Eight days (almost) solo in Boston early Sept

Aug 5th, 2019, 06:20 PM
  #1  
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Eight days (almost) solo in Boston early Sept

Hi all

I'm Australian and will be visiting Boston for the first time, arriving 4 September. My son is at BU on scholarship and about to start his third year. His time will be limited, bc he's on the athletics team and has a heavy schedule, so I'll be doing lots of things on my own. Plan to visit his campus at some point, and see his room, meet roommates, coach, but not interfere!

My interests are: literary (any events, best bookshops), theatre (fringe is good), music (jazz, etc), nature walks, water. I'm a regular swimmer, and train in both pool and ocean so I would LOVE some advice on where to go to swim.

When son is free on the weekend I'd like to take him out for lunch and/or dinner and do something special together. Maybe a show, or music venue (where he'd be happy to be seen with his mum). I've heard seafood is good?? Recommendations?

I'm staying at Mission Hill and will be using public transport. Arriving about 5pm – is it easy to get a train from the airport?

Will it be getting cooler yet? Will colours be turning? So keen for this, but might be a bit early.

I'll then be travelling to New York (again first time!) for six days, and flying home from there. Would like to catch a train, but haven't yet looked into it.

Grateful for any tips!
smm_18 is offline  
Aug 5th, 2019, 09:58 PM
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I can't answer all your questions, but here's a start. First, if you haven't stumbled upon the destinations tab, check out the entry on Boston:
https://www.fodors.com/world/north-a...husetts/boston

But literary, ah, you really must go to Concord. Get a tour of Louisa May Alcott's house, it really was excellent. Also in Concord: Nathaniel Hawthorne's house, Walden Pond (of Henry Thoreau fame), the cemetery and more. Not sure of public transport--you may need to use Uber.

https://blog.bookstellyouwhy.com/vis...-massachusetts

I quite enjoyed both historical re-enactments I have seen in the area. The first was Plimouth Plantation. The second was Sturbridge. Plimouth will probably be easier to get to via public transport than Sturbridge.
5alive is online now  
Aug 6th, 2019, 02:09 AM
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Here's a good website with options for getting from airport to Mission Hill https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Boston-Ai...S/Mission-Hill

September weather is usually wonderful. You might hit a warm spell. Mornings right now are in the 50s but it will be 80s later in the day so plan on needing a sweater at night. Yes, it's much too early for foliage color. You might enjoy walking the Rose Kennedy Greenway from Chinatown (get off at South Station) to Quincy Market. I don't care for the crowded area and didn't like any of the food vendors. From there you can walk over to the Italian North End to find wonderful lunch options. I also like Chinatown bakeries and take-out places for banh mi sandwiches.

You can take either bus or train to NYC.
dfrostnh is offline  
Aug 6th, 2019, 02:03 PM
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Thanks so much! I'd absolutely love to go to Concord, esp to Louisa May Alcott's house. And thanks too for the info re airport connection – excellent. Also tips on walking. Like the sound of the Italian North End very much. Looking forward to the wonderful weather, even though missing out on the turning colours (we don't get in Oz).
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Aug 7th, 2019, 06:50 AM
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It will still be warm when you are there but most likely not hot.
When you are out and about exploring, if you see a Legal Seafoods( there are many) stop for a seafood meal like a lobster roll. Our favorite Italian restaurant in the North End is Saraceno’s. Their risotto is excellent as is Spaghetti with Vongole.
Google “ Boston Literary District.” for more local information!
Boston is small and very walkable.
For US. History in Boston take a walk on the Freedom Trail. There is a National Parks app for it.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Aug 7th, 2019, 09:06 AM
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<< I'd absolutely love to go to Concord, esp to Louisa May Alcott's house>>
The Alcott Orchard House is right next door to Wayside where Hawthorne lived (and the Alcotts before him)
Both are a little out of town.

We have a good book about literary sites in the Boston area but it seems to be out of print. You might be able to get a used copy
Amazon Amazon
Vttraveler is online now  
Aug 8th, 2019, 03:00 AM
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I like warm and not hot, so that's good news. Also very happy to explore by walking. Never had a lobster roll! In fact rarely had lobster, so keen to try that. And I LOVE Italian food, so thank you for that tip! Will download the NP app. And also look into a day trip to Concord. Sounds well worth it.
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Aug 8th, 2019, 04:27 AM
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The National Park Service also offers (free) ranger-led tours which are usually good.
In addition to the Freedom Trail, I recommend visiting the Beacon Hill area. There is a Black Heritage Trail. The two intersect at the State House
https://www.bostonusa.com/things-to-...eritage-trail/

Cambridge is very easy to visit with public transit (the red line of the T). The Longfellow House is an interesting literary site there.
Vttraveler is online now  
Aug 8th, 2019, 06:19 AM
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A walking food tour of North End (Italian) section of Boston is great fun - I have taken it several times and it works well for solo travelers since the group members are usually friendly and interesting. bostonfoodtours.com is website.

