Last April 15, 2013 I got up early to finally book the place I planned to stay in Boston. My son came up with the idea to visit because of all of the great historical things he had been learning about that took place in Boston. A few hours later that day, my co-worker called me to tell me that she heard on the radio that there was a bombing at the Boston Marathon. My heart sunk. Watching the events unfold the next few days was heartbreaking. How many races have I attended, participated in, or planned over the years? Too many to count. To see such an all-American event and city being targeted was unbelievable.
Over the past couple of months I have been reading and researching Boston in preparation for our trip. We decided to drive from Michigan to Toronto to visit my sister and her family. From there we took in Niagara Falls before heading to Boston. As we drove into the city it was extremely quiet because everyone was busy watching the Bruins take on Chicago in the Stanley Cup Finals. As a lifelong Red Wings fan, I thought this would be cool to take in the city as Boston fought its way back. In case you missed it, it was a rough final 1:30 of the game. I’ll just leave it at that.
Once we got settled, we were up early so my husband could get a run in at the Esplanade. (I would have liked to go with him, but with small kids, I stayed back). He said he had never seen so many runners at 5:30am in his life. It was already over 80 degrees, on its way to a 93 degree high that day. I believe his quote was, “it’s like they invented running here.” We laughed because they did.
From there we headed to visit Northeastern University’s Morino Center to check out all that they have to offer. It was located 4 blocks from where we stayed so it was very accessible. Their staff was so friendly in showing me around and filling me in on all of their fitness and wellness services.
As we walked to our next destination in Copley Square, we were looking around to find our trolley. A Boston police officer (LOVE the accent) said, “you folks looking for the memorial?”. We said no, but he informed us we were standing at the site of the Boston Marathon Memorial that had just been taken down that morning in the process of developing a more permanent plan. I just kind of stood there with a blank look on my face and then we (literally) ran off to chase down our trolley.
As we drove around and learned more about Boston and its history, it became quickly evident that this is no place for wimps. The drivers were total smart alecs, which worked out perfect for me. We learned more about the development and growth of the city and the hours of blood, sweat, and tears that went into expanding and building Boston. The number of historical events and locations we were able to see was incredible. The outdoor parks were beautiful.
We were also able to take a boat tour that allowed us to see the city from the water. We passed the brand new Spauding Rehabilitation Center which is right on the water and treating some of the people who are recovering from the attack at the Boston Marathon. As we were headed out to the harbor we passed two kayaks who were being navigated by patients at the center.
Our second day in Boston started with a visit to Boston University Fitness & Recreation Center to see their beautiful facility. The pictures don’t do it justice. It was impressive and it was also very helpful for me to be able to pick the brain of their experienced and knowledgeable staff.
I certainly got in my exercise while in Boston. We must have walked 10 miles each day and our place was on the 4th floor of a walk-up. I made sure we were close to Whole Foods and was able to eat relatively healthy while traveling. We are able to get around Boston very easily on their subway system, known as the T. It allowed us to get out to Cambridge to visit Harvard. I think I’m smarter already. We went to the Harvard Museum of Natural History and I have one word for it: amazing. And I don’t mean that in the over-used sense of the word that every person on television uses. It actually was amazing.
Anyone we encountered in the Boston area was nothing but friendly and helpful. From the T staff at the Mass Avenue orange line station to the woman who offered her seat up to my 5-year-old son, the people were just awesome. Although there were signs everywhere you looked that were reminders of the events on April 15, at the same time, the people and city have not let it get them down. I could not have enjoyed the visit any more than I did. My only regret is not getting to a Sox game, but it gives me a great excuse to get back! I think of the runners and the residents of Boston often. It was nice to go and see first-hand how strong they really are.