Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer of Travel 2012: Boston

All aboard! 

And just like that, we're off. Down to Penn Station, and onto a Boston-bound Amtrak train. Though the internet was spotty at best, I really do prefer Amtrak over flying for trips to DC, Boston, or anywhere in between. "Downtown to downtown" service, and bigger seats - what's not to love? Oh right, that crappy internet connection...

It was graduation season in Boston, which meant that hotel room availability was really limited. I ended up splitting my trip between the Sheraton Boston and the Westin Copley Place. Things started off on a good foot, with an upgrade to an executive suite at the Sheraton:

My executive suite at the Sheraton Boston

Another view of the suite

The club lounge at the Sheraton was also pretty nice, and had an outstanding view of the Charles:

Instagram-ified view from the club lounge

As one would expect, the decor at the Westin was somewhat nicer - but I really didn't get much of an upgrade. I don't particularly care when I'm traveling for work, but it would've been nice to at least have had a king-size bed. This time, it was the view from my room that was pretty spectacular:

My room at the Westin

Another view of my room at the Westin

Room with a view at the Westin
While switching hotels was a minor inconvenience (the two hotels are within easy walking distance of each other), one nice perk was getting two SPG Platinum check-in amenities (500 Starpoints). However, it also meant that I could only "Make a Green Choice" twice (vs. the 3 times I could have done if I stayed at the same hotel for the entire time), so that basically cancels out.

The reason I was up in Boston was for work, but the nice thing was that the bulk of my work took place at night. While the days inevitably filled up with other meetings and priorities, I was still able to get out a bit and sample some tasty local spots.

It's been a while since I "went out for a coffee", but I was glad to have the opportunity to catch up with a former roommate at Thinking Cup near Boston Common, and a former colleague at Espresso Royale Caffe in Back Bay. Both great spots, both highly recommended.

A little snack at Thinking Cup

Espresso Royale Caffe

I also got to sample a few local favorite lunch spots (thank you Facebook friends for all the suggestions!) - Parish Cafe and The Salty Pig - and even got to eat outside and enjoy the great weather.

Parish Cafe had a lot of very tasty sounding sandwiches - I ended up going with the Zuni Roll, due to its popularity on Foursquare. It was good, but it's hard for me to get all that excited about turkey. Definitely worth a go though, and they've got an extensive beer list to help wash down those sandwiches.

Zuni Roll at Parish Cafe

The Salty Pig on the other hand, was an absolutely blissful experience. I ordered the Salty Pig Pizza, which comes with "Today’s Salty Pig Parts, Parmigiano Oil, Pale Ale Vinaigrette". Oh, and I added a farm egg on top for good measure. It was absolutely out of this world. Salty, Peppery, Pork-y goodness. It's also across the street from Back Bay station, so I will definitely be visiting again next time I'm in Boston.

Salty Pig Pizza at The Salty Pig

Last, but certainly not least, we happened to be borrowing a conference room at the Digitas offices on the exact same day that they had a Stanley Cup photo-op for their employees. So yeah, we got to join in on that fun as well, and I got to have my picture taken with Lord Stanley's Cup:

She's a beauty

Great way to kick off the Summer of Travel, but it's good to be home!

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