Boston: What Am I Missing?

Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 12:27 AM
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Boston: What Am I Missing?

A couple of friends and I will be spending 5 days in New England. The itinerary includes: DAY ONE - Freedom Trail (taking our time with this); watch Red Sox game on T.V. at an as yet undetermined bar near Fenway. DAY TWO - Breakfast at Harvard Square; tour campuses (Harvard and M.I.T.); Prudential Tower; Duck Tour and JFK Library/Museum. DAY THREE - Drive to White Mts.(NH); evening in Alton, NH with family. DAY FOUR - Portsmouth, NH; Kittery, ME; Old Orchard Beach, ME. DAY FIVE - Fenway Park tour; return flight home.

My questions are: 1. Am I missing anything "Must See" in Boston? 2. Is my itinerary too agressive to stay within time restraints? 3. Can anyone help me locate tickets to a Red Sox game 8/10 or 8/11?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 01:36 AM
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A basic good framework - Day 4 is a little packed - I might pick either Portsmouth or Kittery. Assuming this is for shopping, Portsmouth is cute with some interesting shops. Kittery is a mile-long stretch of Route 1 with a colletion of small outdoor malls with every chain you have ever heard of and some good bargains (also some ripoffs).

Red Sox tickets. No good or easy way, but... Get really lucky on day of game and find tickets on-line at Redsox.com or by standing at ticket office. They alsways release a very small number of tickets on game day at some undetermined time - not how I would spend half of my time in Boston, though.

Buy from a ticket broker (we have used Ace Tickets, the largest in Boston area). You will pay about twice face value. Buy on-line from ebay, Craigslist. Just be careful if you buy at-home printed tickets (how many are sold) since the seller could print as many of these as they like and sell them all - first thru turnstyle is presumed the authentic ticket.

Buy on the street before the game. Some legal risk and same risk as with print-at-home tickets. There are always people buying and selling - but if there are 3 of you you may have more difficulty since most people I see are selling 2, or sometimes 4 tickets. You would likely have to buy all 4.

Have a good trip.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 01:38 AM
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The Red Sox are out of town on the 10th.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 05:04 AM
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Are you taking campus tours that are scheduled or just wandering around on your own? Most campus tours take about an hour. MIT has one of the ugliest campuses IMHO. My daughter's dorm,
Simmons Hall, is interesting (called the sponge) on Vassar St. but they don't allow tours. The other interesting building at MIT is the Strata Center also on Vassar but about 1/2 mile apart.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 05:13 AM
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The alumni joke about Simmons is that the best thing about living there is . . . you can be sure you don't have a view of Simmons.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 05:13 AM
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IT is good to take your time on the Freedom Tour, walk around the North End and sit and have some coffee in the Cafes on Hanover Street. Try to include a walk through Beacon Hill and the Back Bay, both are small and easy to walk in.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 06:15 AM
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No need to go all the way up to Old Orchard unless you're visiting family or fancy a ride on the Tilt O Whirl.
Just stop further south in Maine instead...York Harbor Village maybe...eat at York Harbor Inn and get an ice cream by the shore at Brown's.

The Public Garden in Boston is a delight.....and check out bostonbysea.org
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 06:28 AM
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The JFK is a place to spend about 1-1/2 hours at. The JFK stop on the Red Line offers a free shuttle. The view is great and there is an area to sit outside and eat, you can take something from the cafeteria.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 06:45 AM
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Hi Anon - They must be recent alums since Simmons is only a few years old. It sure beats the filth of EC and Senior House where explosions and toilets on fire are a daily occurence. Simmons has had such a problem with architects tying to get in, that they offer a paid tour, but don't include this as part of the regular campus tour.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 06:55 AM
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After all is said and done..Kittery is a blast..not the regular outlet malls, but one of a kind places.. especially Brookstones..one of ony three in the country.. You just drive to one of the little areas and pick the shops you want to go in.. ..Weathervane and the newest restaurant whose name I have forgotten are great for seafood.. There is Yummy's.. an old fashioned candy store, Crate and Barrel, Villeroy and Boch, the Trading Post...and so many places.. at this point we just take a drive up for the day.. go into our favorite stores. Portmouth is very funky..with great restaurants and shops..
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 11:36 AM
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Are you sure about Brookstones? I thought they were a standard in outlet malls.

Keep in mind that there are also outlet malls in Massachusetts and New Hampshire; NH has no sales tax at all, MA has none on clothing and groceries, and Maine's is 8 percent (not sure about possible exemptions like clothing). Also, there's usually a sales-tax-free day or weekend in MA in mid-August. Finally, I have a distinct recollection about having trouble finding restrooms in Kittery.

