Boston Massachusettes

Old Jun 28th, 2011, 08:03 PM
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Boston Massachusettes

On September 4, I will be leaving NYC to the Boston area in a rental car. I plan to stay for 5 days. I have the flexibility to add on more days if needed. I have not made any hotel reservations because I just realized I do not have to stay in one area as I initially thought. Thanks to the the previous threads who have shared my same dilemma.

I have just started my research of the Boston area. Thus far, I have found that the following locations are top recommendations: Freedom Trail, Duck Tour, Fenway Park for a game, JFK Museum, Paul Revere's House, College Campus'- Harvard & Cambridge, Quincy, Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Plantation, Salem, Lexington/Concord, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. I know that I may not be able to see everything, but I need some help on mapping this out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
corderoy is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2011, 01:21 AM
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Our usual visit to Boston is 2 nights/3 days and we are only able to do a small portion on your list. I would avoid Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard until after Sept 5 due to the Labor Day weekend traffic. I would choose either Boston proper or the Plimoth Plantation/Cape/MV area but not both.

For Boston, since you have a car, do the JFK Library first. It has good parking available and it's easily accessible from the hwy. Get an early start from NYC so you can do the JFK in the afternoon. Once you get to your hotel, park your car (most likely there will be a daily parking charge at the hotel) and don't get in it again until you leave Boston.

If the weather is good and it usually is in Sept, I would go to Plymouth and then to wherever you want to stay on the Cape. A trip to MV will take a full day and you will want to choose a hotel convenient to the ferry terminal. The one we went to had remote parking lots/bus shuttle so we had to plan extra travel time for that. Find a van tour of MV or take the bus around. You don't want to take your car for a short visit.

With so much to do in Boston, I'd suggest staying there the whole 5 days. BTW the very best tour we ever took in Boston was the culinary tour of Boston's North End with Michelle Topor. Great food samples and lots of history. The Duck Tour is fun but it's also a little silly.
dfrostnh is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2011, 03:28 AM
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1. Is there a reason why you are driving to Boston rather than taking the train? Parking in the city during the week will cost you +/-$40 per day, less on the weekend but not as little as half that. The train ride is interesting. Sit on the left side until New Haven, then switch to the right side for the rest of the trip for the best views.

2. You really don't need to drive for any attraction in Boston or Cambridge. I personally don't mind driving in Boston, but lots of people find it challenging, like Paris or Rome. It is certainly tougher than LA, Dallas, or Atlanta.

3. If you do have a car, the towns of Salem (Peabody-Essex Museum and historic houses), Marblehead (scenic waterfront), Gloucester (fishing industry and Cape Ann Museum), Rockport (very touristed but with good reason) and Essex (home of the fried clam, lots of antique dealers, and pleasant salt marshes) are all worth a visit of a day or two. You can get to Salem and Rockport by train (not sure about the others) but it is an area where wandering around in a car is fun.

4. I live on Nantucket and ordinarily would suggest a visit here or even the Vineyard and Cape, but Labor Day weekend is not a great time. After Labor Day is the best time of the year for all three.

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Old Jun 29th, 2011, 04:19 AM
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I agree with Ackislander, take the train or even the bus to Boston, use public transportation in the city and rent a car when you want to venture to the surrounding areas. Not only is it expensive to park in Boston, but there are several one way streets, and some that change, and drivers there have a unique view of traffic laws/signals and if you aren't aware of the local interpretations you can have trouble driving in the city. This is not to be taken as a criticism of Boston drivers, just an observation.
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Old Jun 29th, 2011, 04:46 AM
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The Red Sox are on the road after September 4 (they are at home on the 4th). That being said, you could do the Fenway Park tour.

I definitely agree with everybody about not driving to Boston. Take the train.
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Old Jun 29th, 2011, 04:53 AM
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If you're intent to drive to Boston, I would consider doing so by taking advantage of sites along the way.

If taking I95, I might suggest a stop at Mystic, Connecticut and an overnight in Newport, Rhode Island. Heading east towards Newport will position you nicely for a short drive north where you can connect with 195 around Fall River.

