How to get into Harvard 

Getting smarter as we rode the H’s and J’s.

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How do you get into Harvard? It’s pretty easy if you ask Alex. Just take the Red Line.

Harvard is, of course, the subway stop in Cambridge on the Red Line which will bring you directly into Harvard Square and Harvard University.  And if you take the “T” to Harvard, you have the additional advantage of not having anyone ask you where you “pahked yah cah when at Hahvahd Yahd”  in a Boston dialect.

Here we both are at “Hahvahd.”

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We were definitely smarter this excursion as we headed in to Harvard. Alex decided that although Haymarket wasn’t yet exactly in alphabetical order for “H” day, we’d still count it so we took an early morning bus from Salem directly to Haymarket. 

I was also able to purchase a one day “Link Pass” for the first time which significantly helped on costs for these excursion days. The link pass let’s you ride any T transportation (bus, subway or commuter rail) within Zone One for $12 all day long.

Did you know there are actually two Harvard MBTA stops? After Harvard on the Red Line, we headed to Harvard Ave on Green Line B.  Alex decided the fastest way to get there would be by taking the 66 bus towards Dudley from Harvard bus station.

H Stops on the MBTA: 

Alex likes buses, so we took the 66 bus and then got on the Harvard Ave Green Line B. From there, we boarded Green Line B again and got out at Boston University  so we could walk over to Hawes St. on Green Line C.  This was my favorite part of the excursion because although it was raining and a bit chilly, we got to take a nice long walk along Amory St. I marveled at the gorgeous architecture of the mansions that lined this street before it crosses Beacon St. Here is my collage of the “Doors of Amory St” for a taste of the amazing architecture we passed:


Hawes doesn’t have a T sign, so we had to take a picture of the closest street sign which crosses Beacon St.

Next up was Heath St. which was the end of the Green Line E.  We got there by taking the Green Line C to Coolidge Corner and then the 66 bus again to Huntington Ave and walking to Heath St. We got out, took a quick picture, and then right back on the 66 bus to Dudley Station where we were able to board The Silver Line SL4/5 which took us to Herald St.  We then boarded the Silver Line again to Mass Ave. and got on Bus 1 to Hynes Convention Center.  The H stops were painlessly completed before noon.

At this point we decided to reward ourselves with a big juicy burger at Boston Burger Co. followed by one of their humongous frappes.  This day happened back in March (I know, we’re way behind on the blog…) so they had the “Shamrock Special” which was a mint ice cream frappe covered in lucky charms and whipped cream with an entire slice of bailey’s cream pie on top.  I had a few bites but somehow my growing boy managed to eat a good portion of it.

 

Boston Burger Co. Reward
Shamrock Frappe

While sitting in Boston Burger Co. getting way too full, we realized that we would have plenty enough time that day to complete the J’s as well as the H’s. There were only two J stops so it seemed manageable – Jackson Square on the Orange Line and the JFK/UMass stop on the Red Line.

(What happened to the stops that start with I?  Well, it turns out there is no “I” on the “T!”)

Alex was very excited to discover the existence of  Bus 41 which had the perfect bus connection as it could take us directly from Jackson Square to JFK/UMass.  Only problem was that we only had exactly 12 minutes to get from our restaurant to Mass Ave Station where we’d be able to board an Orange Line train to Jackson Square JUST in time to catch that 41 Bus.  If we missed it, we’d have to wait another hour before the next bus.

Running for about a mile with my belly full of burger and frappe down Mass Ave as fast as possible to catch that next Orange Line train is not one of my favorite T excursion moments.  Although I understood his deep desire to catch that 41 Bus connection, I cursed myself  more than once for agreeing to this latest plan.  As we breathlessly arrived at Jackson Square it turned out the bus was delayed a good 15 minutes anyway, so I had plenty of time to recover (and figured at least I burned some of the calories I had just ate.)

Jackson Square is right in the middle of Roxbury.  I loved this colorful mural across the street depicting the diversity of the neighborhood:

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The station is interesting too with lots of  large murals and artwork. A bit dated and worn looking, but still interesting:

When Bus 41 did arrive, it really was the most direct connection to JFK/UMass.  I had to give Alex credit once again for coming up the perfect plan as the bus was a much better option than if we had taken the Orange Line all the way back into downtown Boston and out again to JFK /UMass.

It was easy trip home after JFK/UMass back home to N. Station and the commuter rail.  As I rode home I realized I was starting to feel grateful for these crazy excursions.  I was really enjoying the time spent one-on-one with Alex.  My Mr. T.

H & J day

 

 

 

 

 

‘G’ is for Grandma

Grandma’s got it going on; riding the G’s at age 81

Grandma was a really good sport about taking an excursion day with Alex.  There are only 3 G’s, so we thought this excursion might not be too much for Grandma to handle.  First stop for Alex and Grandma was Government Center.

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Government Center holds a special sort of place in Alex’s heart.  He was very excited when the new Government Center opened in March of 2016.  He begged me to go opening day but we just couldn’t get there that day as it was a busy school day.  So we made an excursion 3 days later from Salem to Boston just so he could see Government Center.  It was very shiny and new and exciting.  Completely worth the trip.  This is him in 2016 on that March day with a smile as bright as the new station:

Alex Government Center

After Alex and Grandma stopped there in March almosr exactly a year later, next up was Green Station  (which is ironically not on the Green Line but rather the Orange).

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The 3rd and final stop on the G’s was Grigg’s Street. There is no station sign for Grigg’s on the Green Line and they felt like they wouldn’t have enough time to get out so Alex quickly snapped this shot (which isn’t much to look at):

We decided to do a re-take of the street sign a month later when we travelled the H’s and we were close by:

Here are Grandma’s short notes from her ‘G’ excursion day:

Bus arrives 8:16. Such diversity on the bus! A few are on their way to work. Our bus ride was free! Traffic slow.  Dirty windows on bus observing green street lights. Row apartments painted pastel colors. Took green line train C branch to Cleveland Circle one stop to Government Center. Just about everyone on cell phones! Then took blue line one stop to state street. Orange line at State Street standing room only!  Cute baby by me! On our way 10 stops to Green St. Somalian man and I exchanged smiles! Very slippery underfoot when we got off train. Alex helped me walk. Orange line back to Oakgrove. We have 3 stops to Roxbury Crossing. Stopped at Butterfly Falafel restaurant for coffee and baklava. 


[Grandma loves butterflies. Her passion is studying them, raising them and educating others about them

At Roxbury Crossing we are on our way to Harvard Station. We got off at Harvard Ave and walked to Grigg’s Street. Boarded a green line B train 15 stops to Park Street. We boarded a D train to Government Center, then an E train to Haymarket. Haymarket bus home.

The “G day” excursion took them about 6 hours on a cold and brisk March day.

Conclusion: Gosh, Golly, Gee. Grandma is pretty great.