Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Bracing the Fall at Patriot Place
By Joshua Bottomley
Summer is over, like it or not. Time to put away the swimming trunks, suntan lotion, bat and glove. Now it is time to pull on the boots, hoodie, and grab a football to toss around while examining the fall foliage in your backyard. Wait. Your boots are worn out? Your sweatshirt is too thin? The football got lost? There are no leaves in your studio apartment not to mention the lack of a backyard? Fear not, Bostonians, the answer lies only 40 minutes south of the city.
Patriot Place is the new shopping plaza set in the shadows of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro MA. Back in the day, the old Shaeffer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium created a dreary outline against the November sky, but now, thanks to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, there is a bustling haven for football fanatics and consumers alike right where that old relic once stood. Whether it is eating out, catching a movie, grabbing gifts for yourself or others, even learning about New England’s 50-year old football franchise, Patriot Place has you covered.
Most people don’t recognize Gillette Stadium as the focal point of a shopping center, but those who do venture to the hallowed ground are in for a treat. The mall of stores has everything from Aeropostale to Victoria’s Secret. Bed Bath and Beyond, Bath and Body Works, Claire’s, Christmas Tree, Express, GNC, and Old Navy are just a few of the standout stores included in the arcade. “So what?”, you might be saying, “You can find those stores at any local retail outlet.” Yes, this is true, but you will not find them in such a unique setting as Patriot Place. The mall is outdoors. Gone is the echo of screaming children off of tempered glass ceilings, gone are the squeaking of sneakers on linoleum and tile. Gone are the gurgles, splashes, and white noise of wishing waterfalls. In their place, an impeccably manicured landscape wrapping around one of the most beautiful sports structures ever. For leaf peepers, the stretches of Interstate 95 and Route 1 that lead to Patriot Place are perfect for viewing the change of seasons.
Besides the obvious shopping aesthetic, Patriot Place also offers entertainment. The Showcase Cinema De Lux is a state of the art movie theater. Currently showing 12 different films for your enjoyment, this cinema excels in more ways than one. Not only does Showcase have the ability to show movies in 3D, it also offers a luxury option to dine IN THE THEATER, with your own server, catering to your needs as you relax and take in a flick. If dining in the theater is not your desire, the Studio 3 restaurant located in the lobby also has a full menu to indulge in before or after the film. In addition to these options, the snack bar also includes extravagances like Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs, and Baskin Robins, a welcome alternative to Twizzlers and Snocaps…but they have those too.
If you are looking for a bit to eat but aren’t in the mood for a movie, don't fret, the dining options offered at Patriot Place are vast and range from affordable comfort food to fine dining establishments. For families craving a quick burger try Five Guys Burger and Fries, an up and coming chain that gets rave reviews across the board, or Bar Louie, a buzzing social atmosphere with inventive sandwiches and cocktails that are fun and fulfilling.
If it is a special night, Davio’s at Patriot Place is perfect. With a menu reminiscent of its Boston and Providence locations, Davio’s offers topnotch cuisine and stellar service. Out with a group of friends? Tastings Wine Bar and Bistro has an eclectic selection of wines from all over the world, and food selections designed to be shared.
The CBS Scene Restaurant is a combination of upscale eating with a hi-tech sports bar feel. The atmosphere is provided by the plethora of televisions on the walls, as well as the games projected on the screen behind the bar, documenting every play, pitch, shot, and score around the world of sports. And in the rare occasion there isn’t a sporting event on, anywhere, on earth, each table has its own television and speaker, which allows you to scroll through reruns of The Brady Bunch, I Love Lucy, and other CBS staples.
Speaking of Staples, there is one of those as well. But if you are more of an outdoorsman/woman, Bass Pro Shop is a must visit destination. From tents, to canoes, to fishing poles, to outdoor wear this enormous outdoor mecca is almost as big as the wilderness itself. A hiking trail and cranberry bog are located right behind the store, where you can break in that new pair of Timberlands.
But, if you are longing for less of the daytime and more of the nightlife, Showcase LIVE music venue is a great option. This 16,000 square foot, state of the art music venue is now a tour stop for national acts as well as a haven for local artists and tribute bands.
Finally, no trip to Patriot Place would be complete without a trip through history. The New England Patriots Hall of Fame is an interactive wonderland, utilizing technology to the fullest. Projections, audio, video and touch screen technology all provide the most visceral sports museum experience ever. From playing referee and analyzing replays, to being in the huddle with Tom Brady, the Hall of Fame is the cherry on top of the Patriot Place cake, and it is also attached to the Patriots Pro Shop, were all the gear from your favorite pigskin pals can be found.
In a time where so much shopping can be done online and the neighborhood mall has become a blasé weekend repetition, Patriot Place offers an alternative setting and has enough bells and whistles to make you want to come back again and see what you may have missed. The only downside is that you can’t go on game day. Well, you can...but be prepared for the traffic.
Patriot Place is located off of Route 1 in Foxboro, MA between I-95 and I-495. top photo by Joshua Bottomley
middle photo courtesy of Newton Roofing