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There were the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. Also the Montagues and the Capulets. In both instances blood was shed.
Since the early days of the last century when the Boston Red Sox traded the legendary Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, the hostilities of their fans toward each other was palpable. There was no common ground, no armistice. But no blood either.
Into this fray drove four intrepid baseballs fans heading from the New York Metro area straight into the waiting hell of Boston and Fenway Park.
Of the two couples on person was an Atlanta Braves fan and a baseball writer. The other a travel columnist and an Orthodox Yankees fan. With the Red Sox slated to play Atlanta, what could go wrong?
The drive from the Metro area through Connecticut was more or less pleasant. Traffic? There’s always traffic on that route. With lunch fast approaching a stopover was in order.
Food and Books is All You Need at this Exit
Anyone following in this path, make sure to haul off the highway at Exit 74 (no services for the hungry) on I-84. That’ll take you to Union, CT, just off the Massachusetts border near Sturbridge and the Connecticut line at Union.
Follow the signs to “Traveler Food and Books.” The oddly named eatery is exactly what the name implies: food (that you pay for) and thousands of books in stacks that you can help yourself to for free. There are a handful of books and packages that are on sale, but the shelf-after-shelf of free books is amazing.
There are adult nooks, tomes for the kiddies, cookbooks and books about cooks, novels, and just about anything you can think of. While they say you can take three free books, no one objected if a passerby took an extra book or two.
Oh, before I forget, the place is also a restaurant that serves some pretty good and hearty fare ranging from salads and burgers to surf and turf and tenderloin steak. For a highway stopover, prices are more than reasonable and the staff should win kudos for personality and friendly manner.
Traveler Food and Books is open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. except Saturday when it’s open until 9 p.m. For info call (860) 684-4920.
The Marriott Near Fenway Park
After a respite there for sustenance and books the drive on to Boston is a breeze. Traffic’ll jam up on the Cape Cod cutoff, but there’s not much you can do but wait it out.
Next stop was the Marriott Residence Inn about a half block from that den of iniquity, Fenway Park. You can see Fenway from the highway and if you follow the directions from your GPS or smart phone, you will no doubt go in circles. Even residents admit that Boston is not an easy city to find your way around. Take it easy and eventually you’ll arrive. The wait is worth it. Parking attendants are right on the spot to help and hotel personnel are there if you need assistance with the luggage.
From the outside the Marriott is rather unimposing, but once you come through the doors the world lights up. The lobby is modern, bright and cheerful. The registration desk is only a few steps directly ahead of you, and signing in is as rapid and painless as some exceptionally upper-class hotels. In fact, this Marriott is as good as any of them.
The rooms are beautifully appointed and, most importantly, the beds are exceptionally comfortable. But don’t get too comfortable, after all, you need to get to the park. Yankee fans are warned not to wear anything that resembles their team’s logo or their life could be in jeopardy. Yeah, there might be some fans who take things too far, which goes for both teams. But, the Red Sox personnel helping to move fans from the crowded streets inside are efficient and courteous. After all, this is a stadium that predates any other in baseball and was built before much of the surrounding area was developed.
The walk from the Marriott Residence Inn was measured in mere minutes. As comfortable as the hotel is, the exact opposite of Fenway’s seats is also a truism. The seats were designed for a bygone generation who, on average were considerable shorter and less bulky than today’s fans.
That being said there isn’t a bad seat in the stadium. No matter where you are, you have an amazing view of the field, every pitch, and every play. There was banter back and forth between opposing fans but at no time did it ever rise beyond good natured teasing.
Drinks at the Rooftop Marriott
After the game, a visit to the Marriott’s rooftop lounge and bar could relax even the most hyper guest. The view was amazing and overlooked Fenway.
Guests enjoy parking (for a fee), free wifi, buffet breakfast with an vast set of choices included, pool on the roof and please refrain from smoking at the hotel. For information contact the Marriott Residence Inn at (844) 631-0595.
While the hotel has excellent dining facilities, sometimes you want to explore outside. Directly across the street is the newly iconic Wahlburgers owned by the famous Wahlberg family that includes Mark (Marky Mark) and Donny Wahlberg. Not to give them even bigger heads, but the eatery offers one of the best hamburgers anywhere. Ranging from the “Our Burger” to the “Impossible Burger,” there are nine different burgers from which to choose.
There are also sandwiches, salads, free burger toppings and a decent kid’s menu called “Smahlburgs. Prices for a city eatery are well within the purse of anyone coming in with a family. Check them out at 132 Brookline Ave.; (617) 927-6810.
Traveling Dad Josh Rodriguez writes about taking his son to the ballgame, and how special the one-on-one time is.