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A weekend in Boston area with Friends (including 2 teenagers)

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Aug 27th, 2014, 10:32 AM
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A weekend in Boston area with Friends (including 2 teenagers)

I use Fodor’s Forum regularly. I try and answer questions when I can. But I am not always good at writing trip reports.

But we had a few days in Boston the Boston area this past weekend and I thought I would share the highlights.

We were meeting friends who were on a longer New England trip.

The two of us flew into Boston Saturday morning. Had a Hot Wire prepaid car. At Alamo. Booked “blind” but their service has been good and I have used them through Hot Wire a number of times. Don’t know why but sometimes they charge for an extra driver even if married, sometime not. Not sure if there is a way to check in advance.

We had planned to meet our friends in Lexington but not until later in the afternoon. So I had figured out how to drive “Paul Revere’s Ride” from a Boston Globe newspaper article on line.

So we drove from airport to near Paul Revere’s House (its very close really) and had lunch nearby. We went to “Daily Catch”. Can’t remember where I found the recommendation but it is quite an institution apparently. A tiny restaurant. About 20 seats. Specialized in Sicilian seafood and pasta. At 20 minutes to noon the restaurant was full and a small line had started outside the door. We had a nice conversation with the couple in front of us, native Bostonians, who gave us good recommendations for lunch and for later in Concord. I never wait in line for restaurants but the day was beautiful and we enjoyed the people watching in Boston’s north end.

Had a “lobster tail” pastry across the street at “Mike’s Pastry” (recommended but the nice couple) and strolled a bit around the neighborhood. Good delis and wine shops.

Then drove to Concord. Sweet town. Free and abundant parking behind the visitor center. We walked around town a little. Funniest sight was a woman in full colonial period dress with bonnet and everything having cocktails with her three “civilian” friends on the porch of the local inn.

Our friends were running late so the two of us went to Walden Pond. About 1.5 miles south of town. Pretty cool to see the pond (although it is more like a small lake). There is no house anymore, just an outline with markers.

By the time our friends arrived in Concord it was getting late in the afternoon so the visitor centers at the national parks around there with the Revolutionary War site were closing. But you were still allowed to walk around until sunset so we enjoyed the atmosphere and used our own imaginations for the “shot heard round the world” and where Paul Revere was eventually captured.

There is a lot to do in the area. My earlier research found lots of historic houses etc from both Revolutionary War times and later (such as Louisa May Alcott’s house). We just didn’t have time to do it all in an afternoon.

Our friends had booked us staying south of Boston. They are from Europe but have been all over the States and like the KOA cottages. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical but for the two us and the four of them (with 2 teenagers) it was perfect. The cottages were almost brand new, kind of like a rustic version of a mobile home, with all the amenities including linens, dishes, everything. The rate was under $200 per night for all of us. I had looked at places in and out of Boston (including hotels, VBRO, AirBnB etc.) and was having trouble finding anything under $300 per room per night (and we would have needed at least two rooms) or $500 per night for a single place large enough for all of us. A quick grocery run at Trucci’s a beautiful grocery in Middleborough and we were set for the evening.

The next day we drove into Boston. Used a good parking garage app to find “cheap” parking near Faneuil Hall. $18 all day on weekends (although more like $30 on weekdays). We had two cars for the 6 of us so it was nice to identify the parking garage by address, use google maps on phone to navigate and then just meet there. It worked so well we had two parking spaces next to each other.

We didn’t get going too early, but hey we were on vacation.

That day we had planned the free National Park Service tour of the Freedom Trail. It was very good. But note doesn’t cover the whole trail, is more in depth than some would like (I loved it). Also great was a talk by a park ranger upstairs in FH. Then we did a few further stops on the FT ourselves with another app I had (the one by David Asher, although there are others available).

After FT we cabbed to Newbury Street. We had promised the teenagers some shopping. I had found the Trident Book Store and Café. So we satisfied lunch and book shopping in one location. The food and the books were great. The street is full of all the brand name stores the kids love. So the adults we window shopped our way down the street and cabbed back to the car just as it was getting dark.

