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One day in Boston with Teens

Old Mar 16th, 2012, 10:41 PM
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One day in Boston with Teens

We have the better part of a Saturday to spend in Boston, needing to be in Yarmouth, ME by dinner time.

We arrive at Logan Intl. about 9p on a Friday night. Should we stay near the airport or in central Boston? We will have a rental car so will need accommodation with parking, and a place to park the car during the day while we're being tourists. My initial thought is to stay in central Boston so we can maximize our time.

The teens are 18 & 15 and love to travel and see stuff so are open to almost anything, and don't mind a day of walking. There are many neat historical things but am not sure what should absolutely not be missed?

Is there a tasty, fun, interesting, ya gotta go there lunch spot that won't break the bank? And dinner spot in case we find ourselves scavenging about the night before we fly out?

Are there any interesting roadside attractions that we should stop and see on our way up to Yarmouth?

We may end up with another day or half day towards the end of the trip before we fly out to see a bit more, but not certain about that at this point. We fly out on a Friday at 1.45p, My concern is traffic and being caught in it! How long is the drive from the city to the airport? And any tips on best roads to take to get to the airport?

Also, if on the night before we fly out we end up staying by the airport (haven't decided that bit yet), are there any good restaurants near the airport?

Thank you!
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 12:02 AM
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Sounds tacky but really, walk the Freedom Trail. I grew up there and occasionally did it as a teen for fun!

Nothing beats true "old Boston" like dinner at the Ritz Cafe(downstairs--upstairs is even
More expensive) Otoh plenty of funky dives in Harvard Square (go by subway) which does include Harvard Yard Longfellows Wayside Inn is a classic about an hour out of the city. Don't miss at least seeing the Swan Boats in the Boston Gardens, which is right by the Ritz and tres chic Newbury street. Take a drive aling Charles Rucer Drive or Storrow Drive if it's nice and see the sailing and rowing. If u end up with a full day consider Sturbridge Village, easily done in a day.

Enjoy!
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 12:03 AM
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Ps the airport traffic is horrendous. Sorry.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 12:32 AM
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What to choose? The Kennedy Library has good parking.
Given you'll be there on a Saturday, that's when the pushcart vendors are in Haymarket Square which is next to Quincy Market area and also a short walk to the Italian North End. There are Freedom Trail stops in this area.

If you like Chinese food, you could also go for a dim sum meal. There is parking at South Station which is near Chinatown. From there you could get on the interstate. At least the buses do it easily.

If you decided to do Cambridge, there's a hotel that's right across the street from the Charles with good parking. Get a room on the river side which would give you a great view of rowers etc. It's a long walk to a subway station or with 3 people you could take a cab over to where you want to go in Boston. Sorry, hotel names keep changing. We've stayed there twice, two different names but haven't been in several years.

I would get rid of the car before you fly home. You can take a subway or bus to the airport. I go to and from the airport from NH via bus which makes a stop at South Station before going to the airport. Or stay at an airport hotel for your return flight.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 01:30 AM
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Don't get the rental car until you are ready to leave for Maine. It will cost you more to park it overnight in Boston than the daily rental. Besides, unless you are comfortable driving in Paris or Rome, you will probably find Boston more enjoyable without it.

You don't have time to go to museums, so I will suggest either the Freedom Trail (above), a walk through the Back Bay and Beacon Hill, or a trip to Harvard Square on the Red Line subway.

If you go to Harvard Square, enjoy lunch at Mr Bartley's Burger Cottage, which has served generations of Harvard students and is a trip.

If you stay in the Back Bay-Beacon Hill area, Olives on Beacon Street has sophisticated pizza -- prosciutto and fig is my favorite.

If you walk the Freedom Trail, Hanover Street in the North End is lined with restaurants, many of them bad and most of them will take too much time. I will recommend three that are unique: The Daily Catch (Calamari Cafe) for seafood; Umberto's Rosticceria (known as Ralph's) for quick Sicilian/Calabrese specialties served with no pretense, style or charm but a major trip; Artu's, around the corner from the Daily Catch toward the right for good pastas. You can also go to Mike's Pastries or Modern Pastry for desserts. They are equally good, but Mike's is more touristy.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 03:49 AM
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You have received some good advice above. On your way out of town on Saturday afternoon, pick up a rental car. If you pick it up at the airport it is not difficult to navigate the route to Rte 1 or I95 north to Yarmouth.

On the way back, if you decide not to return to Boston for another 20 hours, leave Yarmouth and have breakfast in Wells, ME at the Maine diner. Then continue on to Logan. I disagree with above poster that traffic will be horrible - from Maine you will be able to figure out the route and late morning on a Friday should not be horrible unless it is a holiday weekend.

