Boston Sports Fan Making a New Life in California

     Oct. 11 was a beautiful, wonderful, maybe even perfect day in Newbury Park, Calif. 

     To set the stage, this week will be the three-month anniversary of my wife and I living in California after spending 37 years living and raising a family in the Boston suburb of North Andover. 

     We had two reasons for not only changing our location, but also swapping the comfortable life we enjoyed in Massachusetts to one in the land of fires, earthquakes, higher taxes and recall elections.

     Family — We wanted to spend more time nearer our daughter, who had settled in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California with her fiancé, now husband. 

     Weather — We wanted to live our next few years someplace with a warmer year-round climate, where we could be active all year without freezing our hands and feet clearing snow and worrying about slipping on ice-and snow-covered roads. 

     And COVID-19 had postponed my daughter’s wedding from 2020 until Labor Day weekend 2021. That was another factor. We wanted to be somewhere close enough to her to provide support and help her in time for that!


     Anyone who has lived in one place for a long time and then moved will tell you it’s not easy. The 3,000-mile distance and the fact that my wife was still teaching full time in a COVID-altered school environment, while I continued to consult for several longtime clients only added to the difficulty. 

     While we had been discussing and “working” on the move for the past couple of years, the final sprint kicked off for real in January of 2021. And what a sprint it was. The move by itself would merit an article. The planning, preparation, scheduling, bidding on new homes, and finally selecting one was a whirlwind. Then we needed to sell our property in North Andover, MA with its myriad attendant issues, unexpected repairs, managing contractors and movers, and just plain hard work. Together, it was an incredibly stressful and exhausting experience.  

     Despite all that, we arrived at our new digs in the community of Newbury Park in mid-July physically and mentally exhausted but with six weeks to get ourselves settled and to provide whatever help we could to my daughter as she put the finishing touches on her upcoming wedding. 

     Some perspective on Newbury Park might be in order for those not familiar with the area. Some of this we knew, but much of it we did not, since we had purchased our new house without ever actually seeing it in person. Internet pictures and Skype calls with my daughter and our agent were all we had to go on to make our decision to buy.

     Call it luck or good karma, but we picked a great new home in a wonderful location with near-perfect weather. Newbury Park is located just off Highway 101, the Ventura Highway, about 30 miles north of Los Angeles proper. 

     It is a perfect location for the day-to-day living conveniences you need: Home Depot, Ralphs grocery, CVS and, of course, excellent takeout Mexican. It’s also fairly close to my daughter’s home, about a 30-minute drive in one direction and about the same to Ventura in the other. It has several excellent community parks that are perfect walking places for people and dogs, and some world-class hiking trails and national forests as close as a half mile from our home. 

Settling In

     First, the wedding: My daughter was able to pull all the preparations together with help from my wife, and it turned out to be a great time. The venue was wonderful. The weather, warm at the beginning of the ceremony, cooled down perfectly as the evening went on. The dinner was excellent, the bride and groom and, it seemed, everyone else had a great time. Being nearby to help and support my daughter and new son-in-law was a big part of why we moved to California, and this was a great start.

     Another thing: My wife had wanted a dog for a couple of years. We had been dog owners for years, but with all the hassles of the move, we decided to wait until we got settled out here. So about three weeks ago, we adopted Oakley from a rescue near us. 

     I should also mention that I have been a lifelong Boston sports fan, in particular a Red Sox and Patriots fan. I was here in L.A. for Game 4 of the 2018 World Series, a phenomenal experience. One of the few things I have been able to keep from Boston is my subscription to the Boston Globe and the NECN app to keep up with Boston sports, news and weather 

Monday in Newbury Park

     Which brings me to this past Monday, Oct. 11. It started for me about 6:30 a.m. The sky was perfectly clear, as it has been for most of the 80-plus days we have been living here. We often eat breakfast on our patio, but the temperature that day was still only in the upper 50s, so breakfast was indoors. 

     I would describe the weather here as Mediterranean temperate. Warm and dry, but not too hot. Unlike some other parts of the LA metroplex, where high temperatures during the past three months often reached more than 100 degrees, we’ve had only a couple of days over 90. That’s exactly the kind of weather that encourages outdoor activities. Another surprising plus of the weather here is the lack of humidity, which means a lack of bugs. There are no mosquitoes, black flies or flying bugs of any kind.

