Home of the National Football League's New England Patriots, Major League Soccer's New England Revolution, and the University of Massachusetts football team, the 68,756-seat Gillette Stadium opened in 2001 and replaced the antiquated Foxboro Stadium.
The stadium was designed by the architectural firm of Populous. It was constructed between 2000 and 2002. Its main architectural feature is the entrance, which includes a mock lighthouse and a bridge modeled after the Longfellow Bridge in Boston.
Because the Patriots is a New England team, there were heated discussions about placing the new stadium in either Boston, Providence, Rhode Island, or Hartford, Connecticut. Its current site was chosen mainly because it is where the old Foxboro Stadium was situated, and it is about halfway between downtown Boston and downtown Providence.
In addition to sporting events, the stadium also hosts large-scale concerts and shows.
Another entry in my review of the professional baseball stadiums I've been to...so far.
Fenway Park. What can I say? If I could check the religious travel theme box below without offending anyone, I would. This stadium and Wrigley Field are the grandaddies of them all. Most of all, I'm glad I've been and I'm glad it's still standing despite occasional rumors that it's going to be replaced.
1) Arrival & Departure
When I attended a game at Fenway I went with some friends who lived locally so we were able to walk to the game. AWESOME! They have since moved, which I don't understand. It was a nice enough condo and if you live within walking distance to Fenway you STAY THERE! So I can't really say too much about, for example, driving to a game. It didn't look as if it would be an easy task. From what I understand, there is fairly easy access from the T and being able to take the subway is always a plus in my book. So is a stadium that isn't right downtown. This is out a ways so points for all of the above - a score of 5, out of 5.
Very interesting. We had hot dogs but the buns were like a piece of bread folded around the dog. I guess that's an East Coast thing? It was good though. I give it a 4.
Okay, this was my only complaint about the park. We sat in the seats that are in the outfield (this was in 1999, before the Sox's amazing World Series winning streak so we were still able to get tickets;-)) and the space between the rows was barely non-existent! I am not an especially tall person but my knees were right up to the back of the seat in front of me. That being said, I liked everything else about the stadium. You can only go in the door nearest your seat, so no problems entering on one side and having to weave your way through a crowd to get to the other side. I liked that. I give it a 3.
I have to give this a 5 because at the game I attended, someone hit a home run over the Green Monster (large green wall in left field). That alone was worth the price of admission. It was a beautiful, sunny day, the Sox won, I found a quarter...life is good.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience. There is so much more than a ballgame going on in places like this. The history is overwhelming. I hope Fenway is around for a long, long time. Overall score: 5.
I'm a soccer fan, which is uncommon around here, and at least once a year I get down to see the Revolution play at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro (better known as the home of the New England Patriots). The team is a perennial championship contender and there are several really good players. It's not up to the level of the European leagues, but it's pretty good and very engaging. They often get international teams to come and play friendlies there, as a double header. I recently saw Brazil vs. Venezuala!
Gillette Stadium is a nice, modern facility. There is plenty of parking. Unfortunately, the train is only an option during pat's games :( I usually find the staff to be helpful and friendly, and the atmosphere for a Rev's game is usually pretty friendly. I compare to going to see a minor league baseball team play.
Tickets to the Rev's aren't too hard to get and aren't too expensive...the parking and beer is steep, though. Tickets start at around $19, parking at the stadium lot is $40, a large premium beer is $10(!!!). They have a family value menu for food, but I recommend getting there early and barbecuing!
The Red Sox are not just Boston's major league baseball team, but the team for all of New England. They are one of the oldest baseball teams in the country, founded in 1901. Fenway Park, the Red Sox' field, is also one of the oldest baseball parks in the country. Fenway is beautiful and one of my favorite places in the entire world.
Red Sox fans are fanatics. There are no two ways about it. We love our team and will stand and fight beside them through thick and thin, come hell or high water. That's just how it is. And this doesn't just apply to men. Many of the stauchest Sox fans I know are women over 60.
Being a Red Sox fan is alot like being Jewish or Italian: you are born that way. From the time you are alive you never consider any other alternative. There are no other alternatives in New England. As soon as babies are born, or when women are given baby showers, one gift they always recieve is a tiny Red Sox cap, either in blue or pink, and that pretty much seals the deal.
Anyone who knows anything about baseball also knows that we hate the New York Yankees. This rivalry is so old that many people aren't even sure why it exists, but the Yankees give us something to complain about when we're tired of complaining about the weather. We hate them so much in fact that I recently read that there is a petition being circulated by two fourth grade girls calling for the elimination of the name "Yankees" from all Massachusetts little league teams. It looks like they will succeed.
Red Sox games are very difficult to get tickets for, nearly impossible. They are sold out almost from the minute they go on sale. Tickets are also very expensive, the most expensive in the Big Leagues in fact. But we'll do anything for love I suppose.
Our son, Nick, has run in the Boston Marathon in 2004, 2005, and 2006. It's been fun going and watching the participants run all of those miles (>26!). It's lots of fun watching the serious runners and the not-so-serious. Many people dress up in costumes and just have a good time and the crowd cheers everybody on, whether they're serious or delirious!!
Equipment: No gear, unless you are running!
I've never dived Boston Harbor. I work
on the waterfront and have seen it as close as I want to get to it! Actually, the harbor is much cleaner than it used to be, because the Big Dig provided a lot of funds for clean-up (as do the sky-high water/sewer bills in the area), but still, I don't want to dive it just yet (though some people do). In my opinion, Cape Ann is definitely the way to go for diving in Massachusetts. With no car you will not be able to shore dive, at least not easily. You could take the commuter rail to Rockport and take a bus or cab to Cape Ann divers, which
has a nice boat-dive operation. You should contact them to find out the logistics of meeting up with them or their boat. Usually we meet them at the harbor, which is not near their store. Their web site is
http://www.capeanndivers.com/ and the phone is 978-281-8082. But be aware that they do not provide a dive master, so you are on your own underwater. They do give very good, detailed briefings, however.
