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Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

Texas
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Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

Hello!

My husband and I are visiting Mass for the first time April 16th - 19th. Right off the bat - we want to stay in Boston as our Central location to visit the outlining areas. However, I am sure there are many hidden gems we could stay at as our Central location rather than Boston. We just have no clue what city/town other than Boston to stay at. Any ideas or suggestions is much appreciated! Thank you very much in advance!

Boston, MA
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1. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

Yikes! Make your reservations now, that is Marathon Weekend - runners and fans everywhere. And, Boston really is the best choice as a central location.

Boston, MA
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2. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

What other places are you planning to visit? what are your interests?

If you are coming in primarily to see Boston, then absolutely you should stay in Boston.

And as Kendrick mentioned, the Marathon is on Monday the 19th. Roads will be closed for the runners, and the downtown areas will be packed. If you are leaving on that day, you will want to plan accordingly.

Winchester...
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3. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

I thought Kendrick answered the question well.

If what you mean is that you really want to visit the Massachusetts countryside, there are plenty of nice places you could stay - apparently you can still book a room for that weekend at the Colonial Inn in Concord, for example.

I suspect you really want to visit Boston itself however. I find the question really interesting because it suggests some preconception of what there is to see in Boston and Massachusetts in general. By way of comparison, if someone said "we are visiting San Antonio for the first time but think there must be some other location in the suburbs that would be nicer than in the city itself...", what would you say? :-)

Baltimore, Maryland
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4. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

define "best"

Boston
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5. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

Yeah, if you really mean as your CENTRAL location, then stay in Boston. I think you'll find tons to do for that short a visit, and a Boston location won't prevent you from getting to a lot of good day trips, if you have time. You can get to lots of worthwhile outlying places using public transportation. But personally I think for a visit of that length, just stay in Boston and concentrate on Boston and a visit over to Cambridge. Do keep in mind that the Boston Marathon is a very big deal and it has a big impact on traffic (both car and pedestrian) on the day of the race. You can take the subway everywhere as usual on that day, but taxis and cars and even pedestrians need to be careful planning how to get around the race route. But, it's very exciting to witness, so that may be a reason to get a hotel in Back Bay. Back Bay is the part of Boston where the race ends. It's also the part of town where tourists most often want to stay. It's a good central location and has lots of hotels, and has about 4 subway stops too.

Texas
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6. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

I'm sorry everyone! I didn't know I had replies. I thought I would receive an email informing me of responses. I just happen to look again just now. Anyway thank you all!

We have decided to visit the last weekend in April or first weekend in May. Yes, the San Antonio example makes sense! LOL thank you! We want to visit historic sites, the beach, we would love to see the countryside too, perhaps drive to Canada. Also, we are going to stay a week after all.

When I say best - I mean a place that isn't touristy. We really like to stay in off the beaten path places. But everyone is right - I think we should stay in Boston so we don't get too lost.

Our interests are: the beach, wine tasting, visiting museums, visiting historic sites, white water rafting, bicycling, sailing. We love outdoor activities!

Again, thank you so much everyone! I'll check back everyday!

Texas
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7. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

oh yes, and if we are able to visit the surrounding states - we would love to do that too! Trying to cram a lot in - I know.

Enfield, Connecticut
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8. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

You won't have time to visit Canada in a week's visit. I would concentrate on Boston and vicinity for driving purposes for a week isn't really that long. You can go to the Cape easily enough, drive into New Hampshire for the country side, or take a drive west down the Mass Pike for a country drive.

Boston...
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9. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

Hi,

I just looked at this thread tonight and was like wow, you want to do so many things! And that's great, but first thing needing discussing is the timing of your visit. Late April, first week of May isn't the ideal time to visit to go to the beach, sailing, even white water rafting. It's still chilly, although there can be some really glorious days mixed in as well. But the trees are just springing to life again, so there's still that somewhat "barren" feeling when driving through the countryside. Mid to late May is when everything is green, full of life again and quite pictureque. Just keep that in mind.

Will you be flying here and renting a car when you arrive? Keep in mind that parking a car in Boston will run you about $40 per night.

7 days is just enough time to see Boston, Cape Cod and maybe somewhere north or west like The Berkshire Hills of Western Mass., Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont. Attempting to see all 6 New England states or even attempting to go to Canada would be LOTS of driving and LITTLE vacation time. My advice is to try and narrow your focus to a few areas this trip. My advice is also not to base yourself in one place if you plan on seeing a couple, few different states.

Start off with Boston. It's a small, clean, friendly, extremely walkable city loaded with history and wonderful museums. Hold off on renting that car until you're ready to take off to your next destination. Spend a day at The Gardner one day and the MFA the next. Or go and visit the ICA or the JFK. Or take a tour of the Gibson House. Browse the galleries. Take in a show. Rent kayaks and paddle the Charles River. Put on your running shoes and jog the lovely Charles River Esplanade. The city will keep both of you more than happy and busy for a couple nights.

Then rent a car and head to a town like Eastham or Orleans and visit the National Seashore there. Spend a couple nights. Visit Provincetown or Chatham or just relax and take in this areas serenity. Maybe visit Saltwater Farm in Chatham for a horseback ride on the beach? How about renting some bikes and setting out on the 22 mile Cape Cod Rail Trail bike path? The National Seashore (and Cape Cod Bay) beaches are beautiful and would make for a great walk and taking some pictures. But don't expect to go swimming as it's still much too early for that. It's still a quiet time on Cape Cod, which makes it enjoyable and easy to get around (no summer crowds).

When you're finished up on Cape Cod, you should still have a couple nights left in the bank. Figure out where you want to go. Do you want to head to Vermont and cruise around visiting all those "postcard" village greens and covered bridges? Or maybe head up into the White Mountains of New Hampshire for some hiking or whizzing thru the air on a canopy zip line? Or heading off to Maine and doing some white water rafting? You have a couple nights left to spend somewhere so any one of those 3 states would work well for you. Just keep in mind that the further north you go, the chillier it's going to get.

Once you finish that final leg of your trip, you can cruice that rental car back to the airport, throw your luggage on a shuttle and head inside the airport to await your flight back home.

If you want to base yourself in one place and just do daytrips then that's okay. It's your vacation after all! :) It's just not something I would do. I like to immerse myself in an area and really get to know it, feel it, enjoy it.

Just my two cents worth as always, Lilly.

Edited: 14 March 2010, 07:03
Boston, MA
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10. Re: Help! 1st Time Visitor - What is the Best City/Town to Stay?

You have to go pretty far north for White Water Rafting and it will be COLD. I've rafted the Kennebeck and Penobscot ... both in July or August and wore and old wool sweater on one trip to help stay warm -- wool keeps you warm even when wet ....

Here's one of the companies that offers rafting in Maine

https:/…maine-whitewater-rafting.htm

Edited: 14 March 2010, 12:36