Boston 2011

Old Jul 10th, 2010, 11:58 AM
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Boston 2011

We will be in Cambridge/Boston May 2011 for HLS graduation and need advice on lodging for the budget conscious. We're traveling from St Louis and Houston and have already purchased our airline tickets. We do not need to stay on the Charles River because that appears to be quite costly. This will also encompass seeing sites in Boston and surrounding areas. We're interested in the Freedom Trail, Cape Code Cruise, Brookline, Tea Party / Paul Revere Area, John Quincy Adams, Norman Rockwell Museum. We're in our 50s and 60s - so 2 double beds are needed (no sofa sleeper wanted). Should we stay outside of Boston and drive in to save the bucks for sight-seeing? Our stay will be from May 21 and leave on May 28th 2011. Although we may not get tickets to our nephew's graduation ceremony - is it televised somewhere in Cambridge or Boston? We've checked out a couple "guest houses" and seems that the rooms do not have 2 double beds. Is that customary? Any help is appreciated
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Old Jul 10th, 2010, 01:05 PM
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Just so you realize, the Norman Rockwell Museum is almost a 3 hour drive from Boston without traffic - not exactly a surrounding area.

I don't think you will find a guest house with 2 double beds. Better off looking at a Suite type hotel. Prices will be high near there though
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Old Jul 10th, 2010, 05:52 PM
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I think you should contact the Law School, perhaps consulting the website first, to find about any "overflow" arrangements for allowing guests w/o actual tickets to view the ceremony. Some places have the custom of showing it on closed circuit TV in an adjacent bldg/area.
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Old Jul 10th, 2010, 06:57 PM
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I don't know much about Boston, but we are visiting the Harvard Med School this August, staying in Brookline. We got a very good price for a suite, $189, at the Courtyard by Marriott in Brookline. I called them directly and received an HMS special rate. They would probably do the same for HLS:

Courtyard Boston Brookline
40 Webster Street, Coolidge Corner,
Brookline, Massachusetts 02446 USA
Phone: 1-617-734-1393 Fax: 1-617-734-1392
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Old Jul 10th, 2010, 07:00 PM
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Don't stay outside of the city. YOu'll end up wasting lots of time commuting in.

I know there are many small B&Bs in cambridge. I think MA has a MA B&B website, and it should list a whole bunch of B&Bs in Cambridge. They should be more affordable than hotels, without the bells & whistles offered by hotels. OTOH, with individual owners, you may be able to negotiate a lower rate since you're staying for the entire week.

I would also look into John Jeffries Guest House. I believe some of their rooms have kitchenettes.

I can't make any specific recommendations, but you can also research on vrbo or an apt rental for the week. With apt rental, you can fix some of your meals and save on dining out.

As for sightseeing, Boston is not that expensive, IMO. Most of the Freedom Trail sites are free. Here is a money-saving tip thread i started last year:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...rroundings.cfm
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Old Jul 10th, 2010, 07:36 PM
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this past weekend I stayed at the Kendall Hotel in Cambridge, near the MIT campus, and it may fit your needs. Its a small historic hotel, the rooms are charming, and very clean. They do have rooms with 2 doubles. It is just steps from the Kendall T stop, which makes it an easy hop on the red line to get to Harvard or downtown Boston. There are some nice restaurants in the area.

I often find b&b's and guest houses do not have rooms with 2 beds. I think it is because the rooms tend to be small.
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Old Jul 10th, 2010, 07:57 PM
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hlsgrad_2011: I've never stayed in a guest house or a B&B in Massachusetts. However, I did live a block away from HLS for several years, and I also graduated from Harvard, once upon a time (although I graduated from the Medical School, not the Law School).

In my day, at least, Harvard had a huge graduation ceremony in Harvard Yard, for the graduates of all of the various schools (college, Law, Medical, Business, Education, Divinity, etc) all together. After that, HMS then had a separate ceremony, just for the medical and dental graduates, over in their courtyard. I would assume that HLS will also have a separate ceremony in the law school. Tickets for the huge ceremony in Harvard Yard were pretty hard to come by. I think I was issued only two of them. But the HMS ceremony was unrestricted, and I was able to bring as many family members as I wanted. If you're unable to go to the Harvard Yard event, I'm sure it's televised somewhere, although frankly it probably won't be that interesting. But regardless, I'm sure you'll be able to go to the separate HLS event. And fortunately for you, HLS, unlike HMS, is just a short walk from Harvard Yard.

