I hadn’t been to Newbury Street in a couple years, except when someone has made the fateful decision to drive down it. Between jaywalkers who don’t look up at approaching traffic, double-parked cars, and police activity, it is impossible to go more than a few blocks in 15-20 minutes. For the most part, Newbury Street contains everything I’m trying to avoid: crowds of people wandering aimlessly (*cough* tourists), brick sidewalks, and buildings with stoops. Don’t get me wrong, it is a gorgeous street, especially around the holidays. However, I’ve been down this street countless times since I’ve lived in Boston, so I at least know the area and don’t feel too nostalgic missing out on it. That said, part of what I’m trying to do now is to re-introduce myself to areas that I’ve subconsciously sworn off since my disease decreased my mobility. I don’t go out nearly as much as I used to, but I am committed to changing this, as long as it takes. Blogging gives me the fun excuse I need.
Since winter break has just started, I figured this was as good a time as any to change my hermetic habits. Newbury Street, in all its hustle and bustle and annoyance, would be quite a challenge off the bat. But, like MacArthur returning to the Philippines, I returned triumphantly.
My destination was Trident Booksellers, tucked between Mass Ave. and Hereford Street. It was a place I had been meaning to go to for a while, a famous bookstore/cafe that combines three things I love: books, food, and MBTA memorabilia. I had never been inside, so I had this preconceived notion that it would be this quaint little bookstore with a side cafe, where people sipped lattes quietly while perusing the internet on their Macbooks.
I was wrong. Well, I was right about people on their Macbooks, but it wasn’t the quiet, quaint store that I thought.
Mirroring the gift-seeking, meandering crowds of people outside, it was actually a lot busier than I expected. It took a few minutes to get comfortable with my surroundings, as the store was arranged in a haphazard manner, with the checkout counter, cafe, and aisles of books all converging in one spot when I walked in. This setup made for foot traffic going in every direction, which, for someone who needs to be careful with each step I take, was a bit harrowing. But hey, I could actually go in the store, which I can’t say for most old buildings unfortunately. Trident does have a second floor which has a long, winding staircase to access, and as you can imagine I did not go up there. So yes, this is really only a half a review. I have no clue what is up there, so I apologize. Everything I needed though was on the first floor.
Today I met my friends Mike and Claudia for brunch. The Trident menu is quite expansive, encompassing both breakfast and lunch. When given the choice between the two I always opt for breakfast, specifically french toast. You can tell a lot about a restaurant by how their french toast tastes – what type of bread they use, the toppings offered, even the quality of their bacon on the side. Although I opted against bacon today (come to think of it, I’m not sure why), the french toast was on challah bread, and came with a side of strawberries and whipped cream. It was fantastic. Looking at what other people got around me, you really can’t go wrong with what you order here. The portions are generous and the food is hearty. The main dining area was a bit cramped, but at no point did I feel uncomfortable that I couldn’t get by the other tables okay on my crutches.
Afterwards, jittery from far more coffee than I probably should have consumed, I walked around the store. Since I didn’t bring a backpack I couldn’t purchase anything that I had to carry with my hands, which is actually a great strategy to save money. Otherwise, I tend to want to buy everything I can reasonably lug in my backpack.
Overall it was a great experience and I’d go back again. It was a little busier than I am comfortable with (from a pure safety perspective), however I was there during peak business hours – a Saturday afternoon right before Christmas. Accessibility-wise I’d say it is adequate, especially for Newbury Street which has a lot of old buildings I can’t get into. As I’ve learned rudely over the years, older buildings do not have to abide by accessibility standards outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Yay human rights!
In all seriousness, I have to focus on the places I can go. The more places I find around the city that are accessible, the more inclined I will be to get out of my neighborhood, which at the end of the day is the important goal. So far, so good.
By the way, I can’t think of Trident and not think of Anchorman!