Hanley Ramírez entering Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut

Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend: What’s it really like?

For the past few years, before the Red Sox have headed off to Florida for spring training, they’ve hosted a weekend get together for the Fenway Faithful at Foxwoods Resort and Casino. Back in November, we hit the “sign us up!” button for the Red Sox Winter Weekend the day tickets became available. We weren’t alone – the 2018 event, which was held on January 19-21, sold out very early, with reports of close to 7,000 in attendance.

We signed up for Winter Weekend because it sounded fun and interesting, but honestly, we had no clue what Red Sox Winter Weekend would be like. Sure, we’d read the schedule, but we still wondered who would be there, if this was really just a “kid thing” or if there was something for all ages, and ultimately, would it be worth what we’d sunk into the weekend? The event itself was only $65 per person, but staying at Foxwoods is a little pricey. Even with the Red Sox hotel discount, our two tickets and two hotel room nights put us back a total of $745 – and that didn’t include the cost of transportation to the event and dining at Foxwoods, which can also be pretty expensive.

Winter Weekend Prep

A couple of weeks prior to the event we received an email to sign up for our preferred sessions – one guaranteed autograph signing/photo session per attendee and one panel discussion per attendee. We made our selections and pre-registered for the events and, on Friday the 19th, we headed to Connecticut for our first Red Sox Winter Weekend.

For autographs, we purchased two MLB balls in advance and brought a game ball Greg had snagged last summer at a Sox game in Toronto. However, after arriving, we found balls and other memorabilia were available for sale in the gift shop in the Winter Weekend Fan Fest center (but we got a much better deal on the internet).

While some attendees came equipped with cameras, we decided to leave ours at home and just went with iPhone shots for the weekend. We did make sure to bring comfortable shoes, a necessity as the hotel is sprawling (we walked 8 miles the first day, 6 miles the second).

Boston Red Sox, Connecticut, Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Winter Weekend
Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Redsox Winter Weekend 2018

Arriving at Foxwoods, we were engulfed in a sea of Red Sox fans – young, old and everywhere in between. We’d booked our rooms through the Red Sox website and were quickly checked into our room in the Fox Tower. We had a nice king room with a western view overlooking the forest.

Our welcome package included tickets and wristbands for the Winter Weekend events we’d chosen, some general event information, and two grandstand tickets for a game at Fenway in April.

Winter Weekend: Redsox Town Hall

Kim Hull with Wally at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Kim Hull with Wally at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After an early dinner, we headed over to line up at the Grand Theatre entrance for the opening night event, the Red Sox Town Hall. During the wait to enter, Wally and Tessie, the loveable Fenway mascots, hung out with the fans, giving hugs and taking photos.

Kim Hull with Tessie at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Kim Hull with Tessie at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Red Sox Town Hall was open to all Winter Weekend attendees. Upon entering, we found aisle seats in a general admission side section a couple of rows behind the seats reserved down front for season pass holders.

Hanley Ramírez entering Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Hanley Ramírez entering Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Kicking off the Town Hall, the 2018 Red Sox coaches, team members, and a few former players were introduced individually, making a dramatic entrance from the back of the auditorium, high-fiving fans as they made their way to the stage.

Christian Vazquez entering Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Christian Vazquez entering Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Providing a high-energy start to the evening, the players seemed to have as much fun as the fans as they made their way through the roaring crowd.

Chris Sale entering Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Chris Sale entering Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Once everyone was on stage, Winter Weekend attendees had their first view of the 2018 Boston Red Sox team and coaches, with the exception of a few players not in attendance and, of course, any that may be acquired in the final few weeks before spring training.

Boston Red Sox at Winter Weekend 2018 Red Sox Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Boston Red Sox at Winter Weekend 2018 Red Sox Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Red Sox chairman, Tom Werner, Red Sox President and CEO, Sam Kennedy, Red Sox President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, and the team’s new manager, Alex Cora, were joined by fan favorites, David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez, for an entertaining roundtable discussion and a fan Q&A. The Town Hall was excellent, providing an evening of excitement, humor, insight and fun for all attending.

Tom Caron, Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy, David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Dave Dombrowski, Alex Cora at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Tom Caron, Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy, David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Dave Dombrowski, Alex Cora at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 Town Hall at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

NESN was on hand to emcee and record the Town Hall and other activities throughout the weekend, with the Winter Weekend broadcast available for viewing by Red Sox Nation multiple times in the weeks following the event.