I would echo yk's recommendation not to stay outside of the city and spend a lot of time commuting in. Especially during graduation season, and especially trying to get into Cambridge during Harvard graduation.

I would not recommend the Courtyard in Brookline. It's pretty far away from Harvard Yard, and it's not on the same T (subway) line. The T, by the way, is pretty easy to figure out, and it's much cleaner and less scary than, say, New York's subways.

There's one rather large hotel that's extremely close to HLS, without being right in the heart of Harvard Square: The Sheraton Commander. http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sherat...propertyID=607
Rooms start at $219, which may be above your budget. There's probably a Harvard or AAA discount. I have stayed there. It's nice.

There are a lot of other hotels in the vicinity of Harvard Square, at a wide range of price levels, and you might want to look at their rates before you discount them because of their price. The Charles Hotel is the famous one, and it's very expensive, but there are less expensive ones.

If you are interested in a B&B-type place that's not in Harvard Square, here's one that I've passed that's very close to the law school, and where rooms are only $129: http://maryprentissinn.com/

If you don't want to stay in Cambridge, but you're interested in sightseeing in Boston, you might want to stay closer to the center of town, but still close to the Red Line, so that you can get to Harvard Square on the T, without fighting traffic. John Jeffries house, mentioned above, might fit the bill perfectly. http://www.johnjeffrieshouse.com/ Rooms start at $108, and it's basically across the street from the Charles/MGH T station, which is on the red line. It's right on the edge of the Beacon Hill neighborhood, which is very scenic and historic, although admittedly it's on the unattractive side of Beacon Hill.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 09:25 AM
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hawksbill, is the Courtyard in Brookline a nice place? Is it close enough to the med school? We will have a car.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 10:00 AM
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Peaceout, that part of Brookline is a nice area. It's near Coolidge corner, with some very nice restaurants, and not far from a Green line t stop. It is a short drive, maybe 15 minutes if the traffic is clear, from Harvard Yard (I'm not exactly sure where the Med School is, but I'm assuming somewhere in the vicinity of Harvard Square, on the Cambridge side of the river). Its not really an easy drive, however, and I don't really recommend it unless you are a comfortable city driver. There are a LOT of things which can cause traffic issues...the graduation crowds, Red Sox fans, some hunger walk or other, Mem drive being closed on Sundays, rush hour, construction, etc...Plus parking near the school on graduation day is going to be a pain. I would agree with hawksbill on trying to find something closer to the Red line if you can.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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PeaceOut,

The Medical School is in Boston. You can map it, but I'd guess it's a mile and a half from the Coolidge Corner area. You can drive because there are a lot of garages in the Longwood medical area (little on street parking), but there will be traffic congestion.

It would be quicker to take a cab or walk right down Longwood Ave. to the Medical School. You could also get there by public transportation but indirectly with at least one change and it would be time-consuming.

The Courtyard is in a great location, near small shops and good restaurants and right on the Green Line (C train). Easy ride into downtown Boston.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 10:19 AM
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PeaceOut, I don't think I've ever been in the Courtyard in Brookline. It looks nice enough from the outside. It looks like sort of a AAA three-diamond place, if you know what I mean.

Will you be visiting the med school on business, or as a prospective student, or just sightseeing? The Courtyard is located in the heart of Coolidge Corner, which is a pleasant shopping area in Brookline that is where most Harvard med students end up living. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, etc. within just a block or two of there. It's about a twenty-minute walk to HMS from there, a straight shot down Longwood Avenue. It's a nice, tree-lined walk. Many med students ride bikes. If you drive, it'll take only about five minutes. If you park in the Longwood Medical Area (where HMS is), you'll need to use one of the neighborhood's many parking garages, most of which are run by Standard Parking, a really unpleasant organization that seems to operate many of the parking garages in Boston. Whatever you do, don't park in the Longwood Galleria garage, on the right. It's the first one you see when you get close to the med school, so it's tempting. But the spaces are really tight, and when it gets filled up, you need to leave your keys with the "valet," an untrained, unskilled person who will leave your car unlocked and unattended, and may even damage it. They make it seem like this is unavoidable for the parking garages in the area, but it's not. Instead, use the Children's Hospital garage, which is on the left, and is closer to HMS. It's a much better experience. The 333 Longwood Garage, also on the left by the Harvard Coop, is also good, but it's smaller and not as well marked, so you might miss it.

