Mayor Thomas M. Menino will be home for Christmas, in a manner of speaking.
After nearly eight weeks in two hospitals, the mayor left Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital late Sunday morning, accompanied by his press secretary and a Boston police detail officer.
But instead of returning to his Hyde Park home, he was taken to the historic, city-owned Parkman House on Beacon Hill, where he will stay for a while with his wife, Angela, said spokeswoman Dot Joyce.
She said the mayor will be able to use the elevator system at Parkman House while he works to regain full mobility. Joyce said he will hold meetings there, but it was not clear on Sunday when he would return to City Hall.
Dressed in a suit and sounding stronger and more upbeat than in interviews while hospitalized, Menino joked with reporters near the Spaulding main entrance from the front passenger seat of a sport utility vehicle.
“I’m ready to run a marathon next April,” he said.
Menino said he was feeling well, but still has to regain strength in his legs.
“When you’re laying in a hospital bed for several weeks, you lose some of that muscle,” he said, adding that rehabilitation will continue at home and at Spaulding for at least several weeks.
Menino became emotional when telling reporters that he hopes to spend Monday visiting children in the Bowdoin-Geneva section of Dorchester, an annual stop for him on Christmas Eve.
“The things we do with those kids that need the most, that’s what I miss the most,” he said.
Menino said he plans to spend Christmas Day with family. He was coy when asked when he would be back in City Hall.
“Now that I’m out, there’s no holding me back,” Menino said. “I might be at City Hall this afternoon at 2 o’clock. Watch the doors.”
The mayor gave few hints of what his daily routine will be like in the coming weeks. But Menino, who is known for his grueling work schedule, including a slate of evening and weekend events, said he will not rack up public appearances just to seem highly visible.
“Work smarter, work efficiently, that’s the whole thing,” he said. “Just running around here, there, and everywhere doesn’t mean anything. It’s what you accomplish when you do these different events . . . It’s not about running from banquet to banquet to banquet to banquet to see how many stale chicken dinners you can have.”
He said he looked forward to delivering his annual State of the City address late next month, as well as the upcoming budget talks with the City Council.
“A lot of different things are going to happen in city government,” he said. “And I’m going to be at the forefront of those changes.”
Joyce said no decision had been made on whether the mayor will attend the city’s annual First Night festivities on New Year’s Eve.
As Menino chatted with reporters, red ribbons adorned the railings on the front steps of his two-story Cape in Readville. Pine wreaths hung on the first-floor windows.
Neighbors said the mayor usually leaves home very early and returns late when he is working, so they do not often speak with him.
“Even if we didn’t chat, we would see him,” said one neighbor, Patricia Flaveney. She said Angela Menino was home during her husband’s hospital stay.
The mayor has been missed, Flaveney said. “He was gone for quite a long time,” she said.
Menino became ill on a trip to Italy in the fall. When he did not feel well, Menino cut the trip short, returned to Boston, and was admitted to Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Oct. 26. Doctors initially diagnosed Menino with an upper respiratory infection and a blood clot that traveled from a leg to his lungs. In the hospital, he suffered a spine fracture.
Menino had begun to recover from the fracture, doctors have said, when he developed an infection in the same area. Tests showed that the mayor has type 2 diabetes, which can cause greater susceptibility to infections. But if he felt any pain on Sunday, Menino gave no indication during his impromptu briefing.
Menino said that his Christmas shopping was covered, despite the lengthy hospital stay.
“Magically, it all appeared,” he said with a slight grin.