Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Five Things You MUST Do This Fall Around Boston

You are wasting your life. You know at some point you are going to die. It gets closer every single day yet what are you doing? WASTING your time! You think these measly little 24 hour increments we get will last forever? Well they won't. One of my friends was killed when a tractor ran him over. I know what you're thinking. Tractors are slow right? Why didn't he just get out of the way? There is a good answer to that. He was DYING from Cancer and had NO legs! Another guy was attacked by a pit-bull in his own yard. One minute he was watering the daisies, the next thing he was food for a canine who was probably trained by Michael Vick! Those may or may not be true stories but..

You see why we really can't afford to waste one single minute. Our time could be next week or it could be tomorrow. Besides, the Fall or Autumn, (as some annoying people say), is the best season all year.

 Sure, you can't wear that thong to the beach any more and the Speedo has been put away until that Caribbean vacation you've been planning for ten years comes around this winter (yeah right), but that's ok. 

It's cool out but not cold. It's comfortable. We are back in jeans and a light jacket. We look better that way anyway. Personally I always feel a little silly in shorts. I like jeans. When I'm hot though I don't give a crap what I look like. I'll wear Jorts and a halter top if it will make me less hot. Man, I hate the heat. But forget about it. It's the FALL now so let's go:

New England in the Fall is the best place to be. We have the mountains to the north, the Berkshires to the west, the ocean to the east and alcohol ....right here near by. It's football season and bar crawl season. It's comfort food season when you can start making chili and eating things like Shepard's pie and crock pot beef stew again. All that summer weight loss looked good on you but now we need to bulk up. Winter is coming. So let's eat!

(right click on links and open in new window)

1. Mid Week Call in Sick Food Truck Fun Run

Here is what you do. Do this during the week when the myriad of food trucks are out throughout Boston. They congregate in Dewey Square by South Station among other places. So call in sick or take a day off. You deserve it.

Then plan your route. If you go to Dewey Square Tuesday or Thursday then you get the added plus of the Farmers Market too from May through November. Use this site to plan your Food Truck Route:

Now the next step is the mode of transportation. You could always take the MBTA but that's for wimps. Driving is just crazy talk so go find a Hubway bike. Biking it is the best way to get around Boston and you can burn off some calories as you sample from an array of food trucks selling all kinds of things like fish tacos, falafel, Banh Mi, barbecue, seafood, ice cream sandwiches and so much more. It is an eating odyssey! 

Here is where the Hubway Bikes are located. It is inexpensive and convenient:

With the bikes you can start at Dewey then hit the rest of the Greenway then Gov. Center, financial district, Copley, Huntington, Kendall...... It's all just a ride away.  

2. Boston Harbor Islands

The tourists are gone now and we can have all the areas back that are usually full of them. The Harbor Islands are a hidden treasure that an entire blog could cover but  the bottom line is that you have to go. It is a very inexpensive ferry ride over and then there are free water taxis to all the other islands. Here are Ranger recs of just a few things you can do there taken from their site:

Ranger Recommendations

One of the best things ever would be to camp out over night before it gets too cold. You can have a bonfire and feel like you are a million miles from home. You can also just spend the day exploring, having a picnic, taking boat rides, hiking or just finding a nice quiet spot to read. Here is a link with more info:

3. Go to a  New England Patriots Game

Going to a fall Pats game is a rite of passage if you live here and it is a great time! Getting tickets are easy on the Pats web site but Craigslist always has face value tix from people who bought them and then realize they can't go.

You can handle this a few different ways. 

a. Take the train. There is traffic on Route One. No. not traffic. TRAFFIC. So if you don't want to sit in it take the train. It is very easy, cheap, convenient and you won't have to pay hugely expensive parking fees. Also Patriot Place which is attached to the stadium has more than enough bars and restaurants to pre-game at.   Click here for more info;

b. If you are like me and the tailgating is a huge part of the experience then you have to leave early. It will be an all day affair but that's the way you like it. Bring a gang. Drive down together. You will need a good grill and some pre-made food. I like to marinate steaks for a few days, make some honey hot wings and have a few good salads like chicken or coleslaw. Bring lots of chips and of course a good craft beer like Trillium or Clown Shoes.

