Boston and Cape Cod

Nov 14th, 2009, 01:50 PM
  #1  
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Boston and Cape Cod

I plan on taking a 10 day vacation next summer. I live in Maryland, so 2 of the days will be staying somewhere in route. My question is should I try and see Boston or should I just stick to the sites on Cape Cod? Is there anything to see in Boston? I know its very historical, but is there anything that shouldn't be missed out on? There Minute Man National Historic Site, but thats out of the way. Or should i focus on Cape Cod? What about Plymouth, Massachusetts?
asdaven is offline  
Nov 14th, 2009, 02:35 PM
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To me, the "sights" on the Cape are the beaches. So do you want a weeklong beach vacation or do you want to also see a city? Boston has a million things to do, obviously.
wyatt92 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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Ages/numbers of travelers? And, as above - do you want a city or beach vacation. There is really not much to "see" on Cape Cod - plenty of interesting half day things to do between resting in a hammock or going to the beach. Since Maryland area has plenty of beaches, not sure if that is purpose of your visit or something else.

If you want to rent a cottage, these are almost always weekly Sat-Sat, not leaving you time for Boston. Of course, you could do hotel, etc. I might suggest splitting half and half Boston and the Cape, depending on your interests. (There is almost no worse vacation than Cape Cod in the rain - bumper to bumper traffic with people trying to find something to do).
gail is offline  
Nov 14th, 2009, 04:05 PM
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The Cape Cod National Seashore sounds of interest at the Cape. And the lighthouses and towns. I usually stay away from cities unless there is a famous site or something important to see. Like Washington DC or New York City. Is there anything in Boston that should not be missed or is it more a shopping/dining city?
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Nov 14th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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Cape Cod National Seashore is a beach - beautiful, but a beach. Lighthouses are nice. Small towns can be picturesque and have antique shops, art galleries and that sort of thing.

I still don't get it about "is there anything to see in Boston". It is one of the most historic cities in the US of the Revolutionary War era - with historic buildings, churches - many along the Freedom Trail. Several credible museums. JFK Museum and Library.

It is not a dining or shopping city - far better cities for that, although restaurants have improved greatly over the 3 decades I have spent here.
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Nov 14th, 2009, 11:07 PM
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yk
 
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Is there anything in Boston that should not be missed or is it more a shopping/dining city?

A-hem... Have you ever heard of the Freedom Trail?
http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/

Old State House, Old North Church, Fanueil Hall, Bunker Hill... just to name a few.
yk is offline  
Nov 15th, 2009, 03:21 AM
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There is plenty to do in Boston. I personally feel the restaurants are wonderful (North End and some great seafood houses) and shopping isn't bad. There are plenty of historical things to see and do - it is a wonderful walking city. It is not far at all from the Cape so I can't imagine you not going. There is some beautiful architecture as well. I grew up on the Cape and have wonderful memories of it. Again as previous people wrote, quaint little towns, gift shops, cozy places to relax by the water. There are plenty of day trips and half day trips. Sandwich, Plymouth, Hyannis, Falmouth - all have something special to offer. Enjoy it - hope you like seafood!
leeam is offline  
Nov 15th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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Depending on your interests, you could easily spend 4-5 days in Boston/Cambridge seeing the sights and such and keep yourself plenty occupied.
bachslunch is offline  
Nov 15th, 2009, 09:58 AM
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Plymouth between the Cape and Boston could easily be done as a day trip from the Cape. The recreation of the earliest settlement is quite interesting. It is set in 1627, seven years after the landing and when things are beginning to be established. The characters who portray actual people who lived there in 1627 speak with the accents and vocabulary of the people they portray. If questioned, they answer as if they lived in 1627. (For instance if you ask about flying to another part of the country, they will lookat you as if you are nuts.)

In Boston there are the Museum of Fine Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, the Museum of Science, the replica of the Beaver (where the Boston tea party was held), and, as already mentioned, the Freedom Trail. Just over the line is Old Ironsides. Cambridge, home of MIT and Harvard, has some interesting walks. Walk along the Common ro the Charles River.

As for the Cape being just beaches and lighthouses, well... there is lots of interesting history. Visit the Sandwich Glass Museum. Take the scenic rail ride along th canal and through the marshes. Katherine Lee Bates's home is in Falmouth. Thornoton Burgess's birthplace and boyhood home is in Sandwich. Go to some summer theater in the playhouses. Go on a whale watch. Visit some of the nature reserves and education centers. (Greenbrier in East Sandwich or natural History Museum in Brewster. These two places also put on wonderful special programs--guided nature walks, speakers in the evenings, programs for children, kayak/canoe trips, etc.)
At Greenbrier see jam being made by suncooking the fruit. Visit craft shops and artist galleries. Hike or bike along the roads beside the canal with only pedestrians or bikers (no motorized vehicles allowed).
irishface is offline  
Nov 15th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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Boston has dozens of things that should not be missed - if you have any interest in history, culture, architecture etc. To me, IMHO, much more interesting than Cap Cod. but I find beaches boring after about 2 days and love cities.

