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Want to Spend a Few Days North of Boston

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Hi All --

We're planning to spend a few days in mid-May in what I guess is the North Shore area. We'll be visiting a few friends and seeing the many sights we neglected to visit during our years in Boston and on the South Shore.

On the list: Walden Pond (reread Waldon this year), Jack Kerouac's grave (Lowell), Concord and Lexington, Salem, Lowell's Boat Shop, whale watching trip, Peabody Museum, Rockport -- I expect that will keep us busy, but if you have other ideas that you think might appeal to us, given that list, we'd love to hear them.

Looking for a good place (both town and hotel) to stay. Would like to be downtown so we can park the car at the hotel and forget it for the evening, restaurants nearby (walkable) and as convenient as possible to the places we'd like to visit. Not much on B&B's. Modern chains such as Marriott are o.k. but if you know a local place with some character, that would be better.

Look forward to hearing your suggestions.

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