Winter Weekend: Fan Fest and Trophy Room

Golden Gloves and Silver Sluggers at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Winter Weekend Fan Fest was a huge area with a multitude of activities for fans of all ages including pitching and batting cages, Wiffle Ball, the NESN Zone, the VR Dugout, Ballpark Eats, a beer garden (with more than beer), and a merchandise area. While visiting, we picked up some Winter Weekend gear and four of the special offer half-price $50 gift cards good for merchandise back at the Red Sox Team Store in Boston.

Winter Weekend memorabilia and Red Sox Team Store gift cards
Winter Weekend memorabilia and Red Sox Team Store gift cards at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

One of the highlights of the Fan Fest zone (and I think missed by many because it was very low traffic whenever we stopped by or looked in) was the trophy room next to the main Fan Fest room. Visitors could view the Silver Slugger awards and Gold Gloves that have been won by Red Sox players and fans could take a photo with the 2004, 2007 and 2013 World Series Trophies. Amazing!

Kim and Greg Hull with 2004, 2007 & 2013 World Series Trophies at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend
Kim and Greg Hull with 2004, 2007 & 2013 World Series Trophies at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut

Winter Weekend: Ticket Town

The Fan Fest area was also the site of Ticket Town, where attendees could purchase June, July, and August single game tickets prior to the tickets being made available to the general public. We purchased tickets for 18 summer games at Ticket Town and got great seats. The purchasing process was quick and easy, working directly with the helpful Winter Weekend Red Sox ticket staff. After adding the tickets for those 18 summer games to the 10 spring and fall games we’d purchased back in December, we are set for 1/3 of the 2018 home games.

Winter Weekend: Meeting players, getting autographs and taking photographs

One of the things we were most curious about prior to attending was how much the team, management, and former players would mix about the crowd. Our question was quickly answered.

On Friday night, we spotted countless team members around the hotel and casino. Upon returning to our room that evening, we found an autographed photo of Red Sox catcher, Christian Vazquez, had been slipped under the door to our room. What a cool surprise!

I went down to get takeout coffee Saturday morning and Dave Dombrowski was in line behind me. We chatted briefly about the Town Hall and, as we waited, if a staffer walked by, he called them over to buy them a coffee or breakfast. He’s a very nice guy.

Dennis Eckersley signing a ball for Kim Hull, Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Dennis Eckersley signing a ball for Kim Hull, Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

When we walked off the elevator later to start our Saturday events, Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckersley, was standing in the lobby near the elevator. He signed for those of us in the lobby and graciously took pics as he texted with someone and took a couple of calls about his schedule that day.

As far as the autograph and photo sessions, this was the one area of the event that suffered from the fatigue of hosting nearly 7,000 guests. The autograph and photograph sessions are essentially a lottery – you sign up for a room number and a time and are guaranteed one autograph and one photo during the session – but you have no idea who will be there until you enter the room.

Even though we had a specific time and room assigned with our pre-registration, we first waited in a line of hundreds of people in the hotel hallway, to then advance to one of four different holding areas, to then wait in line for the autograph and photo.

Heath Hembree and Deven Marrero signing autographs at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018
Heath Hembree and Deven Marrero signing autographs at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

So, who’d we get? My room had Heath Hembree and Deven Marrero signing and Craig Kimbrel taking photos.

Craig Kimbrel and Kim Hull, Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018
Craig Kimbrel and Kim Hull, Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut

Greg’s room had Andrew Benintendi signing…

Andrew Benintendi signing autographs at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018
Andrew Benintendi signing autographs at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

and Ben Taylor taking photos.

Dan Taylor and Kim Hull, Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018
Ben Taylor and Greg Hull, Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut

The entire process took over two hours and, quite honestly, was one of our least favorite parts of the experience. I realize it is the most challenging part of the event to manage with only a limited number of players to sign and 7,000 autograph seekers, but it was a great deal of waiting and chaos for an autograph and a photo.

Autographed baseballs from Winter Weekend 2018
Autographed baseballs from Winter Weekend 2018. Lower left ball: Dennis Eckersley, Lower right ball: Andrew Benintendi, Top ball: Rafael Devers, Rick Porcello, Heath Hembree and Deven Marrero. Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Winter Weekend: Panel Discussions

The panel discussions were our favorite part of the entire event. The first session we attended was the one we’d pre-registered for: “On the Mound” hosted by NESN’s Dave O’Brien with Craig Kimbrel, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, and Chris Sale.

