Tag Archives: Activities

Not Your Average Resolutions Post

A new year brings hope of new beginnings and those always inspiring resolutions. Well, I don’t actually like making resolutions because I always found that I break them. Instead I prefer to set goals for myself. (I’m sure it all seems like semantics but to me, it’s actually easier to set goals that can be checked off throughout the year.)

For How I Met Your State (HIMYS), I am always talking about visiting places or doing things around Boston but have never actually kept a running list. Until now! The following is my resolutions or goals list for HIMYS 2012 edition.

Note: These are in no particular preference or priority order.


  1. Blue Ribbon
  2. Firefly
  3. Erbaluce
  4. Orinoco
  5. Regal Begal
  6. Giacomo’s
  7. South End Buttery
  8. Bee Hive
  9. Silvertone
  10. The Capital Grille


  1. Harpoon or Sam Adams Brewery Tour
  2. Bunker Hill
  3. Visit Maine or Rhode Island
  4. Boston Public Library
  5. Marathon Monday
  6. Fall Foliage/Leaf Peeping
  7. Corn Maze
  8. Haunted Boston Bus Tour
  9. Celtics or Bruins Game
  10. Institute of Contemporary Art

Here’s to another great year! What other places or restaurants would you recommend? Leave your recommendations in the comments section. And may your year be filled with adventure!

Tourist Boston: Duck Tours and the Freedom Trail

As mentioned in my previous post, my family came into Boston for a visit last month. What’s the best part of visitors in Boston? A chance to do all the touristy sites your friends are embarrassed to do. Honestly, as a Boston transplant, I do touristy-destination and sight-seeing activities all the time (I know it’s hard to tell with my blog and all). However, it’s especially difficult to get a partner in crime (or two) to visit these places after a while – and sometimes you just feel bad asking.

So, what are some of the touristy things that my family and I did?

Boston Duck Tours - Image Credit: Kim LaFleur

Boston Duck Tour

The tour I took with my family was the first time I had taken the full tour – as I had only taken an abbreviated version before this. I often recommend Duck Tours to people from out of town, as a way to get an overview of the history of the City, get a sampling of the historical sites and be have a bit of fun. If you don’t already know, the Duck Tour drivers are a hoot. Each has a “persona” and I was lucky enough to be on Disco Dan’s boat (he had fish in his platform shoes). The tour also takes you on land and through the Charles River. It’s just a cool way to see Boston. If you want a more engaging experience, download the new iPhone app that goes with the tour. You can follow along with the tour, and get facts of the different areas you drive by. All in all, my family really enjoyed the tour – and because of it my family requested that we make a visit to the U.S.S. Constitution. Quack, quack.

Freedom Trail - Image Credit: Kim LaFleur

Freedom Trail

I really don’t know how the Freedom Trail was created but it’s a really interesting concept. The top 10 or so historical sites in and around downtown Boston are mapped out and connected by a red line that runs between them. Literally, there is a red line running through the streets and on the sidewalk. For a City where the streets don’t run on grids, the Freedom Trail is insanely helpful. I have lived here over a year, and I don’t think that even with my smartphone, I would have been able to direct my family to the different sites without the line. On top of that, the sites on the Trail have a very rich history. Ben Franklin’s family is buried at one location. You can see where Paul Revere lived. Or how about a visit to Old Iron Sides? Done. The Freedom Trail gives you a chance to follow history and get a real taste of the founding of America. If you’re feeling really lively, you can take a walking tour with a guide that dresses in full colonial garb. Yes, I said garb.

If you’re a visitor, or a resident that hasn’t experience either of these things, I’d definitely recommend it! Duck Tours take about 90 minutes, and the Freedom Trail can take up a full day. Just don’t forget your walking shoes.

Extra shout out to my friend Kim for letting me use her photos in my post!

Keno and Candlepin: The Makings of a New England Weekend

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a themed bar crawl (it was jorts related – also known as jean shorts for those not from the area). Besides the silliness of the theme, the crawl included some essential New England activities such as Keno and Candlepin bowling. Let me address each individually!


The Massachusetts state lottery has a very popular game called Keno. What’s great about the game is that it is similar to the lottery – not scratch offs. Players choose from 1 to 12 numbers in a series of 80 and select the number of games they are playing in. Getting 2 to 10 numbers correct within your designated game can award you money. Obviously, the more numbers you match to those randomly selected will win more money. Based on my observations, Keno is everywhere in Boston. From gas stations to convenience stores to grocery stores to bars. Playing in bars seems especially fun as you can watch your favorite sports while gambling with relative ease.

I do find this concept interesting because Massachusetts has very adamantly opposed casinos within the state but when it comes to the lottery system, it’s all good. It seems like an interesting dynamic to me as a somewhat outsider. Don’t get me wrong though; I had a blast playing and won $2.00. Jealous?

Candlepin Bowling

Candlepin Bowling

So, disclaimer first. I have a family that has very strong roots in bowling and it was something I grew up with. So when I got to Boston and people started discussing candlepin versus “big ball” bowling, I almost lost it. For those that haven’t played, since it is truly a New England sport, the pins are much smaller and resemble candle sticks. The ball that is thrown down the aisle is also much smaller, and is about the same size as a bocce or skeeball. It also seemed that the lanes were longer and more narrow than what I will always refer to as “normal” bowling. Oh, and another important distinction, you get three throws per frame.

Candlepin was also pretty fun. However, I was not able to use most of my bowling poses or techniques on candlepin. Since it’s not the same, it took me a while to get the hang of how to throw. I would definitely recommend playing this for any out of towner or new resident – it will certainly make you feel like a native!

I will give New England a lot of credit – indoor activities are at a premium and things like candlepin or keno wouldn’t be around still if they weren’t enjoyable.

Don't forget your candlepin technique!