Monday the kids wanted to do the last stops on the FT so we drove to Bunker Hill Monument. It has a nice museum and you can climb the 294 steps to the top. The surprise was that our guide from the FT tour the day before was the ranger on duty at the monument. He gave an impromptu lecture on the battle and also some good tips for the rest of the Charlestown neighborhood around there. The museum across from the monument is also quite good.

Then we went over to the USS Constitution. From the war of 1812. You can tour the ship but not on Mondays. The museum though is excellent. Especially for kids.

Lunch was at Warren’s Tavern (recommended by the park ranger). A very old tavern frequented by both George Washington and Paul Revere. Good food and atmosphere and great Sam Adams beer on tap.

We had promised the teenagers the beach in the afternoon. From a good website about what to do near where we were staying (www.seeplymouth.com) we had found Nantasket Beach which looked both beautiful and close. And it was.

Both evenings were great around the “camp” fire with light food after a big lunch.
laurie_ann is offline  
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Aug 27th, 2014, 12:25 PM
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Sounds like a great trip.

I learned about KOA cottages! Who knew? What town?

The reason that the Daily Catch only has 21 seats is that if they had 21, they would have to have a toilet for customers! As it is, they send you to a bar across the street.

You proved that people from out of tow CAN drive in Boston and not get lost, especially on weekends. Congratulations for finding parking in the North End. Amazing!

Thanks for posting.
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Aug 27th, 2014, 12:38 PM
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The KOA was called something like "Boston/Cape Cod" (see www.koa.com) but the closest town was Middleborough.
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Aug 27th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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Always fun to read what others do when they visit Boston. It's been ages since I've been to Bunker Hill.
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Aug 27th, 2014, 07:33 PM
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cw
 
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Thanks for your report. You covered a lot of ground.
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Aug 28th, 2014, 08:48 AM
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laurie_ann:

Nice report and interesting to hear about the KOA cottages.

We have used Alamo quite a few times thru hotwire prepaid but I didn't know that sometimes you can have an extra driver at no additional cost. Do you ask to have this added at Alamo and that is when you find out if there is an additional fee and can accept or decline?

Sandy
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Aug 28th, 2014, 03:04 PM
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For Alamo yes it was a choice at the counter. Have an additional driver or not. In my experience with "regular" rates at most US rental car companies provide that if you are married there is no extra charge. But using Alamo prepaid rate 4 times this year 3 times they charged (Minneapolis and Boston) and one time not (Kansas City). The person at the counter couldn't explain the difference. I don't know that I have otherwise used Alamo except through Hotwire prepaid.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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Interesting to read your report...as one fairly new to Boston area. Lots of interesting history. We've covered the same areas from time to time, including hosting visitors. Yes, even including lunch with beer at Warren's Tavern. Was there again recently with a group in retracing the battle at Bunker Hill. My ancestor George Bunker bought the land including the hill but of course the battle was actually at Breed's Hill.

KOA cottages? That's new to me also. We used to stay in KOA campgrounds for many years in our trips.
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Oct 4th, 2017, 11:01 AM
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book a trip to mexico @ $799/per person with [email protected]
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Oct 4th, 2017, 04:34 PM
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Enjoyed your trip report. Daily Catch in the North End is tiny but excellent, fine place for Southern Italian style seafood. Have also enjoyed the Trident Bookstore Cafe in past. Glad you had a good experience at Warren Tavern -- very atmospheric spot, though it sounds like you had better food than I did when I tried them.
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Nov 27th, 2017, 03:32 AM
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For anyone still reading this report and looking for recommendations, try Free Tours by Foot. They actually exist in several cities. They are great fun and very good. The guides are excellent, remarkable since you only tip if you want to at the end of the tour. I have taken them at many locations around the world. In Boston I took the Beacin Hill Crime tour which was given at 6:00 on a Saturday night. Lots of interesting city history, of course highlights crime stories in Boston and afterward took in dinner at the North End. Not good for little children but great with teenagers as well as all adults.
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