Boston, Oysters, Chow-duh and The Cotters
Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
46Trip End Sep 29, 2011
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Where I stayed
The Cotter Estate
Made it into Boston in early afternoon and parked in a public parking garage on "the North End." I learned my lesson. Made the short walk three blocks to the Union Oyster House and sat at the semi-circular oyster bar. Sign on the wall said Daniel Webster, the great statesman from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, who ran for President three times used to sit at the bar and order a brandy and water with his usual six plates (six to a plate) of oysters. The Kennedy's dined there so often, they had their own booth. And it's a little known fact that toothpicks were first used in the US in the Union Oyster House. It's the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the US (1826).
Only about 12 seats around the bar. They had different types of oysters...I don't remember the names of them, but the names are based on where they are "grown." They are farmed much like fish farms, but I was told a lot more work. I didn't know which ones to ask for so the guy sold me one of each and said I could order more of the ones I liked. I also ordered a cup of chowder. Some of the best seafood chowder I have ever had. I tried the three oysters and decided on two of each for an additional six. Lemon, seafood sauce and a little horseradish and it was eating time...delicious. Had a good conversation with the bartender and a couple of patrons about my journey. Bartender showed me a Cubs hat on a little kids stuffed animal (a crab). He said someone put a Red Sox hat on it and they won the World Series. Later, someone put a White Sox hat on it and they won the World Series. The Cubs hat has been on the crab for 5 years...no luck so far.
Thanked the bartender and was on my way next door. Dan had told me about a bar next door called "The Bell and Hand Tavern." It's billed as the oldest bar (tavern) in America. Had to go there, it's a Boston institution.
Spent a couple hours there blogging and chatting with the very nice bartender. She said her boyfriend works at Fenway Park. We're now friends on Facebook (that sounds so juvenile, doesn't it, like I'm back in high school or something...oh well).
Headed to Dan's house about 4:00. He only lives a short distance from Boston in Sharon, MA, but I have heard nightmares about the Boston traffic, so I left a little early. Made it to the Cotters about quarter to five. Cathy was home...Dan still at work. For those of you who don't know Dan and Cathy Cotter, I hired Dan as a Preview Guide (Is this a Preview Guide Reunion trip or what?) back in 1979. He, along with 11 other students worked the summer orienting new students and their parents to ISU. It's also sometimes called by Preview Guides as "The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love." This group of Preview Guides were a special group. They have stayed connected and even have Preview Guide Reunions almost annually now.
How close are these folks you ask? Let me tell you a story. One of the female Preview Guides eventually married a guy she had been dating during Preview, so all the Preview Guides knew him. A few years ago the guy found out he needed a kidney transplant. After several relatives failed to be a match, Dan Cotter volunteered to go through the tests and surprisingly they found he was a match. To make a long story short, Dan Cotter gave this husband of a Preview Guide he worked with in 1979 one of his kidneys. Just the type of human being the man is.
They were kind enough to put me up for a few days in their beautiful home which is 110 years old here in Sharon MA, just south of Boston. I go to the Red Sox game on Friday night. After a tour of their home, Kathy and I sat on their wrap-around porch sipping a beer until Dan got home. Then we went to a fantastic restaurant called, Lucciano's....what a tremendous dining experience. Great food, and even better company.
Tomorrow, I'm thinking something historical in the morning and I told Dan and Kathy I'd cook for them tomorrow night. Small price to pay for putting me up for three nights.
We got home and talked a bit in their study before hitting they hay.
It was another good non-baseball day!