Craig Kimbrel, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, Dave O'Brien at the On the Mound Panel Discussion at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut
Craig Kimbrel, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, Dave O’Brien at the On the Mound Panel Discussion at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It was really, really good. When you see the players at the park, they have their game faces on and are understandably distant. Having been on the media side of pro cycling, we’ve shot enough press conferences to understand why athletes have to be a bit wary of the press and again, typically remain a bit distant. Which is why the panel discussions were so entertaining, providing a glimpse into the human side of the players. The players were open, taking question after question from the audience, sharing stories and bringing the crowd into their world.

David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Tom Caron at the Teammates for Life Panel Discussion at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018
David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield, Tom Caron at the Teammates for Life Panel Discussion at Boston Red Sox Winter Weekend 2018 at Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, Connecticut Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We liked “On the Mound” so much we decided to wait in the standby line for “Teammates for Life” and were lucky enough to snag seats for the session. The panel consisted of David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield with Tom Caron “moderating,” but with Papi and Pedro in attendance, Caron’s role was more like herding cats. The stories were hilarious and it was the perfect ending to the day and, for us, Winter Weekend.

While we stayed on until Sunday, we skipped the Saturday night movie “Sandlot” and the Sunday morning Wally and Tessie breakfast.

Overall, Red Sox Winter Weekend was well worth the money, although next year (yes, we already plan to attend), we will most likely head back to Boston on Saturday evening. For us, the Town Hall and panel discussions were the highlights, but that was us – with so many varied activities, attendees can arrange their own Winter Weekend schedules to match their personal preferences.

It was also spectacular to see families sitting at tables in restaurants talking to each other about the players they saw and the things they’d done that day, instead of just staring at electronic devices. There’s quite a bit of competition for the minds of that next generation of baseball fans, but it just goes to show you that quality entertainment and engagement, like Winter Weekend provides, can hold the attention of the young (and the old) – and that’s definitely a “W” for the sport of baseball.


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.


 

Queen Street West, Toronto

Toronto: Bargains, baseball and blue skies

Cover: West Queen Street West, Toronto
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


We originally planned to spend the month of September in Toronto and had booked and paid for a fabulous apartment between Queen Street West and King Street West back in January for our September stay.

Triad by Ted Bieler, Front Street West, Toronto
Triad by Ted Bieler, Front Street West, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

September is a popular month to visit Toronto, with comfortable temperatures and bright blue skies in abundance. September is also when Toronto hosts one of the world’s most attended film festivals, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It would have been great – but the owner of the Airbnb canceled our booking in July and there were no good Airbnb options available for re-booking for the entire month of September, so we shortened our time in Montreal by a few days and opted for five days in Toronto.

Old City Hall inToronto on a fabulous late summer day
Old City Hall in Toronto on a fabulous late summer day Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We’d been to Toronto multiple times in the past – mostly in winter – so, what to do in Toronto for our abbreviated five days in late August? Shopping, baseball and enjoying the perfect weather!

Boats at Toronto Harbourfront
Toronto Harbourfront Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bargains in Toronto

We seemed to find bargains everywhere we turned in Toronto during our stay.  Soon after checking into our Airbnb at the corner of Spadina and Front Street, we walked a few blocks over to King Street West, where we found the first of our bargains.

King Street West

Kings West Street, Toronto
Kings West Street, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

One of the oldest streets in Toronto, King Street dates back to Toronto’s beginnings and today is home to boutiques, large retailers, home goods and décor stores, restaurants, theatres, bars, and hotels. On our early evening stroll down Kings Street West, we happened upon The Red Tomato Bar, a basement level bar with a killer happy hour deal.

The Red Tomato Bar is downstairs below Fred’s Not Here. While the bar is located in the basement, the front of the building is open the upstairs and the street, allowing plenty of light and openness into the bar area. The reward for sitting at the bar – Tomato Hour prices. We each enjoyed Cosmopolitans from the $5 (2oz) martini options and a $5 personal (6″) mushroom pizza. The pizza was topped with King Oyster, Enoki, Shataki and Crimini mushrooms, caramelized onions, Fior di Latte (cheese) and truffle essence. The pizza was good, the drinks tasty, and our 4 martinis and 2 pizzas came with a price tag of $30 CAD, the equivalent of only about $24 USD. What a deal!

