Boston and surrounding area

May 21st, 2013, 06:25 PM
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Join Date: May 2013
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Boston and surrounding area

We're a family of 4 with 2 teenagers, planning to spend a week in the Boston area and wanting to spend a little time in as many states as possible. I've come up with this linearity and I'm wondering opinions as to whether this sounds do-able and if it's a good plan for a first time trip to the NE.

Fly into BOS
Spend 2 full days in Boston area (Freedom Trail for sure, possibly North End and Beacon Hill and maybe Concord - possibly bike tour MinuteMan National Park...anyone done one of these tours?). Stay in Cambridge?
Rent car and drive to Portland - 2 nights, 1 full day (Lighthouses, eat lobster, and visit Old Orchard beach?)
Drive to Newport, RI (stopping in Portsmouth, NH) - 2 nights, 1 full day
Fly out of PVD

Anything we need to be sure to see/do? Any pointers on where to stay?
We want to take in some of the history, plus a beach and/or amusement park, and definitely eat some good food. Thanks!
bludaizy is offline  
May 21st, 2013, 10:52 PM
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I think the kids will be bored in Newport, but you can give them a day at the beach, take a boat ride, etc. the rest of the trip is fine, though there is a bit of backtracking. Think about this:

Think Boston, Portland, then Lexington and Concord on the way to Newport (they are right off the highway) instead of Portsmouth. I love Portsmouth but it is not different enough from Portland. And you will want two full days in Boston and Cambridge.
Ackislander is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 01:58 AM
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I have to reluctantly agree with Ackislander that you should probably skip Portsmouth unless there is something you really want to do there. Make sure to try the whoopie pies in Portland and french fries at Duckfat. Duckfat is within walking distance of the whoopie pie bakery.

Water Country on Rt 1 south of Portsmouth might be an option instead of a beach. We stayed in a condo in Wells for our Portland visit but it's really too far from Portland although you would be closer to the beaches in Wells/Ogunquit area which lack the Old Orchard amusement area. The condo area was sort of sterile but good for 4. Keep in mind that southern Maine - Portland south, is a lot more built up than the mid-coast area.
dfrostnh is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 01:59 AM
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I forgot, if you want history in Boston, I think you should visit the Kennedy Library. North End and Chinatown are fascinating. All the neighborhoods area.
dfrostnh is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 02:49 AM
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If you happen to get either a rainy day or blistering hot when you are in Boston, take the kids to the Museum of Science. Lots of interesting things to see, don't miss the static electricity show there, it is awesome.
emalloy is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 03:38 AM
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Portland: Stay near the water. The farther west you go, the less interesting the city becomes.

Newport: One poster says the kids will bored there. I'm not sure why Newport would be any more "boring" to teens than Portland. I suppose it depends on the kids involved, but ours found the mansion tours to be interesting. I think kids, like the rest of us, are somewhat fascinated by that kind of wealth and lifestyle. Anyway, you can fill a day there, which is the amount of time you have planned.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 06:40 AM
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Thanks for all the replies! These are great suggestions. I was hoping to not rent a vehicle until after our first 2 days in Boston, so I was trying to find someplace to stay that we could shuttle to from the airport. Is there a good area to consider that might not be as pricey as the Cambridge area?

I like the idea of doing Concord on the way back down. Looks like it's about a 2 hour drive. I think the bike tours look interesting. We'll be going in July, so I don't know which one would be best to do. I think the kids would enjoy that more than just doing a driving tour of some kind. Would it be feasible to leave Portland, drive to Concord for the tour, then drive to Plymouth, MA to see the Mayflower II?

We can fly back out of BOS, but I was trying to get a 4th state in on our trip. Is there another state we could fit in somewhere that would have something interesting to do/see?

Adding whoopie pies, Duckfat, and the Kennedy Library to our list. Thanks for all the great suggestions!
bludaizy is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 06:48 AM
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I was also considering the "Train to Maine" as an option, but I was afraid that would limit our options too much. Thoughts?
bludaizy is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 07:51 AM
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WHY were you planning to stay in Cambridge? Prices in Cambridge are pretty much the same as prices in Boston, so I think you'd be better off staying downtown. You can visit Harvard/Cambridge via the Red Line easily if you have time.

My young adult daughter enjoyed the mansions (Rose Hall) in Newport, as well as the drive around the coastal areas.
sf7307 is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 08:24 AM
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While in Newport (and my teenagers love Newport) make sure you do the Cliff Walk. Its a mile or so walk along the water and behind the mansions. Free and very pretty. You can also do a haunted tour of Fort Adams.

