Boston or Cape Cod early May?

Old Feb 9th, 2009, 05:46 AM
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Boston or Cape Cod early May?

Have a possible opportunity to spend a few leisure days in Boston and/or Cape Cod area for several days in early May. I live in the Great Lakes region of Canada, visited Cape Cod only once long ago as a teen, and have never been to Boston. I grew up in and still live near a big city and have travelled quite extensively. In recent years I have preferred to visit quieter, scenic and nature-oriented destinations, although I don't mind a couple of days exploring interesting shopping/dining/museums. What specific destinations and activities in and/or within a couple hours drive of Boston would you recommend for that time of year?
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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Realistically, if you go to the Cape, you won't see much of Boston. The Cape can be a little chilly and raw in May, although a seacoast is always beautiful no matter the season. Your days - assuming sunshine - would be spent puttering around trails and little shops, restaurants - the further out toward Provincetown the better, although P'town itself is a specific experience.

Even though you are hesitant to take on a city vacation, you might find parts of Boston less hectic than you think - wandering Beacon Hill and the Public Garden, puttering around Back Bay, and then taking day trips out west to things like Walden Pond, the Wayside Inn, and the DeCordova Museum, or north to the Marblehead-Cape Ann area. You might even consider spending a night out on the North Shore.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 07:31 AM
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I agree with everything HKP said and add that if you decide on Boston, get a good map of the T and don't rely on driving in the city. Parking is expensive and Boston has lots of one way streets so if you google or map quest your way to a place, chances are the reverse trip will not work because the key street you came in on is one way and what you would think would take you back has a highway that you can't get by in the way. That said, I do love all that Boston has to offer, great history, museums, music, shows, sports, people,etc.. Driving in the city is challenging tho, so if you decide to car it be sure to get the directions back to where you want to be next.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 07:42 AM
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I think only you can decide where you want to spend your vacation.

The city of Boston (specifically the historic core) is very different from what one imagines a US city to be like. Lots of Victorian-era brownstones and narrow streets. For example:
http://www.ronsaari.com/stockImages/...cornStreet.php

Early May is a nice time to visit Boston, with lots of Spring flowers in bloom.
http://www.ronsaari.com/stockImages/...licGarden1.php

And of course, there are lots and lots of great restaurants in town, and multiple excellent museums including Museum of Fine Arts, Gardner Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, the Harvard Museums.

If you like to see what Victorian-era homes look like, you can visit Gibson House and/or Nichols House.
http://www.thegibsonhouse.org/index.asp
http://www.nicholshousemuseum.org/

For outdoors scenery, what HKP said is right on. Walden Pond, concord/Lexington, Decordova are all lovely.

Even within the city, you can see lots of outdoors by heading to the Arnold Arboretum (incredible lilac blooms in May), Mt Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge (the first landscaped cemetery in the US).
http://arboretum.harvard.edu/visitors/visitors.html
http://www.mountauburn.org/
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 07:54 AM
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I agree with HKP that the Cape will be cold in early May. I live on the shore south of Boston between Boston and the Cape and it can be 15 degrees warmer inland just a few miles in the spring. Boston is also on the water, but I think would be a better choice, and I would especially consider day trips out towards Concord, even Cambridge might be a bit warmer.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for all the information, opinions and links. To elaborate slightly, we will have to spend at least 2 nights in Boston as a 1 day business conference (spouse) is the main reason for going. Thought I might tag along and we'd stay a few extra days outside the city. We do love seascapes but I'm noting that enthusiasm for Cape Cod at that time of year seems somewhat more muted than I had hoped for.
HKP mentioned overnight on the North Shore and more details about that destination would be welcome. Any recommendations for dining with a view (looking forward to seafood), interesting shopping districts, etc. would also be great.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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Head up to Cape Ann. Rockport has some cute shops and dining out on Bearskin Neck. There also are B+Bs in the area.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 03:49 PM
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May is graduation season; book your hotels soon.
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Old Feb 19th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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You will simply not find the same kind of wild Natural setting as the Cape Cod National Seashore on the North Shore. If you love nature then Cape Cod is the place for you. We love every season the cape, as long as we are dressed appropriately. in May that means you need to carry a wind jacket for walking on the beach...with your bathing suit under it since there are warm sunny days too! Here are some of our favorite things to do on the outer cape:
National Seashore (Fort Hill and Red maple Swamp, Salt Pond Visitors Center, Coast Guard Beach, Marconi Station, Great Island, White Cedar Swamp) www.nps.gov/caco
Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Co...leet/index.php

The Cape is open for business in May so you will have plenty of activities and restaurants to choose from. But best of all, you will have miles of sandy beach to your selves! If you want to shop you can spend days in Hyannis, Chatham or Provincetown. On the other hand, if you want a quiet, natural setting stay on the outer cape in one of the smaller towns. We are partial to the Fort Hill Area in Eastham since it is part of the National Seashore and it is mid-way between Chatham and Provinctown with Orleans, the commercial center of the outer cape, is just a few minutes away.

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Old Feb 19th, 2009, 06:36 PM
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Go for the outer cape, Chatham and beyond. Be prepared for either seasonable or raw weather. I would research Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet and Chatham and see what seems like a good home base for a few days of exploring the area.

Good luck researching!
g

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Old Feb 19th, 2009, 07:16 PM
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There are some lovely natural settings on the North Shore, but you have to know where they are - which Fodorites will tell you about. I suggested it having in mind OP's time limitations and convenience to Boston. It's not a Cape Cod VERSUS North Shore competition for which is best - it's a matter of what works for the OP.

mat54, let us know how you're thinking, which way you're leaning.
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