A Day by the Charles: The Goldthwait Cup

Posted April 25, 2014 by Lindsey Daniels in Eat & Drink
Charles River

As Boston residents know, the bucolic Charles River isn’t just the perfect place for competing with Canadian geese to catch rays or perfecting your time for the next 5K. It’s also home to some of the most iconic crew races. While the Head of the Charles is crew prepster Mecca, the Goldthwait Cup — a who’s who of Ivy rowers — is your next best chance to pull out boat shoes and pop a polo collar.

History of the Goldthwait Cup

The Goldthwait Cup 2014 takes place on April 26, 2014. Harvard is defending a 4-year winning streak against Princeton and Yale, having taken the cup every year since 2010. The cup itself is a watery memorial to Harvard’s Vincent Bowditch Goldthwait, who drowned in a boating accident during his sophmore year in 1921. Harvard has taken top honors 41 times (which we’re just chuffed about) Princeton has won 25 times, and poor Yale has only taken the cup 19 times. The Goldthwait Cup is often seen as a bellwether as to which team will win the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges varsity lightweight competition held later in the season. There are 18 schools in the EARC, including remaining Ivies Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Penn. Accordingly, the Princeton, Harvard, and Yale regatta teams want to do their best in the G-Cup to intimidate the other teams come the EARC race.

G-Cup Logistics

Either side of the Charles River has a fine vantage point for watching the race. If you’re taking public transportation, your best bet is to take the Red Line to Harvard and walk to the river’s edge. If you’re driving from downtown, you’ll find some parking on Mem Drive (take care to read the signs and avoid any no parking zones) and metered parking in Harvard Square. Many of the side streets are resident only, so steer clear to avoid a parking ticket. The area is also walkable or bikeable from downtown Boston, if you’re up for the exercise.


Cardullo’s sells gourmet food, spirits, and fresh deli sandwiches.

The river banks naturally lend themselves to picnicking. Bring along a blanket and pick up picnic supplies at one of these nearby shops:

  • Cardullo’s, 6 Brattle St. – Right in Harvard Square, Cardullo’s sells gourmet food, spirits, and fresh deli sandwiches. You’ll find fresh meat and cheese sandwiches, chips, snacks, paninis, and more, plus some of those little European cookies you love. This is ultra convenient if you’re taking the T to the G-Cup.
  • Darwin’s, 148 Mt. Auburn St. – Just outside Harvard Square (and perfect for folks driving in from Newton/Watertown), Darwin’s makes sandwiches named for the tony streets of Mid Cambridge. They also sell soups, pastries, chips, veggies, and drinks. This is a real locals spot, so you’ll earn instant cred among the Cambridge folks by picking up supplies here.
  • Market in the Square, 60 Church St. – The closest thing to a grocery store/NY-style deli in the Square, Market in the Square has a hot bar, cold bar, sandwich station, and all the snack foods you could ever want. Pick up diverse picnic supplies for a global party by the water. Easily accessible from the Church Street exit of the T.

After the regatta, head back to the Square for a drink. Local favorite Grendel’s Den (89 Winthrop St.) has beer, pub food, and cocktails. If you’ve got a Harvard affiliate in your party, head to the exclusive Cambridge Queen’s Head for a privileged pint. For more posh nibs, make your way to the Russell House Tavern (14 JFK St.) for craft beers, cheese, and cured meats. Downtown-based alums looking to avoid the mob in Cambridge can always recon closer to home at The Harvard Club. The downtown location is closed on weekends, so you’ll have to stop off in Back Bay on the way.


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