#WalkingBoston – A Marathon in Every Boston Neighborhood: South End Part 1

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 12/27/2022

Welcome to #WalkingBoston. To learn about the inspiration, mission, goals, and ongoing updates, please see the #WalkingBoston launch blog post

Total miles walked on the first 7 Boston walks to date in Eastie, Hyde Park, and Jamaica Plain = 94.99.

The #WalkingBoston journey continues on Friday, 12/30/22 in my old ‘stomping grounds.’ ‘South End Part 1’ leaves from Mike’s City Diner at 8am sharp. The weather looks tremendous for December, with a low of 39 degrees and a high in the low 50’s!! Early bird breakfast, stretching. and map/course review when the doors open at Mike’s at 7am. All are welcome to join, even just for breakfast and/or a portion of the walk.

[Please Note: A post-walk summary, reflections, and pics/videos from this walk will be included at the end of this blog post. Please check back for updates.]

Friday’s walk (13.1+ miles) will cover the entire length of Shawmut Ave (Orange on the map below) and explore as much territory south and west of Shawmut Ave as possible. As always, please send me ‘must see’ sights along the way, including ‘hidden gems,’ art, nature, parks, murals, history, architecture, Mom & Pop #SmallBiz, etc. I love getting suggestions in advance to include while mapping out the walks. The course will be finalized on Thursday, 12/29. Please email patrick@servernotservant.com or comment at the end of this post with suggestions.

If inspired by #WalkingBoston, please consider a donation to the following:

#1- Make-A-Wish MA & RI is the primary beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. As most of you know, the mission of Make-A-Wish is to create life‐changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. I love the work that they do and am honored to partner with them. Thanks to Hillary Muntz, Kara Walker & team for their professionalism, compassion, and attention to detail. Donations inspired by #WalkingBoston can be made by clicking on this link.

#2- Stride for Stride is also a beneficiary of #WalkingBoston. Stride for Stride is a non-profit running organization that buys race bibs for immigrant, BIPOC, and low-income runners – the goal is to make races more accessible, inclusive, and diverse for everyone. Stride for Stride founder, Tom OKeefe, aka @BostonTweet, “Our logo signifies equality. It’s simple, bold, and shows that you support running for all. Our goal is a simple concept too, but one that changes lives. Having a race to strive for keeps you focused and healthy, while crossing the finish line is pure joy and empowering in both sport and life – it proves that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Never give up!” Donations inspired by #WalkingBoston can be made to Stride for Stride by clicking here.

Now that I have a completed more than 3 marathons (Eastie, Hyde Park, and JP), I’m in the process of negotiating sponsorships and collaborations with local companies and individuals, and I’m wide open to all creative ideas to raise money. Donations to Make-A-Wish and Stride for Stride are tax deductible.

#3- Lastly, several folks have reached out asking how they could sponsor/support my #WalkingBoston mission and expedite the publication of my #ServerNotServant book advocating for service industry workers and fellow humans. A grassroots fundraiser has been set up to keep me walking and writing. Donations can be made here. Thank you.

From the City of Boston website:

South End – At a Glance

Located just south of the Back Bay, the South End is an elegant residential neighborhood known for its Victorian townhouses and many small parks. The neighborhood was originally built on tidal flats during the mid-1800s, planned to attract the wealthy merchant class with a regular street grid, elegant townhouses, and thirty parks. Today it remains a popular residential area with a thriving restaurant and arts scene, and is the United States’ largest Victorian residential district. 

This diverse neighborhood is home to active young families, professionals, and immigrants, and is popular with Boston’s gay community. Residents of the South End inhabit a mix of historic brick town homes and publicly funded housing. The many parks, including the Southwest Corridor Path built over the depressed Orange Line train, offer green space to the area. The Boston Center for the Arts brings numerous performances to the neighborhood each year. 

The neighborhood’s restaurants, bars, galleries, and boutiques line Tremont and Washington Streets, and the summertime SoWa Open Market attracts artisans and shoppers from all over the city. Washington Gateway Main Street and the South End Business Alliance support local business owners. Cyclorama, a unique round conference space at the BCA, hosts public and private events. Major tenants of the neighborhood include Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. 

Post-walk summary and reflections:

  • Rise and ‘shine’ at 5:30am. Never a problem on #GameDay. Lots to do between the alarm and getting out the door an hour and 10 minutes later…

  • Mapping the route was easier than the previous 3 neighborhoods because the streets are in a grid pattern. Shawmut Ave appears to split the South End right down the middle, so the plan was to walk from Mike’s City Diner down Washington Street, past Jim Rice field, down Ball Street to Shawmut Ave, then zig zag down every street between Shawmut and Washington to Chinatown. After that, same plan on every street between Washington and Harrison to Roxbury, then every street between Harrison Ave and Albany Street back to Chinatown.
  • Breakfast at Mike’s was delicious as always. I went with the turkey hash. Tremendous meal and hospitality from veteran server, Jany. Mike’s is a great American diner. My only ‘gripe’ was that I couldn’t carry my leftovers with me on the walk. Fortunately, I made a new friend who was thrilled to share with me. Problem solved.
  • It was 46 degrees when I left the house with a high temperature predicted at 56. It eventually got to 63. Perfect day for a late December walk. A Champion sweatshirt with no hoodie over it was the right call, despite being chilly at the outset.
  • The early-morning sunlight was beautiful on the gorgeous on the old, copper-laden buildings. I love the green patina…

  • Despite having lived in the South End for 10+ years, I discovered SO many new sights on this walk. Every single walk I complete validates the notion that there is so much to discover in our own ‘back yards’ of Boston’s neighborhoods. I don’t care how long anyone has lived in Boston, there’s more to see.
  • The architecture in the South End is stunning. This is the Allen House on the corner of Washington Street and Worcester Square…

  • Loving my new ‘Fresh Foam’ kicks from New Balance. Stay tuned for a collaboration that I’m very optimistic about…

  • I love meeting nice folks and their companions along the way…

  • SO many great parks in the South End.
  • I love the Puerto Rican Veterans Memorial across from the Holy Cross Cathedral.
  • Foodie’s Urban Market is an excellent city convenience shop.
  • The Sahara building is one of the most intriguing and iconic in the South End…

  • Kudos to J.J. Foley’s, established in 1909. Despite their old school street cred and longevity, they pay attention to social media and immediately responded when I posted this pic on my IG and Facebook stories during the walk. One of the best Irish pubs in Boston.

  • I love the variety of colored doors amongst the brown/brick ‘stones’…

  • Speaking of ‘old school.’ As the kids say, #IYKYK…

  • A great way to end the walk…

  • This photo album chronicles the 13.24-mile journey of ‘South End Part 1.’ Click here.
  • Here is the map and proof of 13.24 miles covered: MapMyWalk 
  • After ‘South End Part 1,’ the total official #WalkingBoston miles = 108.23.
  • Weather permitting, ‘South End Part 2’ is scheduled for Friday, 1/20. Breakfast at 7am, and departure from Mike’s City Diner on Washington Street at 8am sharp.

Thanks to everyone following, supporting, and sharing the #WalkingBoston mission.


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