Friday, August 12, 2005

Tailgating and trip planning

Here is an article on BC’s push to extend tailgating hours. Non-BC fans cannot comprehend how big an issue this is to Eagle fans. BC is in the middle of leafy suburbs and residents around the campus hate BC. The school and the neighbors go to court over issues big and small, so any progress in the tailgating rules would be a big win for the school and the fans (who long to tailgate for more than two hours).

The tailgating issue led into something I’ve been meaning to address: the BC gameday experience for visiting fans. A few ACC fans coming to Boston for the first time have emailed me wondering about where to park and what to expect. My advice: don’t drive. There are very few quality parking spots on campus and they are all taken by BC boosters. If you drive, you’ll get stuck at very inconvenient satellite parking lots, where the atmosphere is non-existent.

So if you are coming to Boston for a BC game, don’t try to approach it like a normal football weekend. Here are my recommendations for what to do and not do when coming to Boston this fall.

First recommendation: fly. With the rising gas prices, driving is getting more expensive anyway. And driving anywhere in New England on a Friday in the fall can be painful. There are enough low cost airlines flying into Logan that you can get reasonable rates.

Second rec: stay in Boston or Cambridge. You can get cheaper hotels outside the city, but you’ll need a car. By staying in Boston or Cambridge you can stick with cabs and the T (Boston’s subway). And if you are coming all the way to Boston, you might as well get a feel for the city. You won’t get that at the Hampton Inn in Burlington. To save a few bucks, book through Hotwire. Mrs. ATL_eagle and I usually stay in the Back Bay area near Newbury St.

Third rec: get a meal in the North End. The North End is Boston’s Italian neighborhood where you can get some of the best Italian food on the East Coast. Yes it is touristy. Yes it will be wicked crowded and tough to get a table on a Friday or Saturday, but it is worth it and once again: how often are you in Boston for a football weekend?

Fourth rec: get some seafood. Cliché, I know. But if you went to San Antonio wouldn’t you order Tex-Mex? Get a cup of Clam Chowder. You can’t miss at most places. Legal Seafood’s is pretty good and you’re bound to stumble into one of their many locations on your trip.

Fifth rec: take a cab to the game and take the T after. The B-line will take you right to BC’s campus, but it will drive you nuts with the constant stops. A cab will get you close enough to campus on a Saturday morning for a reasonable price. After the game, a cab is much tougher to find. So get on the T. You’ll probably be a little tired at that point so who cares about how many times the T stops.

Sixth rec: find a tailgate. This is dicey as I’ve never tried walking up to strangers at BC. If we are tailgating, we know where we are going. But I’ve seen BC fans welcome strangers many times. Don’t be a jerk, walk the rows of cars and chat up any friendlies. Since we don’t have any bad blood with any ACC fans, you’re bound to find someone who will give you a beer.

Final recommendation: do something touristy (Fodor’s guide stuff). There is not enough time to do everything in one weekend, but you’re in Boston, so at least hit one of the big tourist spots. I would recommend the Museum of Fine Arts, the New England Aquarium, or the Freedom Trail. I would skip the Museum of Science (I never thought it was that great), Faneuil Hall (overrated) or a Duck Tour. But do whatever excites you.

Boston is a great town. Just don’t expect or treat it like your typical college football roadtrip and you’ll have a great time.


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