What can you see up here? Lots of crabs, and lobsters, flounder, skate (looks like a small ray), anemones, urchins, starfish, cod, striped bass, sunfish, stone fish & sea robins, sand shrimp, giant snails as big as a fist, lumpfish, an occasional wolf fish, dog fish (small shark) mussell beds and lots of sea weed. The Caribbean it's not, but it'll do.
New England diving can be intimidating for inexperienced divers, especially if you've only done warm water diving, but there are plenty of interesting things to see if the low viz and cold don't freak you out too much. You MUST be able to navigate underwater with a compass because navigating by sight is nearly impossible unless you are very familiar with the dive site.
Equipment: New England diving is nothing like the Caribbean except that you do get wet. The water is COLD. It's not uncommon for it to get into the 40's at 70 feet for so in July & Aug. But on average you find the temps to be in the low to mid 50's at depth in the middle of summer, even when its in the 60's at the surface. Visibility averages around 15 feet or so. 25-30 is outstanding, and 5 to 10 feet (or even isolated pockets of ZERO viz) is not uncommon. You'll need a 7 mil suit, 2-piece is preferable, so you'll have 2 layers on your torso and butt. If your're renting equipment, ask the dive shop to make sure you don't have to buy your own cold-water boots & gloves. I'm not sure if they would provide them or not.
Now that I think of it, you might be able to hook up a guided shore dive on Cape Ann with a Boston-area dive shop. I'm not sure if they would be willing to drive you there or not, but it's worth it to ask. East Coast Divers has guided shore dives every weekend. Usually they meet up with those who have signed up for the dive at a Burger King on the way up to the Cape. Give them a call at 617-277-2216. (www.ecdivers.com). You'd have to cab it to their shop in Brookline if they are willing to drive you, but it's not far from Boston at all. In fact most people consider Brookline to be a part of Boston.
Massachusetts is home to many rivers and lakes that you can explore on a canoe or a kayak. Ipswich River is one of them. Located in North Eastern corner of the state, it winds on for many miles and has several drop-off points that make for various length runs that you could do - from a short 4 hour run to an overnight trip. Much of the river is accessible only from water, and the scenery that it runs along is breathtaking. All runs terminate at Foote Brothers Canoes dock, as there's a dam right along the dock.
We only did a short four-hour run, including a stop for lunch, but it was a blast.
Equipment: If you have your own canoe or a kayak, bring it. If not, Foote Brothers will rent you one and take you out to the drop-off site. If you're bringing your own, they'll take it to the drop-off for $10.
Red Sox baseball game at historic Fenway Park. Fenway is one of the few old baseball parks left in America and has not changed much since it opened in 1912. With such an incredible history, a game at Fenway takes one back to early days of baseball and great players like Ted Williams, Cy Young and Babe Ruth.
In 1947, the legendary “Green Monster” was created when the all the advertisements on the left field wall was painted over with green paint. The official Red Sox website has a great narrative on the history of Fenway. Over the past few years there has been a lot of talk around Boston about replacing Fenway Park with a new ballpark as so many other cities have done. So, Fenway’s time may be limited as well as your chance to experience this truly great old ballpark.
If possible, try to catch a Red Sox - Yankees game. The heckling the Boston crowd gives their New York counterparts is an experience in and of itself and one that demonstrates just how old the rivalry is between the Boston and New York baseball clubs.
While living in Boston, I always enjoyed snowshoeing on the Battle Road in Minute Man National Park (obivously during the winter months). The Battle Road is the path retreating British soldiers took back to Boston on April 19, 1775 after the initial shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired at the North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts.
Although you are close to nearby towns, Minute Man National Park can make you feel like you are way out in the countryside, especially along the Battle Road. So, if the Boston area gets a good snow, Minute Man National Park is a great place to go and enjoy the wintery scene as only cross-country skiers and a few people on snowshoes will be there. It's a great way to get exercise, see some great winter scenes and some American history all at the same time.
Equipment: If you don't own a pair of snowshoes (like most people), then you can rent some at one of REI's Massachusetts locations in Reading (279 Salem Street or call (781) 944-5103) or Framingham (375 Cochituate Rd. or call (508) 270-6325). Be sure to call ahead, especially on weekends, they rent fast.
If you're a diver visiting Massachusetts, you will invariably be sent up to Cape Ann. And rightly so. Cape Ann has some of the best shore and boat diving in the state. Some of the prettier dive sites up there are Cathedral Ledge and Foley Cove. The problem is, everybody else knows this and goes there. But if you get there early enough, you should be ok. Cathedral is one of the few shore dives on Cape Ann that allows you to get deep as well, about 85ft at high tide. From the entry point, head SE for some stunning rolling underwater ledges and crevaces. Lots of lobster and interesting sea life there. A few large Sea Ravens were regularly spotted out that way this past year.
At Foley Cove, do the 1st dive along the left wall, very pretty, you get down to about 50ft at the far end. For the 2nd dive, be different from everybody else and stick to the right side of the cove. It's shallower, but makes up for it with tons of neat crevaces and lots of sea life.
Sorry, no underwater pic yet, next year.
Equipment: Massachusetts requires that you tow a surface dive flag when you dive. Wardens have been known to issue tickets to those who've been caught without one. Also, they are very tough on lobster law violations. Remember, you have to have a permit to take them, and they have to be of legal size.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a must see for all ballers. Enjoy this state-of-the-art interactive museum which pays homage to the century old sport and its inventor.
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