Heading to Boston

Jul 11th, 2009, 04:01 AM
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Heading to Boston

My (adult) sister and I are arriving in Boston late tomorrow afternoon and plan to spend Monday-Wednesday sightseeing before heading to the Vineyard on Thursday. Do folks recommend buying the Go Boston Card? Our list of places to visit includes the Freedom Trail, JFK Library, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Harvard (unofficial tour or maybe just strolling around), Quincy Market, and USS Constitution. The Card includes the Beantown Trolley, which seems like a good way to get from place to place and to pick up some history. And, this may be overambitious, but we've thought of renting a car for one day to go see Plimouth Plantation to the south and one or more of the the House of 7 Gables, Old Manse, and Orchard to the north. This seems doable when I look at the map and read about the sights, but I'd appreciate advice. Thanks.
Dancergirl is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 04:32 AM
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I would stay in Boston and skip the side trips in car - the weather is finally supposed to be nice for next few days.

Day One - do the Beantown Trolley or one of the equivalents (out of town guests just did Old Town Trolley and enjoyed it). I have no idea what GoBoston card includes so do not know if it is financially worth it or not. These trolley things give you a good overview of the city and you should make note of what you want to return to. Depending on your tolerance level of the hokey hisorical chatter, some people prefer to book it for 2 days and use it for transportation between places while here.

Day Two. Return to what looked interesting from your trolley tour and visit that. JFK Library takes about 45 minutes on MBTA (public bus/subway/transit system) and if you are into that sort of history a nice place to visit. It not, it is incredibly boring. For art, go to Isabella Stewart Gardner or MFA - or even Institute of Contemporary Art - the newest art museum in Boston - smallish, but great views of the Harbor. I actually love the ICA - but that is my type experience and others may not agree.

Other things to fit into your 3 days, depending on your interests - Duck Tour, Fenway Park tour, dinner in North End (or cappuccino and cannoli after dinner), short Harbor cruise, shopping on Newbury Street or Quincy Market area. New Rose Kennedy Greenway (still under development) is a nice stroll along the water.
gail is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 04:41 AM
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Thanks - one other tour that my sister noted is the Movie Mile Walking Tour. Is that hopelessly hokey or something fun to do?
Dancergirl is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 05:22 AM
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I dont know about the movie tour.
Boston is a very walkable city. Gail's recommendations are excellent. I would add that you sould do something on the water - there are plenty of harbor cruises. You dont need to do anything fancy (dont do a dinner cruise - the food is terrible and they are too long); an hour around the harbor is all you need.
The Aquarium is pretty cool - you can even just walk by and see the seals outside.
There are also pedi-cabs around the city now. They are guys on a bike and they will take you to your destination. That is a great way to see the sights.
Don't forget Newbury Street (expensive shops and restaurants), Charles Street (starts at Cheers and is a quaint Back Bay stroll), and the Public Garden.
There is a restaurant in the North End called Florentine Cafe - nice bar, great food.

have fun!
Suzette85 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Whether the Go Boston card is worth it or not, depends on how many sites you'll go, and you need to do the math.

I agree with others regarding NOT doing any daytrips. 3 days is barely enough to see the main sights of Boston.

Right now on your list, the paid places covered by the Go Boston card are HOHO Trolley, JFK LIbrary/Museum, and Gardner Museum. If you want to get your money's worth, consider taking the Duck Tour, which I believe is $30+. You HAVE to book in advance because they sell out frequently.

I recently took the UNofficial tour of Harvard, as well as the Official tour of Harvard. The 2 are essentially the same; the Official tour is probably more popular. Just FYI, the UNofficial tour, while is free, requests a $10 tip at the end of the tour.

P.S., Dancegirl, I see that you are new here. Just for future reference, you want to tag a topic with the correct state(s) that you're visiting. I was browsing through Massachusetts-tagged topics earlier today and this didn't show up, because you mistakenly tagged it with Washington DC. I didn't see this until just now because I was browsing through all the topics from today regardless of the tags.
yk is online now  
Jul 11th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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Sorry about the tag; I am new here. Thanks for all the advice.
Dancergirl is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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you must spend time visiting the tall ships and see them leave boston on monday under sail!

gyppielou is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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Boston is one of my favorite cities! I love the history, but in the North End I love the smell of all that wonderful Italian food! Make sure to stop in at Mike's Pastry for a cannoli! Have a wonderful time!
turista is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 08:08 AM
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Agreed that there's too much good stuff to see in Boston in three days to do day trips this time around. Am not a fan of the trolley tours, as you tend to skirt around rather than see neighborhoods such as the North End -- with the Duck Tour, you at least go into the Charles River for a nice skyline view.

Didn't see any mention here of the Freedom Trail, which strikes me as a must for a 3-day Boston trip and will likely take the better part of a day -- good especially for those who want to experience some Boston history, plus you see the North End, Faneuil Hall, and Old Ironsides this way. The second day can be fruitfully spent at one or both of the Museum of Fine Arts or the Gardner Museum, both excellent if you like art. Day three can be well spent with part of the day at the JFK Library and the rest of the day in Cambridge (at Harvard Square in particular) -- these are both on the Red Line subway, so make a good pairing.

As mentioned above, Newbury Street is great for a shopping stroll, as is Charles Street for antiques.
bachslunch is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 09:57 AM
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I'm a big fan of Mike's in general, and their cannoli in particular, but when I mentioned that when I was in Boston in April, several people on this board touted Maria's (across the street from Mike's?). Maybe you should try both and report back!
sf7307 is online now  
Jul 13th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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It is Modern Pastrty that's across the street from Mike's. Maria's is off on a side street.

Last week I got myself another cannoli from Modern. Mike's is just too popular that it's not worth the effort to stand in line.
yk is online now  
Jul 13th, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Welcome dancergirl--glad to see you've already received some helpful advice. I've fixed the tag for you.
Katie_H is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 10:18 AM
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yk, you're supposed to be doing a taste test....all three LOL!
sf7307 is online now  
Jul 13th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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sf7307, will you pay for my WW membership afterwards?
yk is online now  
Jul 13th, 2009, 10:52 AM
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Nope, but I'll split the cost of the cannolis you try!!
sf7307 is online now  
Jul 13th, 2009, 11:18 AM
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Forced to choose between the three North End bakeries mentioned, I'd likely rank them Modern Pastries, Maria's, and Mike's. But they're all really good. Heck, you're on vacation, so why not toss caution to the winds and sample from all three? That's one of the things vacations are for, after all. It's only a cannoli, and you can walk it off continuing along the Freedom Trail.
bachslunch is offline  
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