Patriots

Here’s what former Patriot Rob Gronkowski misses about New England

Gronkowski dishes on his favorite spots to relax and eat in New England as he returns to Foxborough to play the Patriots this weekend.

Rob Gronkowski Patriots Buccaneers
Rob Gronkowski (87) spikes the ball after his touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
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If you had to guess, what do you think former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski misses the most about living in New England?

Parties? The championship parades? “Sweet Caroline” playing at Gillette Stadium?

A new interview with ESPN.com provides a few interesting answers to that question, which might surprise those who mainly remember the man known as “Gronk” for his monster touchdown spikes and fun-loving personality.

When asked by ESPN.com about what place he has to visit whenever he comes back to Foxborough (outside of the home he owns there), Gronkowski had a very laid-back, low-profile replay.

“I would say hiking through the trails,” he said. “There’s a state park in Foxborough (F. Gilbert Hills) where a lot of people go. I also go mountain biking in the woods throughout those trails. You get fresh air, can go around the lake, which is a beautiful view.”

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Speaking of his old haunts, Gronkowski wants to you know he means “Foxboro,” not “Foxborough.”

“Definitely the ‘boro,'” he said. “I always thought that’s what it was, and then the first time I saw the ‘ough,’ I thought it was spelled wrong. I was like, ‘No, that’s not how you spell it.’ That’s when I realized it was spelled both ways.”

Whatever it’s called, “Gronk” reminisced about a few of his favorite spots when goes back to visit the city, including Tavolino’s gourmet pizza restaurant — “I would just love to order on my phone and go up there to the pickup window. That was one of my favorite things to do for food” — and the gas stations and convenience stores near the stadium where he’d grab snacks and drinks on the go.

He also called the AMC theater at Patriot Place “his spot,” recalling how he’d take in movies in the private upper sections of the theater with luxury seats. “That was the first time I’d ever experienced reclining chairs at a movie theater,” he said, “and it was just mind-blowing. I probably did it 100 times.”

But Gronkowski didn’t forget to show love for Boston’s “famously awesome” duck boats, restaurants (like Strega Waterfront and Arya Trattoria in the North End), and Celtics games: “They would hook us up, front row. Just to go check out an NBA game, being right there on the court, was always really cool.”

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And don’t forget about Providence’s Federal Hill, which boasts Gronkowski’s favorite late-night snack joint: Olneyville New York System. “With the hot dogs and the coffee milk there,” he added. “Let me tell you, it’s delicious.”

Of course, the former Patriots legend doesn’t miss “everything” about living in New England. And the thing he hates the most is something everyone can relate to: “The crappy, ‘in between’ weather” that comes during the winter-spring and fall-winter transitions.

“When it’s about 40 degrees, and raining, and cloudy…it just throws everything off and feels eerie,” he said.

Fortunately for Gronk, Sunday night’s forecast is 75 degrees (though there might be a little rain in the forecast).

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