USA Road Trip Day 7: Albany > Boston

Reading room in Fort Orange

Trip Taken: 2010

Fort Orange Club Revisited

Waking up in the Fort Orange Club is a different experience than the nocturnal experience. It is an amazing thing what a little sunlight can do to change the aura and feel of a place. Gone are the dark hallways lit by red exit signs. What is up with that anyways? We have green exit signs in the West Coast. Why would anyone want creepy red auras at night?

I woke up and ran with my brother a little bit. ‘With my brother’ is a bit of an overstatement as he was running at marathon pace for an hour and I was going at a leisurely jog. The gym facilities were very modern and clean compared to the rest of the club. There were squash courts and a sizeable lap pool.

Cafe Madison

Eggs Benedict at Cafe Madison

After checking out of the hotel of ghosts and goblins, we headed out to a nicer neighborhood of Albany to have some breakfast. It was a stark contrast to the ghetto-unfabulous nature of downtown Albany. The streets were clean, weeds didn’t grow in the yards, and no shady people loitering on street corners.

Cafe Madison looks like a casual American bistro. I had the Eggs Benedict and my brother a Mediterranean Omelet. We also shared a plate of french toast. Everything was only okay. Nothing out of the world amazing here. I still go back to Mama’s, Savoy, and Rick and Ann’s in the SF bay area as the standard for good breakfast food.

Hanscom Air Force Base

Driving to the Boston area from Albany was the shortest drive overall during our trip. It took less than three hours and was even less than our drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

However, our ultimate destination wasn’t Boston but Hanscom Air Force Base near Concord and Lexington. While I won’t go into too much details about the base (I don’t know if I’m allowed to say anything), I will say that it’s smallish. I get to stay at my brother’s lodging while he looks for apartments closer the Cambridge and Boston.

Boston Commons and the Freedom Trail

Fountain at Boston Commons

After we arrived and settled down at the inn, we took off for the city. My brother went to go drinking with some of his old buddies from school while I went to explore the town on my own. I was dropped off at a Red Line station and was on my own.

I had no direct plans since I didn’t know we would have time in the city today, but my first instinct, derived from years of travel experience, is to head to a large tourist area. Downtowns are always a good idea for that and Boston is no exception.

I took the Red Line from Alewife to Park St. and ended up at Boston Commons. It looks like a very active park with lots of joggers and bikers. With some luck, I also inadvertently stumbled upon the start of the Freedom Trail without even trying. It is a walking trail for tourists, which highlights a few of the major landmarks in Boston. There were a lot of churches, graveyards, and old government buildings. It would have been more interesting if I had more time to actually read them. Maybe on a different day.

Search for Dinner at Faneuil Hall and Boston Chinatown

Inside Faneuil Hall

After about half an hour on the Freedom Trail, I started to get quite hungry. I stepped off the Freedom Trail and started looking for restaurants based on my friend’s recommendations. I went to Faneuil Hall Marketplace to look for the chowder place.

Faneuil Hall is a huge indoor market with lots of food stalls. It surrounded on both sides by pedestrian streets lines with shopping options. On one of the pedestrian streets is a restaurant called Cheers, which was made to look like the one on the show. It didn’t interest me that much.

I eventually found the chowder place but didn’t want to pay so much just for soup. I went back to the Boston Commons and just got some Burger King. After walking a bit more, I stumble onto Chinatown. I cursed my bad luck because I could have eaten cheap Chinese food instead of microwaved burgers.

Parting Words

You can get a cheap Chinatown dinner for around five bucks. I wish I knew that. Also, it is muggy in Boston at the moment (September 2010). Forty degrees Celsius with high humidity doesn’t agree with me.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.