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Boston-surrounding areas what to do with kids that no ones heard about...

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Jul 22nd, 2011, 06:17 PM
  #1
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Boston-surrounding areas what to do with kids that no ones heard about...

Going to Boston for 5 days and want to know what I may not have covered with the kids that are going (8 & 13 year old on this trip) since last time I was there. We are going as far out as to the Ben and Jerrys in Vermont and NBA Hall of Fame in Springfield Mass. SO you can see we are not just staying in Boston. May go to Salem, but afraid I wont know which tour is the best. Please help and thanks for the advice.
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Jul 22nd, 2011, 06:36 PM
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From your thread title I thought you were keeping your kids a secret.
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Jul 22nd, 2011, 06:39 PM
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What DID you cover with the kids the last time you were there?
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Jul 22nd, 2011, 07:10 PM
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Oh that is funny Panecott, no just bringing 2 out of 5. Well Red Sox, Freedom Trail, DUck Tour and Tomb, Reveres house etc. This time I thought I would hit a food tour (for me)not sure which one. And maybe something with the Boston Tea Party?? Not sure again if anyone does that. Yah last time it was the basics although the 13 year old was 7, I may do some of them again like the Freedom Trail Tour. The 8 year old has never been and I am bringing her book about Paul Rever with us. Thanks for your time.
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 03:32 AM
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It depends on when you will be here. I'm not sure the Ben and Jerry's tour is worth the long drive. If it's a saturday or sunday, there are some other things going on that might be worthwhile and maybe more fun. Aug 27-28 is Old Farming Days at Musterfield Farm in N Sutton NH. They usually have a Revolutionary War era encampment, a chance for kids to try old fashioned things like walking on stilts, antique tractors, demonstrations. It's not far from I89 just north of Warner.

There are other events during the summer that I think would be better than Ben & Jerry's. Check to see events at Billings Farm Museum in VT.

I've been on two food tours in Boston (Michelle Topor's). Both are great. Both have food samples. The one to China Town ended with a dim sum lunch which was terrific. This tour is only held on certain days. You'll need reservations for whatever tour you choose.

The 13yo will probably like the laser show at the Boston Museum of Science. The Prudential Skywalk is fun. I haven't been in ages but there used to be an exhibit about how Boston changed as low areas were filled in to make more land.
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 07:02 AM
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Since you are heading west you can stop at Old Sturbridge Village. Ben and Jerry's tour really a long way to go for not much .
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 07:08 AM
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cranachin asks a good question...what have you and the kids covered before? Sounds like you have already done traditional stuff. But my comments are 1) your youngsters are at a good age to enjoy things like harbor cruise, aquarium, Red Sox and such but 2) it is good to expose them to the wonderful history such as Freedom Trail, Plimouth Plantation, and including Old Sturbridge Village (since you might already be out in Springfield).
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 07:08 AM
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If you want to do something different and don't live near an ocean, you can do an early morning whale watch out of Boston Harbor. It will take 3-4 hours, then you can return and continue to tour around Boston for the rest of the day. Bring a sweater, even if it's hot, because it will be cool on the ocean.
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 07:20 AM
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Water shuttle to one of Harbor Islands. Drumlin Farm (Mass Audobon society) in Lincoln.
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 08:32 AM
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I agree with others that making a big detour for Ben and Jerry's is not worth it. I think Old Sturbridge is a good suggestion. Old Deerfield north of Springfield is also an interesting site but not as good for kids as Sturbridge

this is an excellent thread on things to do in and near Boston
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...and-beyond.cfm
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 10:52 AM
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Second the suggestions of Old Sturbridge Village, a harbor cruise, or the ferry to George's Island where there's an old fort; part of NPS so there are ranger-guided tours).

I think they'll probably enjoy the Chinatown food tour more than the North End food tour (mentioned by dfrostnh).

Bostonbyfoot company offers "boston by little feet" tours that are geared towards children http://www.bostonbyfoot.org/tours/Boston_By_Little_Feet (website says ages 6-12)

Have they been to Museum of Science?

The Boston tea party ship burned down a number of years ago, and it won't open for another year or so
http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/
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Jul 23rd, 2011, 03:40 PM
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The LONG drive to Ben and Jerry's will not be the highlight of your trip. It's in the middle of nowhere.

Take them to the Charlestown Naval Shipyard to see the USS Constitution and any other ships that are there at the time. It's next to the Italian North End, you're still in Boston. It's also free!
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Jul 25th, 2011, 04:26 PM
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Pioneer Village in Salem is interesting. Salem Willows can be fun ... where else can you get a Chop Suey sandwich these days?

The beaches of Cape Ann (north of Boston) are nice as are those in Southern Maine.

What about Hampton Beach, New Hampshire? Gets very high marks for water/beach cleanliness. As for the activities .... not Atlantic City its heyday, but fun nonetheless.
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Jul 25th, 2011, 06:25 PM
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WOW! Thanks so much for taking the time to help me, as I have found if I take Fodorites advice I always have a great trip. Ok I am thinking Ben and Jerrys is overrated and not going now. I will check out Sturbridge Village where is that located? I would also like to take them to a farm or a palce to learn about maple syrup if you know what I mean? Yes the Freedom Trail will be a must. We have thought about Salem but on Trip Advisor I did nto see any good reviews for a good tour that is not cheesy or just scary. Know what I mean? How does Plymoth Rock area sound or a Shelborne Museum in Vermont?? Saw good ratings for that but have no clue to how far. We have a car for 3 days besides Boston so feel free to give your straight forward advice, I love it!! Thanks to you all!!
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Jul 25th, 2011, 08:42 PM
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Sturbridge Village is in Sturbridge MA (right off the Massachusetts turnpike).

http://www.osv.org/visitor/directions.html

You don't need a tour to see Salem. You can get there by ferry or train from Boston, or drive and do your own walking tour. There's also a hop on/hop off trolley there.

