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Our first Day in Boston!

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Sep 3rd, 2012, 06:56 AM
  #1
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Our first Day in Boston!

From the Aquarium/Mariott Longwharf, we took a $3.00 ferry over to the Charlestown Navy Yard – the boat is run by the Massachusetts Transit Authority – it is an old beat up boat, but the 15 minute ride from the top deck gave us great views of the Boston Harbor (I would say just as good as the $50 boat rides!). I think they leave every 15 minutes or so, the schedule is posted.

We explored the Navy Yard – all free – the USS Constitution, the Museum and gift shop then headed down Warren Street towards the Bunker Hill Monument. Instead of following the Freedom Trail exactly we went a block further and stopped on the corner of Pleasant and Warren Streets (one street past Monument) in a quaint little shop called “The Joy of Old” – it is only open on weekends, but even when they are closed, Jackson the famous 25 pound shop cat sits in the front window greeting folks as they pass by – we were lucky enough to be there on the weekend and got to pet him!

We then took a right and headed up Pleasant Street (the neighborhood has some great architecture) and at the top ascended the almost 300 stair Bunker Hill Monument (also free) and gazed out at Boston (I couldn’t believe how many people have roof decks!)
We then headed back down Warren Street and instead of taking a left back into the Navy Yard, we took a right at the end of Warren, past the Residence Inn Hotel, under a bridge and into a quaint park – beautiful paths and flowers, playgrounds, places for the dog to run, views of the Lenny Zakim Bridge – perfect place for a picnic! (we stopped at a place called Sorelle’s for yummy sandwiches - two locations in Charlestown) Once inside the park, you walk straight for a quarter mile and look for a metal uphill ramp – follow this up and over – you will now be in another park but in Cambridge – this comes out at the Museum of Science (we didn’t stop there on this trip, but a great take if you haven’t been there).

We crossed over to the Museum, headed left and followed the sidewalk – when we reached a tennis court, we took a right and followed the path around the Charles River – depending on the season, you may see a mother duck with ducklings, sailboats and great views of the Boston skyline…. There is a foot bridge just before community boating – we took that up and over to Charles Street – lots of great shops, mostly gigts and antiques – we stopped at a little coffee shop a few blocks down on the right (I didn’t catch the name) and had some mini sized pastries and lattes. Then we window shopped…. The street ends at the Public Garden – we wandered through enjoying the flowers, the “Make Way for Ducklings” statue and took a ride on the swan boats ($2.75 a ticket).

We exited on the opposite side of the park and wandered down Newbury Street (Boston’s 5th Avenue/Champs Elysees) window shopping.

We used a credit card to rent a bike from a kiosk on the sidewalk and rode back to the Aquarium where we returned the bikes (it is $5.00 for 30 minutes) and had some really yummy Raspberry Draft Beer at an outside bar (to the left of the Aquarium) and enjoyed people watching.
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 07:31 AM
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If this was this weekend, you got really beautiful weather. Hope you continue to enjoy your trip. You may have walked as much in one day as some tourists would walk in a week!
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 07:31 AM
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Thanks for this report!

I love Boston and I'd always been curious how much the swan boats and bikes cost.

Happy Labor Day weekend! Daniel
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 09:23 AM
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cw
 
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You had a great first day. Thanks for reporting in.
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 12:47 PM
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Thanks all! Yes, we are having great weather.

Daniel - I still don't really understand the bike prices - the sign says $5 for 24 hours but only if you take half hour rides. I took that to mean that you have to stop and check in at a kiosk every 30 minutes or they charge you another $2 for each additional half hour.... We thought we did it right (checked in and checked out in less than 30 minutes, but then my card got charged $14 for the two bikes...) It was convenient but next time we walk by one I am going to try to get the name and see if they have a web site or phone #.

Another beautiful day! Today we did the Super Bus/Duck Tour - We started at the Aquarium and got on the double decker green and yellow bus - $40 each and it included a tour of the city of Boston and Cambridge Loop (22 stops - hop on hop off bus all day until 6PM for 2 days), Super Duck tour in the Boston Harbor and a free admission to one of two museums or a boat ride on the Charles. Seemed like the best deal of all the tour bus/duck boat companies.