Look at Boston in destinations above - and you can decide what in Boston is not to be missed for you.
nytraveler is offline  
Nov 15th, 2009, 10:54 AM
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Think you might want to do a little more homework re: Boston, Cape Cod, and distances in between - doesn't sound like you have a great idea of what's there. Boston is a fantastic city, not just for history but sports, dining (if you don't think so, you haven't been there lately), arts (museums and contemporary galleries), music, and just puttering... harbor cruises, wander around Beacon Hill, Harvard Sq., and so on and so on. Cape Cod is lovely, too, and I'd love to have 7 or 10 or 30 days there, but for completely different reasons - natural environment, funky Provincetown, spectacular lighthouses, and for barfing-good-fun, whale-watching. ;-)
Cyanna is offline  
Nov 15th, 2009, 02:02 PM
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If you are on the Cape, you can take the ferry from Provincetown and use the T and your feet to see the sights in Boston. This will avoid spending time in traffic and allow you to see the"important" things in the city that the other posters have mentioned.
emalloy is online now  
Nov 15th, 2009, 02:34 PM
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Good advice from irishface, except for the info about the Boston Tea Party Museum. This attraction was destroyed by a lightning strike fire in 2001, then burned again in 2007. There's an article about at least one of the ship's replicas being renovated in Gloucester at present. The attraction's website insists it will reopen in summer 2010. We'll see if that actually happens. Links follow:

http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/overview.asp

http://www.boston.com/news/local/mas...es_fire_again/

http://www.weeklydig.com/blogs/reisc...-boat-not-fire
bachslunch is offline  
Nov 15th, 2009, 04:01 PM
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Gail, let me get this straight, you've lived in Boston for 30 years and haven't found any of the wonderful places to eat or shop? Come on!
PamEwing is offline  
Nov 15th, 2009, 04:50 PM
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You have misunderstood - in the OP second poast s/he inquired as to whether Boston was merely a shopping/dining city - seemed to me asking if that was what was the city's specialty. I do not think of Boston as a destination shopping city - but a destination history, sight seeing city. My comment was on what was the city's strengths, not that there was no place to shop or eat. (And I can certainly hold my own with either activity)
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Nov 16th, 2009, 07:35 AM
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Whoa - asdaven you seem to have fired up the Bostonphiles! Now you know why Red Sox fans are reputed to be so passionate (to put it politely)! So, I am a Cape resident and from your posts you seem to be committed to spending most of your time here on the Cape, and aren't really a city person. A day trip to Boston would fun in my opinion - plan on having dinner up there so as to avoid rush hour - which seems to last from 3 to 8 some nights! The freedom trail is very interesting if you are a history buff, which it seems like you might be. There are guided tours - some done in period character - as well. If you like aquariums I love the New England Aquarium on the harbor - and I believe they just finished a major renovation. The museums are great - but not up to NY/ DC standards, though the Isabella Gardner is quite pretty. We go to Boston for the day a lot - for a show or a museum, etc. and it's a very doable day trip, you won't see everything it has to offer of course, but you can get a great taste of the city as Boston itself is rather small. I like the idea of taking the ferry from Ptown too - avoid the car all together - but that depends where you are staying on the Cape. If you have any other questions - espcially about the Cape - I'll try to keep an eye on this topic...
ktmc is offline  
Nov 16th, 2009, 08:05 AM
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"The museums are great - but not up to NY/ DC standards" -- 1. OP isn't going to NY or DC; 2. You can put MFA's collection with NY, DC, and Chicago's comparable museum offerings any time - for quality if not quantity. And yes, the Gardner is a gem.

Unfortunately, some of the best of Boston isn't IN Boston but in Cambridge, the suburbs (Lexington, Walden, Wayside Inn, e.g.), or the North Shore.

But if asdaven wants a taste-of-Boston only, the best approach is to think neighborhoods more than destinations. What's your preference, asdaven? Want a flavor of traditional Boston, landmark-history Boston, college-Boston, cultural-Boston? What?
Cyanna is offline  
Nov 16th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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Whoa there cyanna, I mentioned NY/DC because of asdaven's first post - and the MFA is not on the same level as the Met or the Smithsonian. It is a very nice museum with great exhibits, but not a big draw for a first timer to Boston imho. If someone is visiting a city for the first time and for a limited time frame I believe they should try to see things unique to that city. The Aquarium, the historic sights of the Freedom Trail, the architecture, the harbor are all part of what make Boston unique. I certainly did not mean to offend, but it seemed OP wanted to do a short/ day trip and the advice I gave was geared towards that.
ktmc is offline  
Nov 16th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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Please, ktmc, speak for yourself. If you're an art history person, you know very well how much that's valuable is in the MFA, particularly the ancient pieces and the American artifacts, and you do indeed head directly for it when you arrive in that city. Even for non-majors who just like museums, it would be silly to bypass it just because you've been to the Met and the National Gallery. And also let me mention the nice cafe/gift shop, too (which is one of the reasons a lot of us "put up with" second-rate museums).

But perhaps for asdaven, probably it wouldn't be a "big draw," although the first post doesn't necessarily indicate that asdaven is not interested in art.

Re: the Aquarium? Care to compare it to some others around the country, say, Baltimore? Monterey? As with the MFA, not a pertinent exercise if OP isn't going to Baltimore or Monterey.

Anyway, it's not a matter of intending to offend anyone, but when you get comparative-derogatory, you open yourself up to rebuttal. IMO, part of Boston's appeal is its proximity to the Cape (and Cape Ann); but it's okay with me if you want to think of it the other way around. And I don't feel compelled to say the Cape isn't as big or have as good beaches as the Outer Banks or Florida - not a relevant comment there, either. OP isn't going there.
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Nov 16th, 2009, 01:47 PM
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Hi- Yes, my biggest interest in visiting Boston would be the landmarks and the history. In fact my three main interests in visiting places is landmarks, history, and nature. Nature would be Cape Cod. And a museum if its something special like the Smithsonian or a couple of the Museums in NYC. Not really interested in art. Science and History Museums are more my cup of tea.
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