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  • Day 1 • September 1, 2015

    A Photo of the Six Flag New England's Batman: The Dark Knight roller coaster ride as eager riders await to get aboard. Batman: The Dark Knight (formerly known as Batman: The Ride) is a steel floorless roller coaster designed by Bolliger & Mabillard located in the south end of Six Flags New England. The roller coaster has 2,600 feet (790 m) of track, reaches a maximum height of 117.8 feet (35.9 m), and features five inversions. The coaster was announced on February 6, 2002 and opened to the public on April 20, 2002. In 2008, the ride's name was changed to Batman: The Ride to avoid confusion with The Dark Knight Coaster that was planned to be built at the park; after the project was cancelled, the ride's name reverted to its original.

    A great friend, Rachel, came down to visit from Canada for two days prior to embarking on a great hike on a trail throughout Vermont. We were very fortunate to meet last year about this time and enjoyed an afternoon and an evening of drinking and of exploring around Boston. Rachel is, and will always be, one of my best friends!! She is out-going, laid back, positive, and is up for any kind of experience or adventure!! This year, the adventure goes up to the next level, since it’s over two days!

    Today, we visited Six Flags New England. We met at South Station at around 8:30 AM, and we were going to take the 10:00 AM bus to Six Flags. Upon reaching the ticket counter, we were told that all Six Flag bus trips were sold out until tomorrow (Wednesday)! So, we got tickets for Wednesday and figured that we would hit bars around Boston and figure out other stuff to do. We enjoyed breakfast at South Street Diner, Boston’s only 24-hour restaurant! I had a grilled chicken sandwich and Rachel had eggs and toast. Even though it was only 10:00 AM, we enjoyed a Narragansett beer! During breakfast, we looked on the Internet and found out, quite unfortunately, that Six Flags is actually closed on Wednesday and Thursday! It’s interesting that Peter Pan and Six Flags don’t collaborate, because we thought that many people probably bought tickets for Wednesday and Thursday. So after breakfast, we went back to South Station in hopes of getting a refund. Peter Pan called Six Flags, just to verify that it is closed, and sure enough, the information was correct. So we got a refund, but being the free adventurous spirits that we are, we knew that we only had today to go to Six Flags, so we figured that we would just go our own way!

    So we just bought tickets to Springfield, since I knew that it would be easy to get a Uber from Springfield to Six Flags, and it’s only about 15 minutes from the Springfield bus terminal. We left Boston at noon, got to Springfield at 1:45 PM because a few passengers were disruptive on the bus, and we got to Six Flags at about 2:30 PM. Six Flags is known for fast roller coasters, and it was great because there was no lines at any of the rides! It was a perfect day. Most of the roller coasters went up, down, and upside down, and they were really fast. We went on Batman: the Dark Night, Bizarro the biggest coaster actually twice!, Flashback, Goliath, Mind Eraser, the Freefall, the Thunderbolt, and six Flag’s newest roller coaster, the Wicked Cyclone! We also did some water rides at Hurricane Harbor, the connected water park. The craziest water ride is a water slide where you stand in this tube, with no bars or anything! You cross your legs, and when the trapdoor opens you freefall down a huge slide. We both got water up our noses on that one, and it was really a lot of fun!! All of the rides were great, but our favorite was Bizarro!!

    To get back to Boston, since we only had tickets to and from Springfield, we were lucky enough to get on the Peter Pan bus from Six Flags to Springfield, since it wasn’t sold out. Then, at last, we arrived at South Station at 11:00 PM. But, does the adventure end there? I don’t think so! Our next stop was Beantown Pub, a great bar in downtown Boston. We didn’t eat at Six Flags, so we were starving, and we of course wanted to grab a few drinks. So I had the Paul Revere, a corn beef and pastrami sandwich and fries, as well as a few Beantown ales. Rachel had the Beantown ales, and we split a pitcher of Sam Summer. At 2:00 AM, we got a taxi back to my apartment, enjoyed some wine while chatting until about 4:30 AM, then went to sleep. Keep in mind that Wednesday’s festivities started at about 9:00 AM!!

  • Day 2 • September 2, 2015

    Nighttime photo of the outside patio at the Baseball Tavern, a great eatery and watering hole just minutes from historic Fenway Park.

    After a four-hour sleep at my apartment, the Boston part of this Learning Moment commences! We left my apartment at about 11:00, and re-visited the Perkins School for the Blind, my former high school. Of course, on the way, we bought a can of beer and passed it back and fourth while we walked and while on the bus! I had never actually done that until we met last year. It’s so awesome to discreetly drink on the street! Upon arrival at Perkins, we re-visited the main building, and I introduced Rachel to Arnie Harris, one of my favorite former teachers. She took a lot of pictures, and it was great!

    After Perkins, our next stop was Fire and Ice in Harvard Square. Of course, on the way to the bus stop, we stopped at a liquor store in Watertown and bought another can!! At Fire and Ice, Rachel really enjoyed the unlimited options. They have a similar restaurant in Canada, but she said that they don’t have nearly as many options. I had stir-fry with chicken, vegetables, sausages, pork, and the honey mustard sauce. Of course, since I wanted Rachel to try their beer, we also had a 23-ounce Fire and Ice ale while enjoying our stir-fry.

    After a great lunch, we had some time to kill, so our next stop was T’s Pub, a local bar in Boston. They have a special beer for $2 or $3, so we enjoyed a couple of those while enjoying Motown music! Then we met my friend Tyler at the Kenmore T Station to enjoy the Baseball Tavern, which overlooks Fenway Park. It’s great because they have a roof deck, so we were able to hear the game, meet plenty of great people, and enjoy yet more beer! We met two people, Calsie and Maggie, who work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It was great to all hang out, enjoy the beautiful weather, and good beer!

    About this time, it was about 8:00 PM. Rachel’s friend John, with whom she is going hiking, drove up from Nashville, Tennessee, so her and I went to meet him. Our first stop was the Pour House Bar & Grill in Boston, but we went to McGreevy’s, the next bar over, by mistake! It was really no big deal, her and I enjoyed a few Sam Summers and it was great to meet him. He, like Rachel, is very out-going, laid back, and adventurous. Our last stop of the Learning Moment was The Last Drop bar in Brighton. Rachel and I went there last year and she really enjoyed it. We got Chinese food from New Hong Kong and we enjoyed a few last drinks. Overall, the two-day Learning Moment was awesome, enjoyable, and wild! I look forward to seeing Rachel again at some point down the road for more adventures, whether in Boston or elsewhere!! Friends forever!!!