Boston Area Commuter Rail

Jan 30th, 2011, 09:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,174
Doubletree Downtown Boston @ $159; Club Quarters @ $184; John Hancock Hotel @$146; Boston Park Plaza $160 - all on Expedia.

The $50-75 more per night would be well worth it not to stay in Dorchester. Sheraton Commander is always very expensive - but that is high for even them. 9/6 is first day of classes at Harvard - so not move-in day but maybe people are staying longer.

Check on Expedia or Travelocity and look for hotels in Back Bay, Faneuil Hall, Copley areas. The downtown area of Boston is walkably small. Waterfront/Convention area is not a good choice - sounds nice but there is not much going on there - there is a new convention center but not much else. However, it would be better than Dorchester.
gail is offline  
Jan 31st, 2011, 06:09 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,125
As someone who lives near a commuter rail station, it totally sucks for anyone who is not actually commuting! The schedule during off hours is ridiculously inconvenient and infrequent.

and the only way you can use commuter rail for a Red Sox game is if you want to stay west of the city, on the Worcester-Framingham line, and even then you may have to leave before the game ends or wait an hour after for the last train (which only goes as far as Framingham).

I agree with others that suggest trying to stay in downtown Boston or Cambridge. Let me suggest my new favorite reasonably priced hotel, the Kendall Hotel in Cambridge. Good prices, packages include parking and/or breakfast, nice safe location to walk around, and 1/2 block from the Kendall T stop on the red line. its obviously not as good as a central Boston hotel would be, but its far better than staying in the suburbs.
china_cat is offline  
Jan 31st, 2011, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Last year my sister got a room at the Sheraton Commander for ~$200, which included breakfast. That was why I was so astounded when I saw the rates. It was only for 1 night and she was a "walk-in", so to speak, so maybe she got some kind of good deal on a room that would have gone unfilled.
socialworker is offline  
Jan 31st, 2011, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 12,079
Best Western in Woburn is $90 and has a free shuttle to the Anderson Commuter Rail. Sounds like you won't be commuting for very many days so it shouldn't be too much of a hassle. Hertz, Avis and Enterprise all have offices in Woburn and all will pick you up at the hotel. With Hertz and Avis you can book one-way with return to Logan airport if you like. 7 day car rentals are usually the same price as 4 or 5 day rentals, fyi.
clarkgriswold is offline  
Jan 31st, 2011, 05:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 103
Thanks again guys. I will scratch Dorchester area off but not sure at this time what I will do. I have to revisit all the options before making a decision. Rental car locations will be important if I lodge in Boston. In circumstances such as this I usually walk, pickup the vehicle, drive back to the hotel to pickup spouse and baggage, and hit the road.

I am looking at the Doubletree Hotel Boston Downtown, 821 Washington Street and Enterprise Car Rental if they don't restrict me from going into Canada. They are nearby the hotel location, however I have not been able to determine what their rental restrictions are. The Lenox Hotel, 61 Exeter Street and the Radisson Hotel on 200 Stuart Street are also options with good reviews depending on reasonable cost rental car companies in their area. Clarkgrisold put a plug in for Woburn which is another option, getting back to my original plan.

Thanks for steering me out of a unsafe area which is the primary concern with us.
roy2moira is offline  
Jan 31st, 2011, 09:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,174
In-town car rental locations in Boston are often not open weekends and evenings - and I understand you do not want to drive in Boston. It is not that far on public transportation to Logan airport - or a cab is not that ecpensive - so that another option is to take this to hotel for your in-Boston stays, return to Logan together to pick up car - and leave to head north from there. The routes on highway to leave Logan airport do not involve actually driving on any city streets in Boston. You might need to modify your itinerary a bit and put Lexington/Concord on the end, perhaps staying in a hotel near there after your visit before heading north.
gail is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
I too thought to suggest you can always take the T from your hotel to wherever you pick up the car rental. gail's suggestion of going out to Logan for it isn't a bad idea: she mentions driving north, but it's just as easy to drive south out of the airport. In fact, the Ted Williams Tunnel makes connecting to the south shore sooo much nicer than it used to be - thank goodness the colossal Big Dig was good for at least one thing!

