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westernhalf Sep 28th, 2005 08:07 AM

Out-of-stater driving in Boston
We plan to visit the Boston area around the third week of October. This is a rather on the spur of the moment trip. We want to visit Cape Ann (where my husband wants to do a short ocean tour), Cape Cod (for a day or so), but spend most of our time in Boston. The plan is to arrive mid-week, stay on the outskirts of the city, drive into Cape Cod and see all we can in a day or two, go back to Boston for 3 days during the weekend, then finish up at Cape Ann before the return flight home. Is this reasonable? Also, my husband says that driving I-95 around Boston to get to Cape Ann will be a piece of cake--is this true? I've heard that Boston driving is not easy, and I get nervous in Denver! Can anyone tell me about the town of Hingham--how long it would take to get into Boston if we parked and took a ferry? We have never been to this area and would appreciate any guidance!

rkkwan Sep 28th, 2005 08:43 AM

Driving in the suburbs of Boston is no problem. It's inside Boston, Cambridge, or the few towns close to city center that's troublesome.

Never took the Hingham ferry, but on its schedule, the same boat will make a opposite-direction departure in 45-50 minutes, so the trip will be under that. Keep in mind that the ferry <b>does not run on weekends</b>.

china_cat Sep 28th, 2005 08:51 AM

I'm not sure where you are from, but the highway driving around here in Massachusetts is no worse than other heavily developed and congested metropolitan areas.

yes, driving downtown is a challenge, because of the lack of signage, the lack of any sort of grid pattern to the streets, and the aggressiveness of the drivers. but even with all that, driving into the city to get to a parking garage, and driving out again doesn't have to be a nightmare. it can be done.

Are you thinking of having one base for all those different things you want to do?if so, it seems like a lot of driving. Why not stay on the Cape a couple days, drive and stay overnight in Cape Ann, then drive to somewhere to drop off the car, go into Boston and stay there for the weekend?

capxxx Sep 28th, 2005 09:16 AM

Your plan sounds reasonable.

Just pa'k your ca' in the hotel pa'king garage, and take public transportation while in Boston.

BostonGal Sep 28th, 2005 09:25 AM

Ditto the others. The highways are no different here than anywhere else. Why not drive to Hingham instead of ferry? Hingham is a beautiful town! It would be about a 40min drive from downtown Boston, no traffic.
Your plan sounds reasonable, however I'd definitely start south and make your way north, or vice versa, just to make it easier on you. aka do the Cape, then Boston, then Cape Ann.

ahhnold Sep 28th, 2005 09:31 AM

Once you are out of Boston, the drive to Cape Ann is easy, maybe 45 mins.

Fall is the best in the Boston area, have a great trip. Have lunch at the Greenery in Rockport.

Anonymous Sep 28th, 2005 09:46 AM

&quot; The plan is to arrive mid-week, stay on the outskirts of the city, drive into Cape Cod and see all we can in a day or two, go back to Boston for 3 days during the weekend, then finish up at Cape Ann &quot;

I agree with china_cat: There's no point in staying on the outskirts of the city and commuting in either direction (towards Cape Cod or into Boston). When you arrive midweek, rent a car and drive to one of the Capes and stay there; when you're done there, go to the other one even though that means taking Route 93 right through Boston. Then return to Boston, get rid of the rental car, and spend the last days in the city. If possible, do your highway driving on weekends or midday (10 AM - 2 PM) on weekdays.

crefloors Sep 28th, 2005 11:18 AM

My brother and SIL we in Boston a couple of years ago..they live in the Bay Area. They had a map, my SIL is very good with maps but he did say it was difficult because, as another poster mentioned, things are not clearly marked, if marked at all. Having said that, they managed OK and got to where they needed to be.

