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Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

L.A.
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Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

My wife and I are staying in MA this Spring. We would like to tour Boston, but I am leary of driving into and finding parking in Boston. We would prefer to take the train, I believe it's called the MBTA, as round trip to Boston for the day. Can anyone suggest a town that we should stay in not more than one hour from Boston ?

If you have recommendation for a B&B in such town that would greatly help.

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1. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

If you don't want to drive in the city proper but are willing to go to the outskirts, I'd look at Brookline, Newton, or Cambridge which all are less than one hour in travel time via our public transportation, the MBTA.

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2. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

It's important to remember that "the train" means different things to different people. There is commuter rail, which is a traditional train w/ locmotive. It runs on a set schedule.

Then there is the "subway" which isn't always underground ;) -- those trains run continuously so if you miss one it's approximately 5-20 minutes until the next, depending on day of week and time of day.

I'm curious as to why you don't want to stay in Boston, without a car. It's a short trip via subway or taxi or even water taxi to many downtown hotels. If you are going to explore the area, you could spend a couple of days, car-free, in Boston and then rent a car when you leave to explore other areas.

When in "spring" do you plan to come? You may want to know that the Boston Marathon is run on Patriots' Day which is April 16 in 2012. Hotels in and around the city book up and can be pricey.

If you plan to be here in May, you need to be aware of the college graduations. Those also cause hotels to book-up early. The weekend starting May 18 will be the busiest. One of our regular posters on this site, Penny, lists the dates on her website. bostonzest.com/2011/11/boston-area-commencem…

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3. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

Hello Forgotmypword: Thanks for your extensive reply. We are arriving in the Boston area on April 28 and leaving on May 5, so it looks like we will miss both the Marathon and graduation bottlenecks. We will already have rented a car, since the earlier week we are spending in the Newport RI area and then driving up into MA. We will use the car to tour outlying areas in MA. I really don't want to tackle the traffic, parking and hotel scene in Boston proper, but prefer to locate a B&B in the outskirts and then run into Boston perhaps for 2 separate days or maybe stay one night there (?) on the train or subway. On your comment about subways vs train (MBTA), DO THE SUBWAYS run into Boston from most outlying towns like: Concord, Marblehead, Brookline, Newton or Cambridge or Worcester and do they cost less than taking the MBTA ?

Since you are a "local", how's the weather in late April, early May USUALLY ?

THANKS AGAIN

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4. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

The MBTA is the public transportation authority for all those means of transportation: the subway, commuter rail, busses, and commuter boats. So it's not the subway or the MBTA - they're all the MBTa. The subway runs close to the Downtown Area and includes parts of Brookline, Cambridge and newton. Concord and Marblehead and especially Worcester are further out and would require the commuter rail. While I understand your concern about parking, I think you may be a little shortsighted in not considering staying Downtown. It is a HUGE difference in enjoying Boston, so if you can afford it, I most highly recommend that.

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5. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

I'm not Forgotmypassword, but I have always wanted to play her on TV, I mean, TA.

First, did you see my suggestion in your other post (on the Concord forum)? Irving House in Cambridge is a really lovely place with free parking, easy walking distance to Harvard Square (and the subway station there). I think it might suit you very well.

Let's clarify some terminology. The MBTA operates both the rapid transit system (subways, trolleys, buses, and a few boats) that serves Boston and surrounding communities, and the commuter rail system (trains) that connects the suburbs to Boston. We popularly use the name "the T." This nickname, at least as far as I'm concerned, usually refers to the rapid transit system; most people say "commuter rail" when referring to the suburban trains. Anyway, see mbta.com for the full story.

Of the towns you identified, Brookline, Newton, and Cambridge are served by the principal T (rapid transit) lines. It would be a bit misleading to say "subway," because the cars run both above and below ground, but they all do go to and from underground stations in Boston proper. Again, see the T's Web site for details.