Your only hotel choice that's closer to HMS would be the Best Western Inn at Longwood Galleria, which actually inside of the Longwood Medical area, pretty much right on top of the school. I stayed there when I interviewed at HMS. It was adequate, but sort of dumpy and utilitarian when I was there. It probably has since been renovated. In any case, the Longwood Medical Area wouldn't be a very cheerful place to sleep in. There's no activity there except for the many hospitals and research buildings, and it's deserted at night. Not dangerous, but soulless.

There are a few bed-and-breakfast type places in Brookline, between the med school and Coolidge Corner, but I'm not sure it makes much sense to stay in any of them. That area is nice, but totally residential, with no shops or anything, and you'd have a ten-minute walk to get to either Coolidge Corner or the med school.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 10:23 AM
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Thanks for your helpful responses! (Sorry to hi-jack your thread, hlsgrad.)

We are going in August, to help our daughter get settled, because she is starting at Harvard Med School. So we won't be there for graduation, but for their White Coat Ceremony (woo-hoo!!)

Our son will be joining us for a few nights, so the Courtyard suite is the key for our comfort.

Thanks for the tips on parking, too!
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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The Courtyard in Brookline is actually pretty conveniently located to get to all parts of town. Coolidge Corner itself has lots going on and the Coutyard is across the street from the T. If it's a nice day, it's very walkable to the Med School campus. It's also not terribly inconvenient to get to Harvard in Cambridge. Yes, you'll have to switch from the green line to the red line at Park Street, but it's really not that big of a deal.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 11:43 AM
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Oh, and big congrats to your daughter PeaceOut! What an accomplishment.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 01:38 PM
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Peaceout, I used to live near Coolidge Corner, and I go on Longwood Ave fairly frequent. I can tell you that if you can, walk it instead of driving or taxi. The traffic congestion @ Longwood Area is a nightmare during the week AT ALL HOURS. It's a total gridlock.

Apart from the Courtyard, there's also a Holiday Inn in Brookline @ St Paul. It's just one stop before you get to Coolidge Corner.

My parents have stayed at one of the B&Bs near Coolidge Corner. It's located on Longwood Ave so it's a bit closer to the Med School area.
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Old Jul 11th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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PeaceOut: For your purposes, I think the Courtyard in Coolidge Corner is the perfect choice.

And regarding parking, there's a little traffic circle in front of Vanderbilt Hall, where you can turn around, and drop off and pick up your daughter, whether or not she's actually living there. And if she is, they'll probably open up a little spot where you can park your car where you're moving her stuff in. So check that out before you deal with any of the parking garages.

There's a T stop in Coolidge Corner, but HMS is situated right between two of them, and not really close to either. If you did happen to want to travel to Harvard Square from there, your best bet would probably be the M2 shuttle: http://www.masco.org/transit/ptsM2.htm Or get in a taxi over at Children's Hospital.

Take a nice walk around the quad... in four years you'll be back there to celebrate a graduation, like hlsgrad_2011 is next year!
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Old Jul 12th, 2010, 04:14 AM
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I own a condo about a block from the Webster Street Courtyard. Naturally, I think it is a great neighborhood!

You have every sort of ethnic and American food within a five minute walk. Plus Trader Joe's!!!! if you want drinks and snacks and beer and wine to take back to the hotel.

If you want recommendations, let me know.

In addition to the Green Line (1 1/2 blocks from the hotel) to Park Street where you connect to the Red Line to Cambridge, you can take the #66 bus on Harvard Street from in front of the Bank of America on Beacon Street (2 blocks from the hotel). The #66 bust goes right to the center of Harvard Square. We used it for my wife's last HBS reunion.

For non-Harvard types (self-included): HLS (Harvard Law School) HMS (Harvard Medical School) HBS (Harvard Business School) Harvard College (undergraduates).
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Old Jul 14th, 2010, 03:53 PM
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I was at Coolidge Corner today, and I had to head to Harvard Square. There is NO NEED to take the T (Green line -> Red line). Just take Bus #66. It goes through Coolidge Corner (via Harvard Street), and the final stop is HARVARD SQUARE. The bus runs frequently, and will take you through the neighborhood of Allston.

I took the bus and it was about a 25-min ride. And it's cheaper than the T!

http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_ma...utes/?route=66
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Old Jul 14th, 2010, 05:14 PM
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there is the INN at Harvard Square. Don't know the pricing. Friends who visit me usually stay at the Meridian in Cambridgeport, it was formally the MIT university hotel,
but they get good prices on priceline or whereever they search.
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Old Jul 14th, 2010, 06:10 PM
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Thanks for your help!
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