Head of the Charles

Oct 17th, 2011, 10:12 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,748
Head of the Charles

I am going to the Head of the Charles Regatta this weekend. I'm staying with a friend who lives outside of Boston but has never been to the regatta. I think we will be taking Amtrak into Boston.

Any tips on:
1) getting from the station to the river
2) best viewing spots. I know some websites say the bridges are great, but I imagine they'd be very crowded. What time would we have to arrive to get a spot on a bridge?
3) Any other good viewing spots, or is anywhere along the river good? Will we be able to hear announcements anywhere along the course?
4) Are both days pretty much the same as far as the competition goes?
5) Any other advice?

Some people from my rowing club are taking part so I'll want to see their races. Do people pretty much come and go during the day so that it's possible to find a spot somewhere, at any time of the day, or is it necessary to just get there early and stay the course? I don't know yet what time their races are.

TIA.
panecott is offline  
Oct 17th, 2011, 10:52 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,618
I can help with (1), anyway:

1) The Amtrak train arrives at North Station. From there you can take the Green Line (subway) outbound -- at Kenmore station the green line splits into 3 -- you want to be on the B line (Boston College) at that point. (Ok to take any green line train outbound then change at Kenmore). Take the B line to one of the Boston University (not Boston College stops) -- I think BU central is closest to what you want.

From North station, you can also take the Green Line to the Park Street station and then switch to the Red Line outbound. Get off at Central or Harvard-- a little farther to the river but not bad. There are also some buses that can get you to the general area.

Get a Charlie Card (from the machine--you put money into the machine and wave the card in front of the magic spot to `load' the ard) and swipe it upon entering. Transfers within a station are free--just walk over to the other platform. Fare is $1.75 on the Carlie Card (25cents more for a paper ticket). Same card works on the buses.

Once you are in the right general area, the Head of the Charles runs a shuttle bus in a loop that can get you to different points along the course. Check out www.hocr.org

I don't have any good advice for where to stand -- biggest crowds at the finish line, natch. People do tend to come and go.
capxxx is offline  
Oct 17th, 2011, 11:24 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 10,058
I believe that most Amtrak (if not all) trains arrive at South Station, with an earlier stop at Back Bay. From South Station take the T Red Line outbound to Harvard and walk a couple short blocks to the river from there.
socialworker is offline  
Oct 17th, 2011, 11:27 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
I don't see in the post that s/he is coming from north of Boston. If s/he is coming from South of Boston, s/he can get off at South Station and take the Red Line to Harvard Square and walk to the river.

Or change, as you suggest, at Park Street to the Green Line.

If the weather is good, it is a fun weekend, and the post race drinking is epic.
Ackislander is offline  
Oct 17th, 2011, 11:58 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,618
Sorry about that -- I somehow thought I'd read that in the post.
capxxx is offline  
Oct 17th, 2011, 12:01 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,748
Thanks for the responses.

Actually, we will be coming from north of Boston, I believe it's one stop north.

So, presumably, the first station we'd arrive at in Boston is North Station?

Also, about how long is the ride from the Amtrak station to the river?

One more thought, we are coming from Raynham. Is it feasible to drive part of the way and pick up a train or bus somewhere along the way? Or is Amtrak the only way into Boston from the north? (My friend does not go into the city often so she doesn't know). Thx.
panecott is offline  
Oct 17th, 2011, 01:35 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,314
You need to go to MBTA.com and get un-confused. I think you and/or friend are confusing Amtrak and commuter rail trains - they often run on the same tracks and use parts of some of the same stations, so confusion is easy. At the MBTA website you can enter an origination and destination - they will route you.

Raynham is not north of Boston - it is southwest - and so that is making me confused and I live here.

Harvard Square is a good destination to enter into the routing search.

Amtrak trains run into South Station (and Back Bay - but you are already confused enough). Commuter rail (purple on the MBTA map) runs into either North or South Station. There are no trains - Amtrak, subway, commuter rail - that I can think of that go to both stations.

Not being a rowing expert, in past few years when I have gone, I just wander around the Charles River near the action, soaking in the atmosphere. There are vendors, great people watching - I think of it more as an event than for the sport aspect (with all due respect to the incredible training, strategy, etc of incredible athletes who participate - I just am not all that informed).

Hope this helps somewhat. Can't help with what station to drive to from Raynham, since I live in a completely opposite direction. Hope the weather is good. We are supposed to have massive amounts of rain Thursday and then clearing - but if forecast is correct banks of River could be very muddy - so plan footwear accordingly.
gail is offline  
Oct 17th, 2011, 02:13 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,140
A question for those that have attended this event in the past; will this event seriously affect traffic on the I90 into/out of Boston late Saturday morning through early afternoon?