The Red Tomato on King Street West, Toronto
The Red Tomato on King Street West, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After dinner, we did a bit of browsing in the stores along King Street and stopped in an outdoor retailer with a “Retiring/Going out of Business” sale. The entire store was 40% off – everything included, with no exclusions.  It was at this spot we were also reminded that Toronto has 13% sales tax, so purchasing decisions took on a bit of a math exercise. In other words… take the price of the item, calculate the price with the discount, add on the anticipated tax, calculate the exchange rate, and then evaluate if a better deal could possibly be had in the U.S. or Europe. Since some outdoor brands and/or items are rarely discounted, we found a few items we felt made the conversion rate+tax cut and were worth the limited space in our bags.

Retiring/Going out of business sale, King St West, Toronto
Retiring/Going out of business sale, King St West, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The next evening we once again found ourselves on King Street West for happy hour and this time found a martini deal at the swanky Luma on the 2nd floor of the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Luma holds Magic Hour every day (we were there on a Saturday) from 4 pm to 9 pm with $6 martinis and Manhattans (2 oz). We opted for a couple of classic martinis each and shared chips and dip and mixed nuts for $5 each for munching. Total: $34 CAD or about $27 USD.

Martinis at Luma, TIFF Bell Lightbox‎, Toronto
Martinis at Luma, TIFF Bell Lightbox‎, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Queen Street West

Queen Street West, Toronto
Queen Street West, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Queen Street West is a trendy district filled with boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and a fabulous spot to spend an afternoon. On our visit to the neighborhood, we stopped for lunch in b.good, which sources local, fresh ingredients for its offerings. We opted for the house-made veggie burger with mushrooms, caramelized onions, smoked gouda, and bbq sauce and a power bowl, with kale marinated in lemon, canola oil and Kosher salt, carrots, brussel sprouts, roasted chickpeas, pepitas and topped with tomato vinaigrette and a local egg.  Both were delicious and the flavors in the power bowl were amazing – great food and it didn’t break the bank.

b.good on Queen Street West, Toronto
b.good on Queen Street West, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After lunch, we shopped Queen Street West down to Trinity Bellwoods Park, then looped back the other side to Spadina. Along the way in the West Queen Street West section, we found an incredible sale in a clever little boutique named Logan & Finley. Already discounted items had an additional 20% off and we picked up Prana and Woolrich items at deep discounts – one of the Woolrich tops had a regular price of $45 and we got it for $8 CAD.

Logan & Finley, Queen Street West, Toronto
Logan & Finley, West Queen Street West, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Uptown Yonge

Uptown Yonge, Toronto
Uptown Yonge, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While we’d found some great bargains, we were still in search of a good deal on a couple of waterproof shells. A bit of research turned up Sporting Life in the Uptown Yonge district that looked like they had a good selection of outdoor apparel. We hailed an Uber and headed north.

Sporting Life, Toronto
Sporting Life, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A good selection of outdoor equipment was an understatement and the best bargains of the trip were quickly uncovered. We picked up a Canada Goose black label waterproof shell and a Fjällräven waterproof shell, each for 50% off.

Bargains purchased, we strolled back towards downtown reveling in our good finds until we reached Terroni at Yonge and Price in Rosedale and decided we’d saved enough with our bargains to splurge a little. Terroni had been recommended to us by a friend so we headed in for a couple of Aperol spritz and some appetizers. Great bar, excellent food and they have a rooftop patio with views of downtown Toronto.

Aperol Spritz at Terroni, Toronto
Aperol Spritz at Terroni, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

And, now for some baseball. Bluejays vs. Redsox

Our apartment was about a block from Rogers Centre, making it extremely convenient for catching a ballgame – and we caught two while the Redsox were in town.

“The Audience” sculpture at Rogers Centre, Toronto
“The Audience” sculpture at Rogers Centre, Toronto
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Originally named the Sky Dome, the Rogers Centre is located in downtown Toronto near the northern shore of Lake Ontario and next to the CN Tower. It has been the home of the Toronto Bluejays since June 5, 1989, and was the first stadium with a fully retractable roof. The roof is closed if the temperature is forecasted to be below 10° C/50° F, if the wind is predicted to be in excess of 64 km/hr, or if the risk of rain at start time is 75% or greater.

Game 1 was on a Monday evening. Monday was the one day out of five that was cloudy most of the day and, even though rain wasn’t in the forecast, I must confess I was hoping a few showers might come through so we could see the roof close. Didn’t happen.

