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annette Jul 9th, 2010 05:46 PM

Springfield & Boston-help
Need help with trip to MA in August. We (dh, two boys 18 & 20) are heading to the NBA induction ceremony on 8/13. Driving from WI and arriving in MA 8/11. Would like to see historic sites and city of Boston. Should we stay in Springfield for 3 nights and then head to Boston or stay 1/2 way between the two cities the entire trip? Never been to MA and dh wonders what it will be like to drive around Boston. We like Staybridge and Residence Inn type hotels, need room for tall boys to stretch at night. Hoping to not spend more than $150 a night on hotels. Any help would be great! Thanks!

travelbuff Jul 9th, 2010 07:29 PM

Well first you DON"T want to drive around Boston, walk or take the T (public transit) and it's easy to get around Boston on the T.

The Freedom Trail will take you all around Boston and it starts at the State House, in Boston Common, you walk by all the major sites in the city and plan on it taking a whole day or more.

For hotels, finding one in your budget is going to be a bit of a challenge. I'd suggest looking at all of the online booking sites. Stayig in Springfield for a couple of days and then heading toward Boston, is a good idea, if you stay in the city, just park the car while you are there and pick it up when you leave, trying to drive around the city is CRAZY, too much traffic and all those one way streets.

Try, for ideas on what the rates are in Boston, which is one of the most expensive hotel cities, so you may have to stretch your budget a bit.

Get a book on Boston, so you get some ideas of what is there and distances involved. Boston is a small big city, so enjoy your trip.

yk Jul 9th, 2010 07:31 PM

How many days will you have total? Only 8/11 thru 8/13? I'm a bit confused by your post - or did you mean you'll have more time for Boston after 8/13?

Are you looking to stay in one room for all 4 of you? Or 2 rooms? Is the $150 budget for one room for 4 people?

I certainly would not stay in Springfield while trying to commute into Boston daily. If you are interested in staying IN Boston for at least a few nights, there is a Residence Inn (@ Tudor Wharf) that should be affordable. You can park your car there and walk (or take public transport) to most tourist sites. Not sure how much parking they charge though.

Last time I checked, the Hampton Inn in Cambridge offers free parking. So that's your other option, stay there, park your car, and use public transport to get around Boston.

If you want to stay OUTSIDE of Boston, I'd look into towns such as Natick, Framingham, and Waltham. From those towns, it's probably 30-45 min drive INTO Boston on MassPike in the AM rush hr; and 45-60 min drive OUT OF Boston in the PM hr. Plan on spending approx $30/day to park in Boston during weekdays; $8-10/day to park on weekends.

yk Jul 9th, 2010 07:42 PM

Another hotel IN Boston that you should look into, is the Holiday Inn Express & Suites on Friends Street. It is located very close to Boston TD Garden, so your boys may enjoy the location better. Parking is extra.

gail Jul 10th, 2010 03:32 AM

There is little to do in Springfield area that would be of interest to young adult boys and parents. So plan on getting to Boston. When you are doing the math to figure if you should stay in Boston or commute in, be sure factor cost of parking in Boston versus cost of parking at commuter station, paying for 4 RT MBTA tickets - it might not be that much more expensive to stay in Boston which would greatly enhance the experience.

It is not recommended that you drive site to site in Boston, but from Springfield even if you were staying in Boston and parking at a hotel there, it is a straight route east on Mass Turnpike to Boston - then as long as you have good directions to your hotel and plan to leave car there, it is doable even for first time visitors.

I might do a search here on Boston lodging - not an expert on hotels and rates since I live here. You will not find any free parking in Boston, even for a few hours. Much of the street parking is residents only. You are not likely to find any hotel with 3 real beds in one room - so someone is going to get stuck on a sofa bed unless you get 2 rooms.

Walk the Freedom Trail, eat in the North End, perhaps a Harbor Cruise or whale watch. Your time is short, but considering that you are from WI, a half day at a beach might be nice as well. Have a good trip.

Ackislander Jul 10th, 2010 04:03 AM

Gail points out that a half day at the beach might be fun. It is, and Boston is one of the rare places where you can take a subway to the beach. The Blue Line goes to Revere Beach, which is not your romantic dream beach, but it sure is easy to get to, and there are some famous seafood places (oddly enough, Kelly's Roast Beef, go figure).

Springfield is too far to stay and drive into Boston, much farther than the same number of miles would be in Wisconsin, because of traffic. You can drive into Boston from the burbs on weekends when parking is less expensive at the Common Garage (right in the middle of everything and at the beginning of the Freedom Trail). But don't drive in on a weekday.

The Freedom Trail walk, with lunch in the North End near Paul Revere's house and Old North Church works well. You can then walk on to Charlestown to see the Constitution. The MBTA runs a cheap water taxi from Charlestown back to Long Wharf that will give nice waterfront views.

You could take a trip to the harbor islands from Long Wharf, and you should, if you park at the Common, at least walk around for a bit on Beacon Hill, especially Mt Vernon and West Cedar Streets. They are very beautiful, and you can have pizza on Charles Street at Figs.

travelbuff Jul 10th, 2010 05:45 AM

DID SOMEONE MENTION KELLY'S????? That would be a spot your guys will talk about for a LONG time. Kind of a local spot pardon the pun, revered, by locals.(yes it is in Revere, just north of Boston. Sort of like a Rocky Rococo's, except it's a take away spot, right ON the beach at Revere. There is also one in Framingham just off the Mass Pike. Here you will get GREAT roastbeef sandwiches, lobster and clam rolls, and onion rings YUMMMMMMMMMM. All reasonably priced.

So if you don't go to the beach in Revere, and here you oculd drive and park off the beach, or take the T.

Sorry for the commercial, but it's Kelly's afterall........

tchoiniere Jul 10th, 2010 05:54 AM

IF you wanted to spemd 2 nights towards Springfield then a few nights in Boston, I may look towards Northampton or Amherst for a hotel (20 minute drive to Springfield) but there is a lot to do in that area. Maybe stay 8/11 thru 8/14 in Northampton then head towards Boston after that.

annette Jul 10th, 2010 10:37 AM

Lots to think about! Thanks for the replies. We thought staying by Springfield the first few nights (11-13) would be best so maybe the Northampton or Amherst areas would be great. Wearing "black tie optional" for the NBA so don't really want to drive too far and be a wrinkled mess!! Really thinking staying in Boston and doing the subway is the thing to do. The beach and Kelly's sounds great! Thanks everyone for your help. I am looking forward to our time in MA. First time for all of us!

hawksbill Jul 10th, 2010 08:08 PM

Kelly's Roast Beef on Revere Beach is awesome! I'm a huge fan of their roast beef sandwiches, and their lobster rolls. I am most definitely a frequent customer.

However, I feel compelled to caution annette that Revere Beach is most certainly not a typical tourist destination. It's known for being seedy at best, and crime-ridden and dangerous at worst. People I know who grew up on the North Shore were usually strictly forbidden by their parents to set foot anywhere near the place. In truth, it's really not that bad at all these days, as long as you're not there after dark. But it's not the kind of place where most tourists visit.

I agree with the above comments on some other points: it's not fun to drive around Boston if you don't know where you're going. It's an old city that isn't laid out well for traffic, and Boston drivers are the nastiest and most incompetent that I've ever encountered in America. However, it's not like New York, where it's a huge ordeal just to get into town. You should choose a hotel that has parking, drive yourself into Boston, and then leave the car there and explore the town on foot, using public transportation, or taking taxis.

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