Boston Blog Posts
American Bald Eagle
If your looking for a good opportunity to get a close up picture of an American Bald Eagle, you should visit the Ecotarium in Worcester. You can see a couple of Bald Eagles outside the walkway as you walk into the museum. There are other animals available outside, but the day that I went it was too cold to walk around to see them.
This particular picture I took with my Sony- Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V and zoom in to the head of the eagle. This was easy to do since one of the eagles was sitting on an egg and not moving around as much. The zoom did manage to block out some of the cage netting.
The Ecotarium is located near Route 9 in Worcester and it about a 35 minute drive on Route 9 from Framingham. This is a fun place for families to learn all about the environment and science. There's lots of indoor and outdoor exhibits. I would definitely recommend going during a warm day since there's plenty of things to do outside. For $3 more you can ride the train around the property.
The Ecotarium is eligible under the ACM Reciprocal Network. As of April 1st, the Uniform Reciprocal Benefits changed so that up to 6 people now pay 50% of the cost of the museum. The old benefit had 100% off for 4 people.
J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge
I just signed up for the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge 5k race which will run on June 20, 2013. This is the first race that I have done since high school, many many years ago. Over the next few weeks I'll be training to make sure that I have a great race. I am not in it to win the race, just to have a great finish and a fun time on the way.
I just downloaded the 5K Training For Beginners - From Couch To 5k Runner In 8 Weeks Or Less by Jago Holmes, on my Kindle to help me get started on my journey. It's a good investment since I was able to borrow it free since I have Amazon Prime. The reviews and ratings are good. I downloaded the preview and think its a good read for the month.
I'll update this blog on my journey to get to the finish line. I am not taking this race lightly. I want to make sure that the race is fun and that in the process I get into better shape. One other positive side effect is that it will make the morning run to the train station a little bit easier.
Common Mistakes new Commuter Rail riders make everyday
I was talking to a fellow commuter rail rider yesterday, we chat every once in a while and we came up with five things that almost ever new Commuter rail users encounter.
Getting to the train station late
Plan to get to the station at least 10 minutes before the schedule arrival of your train. Don't be the one running as the train is leaving and yelling to the conductor to wait, they won't. Get there early and wait.
Not buying a train pass at South Station or Back Bay
If you get on at South Station or Back Ba. you will pay a $2 premium if you purchase tickets on the train. Get your ticket at the ticket booth and then wait for the train.
Not having the ticket available when the conductor is walking around
Have your ticket handy so when the conductor comes around they don't have to wait for you to find it. If you buy a pass, make sure to put it right back where you got it.
Wear the right shoes in rough weather
The train can be slippery when getting off and on and wearing high heels or shoes with no soles will only lead to a free fall. Pay attention to the stairs as you walk on and off the train.
Getting on the train is "every poor sucker for themselves."
This is mostly true when getting on the train at the Back Bay station. When the train arrives, everyone wants to get on to get that premium seat. Don't expect that everyone will get out of your way to get on the train. If you're going to be a while, because you have luggage or your slow on the stairs, wait for everyone else to get on.
Getting off the train is slightly different story, commuters are actually more friendly and will have no problem with you getting in front of them to get off the train.
Bring something to read/do on your ride
When you get on the train you may not have to opportunity to sit and look out the window. Bring a book or Kindle with you to read on your journey. Also keep in mind on some busy trip you may not have a seat.
If your looking for a good afternoon snack, stop by 5 Napkin on Huntington Ave. This is their menu plan for the unofficial happy hour. Massachusetts only ban Happy Hour for alcohol consumption, there's nothing wrong with having food as a happy hour:
Twice a day, 7 days a week! 4-7pm, and 9pm-close, in the bar area. $2 sliders (orig, veggie or turkey), 50-cent wings, $2 pork taquitos (4) and $2 hand rolls (spicy tuna & cucumber or spicy salmon & avocado)
Mass General Laws
Did you know that you could be fine for carrying a lighted match, cigar, cigarette or pipe on MBTA property? From the Mass General Laws C272 Sec 43a, which is posted on signs all around the MBTA Station:
Section 43A. Whoever, in or upon a railroad carriage, steamboat, or other public conveyance, or in a terminal or other facility of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, smokes or carries an open flame or lighted match, cigar, cigarette, or pipe shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten days or by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or both such fine and imprisonment.
I guess the MBTA is really cracking down on not just smokers but people that are holding smoking paraphernalia. In other words, you're a criminal for possessing a legal product in your pocket.
Icing on the Cake
If your looking for the best place in metro Boston to get a special occasion cake, you should check out 'Icing on the Cake' in Newton. This is certainly a hidden gem in Newton that has a huge fan base.
We have ordered from them many times in the past six years. Not only do we enjoy the delicious cakes, but we are amazed at the creativity that they put into each cake.
Icing on the Cake isn't a normal cake place, its for those special occasions when just any cake won't do. If your celebrating a 65th birthday, do you really want to get a cake from Stop and Shop or BJs?
When your ready to place an order, don't pick up the phone. Make a trip to the store Why? Because the store will inspire you will all sorts of ideas.
The friend staff will work with you to produce an awesome cake, that will taste as good as it looks. One of the cool things about the store is that they have refrigerators that display cakes waiting to be picked up by customers. Which is awesome to see what they can do. Also when you pick up your cake, and you think you have the best one, there's always someone else that has a better design.
Over the past six years have ordered all sorts of cakes, from a DisneyWorld Haunted Mansion cake to a birthday cupcake display with hidden Mickey's.
The cakes taste melts in your mouth, you can make the cake any way you want as each cake is made to order. I really like that the cake taste really good a few days after an event, which is all the more reason to order a size slightly bigger than you need.
On weekends they have some cup cakes that you can purchase too. Excellent way to treat yourself to some of their awesome frosting and cake.