Redsox vs Bluejays, August 28, 2017, Redsox win 6-5, Rogers Centre, Toronto
Redsox vs Bluejays, August 28, 2017, Redsox win 6-5, Rogers Centre, Toronto
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Redsox had been in a bit of a slump before arriving in Toronto having lost their last four games. The pitching matchup was Pomeranz for Boston and Stroman for Toronto and the over 35,000 fans showed up to cheer on their teams (ok, it was almost all Toronto fans, so team). The game went down to the wire, but in the end, Boston was victorious, winning 6-5.

Nick Cafardo, National baseball writer
Nick Cafardo, National baseball writer for The Boston Globe. NESN and MLB Network at Rogers Centre, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

On Tuesday, Sale took the mound for the Redsox and Anderon for the Bluejays. The Redsox once again took the win 3-0. It once again was a great game on a beautiful evening and Greg Hull evening walked a way with a souvenir.

Redsox win again and a souvenir for Greg Hull, Rogers Centre, Toronto
Redsox win again and a souvenir for Greg Hull, Rogers Centre, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Toronto in late summer: Know before you go

Canoes stacked at Toronto Harbourfront
Canoes stacked at Toronto Harbourfront Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Temperature. The average high temperature in Toronto in August is 75°F / 24°C and in September is 72°F / 22°C.  Bring a sweater or a jacket and dress in layers in the evening as the average low in August is 63°F / 17°C and in September is 55°F / 13°C.

Rainfall. Rainfall in August and September averages 40mm-50mm, compared to the rainiest month of July at 60mm.

Bring the sunscreen. Toronto averages 9 hours of sunshine per day in August and 8 hours in September.

Getting to Toronto. Toronto has two airports – Toronto Pearson International Airport and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. If arriving by train, Union Station is conveniently located in the middle of downtown.

Union Station, Toronto
Union Station, Toronto Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Redsox vs Mariners, Safeco Field, Seattle

Buy me some peanuts and…

Cover: Redsox vs. Mariners, Safeco Field, Seattle
Photo:  Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Move over peanuts and Cracker Jacks, food at MLB ballparks has definitely improved in recent years. Sure, peanuts are still readily available (and consumer), but these days going to a ballgame doesn’t have to mean abandoning food preferences or simply not eating at all.

Bags of peanuts at Safeco Field, Seattle
Bags of peanuts at Safeco Field, Seattle Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We stopped by Seattle on our way to Miami from Vancouver and ventured to Safeco to watch the Redsox lose to the Mariners last night. Fortunately, the food was better than the outcome :).

We attended the game with our son, Ryan and his friend, Kate, so we split up and sampled several of the many drink and food options at Safeco Field. Here’s how it went…

Edgar’s Cantina and Edgar’s Tacos in The Pen

Safeco Field fans are welcomed to The Pen area of the stadium early during batting practice, so we started the evening a little early with margaritas at Edgar’s Cantina and Edgar’s Tacos in The Pen during batting practice.

Margaritas at Edgar’s Cantina and Edgar's Tacos in The Pen, Safeco Field, Seattle
Margaritas at Edgar’s Cantina and Edgar’s Tacos in The Pen, Safeco Field, Seattle Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Edgar’s is also home to the newest food offering at Safeco Field in 2017, Chapulines or toasted grasshoppers. We did not partake of any insects and, although the person at the next table ordered some, I thought it would be rude to ask her if I could take a photo.

View of the bullpen from Edgar’s Cantina in The Pen, Safeco Field, Seattle
View of the bullpen from Edgar’s Cantina in The Pen, Safeco Field, Seattle Photo: Ryan Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Edgar’s is located next to the bullpen, providing an up close view of any activity during the game – as you can see captured during the 5th inning by Ryan and Kate.

The Natural

Healthy eats at The Natural at Safeco Field, Seattle
Healthy eats at The Natural at Safeco Field, Seattle Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As Greg and I are mostly vegetarians, eating only a bit of fish here and there, we chose to dine on food from The Natural which offers hummus, salads, fresh fruit, veggie trays, sandwiches, cheese trays and veggie dogs.

Veggie dog at The Natural at Safeco Field, Seattle
Veggie dog at The Natural at Safeco Field, Seattle Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The dogs are reportedly Field Roast vegan dogs and were quite good. The fruit was fresh and the line was short at the Natural.

Hit it Here Café & Bar

View from Hit it Here Café & Bar, Safeco Field, Seattle
View from Hit it Here Café & Bar, Safeco Field, Seattle Photo: Ryan Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Ryan and Kate made their way out to center field to the Hit it Here Café & Bar, which offers dining in a restaurant-style environment overlooking the field.

