Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Boston for an afternoon and one night, plan do-able?

Boston for an afternoon and one night, plan do-able?

Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 02:03 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,135
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Boston for an afternoon and one night, plan do-able?

After much research and great advice here we are going to catch a train out of New York, after our 5 nights, to Boston before beginning the New England driving leg of our holiday. Departing NYC Oct 6.

We were thinking of getting an ealy train from Penn Station(6.20am or 8am) arriving into Boston 10am or 11.30am. What will the scenery be like for the 3.5hour train ride?

I will probably priceline a hotel in the Backbay area, then drop our bags and do the trolley tour to get an over view (it says on the website its a full hour if we stay on for a full loop) getting off if we get the urge. Do you think we could also walk some/all of the Freedom trail all in that afternoon and then have dinner at the Cheers bar (DH a fan)?

I know it sounds rushed, but seems silly to not have a bit of a look around while there and we are pretty good at seeing a lot in one day. If you think of another way to do it please let me know. We will be picking up our hire car the next morning and starting our driving holiday. Salem will be our first stop, mapquest says its only about 1/2 an hour. But I figure by the time we get our car, navigate out of Boston and maybe stop along the way, it may be a good stop for lunch? What do you think?

We may have one more night and maybe a morning at the end before we catch our train back to NYC on the 14th. (flight our of JFK 2pm Oct 15th)

Thanks as always
aussiedreamer is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 02:04 AM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,135
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
oops meant to ask, is there any benefit in purchasing Amtrak tickets before we go or just buy them while we are in NYC?
ta
aussiedreamer is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 02:32 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,818
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Considering your timeframe, this seems like a good plan. I would really try to drag yourself out of bed in NYC and catch the earlier train - it is comfortable and you can always nap on the train. The scenery is not much to brag about - some of it is OK, you pass thru the worst parts of several cities, but if I had never been to this part of the US I think I would find it interesting.

Buy tickets while in NYC. It is a weekend and except for holiday weekends a less crowded time on Amtrak.

Book a cancellable non-Priceline hotel for your Boston night and then try Priceline. Early fall weekends tend to be expensive and heavily booked - so you don't want to get stuck. Prices may be higher than you expect. Just remember to cancel the booked hotel if you get a Priceline deal (I forgot once and was really angry to have to pay for both)

The trolley hop on/hop off thing will get you to drive by some of the same things you would see on the Freedom Trail - so do a little research on the route and you may decide to hop on and off and see some things. You could do Cheers for lunch since it is quite near a trolley stop - or have lunch there before you board. Just check when the trolley stops running for the day - it may be a better use of your time to grab something really fast and portable for lunch and do Cheers for dinner. (Don't apologize - it is still listed as one of the top stops for tourists). A fast place for lunch would be at the Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market area - everything from sit-down restaurants to food stalls where you get take-out and sit in a common area or outside.

Salem is a good stop for lunch the next day. It will take more than a half hour to get there. Try to find some time there to see Peabody Essex Museum and not just all the witch stuff.

Not sure the extent of your driving trip, but you might consider renting or even buying a GPS navigation thing. It might be less expensive to actually buy one since I just got one for my daughter for $125 - and they usually charge about $15/day to rent. Not essential if you have a good map and can check mapquest along the way - but if you can afford it one thing it does is give you a little freedom to wander off the plotted roadways with no worry of finding your way back. People in New England seem to have a regional difficulty in giving good directions - they tend to reference trees, big rocks, and businesses that have changed names 6 times since the reference name the direction-giver cites.

Have a good trip - happy to answer anymore questions.
gail is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 02:48 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,905
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your plan sounds good. Agree, try to get up for the earlier train and do look out the window from New London, CT to Westerly, RI as the tracks are very close to the shore there and the views of Fisher"s Island sound are pretty. It will probably take a bit longer to get to Salem unless you are very lucky with traffic. Do be aware that in Boston there are many one way streets and not many that are straight from one place to the next, so if you don't have a GPS, google maps or map quest the routes you will need and be flexible in case traffic gets hairy and you need to find an alternate.
emalloy is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 03:46 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 27,589
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When you are in Salem, a great local place to eat is Red's (I think that's the name). It's within walking distance of the Peabody Museum. It's crowded, casual, and quick service with an extensive menu. Sort of like a diner. Reasonably priced.
dfrostnh is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 05:00 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,050
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
gail has given you excellent advice. You can't do the whole Freedom Trail but review their site and pick part of it.

Be sure to compare prices and schedules for Amtrak's Acela trains vs regular Regional ones. The Acela cost a lot more, for a time savings that's not really significant. Also, you can take a bus for a fraction of the cost of either train.