The bus driver was pretty monotone and boring - we thought we made a mistake booking this tour! A few stops later, we boarded the Super Duck Boat - the driver was very good - the acoustics were not great, I had a hard time hearing him and wish we sat closer to a speaker or the front - the motor on the boat was really loud. The ride was similiar to that of yesterday's MTA boat ride, but with narration.

We returned to the boat dock and boarded the bus again - this time we got a fatastic driver (I think his name was Ron) - he was funny, informative, sang songs and gave us little stories of his life growing up in Boston. We toured with him for 2+ hours, then got off at the Aquarium and took a cab over to the Galleria Mall (near the Science Museum in Cambridge) and did the Cambridge Loop of the tour (it is included but a different bus) - the driver was also very good. We could have stayed on Ron's bus and got off in Cambridge to switch buses but it would have taken over an hour and we would have repeated the part of the tour we already saw...cab was only $8.00.

We stayed on the Cambridge bus, a second loop and got off to explore Harvard Square - lots of shops - then had fajita steak salads at the Border Cafe - food was great, we sat at the bar - very colorful place - $25.00 including tip (no alcohol, just diet cokes).

We then walked out to Memorial Drive and walked back to Boston - it was WAY longer a walk than we thought - I am off to take a nap now! I would guess maybe 5 or 6 miles, but it was along the Charles River the whole way - lots of boaters and great views of the skyline. There were a few spots where we could have rented the bikes again, but no subway stops that we saw....

We arrived back at the Galleria to take the included Charles River boat ride and missed the boat by literally 5 seconds... The next one wasn't for an hour and fifteen minutes and we were way to tired to wait! Ticket is still valid tomorrow.
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 01:59 PM
  #6
cw
 
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Here's the link to Hubway, the bike system. http://www.thehubway.com/

You can go to the North End for pastries and not be worried about calories with all the walking you're doing!
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 02:35 PM
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Thank you so much for sharing your two remarkable days in our fair city. You've done well.

I do have a major problem with the new bike system. How many over paid bigwigs including Mumbles Menino greenlighted this program which pretends to cater to locals, while marketing to tourists. How is it possible to sell this mode of transportation to people visiting a city in which no one is recommended to drive the confusing streets filled with aggressive drivers? How can all those bigwigs greenlight a program to send tourists to play in traffic without a helmut????

Party on adnil! Wonderful report!
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 03:52 PM
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cw
 
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I think Hubway is a great system for Boston, and it has been very successful. I know people who have an annual memberships. My only complaint is that there are no stations in some neighborhoods yet. The rate for a 3-day membership is very reasonable.

Boston has added miles and miles of bike lanes in the past year. A helmet is a good idea for anyone riding anywhere--in the city and in the "country."
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 06:23 PM
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yk
 
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There are actually LOTS of locals who use the Hubway for short commutes. They are also popular with students. Hubway has expanded into Cambridge, Somerville & Brookline this past year. Its first year ridership also had exceeded expectation.

For 24-hr renters, you pay $5 for the "24-hr membership" and the first 30 minutes of your ride is free. You can pay just $5 for the entire 24-hr period as long as you return the bike to (any) station every 30 minutes and get out a new bike.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 03:55 PM
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Thanks all! Yes, it was a little scary not having a helmet - and I did go get a giant mocha cake at Mike's Pastry that night

yk - is there a difference between 24 hour membership and 24 hour period? We did check the bikes back in after about 25 minutes (I had my heart rate moniter on, so I know we didn't go over), I reinserted my credit card and got a new code, then we rode for another 15 minutes and checked in the bikes for good - I got charged $7 a bike.... In the big scheme of things, I don't really care about the extra $2 but it was confusing to us! We visit Boston often (we only live 3 hours away), so it would be nice to know for next summer.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 06:59 PM
  #11
yk
 
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adnil, there must be some timing error on the part of Hubway. According to the fees: http://thehubway.com/pricing
Looks like you were charged an extra $2/bike b/c the Hubway thought you had taken the bikes out for 30-60 minutes. I haven't personally used Hubway myself, but does it give you a receipt when you take out a bike and return it that will reflect the total amt of time you used the bike?
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