It's not all about witches and halloween. It's got a great maritime history and the Peabody-Essex Museum is great. Did you check out the National Park Service stuff?
http://www.nps.gov/sama/index.htm

And Salem Willows can be a great break from the history stuff with a couple of arcades that have both new and vintage games, an old carousel that is the FASTEST I've ever been on -- lol! -- a variety of food ranging from pizza and fried clams to the world's BEST popcorn (and caramel corn, too).

http://gonewengland.about.com/od/nbo...rthshore_9.htm
http://salemwillowspark.com/index.html
http://www.flickr.com/photos/uglyagnes/2711050598/

Also ... what about textile mills history of Lowell MA? My husband took one of my kids this summer and the liked it.
http://www.nps.gov/lowe/index.htm

Pretty soon ... you'll be sorry you asked -- lol!!!
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Jul 26th, 2011, 03:15 AM
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Shelburne, Vt is on Lake champlain, a little farther than waterbury (Ben & Jerry's factory) from I-89. It is more a collection of buildings and artwork than a living history museum like Sturbridge. I would go with some of the museums/history sites nearer Boston mentioned in other posts rather than taking the long drive there

Plymouth Rock is not much to see but the living history museum, Plimoth Plantation, which includes the recreated Mayflower II, is excellent.

Not sure where you would go at this time of year for information about maple syrup. Maybe Maple Grove museum in St. Johnsbury VT? But like Ben and Jerry's a long way to go for what I think is a fairly small exhibit. There is also a natural history museum and planetarium in St J but it is not nearly as good as the Boston Museum of Science
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Jul 26th, 2011, 06:42 AM
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When are you coming? Maple syrup production even in March isn't all that exciting. There are more interesting farm type activities. My suggestion would be to google "state name" 4-H fairs for a listing of events the general public usually doesn't know about. For example, NH has a working steer (oxen) 4-H club that is very active. Watching the kids with a young team navigate an obstacle course is fascinating. The teens usually work with full grown animals. The animal clinics can be very interesting because an adult leader explains what kids have to do in the show ring, what things the judges are looking for, how to properly prepare their animals for showing. I think it's good for kids to see other kids doing this kind of farm work. A 4-H kid near us built a trebuchet for a project and launches pumpkins during his family's public pumpkin carving day (the pumpkins are then lit for 3 night of Halloween).

Sturbridge or Plimoth Plantation is a good choice to see some farming activities as well as other skills needed during those days.
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Jul 26th, 2011, 08:26 AM
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Just a little more info on Plimouth Plantation, the recreated Plymouth village of 1627. Not only do you get to see farming and household activities of the era, the people who lived in Plymouth in1627 are recreated by actors who speak in the accent of those people. They do not acknowledge anything of the 20th century. They will answer all questions about their lives--what they eat, what their job is, what their clothing is like, etc. There are some animals that have been bred "back" to the breeds that would have been available then. there is also a walk down a path to a Native American village where Wampanoag descendents tell you their part of the story. While in the town of Plymouth, go down to the harbor and visit the MayfowerII. It is a pretty powerful experience to realize that 102 people were crammed into this tiny vessel for the long journey.

There is a cafe at the plantation, but down by the harbor near MayflowerII there are lots of seafood places (hamburgers and sandwiches as well) that would make a good lunch.

Sturbridge is a collection of buildings from New England like those that would have been found in a village in the early 1800s. Again you will see many people going about their daily work and doing various crafts.

To me, both are worth visiting. Plymouth is a bit closer to Boston. I would google both and find out what special exhibits or events might be going on while you are there. It might tip the balance as to which you visit.
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Jul 26th, 2011, 08:26 AM
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Just a little more info on Plimouth Plantation, the recreated Plymouth village of 1627. Not only do you get to see farming and household activities of the era, the people who lived in Plymouth in1627 are recreated by actors who speak in the accent of those people. They do not acknowledge anything of the 20th century. They will answer all questions about their lives--what they eat, what their job is, what their clothing is like, etc. There are some animals that have been bred "back" to the breeds that would have been available then. there is also a walk down a path to a Native American village where Wampanoag descendents tell you their part of the story. While in the town of Plymouth, go down to the harbor and visit the MayfowerII. It is a pretty powerful experience to realize that 102 people were crammed into this tiny vessel for the long journey.

There is a cafe at the plantation, but down by the harbor near MayflowerII there are lots of seafood places (hamburgers and sandwiches as well) that would make a good lunch.

Sturbridge is a collection of buildings from New England like those that would have been found in a village in the early 1800s. Again you will see many people going about their daily work and doing various crafts.

To me, both are worth visiting. Plymouth is a bit closer to Boston. I would google both and find out what special exhibits or events might be going on while you are there. It might tip the balance as to which you visit.
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Jul 26th, 2011, 08:42 AM
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The kids might like kayaking on the Charles River. We did this a month ago with our 14 yr old DD and it was a big hit.

http://www.paddleboston.com/

The Cambridge location is excellent with reduced parking at Kendall Sq.

Great views of the Boston skyline
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