The Icing on the Cake is on 230 Adams Street in Newton, They only accept checks and cash.
If your going to a Red Sox game this year, you could consider parking at the Prudential. They charge $16, which is one of the lowest parking price of any garage around the Fenway area. I believe the garage at 100 Clarendon is slightly cheaper, but adds about 10 minute walking time to/from Fenway.
According to the signs around the Prudential Mall, the walk to Fenway is only 10-12 minutes. However, using Google Maps, the walk appears to be about 20 minutes long. I guess it all depends on how fast one walks.
If you take the Mass Pike, then the parking at the Prudential is a good option, its really easy to get to the garage off the turnpike, and even easier to get back on the turnpike. After the game, instead of getting on the Pike at Copley, take the Mass Ave. exit. It's a little less traffic to maneuver around.
I took some photos this morning around the Back Bay with my iPhone, but I am unable to send them because 3G is not available in Boston right now.
The Prudential Tower and Shops are still without power, almost 38 hours since the transformer blew up. There are lots of power trucks all around the back bay, mostly in front of apartment and condos.
Coffee in the Back Bay
There are 5 unique places to buy coffee between the Back Bay T stop and Christian Science Plaza:
Dunkin Donuts (3 Locations)
- On Stuart Street, across the street from the John Hancock tower
- Inside the Shaws super market next to the Prudential Shopping Center
- Inside the Prudentail Center near the Hynes Convention Center
Starbucks (2 Locations)
- Inside the Copley Place Mall, near the Boston Marriott
- Inside the Prudential Shops, next to Barnes and Noble
Au Pon Pain (2 Locations)
- Inside the Copley Place Mall, near the Stuart Street entrance
- Inside the Prudential Shops, near the Hynes Convention Center
Paradise Bakery & Cafe
- Inside the Prudential Shops, in the food court
- On the corner of St. Botolph Street and West Newton Street
In Boston's BackBay there's a famous candy store called, "Sugar Heaven" which offers Bostonians a great place to stock up on their favorite candy. They have pretty much every type of candy in stock and lots of bulk candy to select from.
Sugar Heaven is located at 669 Boylston Steet, Boston MA, across the street from the Boston Public Library. Intrusting bit of trivia is that a Dentist office is right next door to Sweet Heaven. You can call the store at 617-266-6464 and see if they have your candy in stock!
If you are looking for another store for bulk candy check out Truffles Fine Confections in the Prudential Shopping Center. They have a smaller selection, but the selection tends to be unique to what Sugar Heaven has. The prices are a bit cheaper at the Truffles Fine Confections and they have yummy Truffles!
Truffles Fine Confections is located in the Prudential shopping center across from Legal Seafoods, near the Boylston Street entrance. Save time and call the store with your order at 617-536-2663!
So if your looking for Bulk candy for an event, it worth checking out both stores for a great selection!
On my train commute, I have been spending my time reading. I notice that a lot of commuters read on the train. The most common thing that I see people read is the 'Boston Metro.'
The Boston MBTA has a quiet car, but I have found that most of the train is pretty quiet with people busy reading books or doing some work on their laptop. Every once in a while you'll hear someone on the phone.
From Framingham to Boston is about 45 minutes, in which I read about 25 pages. The number of pages depend on the level of book. For example, it took longer to read the 'Brief History of Time' because the complex subject matter.
Here are the following books that I have read since October:
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
- The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century by Howie Carr
- 2020 Vision by Stanley M. Davis
- Inside the Tornado: Strategies for Developing, Leveraging, and Surviving Hypergrowth Markets (Collins Business Essentials) by Geoffrey A. Moore
- If it Ain't Broke...Break It!: And Other Unconventional Wisdom for a Changing Business World by Robert J. Kriegel and Louis Patler
- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- Moneyball by Michael Lewis
On the ground in front of the building on 116 Huntington Avenue in Boston is a plaque which reads:
The CARYATIDS that support the arch over the large
oculus of this building were designed by Boston Artist,
Syma. The figures reference the original sculpted
Caryatids who supported the pediment of the Temple of
Diana in ancient Greece. Diana was the Greek
Goddess of dance and dreams. Seven stars adorn each
panel, a reference to the Pleiades, which, according to
Greek Mythology, were the seven Caryatids or
priestesses of Diana who were places among the stars
by Zeus. Each of the stars has six points, a
traditional symbol of harmony and transformation.
The waves underfoot recall 19th century Back Bay,
once covered with water.
The distance from the Backbay train station to the Christian Science Center is a 1/2 mile. The quickest route is to go through Copley Plaza, take the Pedestrian overpass and then walk down Huntington Ave.
Cheap Copley Square Parking
If you are visiting the Copley Square area in downtown Boston, you should consider using the parking garage at 100 Clarendon Street. The parking garage is located near the John Hancock tower and the Back Bay T stop. You are within walking distance to the shops at the Prudential, the Boston Public Library and the Trinity Church.
If you check online you can find discounts that allow you to park for 6 hours for only $14. Which is a lot cheaper than many of the parking garages around Copley Square.
The Prudential Parking garage charges $35 for 2 to 10 Hours!
Seals at Chatham
If your looking for some Seals on Cape Cod, the best place to go is Chatham. Some people have seen the Seals on the beaches of Chatham Light during low tide, but the best place is Chatham Pier.
Located about a half mile from Chatham Light is Chatham Pier. This is where fisherman come in to send their daily catch to various places on the Cape. You can even purchase some fish right off the boat. Talk about fresh!
If your looking for Seals, head to the second floor and look straight ahead. Just in front of you will be lots of Fishing boats and a sandy island called Tern Island Sanctuary. During Low Tide, you'll see lots of Seals hanging around this island. Look around the boats and you may see seals playing around.