So it matters if this is in April or around a summer holiday. Easter/Passover is the first weekend in April. The Friday after that (4/13) will be heavy traffic day at Logan since that is the beginning of public school vacation week in MA and ME.

If you decide to spend time at the end of your trip in Boston, drop off rental car on your way back, stay in city.

And when you research hotels - recent survey (I think Expedia did it but not sure) showed that Boston had 3rd highest hotel prices in US (after NYC and Honolulu) so be prepared for sticker shock.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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Agree with those who say not to rent a car until you leave Boston. The Freedom Trail seems like the best activity for you on Saturday. It's a good tour through the city and you'll see lots of interesting places along the way.

I just wanted to note that the Ritz that TravelinFeet refers to above is now the Taj Hotel. The (new) Ritz in Boston is on Tremont and Boylston streets.

Nevertheless, if you start your tour of the Freedom Trail at the Boston Common, it's a nice little detour to walk to the Public Garden and see the swan boats.

You may want to check some of the discount hotel sites for better prices on Boston hotels. Also keep an eye on deals through Travelzoo.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 07:59 AM
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Thank you all for your thoughtful replies! It's all appreciated! I'm liking the sound of not getting the rental car until we bug out of town on Saturday afternoon. Having never flown into Logan, how long is the subway ride from the airport into Boston? Or is it a bus that we'll be taking? Where are tickets purchased? I'll look up Logan and see what their website says...Maybe instead of getting the car at the airport I should get it in downtown Boston, so we can return it there if the extra day at the end of the week happens. We'll be packing light with only a carry on each, so hopefully where ever we end up staying will be central enough that we can leave our luggage while we're touring around. Does the subway or bus station have lockers? And it's a bummer our fly out day is 4/13, the same day as a school holiday...

The Freedom Trail sounds perfect. I'll see about picking up a travel guide about it.

Our route is slightly more circuitous (triangular?) than just Boston to Yarmouth and involves significant car time...We're only stopping in Yarmouth since we have a friend there and it's half-way to our destination of Orono, ME where we spend one night and half a day. Then head to Burlington, VT, probably/hopefully stopping to sleep somewhere between Orono and Burlington to break up the 6 hr. drive. A half day in Burlington, then possibly driving to Montreal for one night and half a day, then back to Boston or just heading back to Boston from Burlington (still waiting to hear back from the Montreal university).

The restaurant ideas sound great! I love having a few options in my pocket before hitting the ground. Sometimes it seems we waste too much time looking for a decent place to grab a bite.

Thanks for the heads-up on hotel prices. I will start working on that now. I've used airbnb.com for LA, maybe they will have something reasonable for Boston...
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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When is this trip?

Just to reiterate others:
DO NOT pick up a rental car until Saturday when you're ready to head out of town. You can easily pick up a car from any downtown rental locations.

There are 2 subway lines you can take from Logan into the city. Which line you take depends on WHERE you're staying. There's the Silver Line (a bus) that picks up from each terminal, and terminates at South Station where you can change for the Red Line.

Or, you can take the Shuttle bus from the terminal to the BLUE line Airport station. Take the BLUE line to Government Center station where you can change for the GREEN line. Again - it depends on where you'll end up staying. Tickets are $2pp.

For the Saturday, I'd say - get up early and spend the morning doing some/most of the Freedom Trail. In the afternoon, take the RED line to Harvard Sq - it'll be VERY lively on a Saturday afternoon and I think the teens will have a great time there.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 09:30 AM
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We land at Logan at 9p on the 6th and are flying out on the 13th at 1.45p. How long does it take to get from the airport into town? From Google maps it looks like it's just across the water. How long should we allow to get to/from the airport if we are in downtown Boston?
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 10:10 AM
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On public transportation, it depends on how many changes you have to make to get where you're going. Figure about 45 minutes to an hour with waiting time.

You can check www.mbta.com and under rider tools, you can check the route planner from wherever you're staying.

I don't know that April 13 will affect you in any way. I think the public schools are off the next week. The Boston Marathon is on the 16th but I think since you'll need a room on Thursday, the 12th, you'll be able to find one. Hotel rooms for marathon weekend are always expensive and scarce.

Since I live in Boston, I have no experience with AirBnB and have not read any Boston reports for it. If you find a place, you can run the address by those of us here if you want to know more about it.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 11:49 AM
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I just want to mention that 4/13 is the Red Sox home opener. That will affect parking downtown, and traffic around Kenmore about lunchtime, since the game is at 2PM. I don't imagine this will have any particular impact, unless you were thinking of popping into Boston that morning and parking at the Pru. The lots will be extra full, and the Green Line will be extra crowded.
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Old Mar 17th, 2012, 03:50 PM
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I think I am going to try and take the advice of picking up the car just before we leave town and then try to drop it off as soon as we return. I really don't fancy sitting in traffic!
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