing get-away and a reminder that Boston is only three and a half hours away. Next up: planning a week in northern California to fulfill a longtime dream of seeing the redwoods in person, with a stop in wine country and catching up with a couple of longtime pals.


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