Yes, Simmons Hall is new, but all new construction is highly publicized to alumni. My college-age daughter has a friend living at East Campus, which indeed is truly disgusting to a degree that makes me worry about her health.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 01:06 PM
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I like the Boston aquarium. My friends also recently took a whale-watching trip out of there (4 hrs round trip).
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 05:09 PM
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I'd skip Kittery. The outlet malls are truly nothing special, you can find similar stores anywhere. Portsmouth is great with tons of independent cute shops and restaurants. If you want to watch a Sox game near Fenway I'd recommend Game On.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2006, 07:35 PM
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Wow! Thank you all for your responses. Old Orchard Beach is actually a primary stop because of childhood memories, but thanks for the tip about York Harbor Village. Also, after exhaustive research, calling on favors and even considering taking a hostage for ransom - I have decided that we will have to skip going to a game. I'm going to check out the web site for Game On. Any other great places to watch a game? Thanks again, everyone. This was my first time using Fodor's and I'm very impressed!!!
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 03:02 AM
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Some Friday night Red Sox games are boradcast in HD on a big screen at several Boston-area movie theatres. Have friends who have gone and said it was fun - but I think I would prefer a bar since it would seem more friendly to me.

There are several bars near Fenway that get a big game day crowd (Game On is also near Fenway). I might head over early before game, stop by ticket window to see if the ticket gods are shining on you that day, and then pick a place that looks good to you.

Do not even think of driving near Fenway on a game day. MBTA green line to Kenmore stop.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 06:12 AM
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The Kittery Trading Post is a fun place to shop in Kittery. I hear it has been remodeled and expanded since my last visit.
We enjoy the brewpubs in Portsmouth, which serve good seafood so would definitely skip the Weathervane in Kittery - standard fried seafood.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 06:59 AM
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Just to confirm an earlier post, the Red Sox are out of town on the 10th. They play Baltimore the 11th-13th, though.

I have not been to Game On yet but I will highly recommend The Baseball Tavern. It is about 50 yards from Fenway and my old favorite. When I worked for the Red Sox from 1995-2002, that is where the employees would always watch the games. Often a few players would join us for social time after the home games, too. Game on is the new establishment that the new owners have pushed, but The Baseball Tavern has been a Sox haven for many ages now. It was great to be there. It used to be a hole in the wall type place but in the last few years they have made major upgrades. The original staff is still there, however, and I consider it to be the best Sox bar in Boston. You can see the photos, notes, and autographs that Sox players over the years have left on their walls... along with an extensive collection of Sox memorabilia.

The Cask & Flagon is right there also. I never spent much time there because I thought it was overpriced and overrated. I heard they made improvements in the last year, though.

It is not a "Red Sox" bar necessarily, but if you just want to relax and have fun you can also go to Jillian's. It has multiple floors of bars, dining areas, pool tables, video games, and I think they might even have bowling. No real spiritual connection to the Sox like Baseball Tavern, but a fun place to relax.

It looks like you have a great itinerary planned and you should have a blast. I lived in Boston my whole life before moving to Delaware last summer and I still consider it the best city in America. I am biased, of course! I would also agree with those that say day 4 is too packed, however. Narrow it down and take more time to enjoy the location you choose. They each have something great to offer. I am a fan of Kittery myself, but it goes by personal taste.

By the way, have you considered doing Portland, Maine? It is very close to Kittery. I have often done day trips to shop in Kittery and the LL Bean store in Freeport, then enjoyed a nice dinner in Portland. I am just suggesting it because I love Portland and think it is a very underrated city in New England.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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I believe the Baseball Tavern closed before the start of this season.
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Old Jul 24th, 2006, 07:10 AM
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Agree with previous post about Portland - lots of good restaurants and small shops in the Old Port district, but you may already have too much in that day.
I would skip the outlet shopping, unless there are no outlets near where you live, because they are mostly the same everywhere.
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Old Jul 25th, 2006, 07:10 AM
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The Baseball Tavern is a great dive..
Game On and the Cask & Flagon are upgraded, with plasma TVs all over. I'm not sure what the food situation is over at the Tavern (I've only had drinks there), but the menus at the other 2 are pretty decent.
I'd get to wherever you will be at least an hour before the game starts to get a seat/table/good standing spot. They tend to get packed on all game days.

I agree with taking your time with the Freedom Trail. So many good spots to stop and linger at!!

Have fun!
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