Boston's Fenway Park may be home to the Red Sox, but for die hard, life long local fans, it is a place of worship. My own father once told me he had given up religion long ago and replaced it with baseball; the Red Sox his deity and Fenway his religious institution. Dragging me to my first game as a child, I vowed not to set foot inside Fenway unless he procured tickets to see the Sox play against their arch rival-the Yankees. Knowing how much he despised the Yankees, I assumed I'd forever avoid Fenway (especially after informing him I'd be cheering not for the Sox but for the Yankees instead). But my Dad is a special guy, who somehow learned to have a great deal of patience when it came to my often ridiculous demands, and those Sox Vs. Yankees tickets I demanded came to be, I made my way to Fenway for the very first time, and that day another Red Sox fan was born.
Having been to quite a few games since then, I have experienced Fenway during almost every point of my life: as a kid with my father, as a teenager who went to school down the street and bought the cheapest seats to just have something to do, as a 20 something who enjoyed the "scene", and now as a parent myself who, along with my husband and my father, brought my two and half year old to his very first game (unless it counts that he went while in utero). Photo courtesy of Jessica Polizzotti
There is something magical about the Green Monster (Monstah' to those of us who have heavy Boston accents) that makes you fall in love with the aura of Fenway. Once you enter you are hooked; the fickle crowd cheers and jeers for their beloved team as if each run scored is just for them and each out is a personal assault. The vendors who scream through the stands hawking my favorite, Fenway franks, among other things, are real Bostonians with character and charm, and the bleachers are a party of strangers in the outfield that will leave you longing to return to those cheap seats again and again.
But a day at Fenway starts before you enter the park, and continues long after the game is over. The smattering of street vendors, bars and restaurants along Brookline Ave, Lansdowne and Boylston Streets are a must for pre or post game fun. At least one purchase must be made of "street meat" from the Sausage Guy, and a stop into one of the many bar options (if you do not have those under 21 in tow) is, quite honestly, a lot of fun. Try the Cask n' Flagon on for size or try to score a Fenway facing seat at the Bleacher Bar where you can see right onto the field; not a bad spot to watch the Sox warm up. Or for a little something different, wander Yawkey Way where ticket holders gather before the game begins. The streets are lined with sports stores, adults can enjoy a cold beer, kids can have a snack, and everyone can be entertained before heading to their seats.
When the game ends, and fans flood the streets surrounding Fenway, hold off on heading back to your car, and grab a real meal because some of Boston's great restaurants have popped up around Fenway. Stop into Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar for a bite of something special, or if BBQ is on your mind, Sweet Cheeks serves up some of the best around.Photo courtesy of rebuildingsince92/flickr