     I noticed in the Globe that the Boston Marathon had been rescheduled this year from its traditional Patriots Day in April to Oct. 11, which is Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day. Patriots Day was always one of my favorite Massachusetts holidays because of the trifecta of history, morning Red Sox baseball and the Marathon. With the Marathon and Game 4 of the American League Division Series scheduled for later in the afternoon, it was like a fall version of Patriots Day. What could be better?

     I checked the cable listings and, lo and behold, the Marathon was already on. The participants in the men’s race had already started up Heartbreak Hill, and a pack of women were going through Wellesley Square. 

     While it was great to see the Marathon itself, it was especially interesting for me to see so many of the places along the route that I knew so well for all those years. It brought back memories of many great experiences dating back to my days as an undergrad at Northeastern University and through many aspects of my life in Boston. I may be on the West Coast, but I still love Boston.

     The Red Sox game was going to be on at 4 p.m. Pacific time. A couple of things about that. First, the time change is one of the things that I just haven’t adjusted to very well. A lifetime of being on Eastern time is hard to get over. Being on the West Coast means I’m always three hours behind Boston and two behind the Midwest. Second, it’s surprisingly difficult (or, should I say, expensive) to get out-of-market sports on TV in LA. I have a good cable package but, despite my best efforts, I wasn’t able to see Game 3 of Red Sox vs. Rays live because our cable package doesn’t include the MLB NetworkI have seen only one Patriots game live so far this season because it also doesn’t include NFL Network. So, I was glad Game 4 was going to be available to me.

     As I watched the finish of the Marathon, with Heartbreak Hill claiming another victim in the men’s race and two women battling to the finish, I mentioned to my wife that the weather was warming up nicely; did she want to take our dog Oakley to Ventura for a walk along the beach? She said she was thinking the same thing!

     When the Marathon ended, off we went. We headed up the Ventura Highway for the half hour trip to San Buenaventura State Beach and one of the nicest walking, jogging, bike paths in Southern California. The path is more than 4 miles long, but we only walked the first half to the iconic Ventura pier and back. It was 72 degrees with the usual beautiful, blue sky and just enough of a breeze to keep us cool. 

     Oakley is a rescue mixed breed who looks like a miniature black lab. As we have had him only a short time, he’s still a bit skittish around other dogs and people and hadn’t been in a busy place like this, so this was a chance to get him more used to walking around other people and dogs (on leash) and get us all some exercise. 

     When our walk was done, we all three sat on some logs, resting and overlooking the beach and relaxing with the waves. My wife said this was “perfect,” exactly what she had been hoping for. Good for us, and good for Oakley, who came through with flying colors. It was the kind of experience we had been hoping for when we had been doing all the planning and hard work to come here.

     So that takes us to Game 4. A great way to end a perfect day, but it took a terrific ninth inning to pull it off. First, the Sox eliminate the Yankees, and then take Games 2 and 3 over the Rays. I began thinking that this team was starting to look a little magical, reminiscent of past playoff glory. Maybe a repeat of 2018, which, of course, would require at least one game in person, perhaps more because I wouldn’t have the costs of airfare and hotel. When the Rays tied the game at 5-5, I began to have my doubts. Perhaps those other wins were a fluke. 

But NO! The ninth inning walk-off win truly was a great way to end a great day in Newbury Park for this transplanted Boston fan. Unfortunately, after an encouraging start to that series, the “magic” for the Red sox ended against the Astros. No repeat of 2018.

But for us, the magic of California has continued, albeit not at quite the level of that Monday.

We’ve had more days at the beach, more really great weather, and the Patriots finally made it to my TV, winning against another LA transplant, the Chargers. There was a great performance of “Hamilton” at the Pentages, a beautiful vintage Hollywood theater, and Dead and Company playing an awesome concert at the legendary Hollywood Bowl on Halloween.

So, it turns out that California really has been all we could have hoped for and more. We are looking forward to more “perfect days” and hopefully another shot at the World Series next year for the Sox.