I'm supposed to have lunch in Boston before picking up my husband from Logan.
I'll probably drive in anyway but I wondered if I should leave a little earlier (or much earlier!) than planned.
sassy_cat is offline  
Oct 17th, 2011, 02:13 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,748
Thank you, gail, and sorry for the confusion.

I was confused because of my faulty recollection. Whenever I took the train up there, I always used to get off at Providence. I think Raynham is about equidistant between it and Boston? But the last time I went - about 4-5 years ago - I got off at the stop after Providence. For some reason, however, I was thinking it was the stop after Boston, which is why I thought we'd be coming from the north.

So now that I've just added to the confusion, LOL, I will check out the commuter trains. I think that's what we need. So thanks for the link.
panecott is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 09:05 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,748
Ok. We are driving to Quincy and taking the train to Cambridge.

Thanks, everyone, for your help.
panecott is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 09:10 AM
  #11  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,253
panecott - it'll be more helpful if you can tell us from which station you'll be getting ON the train. I too am confused as to where you're coming from and which train you'd be taking.

The "easiest" way to get to the River is take the Red Line subway to Harvard Sq and walk out to the river.

2) best viewing spots.
The Anderson Bridge is pretty good. Weeks foot bridge is okay but the stone "railings" are very high and wide. A short person like me will have trouble seeing over the railing.

3) Any other good viewing spots, or is anywhere along the river good? Will we be able to hear announcements anywhere along the course?

The western end of the race course will be better for viewing, as the river is narrower towards the west.
http://www.hocr.org/pdf/08CourseWeb.pdf

4) Are both days pretty much the same as far as the competition goes?

I think the MAJOR races are on Sunday afternoons. That's when it's most crowded. We went 3 years ago on the Sat morning. It was not crowded at all.

And yes, people definitely do come and go as the day goes. When we were there on that Sat morning, there were people cheering on their friends from the bridge. After their friends' race was over, they left. Many people will watch from a spot for a while, then walk along the river. It's going to be cold so it'll be hard to stand still in one spot for hours.

sassycat - I don't think traffic will be a problem for you on Sat, esp if you'll be heading in/out on the MassPike. You'll only get into traffic if you were to drive on Storrow Dr and/or Mem Drive.

have fun to those of you heading to the Regatta! Bundle up. If the weather is nice, I may persuade DH to ride our bikes out and watch for a bit.
yk is online now  
Oct 18th, 2011, 11:05 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,748
Thanks very much, yk.

You were probably posting when my last post appeared. My friend sent me an email this morning saying we will drive to Quincy from where she lives and get the Red Line into Cambridge. I'll talk to her tonight and make sure she knows what she's talking about.

Is Harvard Square in Cambridge? If so, then it all sounds right.

It looks like my club members will be rowing on Saturday afternoon, so that should be good, especially with Saturday being less crowded.
panecott is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 11:07 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,576
Yes, Harvard Square is in Cambridge, so it sounds like you're all squared away.
sf7307 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 11:42 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,748
Great. thx.
panecott is offline  
Oct 18th, 2011, 12:03 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,140
Thanks yk, I hope the weekend weather is as good as it is today!
sassy_cat is offline  
Oct 26th, 2011, 08:17 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,748
Update:

The HOCR was great, and very easy to get around, and see.

We went on Saturday and there were plenty of places to watch along the river, and the crowds were not overwhelming. People did seem to come and go all day long and there was no spot that was unaccessible. We walked the whole course and back and stopped wherever we wanted to. The bridges were great vantage points, although one of them - Ellis? - was fenced off.

Getting into Cambridge on the red line was easy and everything was walkable from there. Weather was perfect, altho' it clouded up a bit in the afternoon.

It was all great fun, and I got to see my friends row, as well as several of the coaches from Craftsbury, the sculling camp I went to last summer, who also competed. It was unexpected, and added to the enjoyment, to see so many familiar names and faces.

I will definitely go back next year.

Thanks, everyone, for your help.
panecott is offline  
Oct 26th, 2011, 12:23 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 10,058
So nice to hear that things worked out well! We lived one block off the Charles River just outside of Harvard Square for 8 years and it is a great area.
socialworker is offline  
Oct 27th, 2011, 07:00 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,748
Lucky you, sw! That really IS a beautiful area. I found myself thinking it would be a great place to live. ('Cept as a native NY'er and Yankee fan.....well, you know...) ;-)
panecott is offline  
Oct 27th, 2011, 10:25 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,537
Thanks for your report! It's always nice to hear how the plans played out.

My daughter rowed for BU a few years back, and said HOTC was so much fun. Unfortunately, I never got to see it, as I was always scheduled to be in Boston the week before (for the Boston Fodor's GTG).
lcuy is offline  
Oct 27th, 2011, 12:59 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,748
I have put competing in the HOCR on my bucket list.

Fortunately, they have competitors as old as 80, so I have some time to practice.
panecott is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:54 PM.