Ultimate Road Trips: Northeast
This road trip will take you across the Northeast—from Hartford to Boston. You’ll see five levels of baseball, including the Cape Cod League championship series, which will feature some of the nation’s premier college talent, and the major league stars of tomorrow.
Dunkin’ Donuts Park Tuesday, Aug. 8, 7:05 p.m. Trenton Thunder vs. Hartford Yard Goats
What To See: There’s nothing more New England than a place called Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Opened in April, the home of the Hartford Yard Goats, the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate, is one of the finest new parks in the minors. With a picturesque backdrop and modern facilities, Dunkin’ Donuts Park is an example of what a new minor league park can be.
What Else To Do: Depending on how many miles you want to put on your car, The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is just a bit up Route 91 in Springfield, Mass. If you’re looking to stay local, Bushnell Park offers a beautiful outdoor area where you can spend your afternoon prior to the Yard Goats game.
What To Eat: The first stop of your trip arguably offers the most unique and memorable food choice you’ll see while you’re in the Northeas.—The Chicken and Munchkin’ Skewer is available at the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise location at the Yard Goats’ ballpark. It places donut holes on a kabob in between chunks of barbecue chicken. Surprisingly, it works. The sweetness of the glazed donuts contrasts well with the tangy barbecue sauce.
Next stop: 91.5 miles; one hour, 35 minutes drive time.
McCoy Stadium Wednesday, Aug. 9, 7:05 p.m. Charlotte Knights vs. Pawtucket Red Sox
What to See: The trip takes you from one of the newest parks in the minors to one of the oldest, McCoy Stadium. It opened its doors in 1946 and has been the home of the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox since the 1970s. McCoy has seen plenty of history, including the longest recorded game in history at 33 innings.
What Else To Do: Pawtucket offers several breweries, including Bucket Brewery and Crooked Current Brewery. Tiny Rhode Island has the beautiful seaside town of Newport and the nightlife of Providence just short drives away. There’s no game on Thursday, so it’s a good chance to explore the Ocean State.
What To Eat: Just outside McCoy Stadium are The Heritage Tap Bar and Grill and Doherty’s East Avenue Irish Pub.
Next stop: 75.9 miles; one hour, 15 minutes drive time.
CAPE COD, Mass. Friday, Aug. 10 through Sunday, Aug. 12
What To See: The Cape Cod League is the best blend of small-town baseball and professional-caliber talent you’ll find anywhere. Fans bring lawn chairs and coolers and sit in the grass down the first-base line to watch a host of college players—several will be first-round picks in 2018—from across the country. The Cape League championship is a can’t-miss event. The teams in the championship series won’t be known until the completion of the division finals, which will be wrapped up by Thursday.
What Else To Do: If you’re itching for more baseball, check out the Cape League Hall of Fame in Barnstable. If it’s a break from the diamond you seek, hit the beach. Nauset, Breakwater and Seagull Beach are just a few of your options while on the Cape.
What To Eat: It should be against the rules to come to the Cape and not try the Donut Burger offered by the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox at Red Wilson Field. There are three variants: the hurler (a burger in between two jelly donuts), the screamer (in between two Boston creme donuts) and the sinker (either on a plain, cinnamon or powdered donut).
Next Stop: 99 miles; one hour, 51 minutes drive time.
LeLacheur Park Sunday, Aug. 13, 5:35 p.m. Auburn Doubledays vs. Lowell Spinners
What To See: LeLacheur Park packs a minor league vibe into a modern stadium. Like many Red Sox affiliates, the home of the short-season Lowell Spinners has several Fenway-esque features, including a giant Hood Milk jug in the outfield, and all of Red Sox retired numbers on display.
What Else To Do: Lowell is a historic mill town, and there’s plenty to see from the birthplace of American industry. But if you’re up to explore the North Shore in general, areas such as Newburyport and Gloucester offer beautiful harbor views.
What To Eat: LeLacheur Park offers the standard ballpark food, and even a barbecue option at their Home Plate BBQ. But if you’re looking for food before or after the Lowell game, head on over to Essex, Mass., for Woodman’s—the birthplace of the fried clam—and enjoy more New England seafood.
Next stop: 101.2 miles; one hour, 34 minutes drive time.
Hadlock Field Tuesday, Aug. 15, 7 p.m. Altoona Curve vs. Portland Sea Dogs
What To See: Hadlock Field is a little slice of Fenway Park—just 100 miles north. With its own Maine Monster in left field, Boston’s Double-A affiliate mimics the big league squad on the field, but differs outside the confines of Hadlock Field. The big city of Boston is replaced with the charming seacoast town of Portland. Touching the Atlantic Ocean, it offers some of New England’s best views.
What Else To Do: A lot of the sightseeing you’ll be doing is nautical—you can rent a kayak and check out the bay, or take a ferry trip to beautiful Peaks Island for $8. Take a scoot down to South Portland and check out Bug Light and Spring Point Ledge Light, because after all, Maine is known for its lighthouses. The northern-most state on the east coast is also well known for its beer breweries, and Portland has you covered on that end. The Maine Brew Bus will actually take you around to some of the town’s best breweries, including Rising Tide and Liquid Riot.
What To Eat: Portland might offer the best food in all of New England, and it starts with its seafood—specifically lobster. Eventside Oyster Co. and Fore Street are regarded as two of the premier restaurants in Portland, but food trucks and shacks fill the city with fresh fish. At Hadlock Field, lobster rolls and fried clams are available at the concession stands, as well as the Sea Dog Biscuit, an ice cream sandwich made from giant chocolate chip cookies. And there is a Shipyard Brewery stand.
Next stop: 107.4 miles; one hour, 49 minutes drive time.
Even With Pitch Clocks, MiLB Games Keep Getting Longer
Pitch clocks and other measures like shortening between-inning breaks have only slightly arrested a steadily rising tide of baseball game times.
BOSTON Fenway Park Wednesday, Aug. 15, 7:10 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals vs. Boston Red Sox
What To Do: What would a New England road trip be without a stop on Yawkey Way? A Boston landmark, Fenway Park, now in its 105th year of operation, should be a part of every baseball fan’s bucket list.
What Else To Do: The Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Science are all in the area, as well as the Boston Aquarium. If you’re looking for a drink, Bell In Hand is America’s oldest tavern. A quick tour of the Freedom Trail brings you past cornerstones from the birthplace of America—from the Old North Church to the USS Constitution.
What To Eat: Before or after the game, hit the North End of Boston, which is a little slice of Italy. It offers classic Italian-style cooking at stops like Giacomo’s, Panza and Carmelina’s, but you truly can’t go wrong. After you’re done eating, swing by Mike’s Pastry.
TOTAL ROAD TRIP: 475 miles; eight hours, eight minutes drive time.