This is a very competitive route, with several bus companies offering new buses with WiFi, etc. Some of them (Bolt and Megabus) even offer discounted prices of $1 if you purchase far enough in advance.
Anonymous is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 05:20 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,818
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was not suggesting you use GPS to drive around Boston - and sounds like you are picking up car on your way out of town.

Bolt and Megabus are reasonable options. I would avoid what are known as the "Chinatown Bus" - Fung Wah is one of them. While they are cheap and many have taken uneventful rides on them between NYC and Boston, they seem to be in the news way too much for overtired, underqualified drivers and undermaintained busses - or just weird breakdowns, fires and accidents.
gail is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 05:39 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,194
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd reconsider having dinner at the Cheer's bar. Both the original and the one in Faneuil Hall are so touristy and mediocre. There are so many great restaurants in Boston, I'd recommend having dinner in the North End, Boston's Little Italy. You can pop into the original and have a drink or something, it's right off of the Freedom Trail.
wyatt92 is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 05:51 AM
  #9  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,813
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm a huge fan of the bus between NYC & Boston, but with your tight itinerary, I'd suggest you go with the Acela which will get you to Boston as fast as possible.

You can wait until you arrive in NYC to buy the Amtrak ticket, but I think it's the same price if you buy online, which will save you time from standing in line at the station. Don't wait until the morning of your train to buy them - I've seen really long lines at the Amtrak ticket window and you may miss your train!!!

I second the suggestion of getting lunch at Faneuil Hall - something for everyone. If you want really good lobster roll for lunch, I highly recommend Neptune Oyster in the North End. Not cheap but really good.
http://www.neptuneoyster.com/

I haven't been to Cheers for over a decade now. I don't know how the food is there but I can't imagine it being that great. One suggestion is to go and grab a beer, but go elsewhere for dinner. I'm pretty sure there are plenty of places in Boston with far superior food than Cheers.

I also second (or third) the suggestion of visiting Peabody-Essex Museum while in Salem. Even if you don't have time to see its (mostly) Maritime exhibits, you should go visit the Chinese House - very, very unique outside of China.

I've taken my parents there to visit the Chinese house. They have traveled in China extensively, and even they enjoyed the visit at PEM.
http://pem.org/yinyutang/
yk is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 06:17 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,125
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm not sure if anybody said it, but you should sit on the right side of the train from NY-Boston. That puts you on the shore side, which has the superior views.
china_cat is offline  
Old Apr 23rd, 2009, 02:00 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,135
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
WOH I can't tell you how great you all are. I was sure I was 'gonna be slammed.............. glad you all 'get' it. Just trying to take advantage of a short time in Boston. All of your suggestions are fantastic.

Re; GPS... we have a Navman and as we did for Europe last year we will need to buy the US map. DH has suggested that it may just be more economical to buy one on arrival, it will already have the map and we could always do with a second one. (mine can always be found in DD's car )

I did consider the bus but we quite like trains, seem to be more comfortable and thanks we will try for the right side.

Thanks also for your great Salem ideas. Just to push my luck re, great advice, we will have 4 nights once leaving Boston to get to Stowe (where I have booked the Green Mt Inn for the Columbus Day wk end). Where are your suggestions for lovely scenic towns along the way to stay? Maybe 2 nights in a couple of places. I had thought of Kennebunkport for the first two?

Also have to say a huge thanks for the Lobster Roll suggestion. My mouth is watering at the thought of it.......

Thank you all so much
aussiedreamer is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2009, 03:48 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
GO TO SALTS! http://www.beantownbite.com just did a review, and it sounds amazing. They have terrific food, although you will probably need a cab to get there... $15-20? Check out Burlington if you haven't been there, very fun city.
Jasquare is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2009, 04:49 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,050
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Salts is a few minutes' walk from the Central Square stop on the subway's Red Line. LOL at the notion of Burlington being fun or city.
Anonymous is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2009, 04:20 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,715
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are some discounts you can get on the train ticket.

"If you're heading from anywhere in the Northeast to any city in Massachusetts, make a reservation by phone (not online!) and ask for discount code V221. That will give you 20% off each ticket, though Dec. 15."

http://www.frommers.com/articles/595...xzz0ELoweLTA&B
mclaurie is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2009, 09:28 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,135
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Woh, thanks mclaurie. so we can book on arrival into NYC and save a few dollars. With the way our $ is at the moment, every little bit helps.
aussiedreamer is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
magnumholmes
United States
60
Jan 5th, 2008 04:45 PM
nicenancy
United States
13
Jul 30th, 2007 01:42 PM
ckrut
United States
16
May 1st, 2007 09:54 AM
WendyWhy
United States
11
Jan 2nd, 2004 05:12 PM
Coyote
United States
6
Mar 18th, 2003 08:05 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:45 AM.