Day 2 – New York to Boston

It’s morning in America – and the breakfasts are big!

The sun rose bright and shiny on New York City that day, and we rose early too (rather more jet-lag addled than bright and shiny) for our first full day in-country.

Okay, the weather was slightly hazy. But so were we.

Just on the far side of Penn Station is the Tick Tock Diner, a big venue with plenty of neon, laminate and stainless steel serving big breakfasts (that almost always come with hash browns).

I feel obliged to say that we do not normally eat breakfasts this big – we often don’t eat dinners this big – but we were planning on skipping lunch because of being on the train, and also, if you’re going to do a diner breakfast, go large or go home. In truth the food was huge and okay but kind of bland. Good coffee though – I love American style coffee, dark and strong robusta in a heavy bottomless mug.

Or in this case, go large and go home. “The Chicken or The Egg”, fried chicken, fried egg, bacon, tomato, pimento cheese on a toasted bun.
Italian omelette – sausage, peppers, mushroom, tomato, mozzarella, probably four eggs I think. And it came with a giant hash brown and extra toast because why not?

Then back to the Stewart to get our luggage, and back across to Penn Station in plenty of time to catch the 11:00 Amtrak to Boston.

Take the A(mtrak) Train

Taking the train is almost a no-brainer in the north-east corridor compared to taking a plane. By the time you allow for taxi fares to and from airports, the train is cheaper, even in business class, and the time taken is about the same. Maybe the train was a little longer, we were about five hours door-to-door versus I reckon about four to four-and-a-half for flying (after allowing for taxi time, security, collecting luggage and all that guff). But hey, you don’t have to take off your belt and shoes to go on a train.

Tourist tip – on Amtrak consider buying business class seats. They are not much more expensive than regular, you get extra leg room, just a handful of inches but it makes a difference – and the extra legroom converts into extra luggage space too, which is often in short supply on a long intercity trip. There is wi-fi, power outlets and cup-holders too (these are all available in Coach seating).

Mister Cow always appreciates the extra legroom.

It’s a pleasant train trip too, trundling along the coast of Connecticut and Rhode Island with some nice views (of which we took absolutely zero pictures) before cutting inland through southern Massachusetts to Boston.

The Best Thing About Our Holiday #1

We left the train at South Station and had a not at all difficult walk of about ten minutes to our Airbnb-rented apartment (which was located downtown, convenient to Boston Common, several T (the subway network, as distinct from the commuter rail network) stations, Roche Bros. supermarket and really just about anything a tourist could want.

When you come back from a big holiday people almost always ask “What was the best thing about the trip?”. A month away really has too many excellent things to pick on just one, but there was one thing I can point to that set this trip apart from others we have have done in the past.

And that is that for our long stays in Boston and NYC we rented apartments to stay in instead of hotel rooms. I hadn’t anticipated it but the difference in comfort and pleasantness and quality of life was more than just extra room to spread out (although that certainly helps). It was things like having a fridge to store breakfast makings in (or leftovers), and a little kitchen to prep them in, instead of eating breakfast out every day. Having a couch to sit instead of perching on a bed. Having access to Netflix or Amazon Prime instead of a sad bundle of cheap cable stations. Not having to worry about housekeeping coming in if you wanted a bit of a lounge about in the morning instead of hitting the tourist tracks. Having a washer/dryer, instead of spending a fortune on hotel laundry or losing half a day or more to find and use a laundromat. My maximum endurance for a holiday is normally about three weeks; after that I get really sick of living out of a suitcase, staying in cramped quarters, and not having a normal life. This time it felt like we were coming home to an almost normal evening. At the end of this thirty day holiday I was still going strong and raring for more!

Burger, Beer, Boston

By the time we settled in and bought some provisions there was just time for a quick orienting stroll up to the Common and around downtown before dinner.

Part of Boston Common – a very pleasant place to sit and eat a sandwich
And a nice place for a stroll. Doreen did a few morning runs there.

Democracy Brewing is a worker-owned brewpub in downtown Boston. They make some excellent beer and fine burgers, delivered with great service too.

Two four-beer tasting flights and you cover pretty much the whole menu.
Each beer was 5 oz which is 150 ml or about half a normal Australian pot.

All the beer was good – gladly they do not buy into the current fad for ridiculously bitter pale ales – but we especially enjoyed the blueberry kettle sour and the Fighting 54th saison.

Taking the beer theme to the extreme, the Beerger includes hopped pickles and beer mayo as well as all the usuals, and is meaty, juicy and delicious.

And so off to sleep for a big day tomorrow hitting the Freedom Trail!

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