I still would advise to look at the other options suggested before returning to your original Woburn idea. Compared to Newton, Braintree, Cambridge or Boston proper, it's really a long commute - and on the commuter rail, to boot. However, Woburn would be a good place to stay between Lexington/Concord and Salem!
ggreen is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 08:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
As for car rentals, I found the following information under FAQs in the Customer Support/Help area of the agencies' websites:

- AVIS: With advance arrangement and consent from Avis, certain cars may be rented from the United States and driven into Canada by U.S. residents. A Canadian non-resident insurance card may be required and is available at the Avis rental location. Please call 800-230-4898 for more information.

- ENTERPRISE: Enterprise vehicles are not allowed to travel into Canada or Mexico unless:
· You have a corporate contract agreement that allows travel into these countries.
· A Branch may allow limited travel into Canada or Mexico.

- HERTZ: Any US citizen or International resident can drive a car into Canada... However, you will need to have proof of citizenship, the Hertz contract and your driver's license with you when you cross the border. For more information, click on "Reservations" on the navigation menu on the left hand side, next click on "Qualifications & Requirements". Then enter pickup location, next choose "Rental Restrictions" from the topic drop down menu.

Looks like Hertz is your best bet!
ggreen is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 12,079
Don't pick up the car at Logan, the taxes and fees are about 10% higher and there is a $10 per day fee to help tourists pay for Boston's big dig. Can really add up if you're renting for a week or two.
I take the T to Alamo/National near the aquarium rather than renting at the airport. They are open all weekend, though not later than 6pm.
clarkgriswold is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
To add to the list I wrote above:

ALAMO's site says: Rentals originating in the United States (US) can be driven throughout the United States (US) and Canada.

However, for the life of me I can't find the info on the National site! A search of their Help pages is useless...
ggreen is offline  
Feb 1st, 2011, 05:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 89
Count one more vote to stay in Boston proper and not the suburbs (and yes, Dorchester is not a safe area). If you both like to walk, and are coming all this way to see the city - why would you not stay in a town that's ideally-suited for walking? I understand that your wife had a bad experience driving in the city years ago, but you don't need to do any driving at all in town: rent the car on the way north as others have advised, and use the T which is inexpensive, convenient, and safe. Most importantly you'll avoid wasting all that time on the commuter rail that could be spent sightseeing, relaxing at a cafe, or resting. As others have mentioned, unlike the T, the commuter trains have set schedules that can get pretty sparse at times - you'll end up tied to the schedules on top of everything else. And you'll avoid being stuck in some random suburban hotel (mainly used by business travelers who are visiting the office parks and companies spread out along the highways outside the city) with very little to do or see in the evenings. Early September is a gorgeous time of year to be in Boston - it will be a different trip if you stay outside the city.

Okay, rant over. If the Lenox Hotel is still available, definitely grab it! The Back Bay is a great home base. Loads of restaurants and shopping on Newbury and Boylston streets; very close to Copley Plaza (the Boston Public Library is worth a look) and the Prudential Center where you can go up to the observatory and get a great view all around; not far from Boston Common, Beacon Hill and the Charles River Esplanade. There are several T stops right nearby which will take you down by the waterfront and North End; over to Cambridge if you want to walk around Harvard; to the JFK Library; over to the Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner museums; everywhere really!

For day trips: Plymouth in my opinion isn't worth it. If you want a good dose of history, stay in town and walk the Freedom Trail. Salem you can get to via, yes, commuter rail from North Station (Makes more sense to plan one day trip using the rail than it would going in and out of the city multiple times!) - also by ferry from Boston Harbor.

Cape Cod: Do you have a specific town in mind? Depending on how far out you want to go, the drive can be pretty lengthy - especially factoring in rush hour and weekend traffic. Even in early Sept., there will still be lots of the latter. As others have mentioned, this is probably not a day trip, unless you want to do the fast ferry to Provincetown (also from the harbor) - if you take the first one out and the last one back, you'll have the day to walk around P'town, have lunch, check out the dunes and the art galleries.

