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First-timers visiting Boston/New England

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San Jose, California
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First-timers visiting Boston/New England

A friend and I will be visiting the New England area Oct. 7-11 and will be making our home base in Boston. Since hotels seem to be pricey (just like out here in San Francisco), we are opting for sublets/furnished apartments, B&Bs and hostels. What areas are safe for females to walk around at night? We are interested in the culture, history and nightlife of Boston.

I have been told the Back Bay area is nice as is the North End/Beacon Hill areas. I was offered a place near Davis Square. How safe is that area? We would like to stay in Boston for the first couple of days, so we will be car-less. So I'm looking for places to stay near public transporation that is accessible from the airport.

On the 3rd/4th day, we will venture out to New England via Walden to photograph the fall colors. Any pointers on scenery locations throughout New England would be helpful. I'll try and post on the Vermont and Maine forums also.

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1. Re: First-timers visiting Boston/New England

I live in western Massachusetts in the Berkshire hills. Peak color hits about the time you will be in the area. There will be plenty of color starting to show in the Boston area, but for peak colors, you will need to head north and/or west of the city. Since that is Columbus day weekend, there will probably larger than normal crowds at the touristy places. And, on behalf of the few considerate drivers in Massachusetts, I'd like to apologize in advance for some of the drivers you will encounter!

Have a fun, safe trip!

Cambridge, MA
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2. Re: First-timers visiting Boston/New England

Davis Square is a very safe and pleasant neighborhood in the adjacent city of Somerville. It boasts its own movie theater and concert hall, in the original 1918 building. Be sure to visit Someday Coffee (fie on Starbucks) if you make your headquarters there. Also stop in to the "Diesel Cafe" juice/smoothie bar. Among other things unique to Davis Square are: The Boston Improv Theatre, McIntyre & Moore Used Books, Redbones barbecue restaurant, and Johnny D's blues/jazz club (which also serves fantastic suppers and weekend brunches.) Out of the Blue is the local seafood place "of note." Because Tufts University is less than a mile away, the square draws many students at night but the crowd tends to not be rowdy. If your potential accommodations are on a side street you'll never notice them.

A big selling point of Davis is its convenience to the "T." A Red Line subway station is "smack dab in the middle" of the square. You can be in downtown Boston in 15-20 minutes. The station connecting to the commuter-rail line to Concord is the first "inbound" stop out of Davis. You can pick up train timetables and any other transit info by visiting mbta.com.

If the foliage is in its glory when you get here, you don't even have to get off the commuter train to enjoy it. The Fitchburg branch, which passes through Concord, goes through many wooded and "conservation" areas.

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3. Re: First-timers visiting Boston/New England

We just returned and one place we went that was "picture perfect" was York Beach, Maine, about 1 1/2 hours north of downtown Boston. It was an extremely quaint old time looking beach resort town very popular in the late 1800s. There is a pretty lighthouse and cool old new england architecture. Think about it.