Image by Michael Browning

CHEERS!

Hmmmmm.  Boston.  What can I say?  It's probably the most undiversified city I can remember ever going to.  I don't know what I expected as far as black culture.  But, I did expect way more than what I experienced.  So, let's go to the highlights.  

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The Envoy Hotel was really nice.  It was right next to the restaurant, The Barking Crab, with the best Lobster Roll I've ever had in my life.  Any Lobster Roll that you have had that wasn't in Boston, just throw it away.  The lobster was fresh and cold.  The mix of the mayonnaise and seasoning was perfect.  The butter on the bread was the best added touch.  The softness of the bread was like a cloud.  It was amazing.  I really wanted another but never circled back.  Now, don't expect friendly service or to see any other black people in the city.  It's just not a thing.  The other food I tried was a Boston Cream Pie.  I walked the scenic route from my hotel to the Omni Parker House, where the original Boston Cream Pie was created.  The scenic walk was great.  The pie?  Not so much.  It was missing sugar and lots of it.  I felt like I ordered the sugar free version.  It was just too bland.  But, it looks pretty.  

 

So, on our quest to find OUR people, we ventured over to Orchard Park, which is where New Edition grew up.  It's no longer there.  Mission aborted.  We checked out one of the few black owned restaurants in the area, Slade's. That was a bust. The food wasn't good, they were out of just about everything, and the people in there were just rude.  The scowls on their faces when we walked through the door were daunting and uncomfortable.  We were not welcomed and felt that energy as soon as we walked in.  On the way to both of these places, we took a few pics outside the childhood home of Malcolm X.  That was the highlight of our quest to find OUR people.  

 

If you want to learn the Black History of Boston, I highly recommend the Underground Railroad Tour of Beacon Hill.  You can access the tour on the WalkInTours App.  When I say, this tour is so well put together, it's one of the best walking tours I've ever done.  Not only is this a self-guided tour, it uses GPS and has superb narration.  It tells you exactly where to start and then directs you, while narrating to the next location.  It's not a short walk so be prepared.  It's about a mile with some hills so wear some good walking shoes.  But, there's so much to see in Beacon Hill that if you didn't do the tour, you would probably miss all the history it has.  On the way back to our car, my friend spotted the "Cheers" sign.  Lo and behold, it was the actual Cheers bar that the TV show was based on.  It's sort of in a basement, dark hued stained glass windows, vintage decor and where everybody knows your name.  The energy in there is like the show.  Drinks, talking, laughter and more drinks.  I loved it!!!  I didn't order any special drink that day.  Just my regular Tito's with club soda and two limes.  But, I could see myself grabbing a table and hanging out there on a leisurely day.

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If you have time, go to Martha's Vineyard!!  I LOVED it!!!  I wasn't dressed appropriately to relax on the beach.  However, we did drive around the whole island and completed a Black History driving tour of Oaks Bluff.  It was so awesome.  The only drawback is getting to Martha's Vineyard.  It's about a two hour drive from Boston.  Then you have to park your car and take the bus to the Ferry. Then take the Ferry to the island.  Then take another bus to the drop off point in Martha's Vineyard.  Once there, we rented a car.  So yeah, it was a lot.  But, so worth it.  We had lunch on the rooftop of Seafood Shanty.  I had the warm Lobster Roll.  It was good but I prefer the cold version.  We visited Inkwell Beach.  Who knew that the movie "The Inkwell" was a real place?  I didn't.  The Inkwell is the beach that OUR people were allowed to go on Martha's Vineyard.  The allotted beach space is about as long as a football field and not as wide.  Segregation was and still is real.  We saw the Gingerbread Houses, which were super cute. I visited the Clam Bar and tried Goggers.  Goggers are a cross between an oyster and a clam.  It's fresh, chewy, briney and deep fried to order. Delicious!  I grabbed hot sauce, cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.  Didn't open any of them.  It didn't need anything to enhance or cover up any of the flavors.  Martha's Vineyard also has the oldest carousel in the country.  And it still works.  I would skip Boston and go straight to Martha's Vineyard, next time.  

 

Last thing I will say.  You haven't had a real New England Clam Chowder until you have had it in Boston.  So much so, that I probably won't ever eat it again unless I go back to Boston.  I tried the clam chowder at Abe and Louie's.  Goodness!!!  The color, consistency, flavor, and clams with a little bacon on top was the ultimate.  I should have gotten a second bowl.  That's how good it was.

 

Boston wasn't my favorite place to visit.  It just wasn't.  I didn't leave wanting to go back, unless it was for the cold Lobster Roll or the New England Clam Chowder.  But, I am so glad I experienced a city I've never been to.  It's all about the adventure.