The past 48 hours have been filled with the four words I chose to title this blog post – BBQ, bowling, baseball, and Boston! The terms may seem somewhat unrelated, but I assure you, together, they describe an absolute great experience on many different levels!
Tuesday evening, a group of us that work together at Atlantic Oaks Campground met at The Alley in Orleans, Massachusetts, to sample some delicious barbeque. Yes, Big Dog BBQ is located in a bowling alley – interesting combination where the motto is “Eat, Drink, and Bowl,” and that is exactly what we did!
The menu was quite inclusive as our group sampled fried green tomatoes and fried pickles as appetizers and then feasted on ribs, brisket, pulled pork, pork bellies, mac n’ cheese, coleslaw, collard greens, beans, brussel sprouts, and potatoes au gratin. Everyone left the table with a full belly and a to-go box in hand – and even our smallest dinner guest, Silas, enjoyed every bite!
Moving from the dinner table to the bowling alley, we tried our hand at candlepin bowling. What, exactly, is candlepin bowling, you ask? Well, I for one had never heard of it but have learned that it was developed in 1881 in Massachusetts and is played primarily in the New England states. Here are the differences between “candlepin” and “tenpin” bowling – all of which make it extremely unique and tremendous fun…
- The pins are tall and skinny – thus the name “candlepin.”
- The balls are small with no finger holes – reminded me of a bocce ball.
- Each player gets three turns to knock down the 10 candlepins.
- The downed pins (a.k.a. “dead wood”) are not cleared between turns.
- Here at The Alley, each player had to remember to push the “reset” button after their third turn – thus our reminder sign. Oh, and all scores were kept by hand – no electronic scoreboards!
I honestly don’t remember the last time I laughed so much. Everything you might know – or think you know – about bowling technique does not apply in candlepin bowling. Balls were flying out of the gutter and hitting pins as well as ricocheting off the downed pins…or just rolling right down the center of the alley and then only knocking down the pin in the very front. It is a totally unpredictable game, but one that we thoroughly enjoyed as we stepped back in time to bowl!
So, what about baseball and Boston?
Wednesday afternoon, after finishing work at 2:30, Bill and I jumped into the Jeep and headed for Boston. We were meeting Brian and Linda, a couple we work with at Atlantic Oaks, at the Boston Hotel Buckminster and heading to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play the Phillies.
First, a word about the Buckminster…Built in 1897, it was one of the first hotels in Boston and is one of only two hotels within one block of Fenway Park. It was in this spot that the infamous “Black Sox Scandal” was orchestrated – the fixing of the 1919 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox. The Buckminster was also home to the Storyville Nightclub, where, during the 1950’s jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, Sara Vaughn, and Billie Holiday performed regularly. The hotel also served as a prisoner detention center during World War II – that part of the building is now a Pizzeria Uno!
Steeped in history, for us, the Buckminster stayed true to its motto – “Old world charm with today’s convenience,” as we literally walked around the corner to Fenway Park. Talk about old world charm – what a great place! Buzzing with pregame activities – kid activities, food, drink, souvenirs and more – we jumped right in! What made the game itself all the more enjoyable was that our friends are Red Sox fans while we continued to cheer our Phillies on… to victory! It was also “Jimmy Fund Night” which focused on honoring people in our lives who have been affected by cancer. Everyone in the stadium received a placard on which to write the names of those in their lives who have been touched by the disease. Imagine the overwhelming scene when everyone in attendance was asked to stand and hold up the cards sharing those most precious people.
What a wonderful night… and while everyone in attendance scrambled after the game for Uber, the T, or their car parked in a $50 lot, we simply walked around the corner and settled into the Buckminster!
Thursday morning we met Brian and Linda for breakfast in the hotel and then they headed back to Eastham to work the late shift at the campground. Since we were off, we jumped on the Green Line and traveled up to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market before returning to Cape Cod. Faneuil Hall is being renovated but Sammy Adams still stands strong in front of it. We walked along the harbor and stopped into several shops in the government center area. The temperature was a balmy 92 degrees but that didn’t keep the tourists from visiting what is often called the “Cradle of Liberty.” – ourselves included!
What a wonderful 48 hours of new and unique experiences with wonderful friends!
Stay Calm and Travel On…