WxWyWz Sep 28th, 2005 01:53 PM

I HATE driving the streets of Boston, but the suggestions by &quot;anonymous&quot; are right on. I-93 outside of &quot;drivetime&quot; hours is no worse than other metro area. It's the local driving in Boston that's the pits. If you do decide to stay in outskirts to visit downtown, be close to a &quot;regular&quot; T station instead of commuter rail. Commuter rail run with much less frequency.

westernhalf Sep 28th, 2005 02:36 PM

Thanks so much for all the advice--it looks like we will do 2 days on Cape Cod, 2 on Cape Ann, and finish in Boston--that way we can drop off the car and save parking when it's easy to get around anyway. One more question--we (2 adults, 2 teens) would like to stay near all the normal popular places, like Freedom Trail, etc., (and a subway line as well). I'm looking for Clean, but not necessarily atmosphere, and we don't need frills like a health club or even a pool. Obviously, we're trying to keep costs down! Are there any hotels a couple of blocks from the &quot;action&quot; where prices might be lower? We have friends who just got back from Boston. They stayed in a view room at the Hyatt Harborside, and paid $100 a night, but we couldn't get a quote for less than $350. They said they booked on hotlink--we never have been able to be clear about what they did. Well, we don't need the Hyatt, just a clean convenient place. Thanks to all for the input.

westernhalf Sep 28th, 2005 02:43 PM

I should have mentioned that we would like to pay $200 or less for the hotel!

wyatt92 Sep 28th, 2005 03:40 PM

Any hotel in the Back Bay would be convenient for attractions. That being said, I think the best deal in Boston is the Wyndham on Broad St. You can usually get a room for about $160, it's in the Financial District which is within walking distance of Fanueil Hall, the North End, Downtown Crossing and plenty of T stops.

westernhalf Sep 28th, 2005 06:44 PM

Thanks much, wyatt92.

cigalechanta Sep 28th, 2005 06:56 PM

The Back Bay-Copley area has the only area of streets that are easy to follow(no car, traffic is out of hand due to beauty salons, restos and etc.)
Starting with the Ritz overlooking the Public Garden. That is Arlington st at Newbury St. Now up Newbury the cross streets are alphabetical.
Mass. Ave.
Mass ave bridge leads you into Cambridge(MIT, Harvard)

dfrostnh Sep 29th, 2005 03:04 AM

My friends and I just stayed at the Best Western Round House suites for about $169. My friend said she used Expedia. The rooms are great since they are mini suites with a frig and microwave and sitting area plus a nice continental breakfast is included. The downside is that the location is on the outskirts. The hotel has a free shuttle to the nearest T stop but for convenience we took cabs at the end of the day and to go to the theater. Cab rides to the North End and theater district were about $10. They had free parking which is unusual in Boston but I think they charged for a ride to the airport. If you're stuck, I would stay here but the location is pretty poor.

BostonGal Sep 29th, 2005 07:00 AM

Once you are in Boston, it's so easy to get around on foot or T.

For hotels, try the Park Plaza - a LOT of people that have come to visit have stayed there and gotten decent deals.
There's a new hotel on the backside of Back Bay, heading into South End, - looks like a more boutique-style hotel, and might be cheaper.

Also, sometimes the Millenium and Lenox also offer decent rates.

westernhalf Sep 29th, 2005 08:55 PM

Thanks so much for everyone's input--I think we've chosen the Bullfinch Hotel!

tuckerdc Sep 30th, 2005 04:53 AM

Boston can be tough to get a Priceline bargain on, but it certainly would be worth a try. Last month, I scored the downtown Hyatt for two nites for $65/nite. At that rate, two rooms would be easy on your pocketbook and still under your budget.

tuckerdc Sep 30th, 2005 04:58 AM

P.S. Do NOT try to get around Boston on foot without a good map in hand. Even with one, we got badly lost - twice in the same night. And even workers on a construction site (just a couple blocks from where we needed to be) couldn't tell us how to get back to our hotel....It is a puzzle of a town.

westernhalf Sep 30th, 2005 06:40 AM

Thanks, tuckerdc.
We will definitely have a map. I repeatedly tried Priceline for downtown areas, going up to $75 or $80 for 2 rooms, but there were no takers. A friend said that using that method and specifying airport, he was given a hotel 20 miles from the airport. He and his wife also recently left a hotel they'd booked in Boston and stayed with relatives at another, losing their money, because the place was so bad. Not knowing the area, and this being a rare occasion for us, I just thought I'd do what was safe. The interesting thing is that the hotel we picked repeatedly came up as having no rooms on online booking sites, but when I called the actual hotel, there was no problem. I can see that I have a lot to learn about the ins and outs of booking online.

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