We took the Duck Tour recently. Yes, it is silly but it was entertaining. The driver we had was funny and it was a good way to see sights that you might not plan on visiting or for your bearings.

We took the 1 hour trip that left from the Aquarium and I thought it was a good option. Just enough to experience it, but not so long that it would become tedious.
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Old Jun 29th, 2011, 05:22 AM
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You absolutely do not want a car in Boston, as everyone else has wisely said above. And you're also getting good advice above in general.

Here's a realistic in-Boston/Cambridge itinerary that may work for you:

-one day: Freedom Trail. If you see everything along the way and explore the North End and Quincy Market, this will take the whole day.

-another day: Museums. The Gardner Museum is a wonderful small house-style art museum in the manner of the Frick in New York and can be seen in an hour or two. The Museum of Fine Arts is excellent but large, and you won't be able to see the whole thing in a day -- pick and choose those things that most interest you.

-and another day: Spend the morning at the JFK Presidential Library. Afterwards, take the Red Line subway to Cambridge to see Harvard or MIT (the latter is near the Kendall stop). My preference between the two is Harvard because nearby Harvard Square is more interesting than MIT's nearby Kendall Square, Harvard has better museum options, and Harvard very arguably has more distinguished and varied architecture. Plus the Longfellow House is a short walk away from the Harvard campus.

-yet another day: see things left over that interest you -- Fenway Park (game or tour), Christian Science Center Church and Mapparium, Duck Tour, Aquarium, Museum of Science, Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, historic houses like the Gibson or Otis or Nichols. You'll find that the attractions in Boston and Cambridge are easily reached using public transportation.

The day trip suggestions you are getting are good ones. Note that Salem, Gloucester, Rockport, Plymouth, Newburyport, Ipswich, Concord, and Lowell can be reached via commuter rail, Quincy can be reached via the Red Line subway, Lexington can be reached by a bus that leaves from the Alewife stop, and Marblehead can be reached via a bus that leaves from the Haymarket stop. Essex can be reached on summer weekends only via a special shuttle bus that originates from the Ipswich commuter rail station -- otherwise, a car is needed here.

Will second Mystic and Newport as good on-the-way options.
bachslunch is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2011, 08:26 PM
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I must thank you all for your suggestions and for taking the time of your busy schedules to reply to my request. They are very much appreciated. I will have to go back and re-read the suggestions because I am a bit overwhelmed. I am very excited about my trip because this is my first time going to this area of the US.
corderoy is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2011, 09:17 PM
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The advice from bachslunch is very good. I would add that you make sure you walk around the waterfront areas - both the Charles River and the harbor. Part of the character of Boston is the connection with the water. Also the Boston Common/Public Garden is one of the best city parks. But it won't be hard to incorporate those areas. Central Boston is quite small and unless you want to spend a lot of time in museums you should be able to see everything that's been mentioned in 3 or 4 days.

A lot of what you mentioned in your original post though is not 'Boston' but 'Eastern Mass' and you can't see all of that in five days. In five days you could do Boston/Cambridge and one day trip (Salem is good, easy train trip and an interesting 'New England' city), possibly two (maybe Concord/Lexington for the other if you had time). If you want to go to Gloucester/Rockport or Plymouth or the Cape then you need more than five days.

If you want a car for other areas of Eastern Mass or other parts of New England then look into staying at a hotel in Cambridge - more likely to have free parking and it's an easy ride on the metro (called the "T") into central Boston. Otherwise I second the idea to take the train from NYC.
isabel is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2011, 03:53 PM
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We're new to the area (from Missouri to Watertown) and one subject mentioned is why drive a car given traffic and parking issues... so instead ride MBTA. Although we do drive places we now often take a bus into Harvard Square, then Red line and connect with Green line or whatever to get anywhere. Like in the Big Apple using a transit map? Using our Charlie card of course.

You have picked out favorite spots to see for sure...and soak up history, waterfront, museums...yes JFK Library/Museum, also Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Ryan, just can't get interested in big ugly Ducks! Concord, Salem etc. are worthwhile and using commuter rail as has been said. But you will find plenty to do to wear yourselves out!
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