Prosciutto and arugula flatbread pizza, Hit it Here Café & Bar, Safeco Field, Seattle
Prosciutto and arugula flatbread pizza, Hit it Here Café & Bar, Safeco Field, Seattle Photo: Ryan Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Selections include a variety of burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, and pizza, as well as nachos, fish and chips, and hot dogs. Ryan and Kate enjoyed the prosciutto and arugula flatbread pizza and a bánh mì sandwich.

Bánh mì sandwich, Hit it Here Café & Bar, Safeco Field, Seattle
Bánh mì sandwich, Hit it Here Café & Bar, Safeco Field, Seattle Photo: Ryan Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Thanks go Ryan and Kate for the assist with the article and pictures. See you soon at Fenway!

Ryan and Kate, Safeco Field, Seattle
Ryan and Kate, Safeco Field, Seattle Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

World Series 2014 Game 3

Take me out to the… World Series

Cover: World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Of all the major sporting events held each year, attending the World Series is near the top on most sports fans’ bucket lists.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The crisp autumn air, the red, white and blue bunting, the sea of color in the home team’s park – all make the century-old October tradition the ultimate baseball fan experience.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The first World Series

In 1903, modern baseball’s first annual championship was played between the Boston Americans and Pittsburg Pirates.

World Series 1903
World Series 1903 Public domain image

Held to bring the National League and the newly formed American League together, the first World Series was held with Boston coming out the victor, winning five games to three. The following year, the owner of the National League’s New York Giants refused to compete with the Boston Americans because he considered the American League and the Americans to be inferior.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Since that time, the World Series has occurred every year except 1994, when the post-season championship was canceled due to an ongoing strike by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

World Series 2014 Game 3: San Francisco vs. Kansas City

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Following the first two games of the 2014 series in Kansas City, where the Giants picked up the game 1 win & Kansas City the 2nd, the teams moved west to San Francisco’s AT&T Park, which the San Francisco Giants have called home since 2000.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Located in the South Beach area of San Francisco next to the bay, AT&T Park is a beautiful ballpark with stunning views and a design that celebrates historic ball parks.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

San Francisco, in their third World Series in five years, was ready and waiting for the Series and the world to pay a visit.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Hotels were packed, fans were decked out in orange, and restaurants held watch parties for those not lucky enough to score a ticket, as World Series fever permeated the city by the bay.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Speaking of tickets – we had two and the opportunity to capture a World Series game in all its glory.

Kim and Greg Hull, World Series 2014 Game 3
Kim and Greg Hull, World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Who goes to a World Series game?

Sure, the stars and the wealthy attend because it’s the place to be that night.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

But, for the most part, it’s the diehard fans that are there to participate along with their teams in taking on the sole remaining opponent with hopes of bringing home the championship trophy.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Baseball fans are a passionate group. They are statistic-obsessed and will argue about even the smallest element of the game. They hold on to hope even when they are down at the bottom of the eighth because, in baseball, any team can make a comeback up to the very last out.

My biggest moment was winning the World Series because everyone in my town was able to feel he was a world champion.”
Johnny Bench, Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983, Member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

McCovey Cove

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

AT&T Park sits next to the San Francisco bay, with the area just beyond the right-field wall referred to as McCovey Cove. Named after famed Giant first baseman, Wille McCovey, boaters and kayakers float in McCovey Cove during Giants games in hopes of nabbing a home run ball hit into the cove.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Better yet – procuring a splash hit – defined by the Giants as “home runs hit by the Giants that land in McCovey Cove on the fly without hitting the Arcade or Portwalk.” Splash hits are actually tracked on the Giants website (as if there was a baseball statistic that wasn’t tracked).

But, this was the big leagues – the potential of a World Series home run – brought a new level of excitement for those hopefuls in the Cove vying for a post-season souvenir.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Royals take game three 3-2 win to take World Series lead

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Despite the best efforts of the Giants and the 43,020 fans in attendance (ok, maybe a few hundred were Royals fans), it wasn’t meant to be for San Francisco at game 3 with the Royals beating the Giants 3-2 to take a 2-1 World Series lead.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

But, as Yogi Berra famously stated, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” The San Francisco Giants ultimately came back and won the 110th edition of the World Series in game 7 in Kansas City.

World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

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World Series 2014 Game 3
World Series 2014 Game 3 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media