For purposes of visiting Boston, I really think Cambridge is ideal for you. First of all, it's a major tourist destination in its own right; second, it's very convenient to Boston via frequent subway (yes, actual subway) service, which takes less than fifteen minutes between Harvard Square and Park Street (sort of the hub of the Hub where the T is concerned).

As to the weather, it should be pretty nice. It's warming up by then, and the flowers and trees are out. It's a whole lot nicer than late March and early April.

Edited: 12 December 2011, 20:35
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6. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

The weather should be great. You can easily get to Boston on the commuter rail from Concord. I agree with others however that you would be much better off staying in the city without a car altogether. It's not like staying in downtown LA (downtown Boston is really nice and a great place to walk around, particularly in the evening).

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7. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

Where are you planning your day trips after staying in Newport? That might help us with suggesting a location for you. I agree with everyone who says to stay in Boston for the actual time you want to spend in Boston.

Once you get to Boston, you can turn in the rental car and not have that to think about. Getting into Boston often can be simpler than you may think.

Do familiarize yourself with www.mbta.com which lists fares and has maps of areas served by subways, buses, and commuter rail. The subway is going to be cheaper than the train.

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8. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

Lol -- wpsaukee ... so you wanna play me ?!?!

Kamerakid ... I like the idea of Cambridge, but I don't know that it will help you avoid the driving you are trying to avoid. However I will say that the whole "driving in Boston" thing is kinda hyped up! Yes, it's confusing at times (but not as bad as it used to be) and yes traffic jams are common ... but hey, how much trouble can you get yourself into when you are only driving 8mph?

Now that we've offered our opinions, it's time (at least for me) to answer your question for real ... after all it is YOUR vacation and you get to make the decisions, not us. ;)

Salem has quite a few B&Bs as well as the Historic Hawthorne hotel. It too is a destination in its own right, and the commuter rail from Salem runs fairly often.

Concord also works .. it too is historic in it's own right and you can get commuter rail or drive to the Alewife T station, park there and take the T to Boston --- I know Concord residents who commute this way.

Happy Planning!!!!

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L.A.
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9. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

Thanks to all for your great suggestions. Now, I have the "handle" on the "T" and difference to commuter rail or rapid transit difference and will get on the MBTA website. The thing with the rental car is that my wife and I would like to re-do some of the Revolutionary War sites that we first visited in '73 when we last came to MA and also have the freedom to drive to other outlying sites for scenery and history. I am a freak for photography ( excuse the alliteration ) and commonly post trip pix to all my " buds" when we go on trips ( recently Mammoth Caves in KY, Cape Hatteras in NC, Great Smokies (hiking) in TN, 188 miles of cycling along Coeur D'lene river bike trail in ID just to name a few this very year. Last year visited upper NY state, attending a Civil War recreation full of great photos. All the former is being said so you get a feel of how we vacation..more like "dragonflies" that flit from pond lily to lily than to stay rooted in our "cave" and look at the world from one view. So Boston is just a part of our plans, albeit a really important part for all its history: Freedom Trail, USS Constitition, North Church,etc. We are as yet unsure of where to go after Newport, but the wanderlust winds are blowing in my head right now. Just like your famous historical benefactor, Paul Revere, I have to be flexible: "One if by land, Two if by sea ". I just need time to research and would appreciate some of your inputs. I have already received invaluable tips from many of you and again really appreciate your suggestions.

Edited: 13 December 2011, 01:29
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10. Re: Need to be near MBTA so we can take train into Boston

To Wpsaukee: thanks for the tip on the Irving House...I did load up the website and will consider this. Seems like Cambridge would be a good location. The nightly rate for he B&B seems a bit steep, though, but I don't yet have a handle on the B&B competition around Boston environs. I would guess along the coast it's even higher, (like Plymoth or Salem or Quincy (near- coast ), but since we will most likely be just "crashing" for sleep, it seems steep when we probably will be traveling around in the car most of the time. Irving House has some good reviews on TA so it's not out of the question.

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