Last weekend I packed my bags and headed for the RDU airport in route to Boston. Up until that point I had never been to Boston so I was pretty excited about the prospect of seeing the city for the first time. I’ve got some friends that live there and we’d planned this trip over the summer after the NFL schedules had been released. You see, I am a Buffalo Bills fans, my friends are New England Patriots fans, so we thought it’d be fun to watch the Bills take on the Patriots in Foxborough. We’ll talk more about that in a little bit.
Airports and Flights
I flew on Delta (shocker I know) on a direct flight from RDU to BOS in first class. Looking back on it I made a mistake in booking myself a $400 first class ticket, had I know that I would have Gold medallion status by now I would’ve booked in coach and hoped for an upgrade. The bright side is that I got a 50% MQM bonus for paying for first class, the downside of course is that I paid a lot more than I probably should have. You live and you learn. The flights, both to and from, were pretty uneventful. I left in the wee hours of the morning on Friday and returned at the same wee hours on Monday. One thing I will note however is the incredible difference between the length of the security lines for TSA Pre-Check and those without it. I’ve heard many people say that “The lines aren’t much shorter”, “TSA Pre-Check takes just as long”, etc. I can promise you that is not the case, at least not for the RDU airport (or any of the airports i’ve been to this year). I took side by side photos of the lines when I got there for reference. All told it takes me about 7 minutes to check my bag at the Sky Priority counter *and* get myself through pre-check. This is all to say that if you don’t have pre-check, and you travel with any kind of regularity, its well worth the $89 for 5 years. Oh, and if you get the Sapphire Reserve or the Amex Platinum its free!
Someday I will write a post detailing how I life-log my travels, for now just now that I use a free app called Swarm and I checkin everywhere I go. This allows me to see all the places i’ve been and for me thats a lot of fun. Some of the highlights of this trip included visits to…
Erbaluce – Went here with a group of 4 including myself. Great Italian restaurant on 69 Church Street. We shared a few bottles of wine and appetizers, followed by main courses of pasta, steak, and pork chops. At the end of the meal we were set to split the bill amongst the 4 of us. Rather than give the waitress four credit cards, we played credit card roulette which I won, yay, which netted me about 1,050 Ultimate Rewards points thanks to my Sapphire Reserve.
Clerys – Nice bar on the south end of bean town, very casual. Definitely a younger crowd but well lit and the bartenders were very attentive.
Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar – Short walk from Clerys, and a bit nicer. There was a line to get in but I don’t think we waited for more than 10 minutes or so. We ordered a few gin blossoms to cap off the evening. They’re good, but be careful, they’re awfully strong 🙂
Tony C’s Sports Bar & Grill – Went here on Saturday to watch some college football games and relax. The bar was huge and the number of TV’s was impressive. Good place to checkout if you’re ever looking for a sports bar near Assembly Row.
J.P. Licks Assembly Row – Great ice cream. It was a little cold and all kinds of wet on Saturday when we got here, so not ideal ice cream eating conditions, but it was good nonetheless.
Zen Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar – I am a fried rice connoisseur and this place is definitely high on the list.
Boda Borg – I am a big fan of escape rooms, and while Boda Borg is not an escape room per se it has many of the same elements. We spent over 2 hours here trying to solve various puzzles and complete various challenges. It was pretty crowded but for $18 I had a great time. Definitely a place id go back to for more than 2 hours, especially if I could go during the day when its less crowded.
Sweet Kingdom – Post Boda Borg bubble tea. Good, not great.
Joe’s American Bar and Grill – Post Bills game dinner. Originally ordered a BBQ plate but they were out of brisket, settled for fish and chips. Good experience overall, would return.
Bills vs. Patriots
We ended up taking $20 train ride to Foxborough from Boston on Sunday morning. Getting to these games is always part of the experience, earlier this year I rode a Citi bike to Wrigley Field while in Chicago, and this train ride was no different. Surrounded by Patriots fans both to and from the game made for an exciting trip. The ride itself took about an hour and then its only a short walk from the train station to Gillette Stadium.
I had a great time at the game, and would definitely go back. While I won’t break down all 4 quarters of football just know that the Bills won 16-0 which was the first time the Patriots had ever been shut out at Gillette, and the first time since 1993 that they had been shut out at home. It was a great game (for a Bills fan), the food was pretty good, and the drinks were $11 a pop which isn’t horrible for an NFL stadium.
Overall this was an incredible weekend trip, one that id like to take again in the future. For those of you who live in or have been to Boston before, what did I miss? What should I put on the list for next time?