by Jonathan Medford
Boston, Mass - This week I traveled to HubSpot headquarters in Cambridge (Boston) where Marcus Sheridan was giving a “Workshop on Workshops”. More specifically I was there to learn about how to give world-class workshops on content marketing buy-in.
While I was packing my suitcase the night before my trip I got an email from American Airlines saying my flight from Wilmington to Charlotte was cancelled the night before due to icy conditions. My plan was to simply drive to Charlotte instead and I almost did not bother calling the airline. I am glad I did though as American decided Charlotte was too far for me to drive to so they automatically cancelled my flight from Charlotte to Boston and booked me for a Tuesday flight which would have made me miss my conference. Thanks for the assumption American Airlines!
After getting a seat back on the Charlotte to Boston flight I started my drive from Whiteville to Charlotte. It was raining pretty hard at 27 degrees but the roads had so much salt spray on them that all seemed well. All of a sudden I see cars slowing down for no apparent reason and I had to slam on my brakes...ON A BRIDGE. I fish tailed a little bit but thankfully didn’t suffer the same fate as the cars that were spun out all over the sides of the road. The Charlotte smog kept the city warm enough that my flight was still ago.
I noticed a $20 coupon code that American Airlines was advertising for Uber. I always thought that Uber drivers were banned from airports, but apparently they just have to pay a taxi privilege. The drivers at Boston Logan arrive at the Limo pickup. My driver was a very nice middle-eastern guy that drove a sleek Chrysler 300 with black leather interior. He told me he has a limo business but he does Uber during downtimes. A 10 minute drive to my place in Cambridge came to a grand total of $5 and change thanks to the coupon code.
Another first for me was using AirBnB. There really are not a lot of hotels near HubSpot except for the Hotel Marlowe and I really did not want to rent a car or uber everywhere. I scored a really sweet place at 99 Thorndike Street. It’s a home that has been converted into two apartments (upstairs and downstairs). I was not sure what the “check in” was going to be like. The host asked me to message him when I got to Boston. He gave me an access code to a key lock box like realtors use. It was pretty neat, I never actually interacted with anyone face to face to check in or check out. To have an entire apartment to yourself for $120/night within walking distance of your meetings was really cool. I think my favorite part about AirBnB is getting out of the minutiae of living in a hotel room and not really being able to experience local life.
By the time I got settled into my apartment it was 7:30pm and I was starving. Being the foodie I am, I made a list of possible places to eat in Boston/Cambridge and mapped out some locations that were close to me. I read that the New England Clam Chowder at Legal Seafood was really good and has been served at every presidential inauguration since Reagan. They have a location at Kendall Square by M.I.T. that was a little over half a mile away so I decided that was my closest option to quench my appetite.
The walk was cold but breathtakingly beautiful as the snow came down in a hurry. I was quickly reminded how awkwardly unfriendly city folks in the North can be. When you pass people on the sidewalks they avoid eye contact by all means with heads down and dead silence. In the South, the anomaly of snowstorms have a way of bringing out the youthful joy of everyone.
As I was walking to the restaurant imaging how my kids and the great city of Whiteville, NC would be enjoying a snow storm like this, it happened. I stepped on a snowy, icy mess that sent me to the ground. The M.I.T. students that witnessed my demise were kind enough to pretend they never saw it. I dusted the snow off my pants before heading into the restaurant. Too bad I couldn’t dust the snow off my pride. : )
The Chowda’ and Boston Lager were delicious. I also had way too much Rhode Island-style calamari (peppers and garlic). A lack of fried food in my diet lately left me feeling disgusted at myself. On the way back to the apartment I saw some really weird tracks in the snow. I looked around and must have seen at least 20 bunnies staring at me, some just a yard away. Reminded me of the squirrels at East Carolina University.
All night I heard the sounds of snow plows going up and down the streets keeping the roads clear and safe. I had a three block walk to my meeting at HubSpot and as soon as I stepped outside I realized the icy sidewalks were to be avoided. I decided to walk down the middle of the street. There were workers on every block busy snow shoveling, spreading rock salt and using these machine-powered snow and ice scrapers to clear the sidewalks. It was quite impressive. It had never been more evident to me that the South is simply not equipped to handle the snow. While I was in my workshop, the temperature rose to 55 degrees, so I was shocked to see that all of that snow and ice was completely gone when I stepped outside at 5pm.
The day after my workshop, my flight was set to leave at 12:20. I decided that I was going to check out of my AirBnB at sunrise to maximize my time in Boston. I must have looked like the biggest schmuck on the planet. I rolled my carry-on luggage and laptop case and walked from Cambridge to Boston to the closest point of the Freedom Trail. I walked every part of the Freedom Trail, which was pretty cool. All of the cemeteries were closed because I got there so early, but I was able to see the church where Paul Revere instructed the lantern’s be hung, Paul Revere’s house which is the oldest in downtown Boston, the site of the Boston Massacre and much more.
Perhaps the most important stop on the Freedom Trail is Mike’s Pastry. My friends on Facebook kept telling me that I needed to go there for a cannoli. It’s usually a long wait but I was pretty much the only customer at 9am on a Wednesday. They cannolis were as good as advertised. I had one there and somehow managed to fit a box of 4 in my carry on suitcase.
I got to the end of the Freedom Trail in Boston Common around 10:30. I decided that I really wanted to try my best to get to Fenway Park where I would then call an Uber to take me to the airport. About half a mile from Fenway Park I saw a shop for the Boston Sports Authority which was full of merchandise for the 2016 Boston Marathon. My wife is currently training for her first marathon so I thought this would be the perfect place to get her a souvenir. When I told the guy in the store that my flight leaves at 12:20, he was pretty gloomy on my prospects of walking to Fenway and getting to the airport on time to catch my flight.
So I took my final Uber trip back to the airport after 6 miles of walking Boston.
My trip was so short, I was really disappointed in the lack of culinary excursions I was able to take. Luckily the terminal had a Legal Seafood restaurant where I was able to enjoy a Lobster Roll and one last Sam Adams Boston Lager. I had a full hour to enjoy this meal.
I knew I had time to see Fenway! I guess there is always next time.