Remember the music!  A Jambox or a portable speaker system so you can get your groove on or rock out. Definitely do not forget some comfortable chairs and BOOM! Ya got a party. Bring extras to share and make friends. Don't forget to cover yourself in Pats gear and after the game THEN go check out Patriots Place and wait for the traffic to subside.

4. Fall Foliage

I see your eyes opening wide in disbelief. "Cappy! You're not a leaf peeper are you?" 

Foliage and Fogeys may sound alike but trust me leaf peeping isn't just for old farts on tour buses coming in to have the cheapest vacation imaginable. 

City living makes it easy to forget how awesome it is to get away sometimes. This is the best time of year to do it too. I'll give you three quick reasons why. Native Sweet Corn, Maple Syrup on Pancakes and Cider Donuts!

Not to mention that if you can time it right and go during peak colors, it is like visiting Oz. We are so fortunate to have New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and the Berkshires so close by. I will give you a couple of my favorite places to go for fall foliage or just fall stuffing of the face:

Do you like live music, barbecue, hot apple cobbler, corn on the cobb, chicken pot pies, cider donuts, hay rides, apple picking, pumpkins and PIE?

No? You must be crazy.  But if you do. This is the place to go.

Closer by we have 

All the things above minus music but add in fishing, hiking, all kinds of fruit to pick and a petting zoo. Hey they have a Llama.    There are also AWESOME cider donuts too. It is  just minutes up route one from Boston.

Ever hear of a sugar shack?  It's where maple syrup is made. They make the syrup right there then they feed it to you on pancakes. Yup it's worth driving for. Here is a pretty good Chowhound thread giving you some great places to go:

But the best thing to do is to go near one of those sugar shacks like maybe in Franconia Notch and go on a serious hike up into the mountains to see some real color. Bring your camera and research the hikes because some are easy and some like the one I did a while back are hard. (crawled back to my car in the dark after hiking a long, amazing loop up into the mtns.)  3 hour drive north on route 93. Hike within your limits and have fun and don't forget that native sweet corn sold at every farm stand you will pass on the way.

But if hiking isn't your thing then you can go to the Berkshires and drive to the top of Mt. Greylock too. It's absolutely gorgeous.

5. Visit the Wineries and Breweries all over New England

A word about Octoberfests

I love a party as much as the next guy. Octoberfests and there are plenty around here are full of amatuers who want to see how much beer they can imbibe before acting stupid. It is also a great way to spend the day standing in line, overpaying for food and being around college kids. Not MY scene but if it's yours and you must go,  here are the best:

 Boston Magazine  recently did an excellent feature on breweries you have to visit this summer and I concur. There is no reason at all why this can't be the breweries you have to visit this fall article too. So check it out:

That's the better way to try some of our amazing micro brews around Boston. No lines and it will make for a really great leisurely fall excursion.
OR if WINE is more your thing we also have something called the Coastal Wine Trail that sounds like fun.

Or there's this:  New England Brewery Tours


I know I said five but as an added bonus for no extra charge I'm giving you a mini list before I go away until next time. Here are some things that are very touristy but I love to do and I would be remiss in my duties as your half sane New England fall tour guide if I didn't mention these:

Topsfield Fair. October 3 - 13,  2014 -  Don't listen to naysayers just go. I will give you my list of tips and tricks just before it's here so keep checking back.

Salem.  The entire month of October is Salem month. They have lots of cheesy Halloweeny stuff to do but they also have some great restaurants, a great waterfront and great history (obviously)

Six Flags.  You've never been to Six Flags? It's better than Disney. Tons of amazing roller coasters, concerts, special nights (like Halloween fright fest) and more. Worth the money but discounts are everywhere.

Corn Maze.  Find one. Do one. That is all.

and a few more that you will have to Google to find where they are -  zip-lining, white water rafting, canoeing, sea kayaking, bi-plane rides, whale watching and more. Check Living Social and Groupon for deals.

SO get your butts out there and enjoy the greatest season of all!

 See you on the streets!