Hello fellow Creative COWs!
In thinking about how to start contributing to the COW after a long absence, I am going back to what I seemed to talk about the most - work-related travel. When I first started my career in surgical video, I spent the years crisscrossing the continental US doing 24-hour trips. These generally consisted of:
- Wake up at 3am
- Catch a 6am flight to some hub (O'Hare, Charlotte, DFW) and connect to a flight to some city that is not so easy to get to from Connecticut.
- Get to a motel about dinner time, splash water in my face, and have a dinner at some roadside chain restaurant.
- Wake up at 5am the next day
- Find the hospital, park and meet up with my point of contact, or sometimes, just find my way to the OR.
- Change into scrubs, go to the OR, and spend between 2 and 12 hours shooting video. Originally it was open surgery, then as the years went by mostly minimally invasive (or laparoscopic) surgery. My grandma would always ask if it was "laser surgery" because that is what was discussed in the local paper. I explained each time that laser surgery is not very common in the types of procedures I record, but eventually I just said "yes, it is laser surgery" which seemed to make her happy!
- Pack up, and find the airport. There was no GPS or smartphone in the early days, and that map you get at the car rental place was hard to follow while driving a car. The Mapquest directions were not much better, and on more than one trip I found myself in the wrong part of town. Houston, St. Louis and parts of LA can get quite scary if you take a wrong turn. Thanks to GPS mobile apps that is generally not a problem, but a good rule of thumb when traveling by car is to have a decent idea where you are supposed to be. If you do find yourself on the wrong side of the tracks, just try to look like you know where you'd going. "Fly casually!"
- Catch a 9pm flight home.
- Get home about 2am.
- Rinse and repeat.
As time has gone by, I started doing fewer 24 hour trips and more multiple day trips for conventions or longer duration video projects. Being on the ground for multiple days gives one the chance to catch a breath and hopefully have a few hours to explore the local area and maybe find somewhere to eat that does not have the word "olive" or "garden" in the name! For the record, my grandparents loved those breadsticks and salad, and we had a few meals with them.
Where to begin?
I grew up about 20 miles south of Boston, and we did have field trips and family outings a few times a year. When going to Boston with my parents the trip usually revolved around seeing a touring Broadway show (Cats, Les Miz, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, to name but a few), with dinner at Legal Seafood. As a kid I did not each seafood, so this was wasted on me. As an adult I have discovered a love for most fish and crustaceans and we do enjoy Legals.
Visiting Boston for business travel is a little different, mainly being focused on whatever area of the city the hotel is located, although Boston is very easy to get around by subway or foot. As a kid we always went to Faneuil Hall which has about 50 walk up counters with every type of food from burgers to lobster rolls, ribs, french fries and ice cream. But if you go in the Summer you can barely walk, and there are better places to eat while seated.
My most recent trip to Boston in 2016 we stayed in Copley Square for a convention. One night I had sushi in a little hole in the wall place. If there are people seated, eating and no EMTs present, it is probably a safe bet. I usually get a selection of sushi and sashimi, and try to get something where the chef makes selections. If not I ask the server to bring me a variety of food with only a few stipulations: no eyeballs, no eel or sea urchin. I'll eat just about anything else.
Another night I met up with my cousin for dinner at a little Gastropub near Back Bay station. I don't recall the name or what I had but it was probably pretty good given the packed house full of 20-something customers.
The final night my wife and I went to our old standby Legal Seafood. The best thing on the menu is seafood casserole which has lobster, shrimp and scallops in a creamy sauce with a mashed potato crust.
On the drive home we took a detour up to Burlington where they have recently opened a Wegman's grocery store. As a kid living in Rochester, NY I remember my parents raving about Wegman's, but at age 11 I was not yet a grocery store expert. As an adult who really like good food, I walked around this store with wide eyes and a big appetite. After about 2 hours we checked out and were on our way home.
Ok, that was fun. Let me make a list and try to come up with some other interesting factoids before writing again. I'll try to add another entry before the next superbowl!
If you have a memorable city or dining experience please add a comment - I'd love to hear from you.