Is your son 21? If not some venues will not let him in. (He probably knows the ones that will, but in most places they are fairly strict about age). Swimming is a tough one - if you go to Lexington/Concord, you could swim in Walden Pond; that trip would really work best if you rented a car for the day. I wonder if your son could arrange a guest pass to swim in BU pool? You probably do not want to swim in the ocean here, even in Sept. The water is really cold.

Something pricey but fun, is drinks or dinner at Liberty Hotel. It was converted from a hundreds of years old prison; Scampo is a restaurant there that is wonderful (but expensive). You can have drinks in the old prison yard. I think it is considered a cool place for younger people; I am neither cool nor young but enjoyed it.

For public transportation, MBTA.com ("The T" is what it is called here) has a routing feature that will tell you how to get from Point A to B and the fare. Uber works quite well in Boston. Amtrak has regular trains from Boston-NYC. Acela is supposed to be higher speed or more direction version of that route, but in reality is usually neither. Just take the regular Amtrak train.
gail is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 06:56 PM
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Ah! Of course, he's only 20 so that does restrict things a bit. Completely forgot different age limits for drinking (18 here). Turns 21 in October, damn!

He's told me about BU pool, but it's not full size, so am keen to find an Olympic size. Also I swim all winter in Oz, so 15C (59F?) is fine for me. Not sure what temp your ocean would be! Maybe colder.

Have actually just been looking up Amtrak and now I'm confused about choice of stations – I think Back Bay is the closest. Thanks for tip re Acela, which I was also looking into. GOOD – flag that away.

Lovely ideas re walking tours and ranger-led tours. Also Beacon Hill and Cambridge for a visit. Thanks so much for being so helpful. Also I'm neither cool nor young. Or maybe we are both cool.
smm_18 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2019, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by smm_18 View Post
He's told me about BU pool, but it's not full size, so am keen to find an Olympic size. Also I swim all winter in Oz, so 15C (59F?) is fine for me. Not sure what temp your ocean would be! Maybe colder.
This is a few years old but has some ideas of places to swim:
https://boston.racked.com/maps/where...laps-in-boston
5alive is online now  
Aug 9th, 2019, 04:07 AM
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I meant to add that Louisa May Alcott lived on Beacon Hill as a young unknown writer and again at the end of her life.
https://www.bostonmagazine.com/prope...-hill-authors/
Vttraveler is online now  
Aug 9th, 2019, 08:20 AM
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You can take the train north to Beverly and then either walk or taxi/uber/lyft to the beach there. I find the water temperature in the area to be fine in September, probably warmer than 15C that you usually swim in. There are other beaches that you could look to also but I do not know how close the public transport goes to them. Look at Lynn, Nahant, Singing Beach, etc. If your son would like to join you and you have a car, Crane's beach and Wingaersheek in Gloucester are great.
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Aug 9th, 2019, 10:02 AM
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I know that Singing Beach in Manchester by the Sea is within walking distance of the train. This website says 1/2 mile.
https://www.manchester.ma.us/Facilit...nging-Beach-11
Vttraveler is online now  
Aug 9th, 2019, 07:28 PM
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Thank you, Vttraveler! Also discovered on that author website that Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost lived in Beacon Hill too! Never knew. And Singing Beach is a gorgeous name, looks lovely.

Emalloy too for the beach tips and train access. I'll be keen to get in that salt water.

5alive thanks for the website for pools. Looks as though pool season closes 1 Sept for the big ones, which is a shame. Mirabella Pool looks amazing and right by the harbour, but I think it'll be closed and in any case they have a complicated paying system. Money order or something. Calendar for Zesigar pool (Olympic size) doesn't extend beyond 1 Sept. Never mind! If all else fails I go to the BU pool.
smm_18 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 03:48 PM
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Hope you'll do a trip report when you return!
CLBtravel is offline  
Aug 12th, 2019, 10:43 PM
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On the weekend you and your son could take a train ride up to the Maine coast, just 1 hour and 50 mins and you're in a different world for the afternoon.
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Aug 12th, 2019, 11:29 PM
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I'll see how I go re trip report!

Maine is an interesting idea. I'd wondered (not yet looked it up) how far Cape Cod is and whether this could be something to consider. Always the time factor of course.

Also have to shop for son's 21st! I think he wants something from Patagonia and mentioned Newbury Street as the best shopping locale.

Must say the gardens and common look beautiful! I'll really enjoy wandering around there. Also the library.

Things are starting to take shape!
smm_18 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2019, 03:38 AM
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You might also consider visiting the Boston harbor islands. There are some beaches
https://www.nps.gov/boha/index.htm

If you decide to go to the Cape, you might want to consider taking one of the ferries that go from Boston to Provincetown at the tip of the Cape.
Vttraveler is online now  
Aug 13th, 2019, 10:25 PM
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Vttraveler harbor islands is a fantastic idea. Half-hour trip on a ferry. Spectacle Island might be best choice for me/us. Thank you! Boston to Provincetown 1.5hrs is def an option. Thanks for the inside info! Am trying to squeeze in travel research while juggling work deadlines, etc., so this is a great help!
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