Back to Beantown

Doesn't it seem like just the other day we were packing our playoff bags for Boston? Hard to believe it's been two years already since the enemy Celtics defeated the Cavaliers in Game 7 of the Second Round in Boston to send them to an early summer vacation. And now here we are two years later, in the Second Round and heading back to Beantown. With the series split 1-1, the teams will play a pair in Boston this weekend, first on Friday night then Sunday afternoon.

With so much on the line, and with such a heated rivalry brewing like a pot of baked beans, we're pretty sure a lot of you fans will want to be on the East Coast this weekend.

You can make the drive in about 10 hours, or make it there in under two by hopping on a flight. Either way, make sure you print out our Wine and Gold Guide to Boston to help you when you arrive.

And if you want to fit in, start practicing your accent now. Start with this: pahk the cah in Hahvad Yahd.

The Basics on Beantown

Most people know that Boston is referred to as "Beantown." However, we would venture to say that most non-Bostonians don't know the reason why. Very simply, it comes from the beans baked in molasses that were so popular in the area beginning in the Colonial days. Hey, they aren't called Boston Baked Beans for nothing.

Boston is a richly historical city, dating all the way back to 1630 when it was settled by Puritans from England. Similar to New York City or Washington, D.C., it is a city best explored on foot. Unfortunately, the forecast isn't looking all that great for this weekend. Friday will be the nicest day for you, at 70 and sunny. It will be a little cooler Saturday and Sunday, dropping to 63 with rain on Saturday and 59 with clouds and wind on Sunday. Just so you know, the 600,000 residents and 12 million yearly visitors also get around via MBTA, the city's subway system. And as a matter of fact, Boston actually established the first subway system in the country.

As Cleveland fans are well aware, Boston is also known for its sports lore. The area boasts four major professional teams, all of whom have reached the highest level in their respective league: Celtics (17 NBA titles), Red Sox (7 MLB titles), Bruins (5 NHL titles) and Patriots (3 NFL titles).

TD Banknorth Garden
View of the Garden

The TD Banknorth Garden, located in Boston's Downtown North section, will be the center of the basketball universe this weekend. The Celtics have a storied history in the city, starting first in the old Boston Garden, with legends such as Red Auerbach, Bill Russell and Larry Bird. In 1995, the old Garden shut its doors, and the FleetCenter became the new home for the C's. In 2005, that building became the current TD Banknorth Garden. The building also houses the NHL's Bruins, as well as other concerts and events.

The Garden is just minutes from the city's North End, where we highly encourage fans to stay while in Boston.

This area on the Boston Harbor has more than 20 hotels and 90 restaurants, as well as an aquarium, harbor cruises, and even a gondola tour on the Charles River. While the North End is Boston's "Little Italy," your choices are not just limited to Italian. Visitors can also choose from Chinese, Thai, American, and of course, what New England is famous for, seafood. You can't be in Little Italy without having cannolis, so we suggest trying Mike's Pastry on Hanover Street. Take our word for it; your taste buds will thank us.

Fenway Park
Take it All In

Boston is referred to by locals as "The Hub," because it is the economic and cultural center of the New England region. Nowhere is this - particularly the cultural aspect - more evident than at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, an indoor/outdoor urban marketplace featuring food, shopping and entertainment.

Faneuil Hall is bordered by the North End and just minutes from The Garden, so it is a must-see during your excursion to Boston. The Marketplace is actually made up of four converted 18th century warehouses, and is a collection of boutiques, eateries, and even pushcart vendors. There are close to 20 restaurants and pubs, as well as an enormous food court, so there's something for everyone's taste. There are even street performers outside, including musicians, magicians and jugglers. You will find more than 100 shops and carts, so plan on spending plenty of time at Faneuil Hall.

There are a few other shopping areas you should check out during your stay: Newbury Street offers the most chic, fashionable shops in Boston. The Prudential Center is a 52-floor building with more than 75 stores and restaurants, as well as a floor-to-ceiling windowed observation area on the 50th floor.

Despite your allegiance to the Cleveland Indians, no trip to Boston is complete without a stop at Fenway Park, the oldest sports venue still in active use, and home to "The Green Monster."

If you're a baseball fan, then this is the perfect weekend to be in Boston. The Red Sox are hosting their bitter enemies, the New York Yankees, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We're sure tickets are hard to come by, but it sure couldn't hurt to try. The ballpark also offers guided daily tours from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., every hour on the hour, seven days a week, or until three hours prior to game time and is only $12 for adults. Built in 1912, Fenway has been home to legends such as Ted Williams, Cy Young, Babe Ruth and Carlton Fisk, and is truly a hallowed part of baseball's history.

Paul Revere's House
History Repeats Itself

Boston was, of course, the site of the beginning of the American Revolution, and the city abounds with landmarks from that time in history. The best way to take it all in is to walk the Freedom Trail, a brick-lined path that leads you through 16 noteworthy sites, and one of America's first historic walking tours. While it can be done in two to three hours, we recommend planning on spending the day on the Trail in order to enjoy all the rich history it has to offer.

Visitors can follow the red-brick trail and take a self-guided tour, or take one of the tours offered through the National Park Service. There are also unofficial guided trolley tours.

Some of the historical highlights on the Trail include: Boston Common, America's oldest public park; the site of the Boston Massacre in 1770; Paul Revere's house, where he lived with his family at the time of his famous messenger ride in 1775, and is the oldest remaining structure in downtown Boston; and the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship still afloat in the world.