If your kids are thinking of going to college in the area, maybe they will want to check out Brown in Providence, Salve Regina in Newport and of course, all the great schools in Boston area.
bennnie is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 09:50 AM
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"WHY were you planning to stay in Cambridge?"
No reason in particular. Just trying to find an area to stay in that wasn't too far from the airport. I'll check out some downtown hotels.

The Cliff Walk sounds like a great option if we do Newport. I'll check out the haunted tour as well.
bludaizy is offline  
May 22nd, 2013, 08:57 PM
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You are short changing Boston; it needs more time.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
May 23rd, 2013, 09:35 AM
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Much as I dislike Boston as a place to live (that's an essay for another time), it IS a great place to visit and I think HappyT is correct. Would consider ditching Newport altogether. Why tick states off a list just to end up regretting not seeing something you or the hobbits would really like to see? Your list for Boston and its immediate surroundings (Cambridge, etc) will only grow over time, not shrink.
BigRuss is offline  
May 23rd, 2013, 09:52 AM
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This is what they want to do.
sf7307 is offline  
May 28th, 2013, 03:30 AM
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I would skip Newport in a heart beat. With how much there is to see and do in Boston, why bother? I live in MA and travelled the new england states extensively with my kids when they were younger and without, and Newport is not someplace that in my opinion should fit in on a quick trip like yours with how much there is to see and do in the Boston area. If you do go, the chances you will get a parking ticket at a legitimate parking meter is very likely so be aware.

Do you want to primarily sightsee and see things or have adventures, unique experiences? JFK library, tour Fenway Park, Quincy Market and the street performers, walk the streets of the North End, Cambridge/Harvard Square go to (Mr. Bartley Burgers), duck tour, get out on the water, maybe the Boston Harbor where the kids would love the Codzilla tour;, rent bike's through the city's extensive "Hubway" system; it's a fantastic and fun way to get around and see the city.

Do not go to Old Orchard beach! If you are here in beach weather take a day drip to Crane Beach on the north shore in Ipswich and have amazing seafood for lunch or dinner in Ipswich or Essex.
Juldie is offline  
May 28th, 2013, 07:36 AM
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If you stop off in Concord when you leave you should drive through Minuteman Park and stop at the visitor's center. It's very worthwhile. Be sure to watch the short film. It'll correct some myths that might be floating around in your head about the start of the Revolutionary War. You can see the whole visitor's center in an hour or even less if you're pressed for time. Then it's an easy mile and a half drive down the same street to get to I-95 so it's not out of the way at all. Just try to avoid driving on I-95/Rt. 128 from about 3-7 during the week. There's some interstate construction and traffic can get backed up even worse than usual during commuting hours.
sharona is offline  
May 29th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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This is all great info to take in. Any other suggestions on what to do in Rhode Island (or someplace nearby) if not going to Newport? We're flying out of Providence and that's where our hotel will be, but we have a day to spend somewhere around there.

I really would like to go to Concord. Right now it's still not in our schedule but I'm still working on finalizing some plans to see if we can work it in.
bludaizy is offline  
May 29th, 2013, 11:01 AM
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We're coming in July by the way. Our current plans are:
Fly into BOS. Staying in Copley Square area.
Sat/Sun: Boston
Mon: Rent car, breakfast at Friendly Toast (possibly), Water Country for the day, then drive up to Portland, ME
Tuesday: See lighthouses and a beach to hang out on (York? Crescent?), eat lobster, duckfat fries
Wednesday: Drive to Plymouth (Mayflower II, Plimouth Plantation
Drive to Providence, dinner at Dave and Busters (kids have wanted to go since their cousins told them about it and we don't have one anywhere around us)
Thursday: Day in Rhode Island (undecided). Possibly Newport
Friday: Fly home
bludaizy is offline  
May 29th, 2013, 02:36 PM
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I think Newport would be fun for that extra day.

Or a day trip by ferry to Block Island, for more bike rides and beaches.

Or you are close enough to tick Connecticut off your list: consider Mystic Seaport, and/or the very awesome Mashantucket Pequot Museum.
capxxx is offline  
May 31st, 2013, 10:32 AM
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I mentioned to the family that we might try to make it to Connecticut as well but didn't have any ideas on what to do. Thanks for the suggestions! I'll check them out and see if any of that is doable.

If not, I'll see about Block Island. Right now we ruled out the bike rides in Concord, so that might be fun to do a bike rental there.
bludaizy is offline  

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