Happy planning!
rmw555 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 10:39 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 103
Hi guys & gals. This is the latest put together with lots of viable options. We will fly into Boston and take lodging at Doubletree Downtown Boston on Sep 6th for 4 nights. There is a Hertz Rent a Car outlet about 1/2 mile from the hotel which is an easy walk.

On the 10th I will pickup a vehicle in early morning, checkout of hotel, pick-up baggage & spouse and drive to Hyannis. Spend two nights in Hyannis -part of 1st day in Hyannis area and 2nd day a day trip to Nantucket Island.

On the 12th checkout and drive to Concord/Lexington to visit Minuteman National Historic Park. After visit acquire lodging somewhere between the park and Salem, MA. On the 13th visit Salem & Rockport area then continue that day onto Portland, ME. Lodging for the 12th & 13th will not be reserved as it will depend on the length of visits for those two days. We will see how it goes, might add another night, if necessary.

There were lots of excellent suggestions & advise from all of you and it was very much appreciated. You nice folks put a lot of effort into your guidance. Here's a sincere thanks to all of you.

Go Yankee's (only kidding).
roy2moira is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 10:45 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,798
So now you pull the Yankee's crap!!!!

Great plan, glad you added Rockport, and glad you are staying in town! Taking public transportation from the airport will save you some cash for other things if you are traveling lite. Portland is a great restaurant town!
Kealalani is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 10:55 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,553
IMO, that itinerary sounds great!

On your Boston-to-Cape day, you could easily be in Hyannis by noon. My one piece of advice here is to try and get outside of Hyannis for your afternoon, since it's the most commercial part of the Cape. (My two ice cream rec's are The Four Seas in Centreville, or for old-timey ambiance, sidle up to the counter at Hallet's in Yarmouthport.)

For your play-by-ear lodgings on the 12th and 13th:
- Starwood has two new hotels on the edge of Lexington really near the Minuteman Nat'l Historic Park on Route 2A. We stayed in the Element when it first opened; I'm not sure what they're going for in the common areas (trying too hard at community-building if you ask me), but the room was nice. Right across the parking lot is an Aloft, billed from what I can tell as a hotel for the "hip, younger set" - whatever that means!
- In the center of Lexington, there are a number of hotels. We once stayed in the funky older motor lodge there. Quite a trip back to the 60's in its layout and decor! Room was unmemorable but totally adequate, and you can't beat its location right in the center of town where the restaurants etc are.
- And of course you've already gotten good rec's if you want to stay farther north in Woburn.

So glad to be of help. Here's to a great trip! (Just don't joke about that Yankees stuff once you're there LOL.)
ggreen is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,458
If price is holding you back from considering more central Boston, I just got a 3.5* hotel (Boston Park Plaza) near Copley square on Priceline (name your own price) for $85. A parking lot is across the street and costs $35/day.
MFNYC is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 02:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 103
Hi Kealalani, ggreen, and MFNYC. The Doubletree is right next to an Orange Line subway station so if we get tired of walking we have that option. I have checked the distance to various points from the Doubletree and I suspect we will be walking to most places we want to visit except for the JFK Presidential Library.

I figured the Yankees comment would get a response but truthfully I was really kidding. You guys and gals have a few Bosox fans up here. We meet them and give them a jab in fun just to receive a nice comment in return. They are easy identified because they are wearing the you know what baseball cap. It's good fun up here but may not be in Massachusetts so I will keep quiet while visiting you folks.

I probably won't be able to see a game in Boston but I do, at least, want to see Fenway Park. It's one of the historic baseball parks along with Wrigley Field.

Hope the Boston Red Sox do good next season. You folks are terrific fans. I have been rooting for the Chicago Cubs so their drought would end but it doesn't look like it's going to end soon. They should have let that goat in for the game.

Anyway thanks and you guys and gals take care.
roy2moira is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2011, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,798
I am very familiar with the Doubletree area. You might request a high room or a back room if you are light sleepers as you are across from a hospital, so ambulances will be present on a bad day. Bring your walking shoes to explore all the surrounding neighborhoods! Looking forward to any future questions as your trip draws closer! And you really must see Fenway. Although I have never done the tour, it is americana at its best. A ballpark on a single block in the middle of a city.
Kealalani is offline  

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