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My Basic Plan

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My Basic Plan

My husband has a design conference in Boston at the end of this month and I am planning on tagging along since I have never been. I have come up with a general agenda but would love some input if anyone is willing to give it! We are in our early 30s and aren't into the drinking scene. I am also pregnant so I don't want to try to do too much, especially if it is really hot. I know we will be eating out a lot but would like to keep eating expenses to $10 pp for lunch, $25 pp for dinner.

Arrive late Wednesday night. Buy a Charlie Weekly Link Pass at the airport and make our way to our hotel. We need to find somewhere to eat that is open pretty late since our plane doesn't come in until around 11:00pm. The first night we are staying at Hotel 140 but then on Thursday we check in to Hilton Boston Back Bay for the remainder of the conference. Any good eating suggestions close to Hotel 140 for that late first night?

Thursday my husband will be at the conference all day and so I am on my own. I think I will check out of Hotel 140 and drop our luggage off at the Hilton. After that I plan on walking toward Boston Common and the Public Gardens and then eventually making my way to Quincy Market to explore that first day on my own. When my husband is done with meetings I hope to do the end of the Freedom Trail with him, ending in the North end for dinner at possibly Giacomo's or La Famiglia Giorgio's and then finding a good pastry shop for dessert. If the Celtics are in the playoffs we hope to catch the game at a sports bar later that night.

On Friday I plan on walking the Boston waterfront and just exploring while my husband is busy. When he is done I think we will try to do the first part of the Freedom Trail and then find a good budget-friendly seafood restaurant for dinner. Possibly Off the Boat Seafood?

On Saturday I would like to make my way to Harvard Square and maybe the Harvard Book Store Warehouse Sale. In the afternoon I am hoping to walk through some of the shops on Newbury Street. That night we are going to go see a Red Sox game and need somewhere to eat between our hotel and Fenway if you have any suggestions.

Sunday I would like to visit the SoWa Farmers Market and possibly do a tour of something that I found looked interesting from the previous three days. Maybe a duck tour? Maybe the Boston Public Library? Maybe a whale watching tour? Maybe a trolley tour? Haven't quite decided this yet...

On Monday my husband's conference gets over around lunchtime and we are going to rent a car and drive down to the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth. I would like to visit a couple places on our drive down between Boston and the hotel but am not sure what will be best. Maybe the Sandwich Glass Museum? Any suggestions here?

On Tuesday we are thinking of going to Martha's Vineyard for the day. Is it worth it? We would take the ferry out of Falmouth and we wouldn't take our car. We are thinking of renting bikes when we get there. Or would it be better to just take this day and explore the Cape?

On Wednesday we have to be back to the airport around 2:00. Not sure what we will try to do with our day up to this point.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Am I giving us enough time to do what I have on my tentative schedule? Any great cheap breakfast/lunch suggestions? Thanks for all of your suggestions in advance.

Boston, MA
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1. Re: My Basic Plan

Your basic plan looks good. just a few comments.

First off, congratulations on your pregnancy! I don't know how far along you are and how you are feeling ... when I was pg I was sometimes told "don't overdo it" and my standard response was "I'm pregnant, not sick" ... that said ... I tend to get seasick as it is, but a whale watch while pregnant?!? ... I got nauseaus just THINKING about boats ... and cycling? Have you tried it lately? I suppose if you've been doing it all along it's fine, but that baby can throw off your balance ... so you might want to think about htat ... all very personal choices, and only YOU know what you can manage. I'm not here to judge, just wanting to throw that out .... ;)

NOW ... back to your itinerary:

"off the boat seafood" ... are you talking about D'Amelio's on Porter Street in East Boston? It is no where near your hotel and it's not all that close to a subway station. You would most likely need to take the subway to Maverick Station and walk about 1/2 a mile to get there (or take bus #117 or #120 to Shaw's supermarket and walk from there). I am in this area on a regular basis and it's really an OK place, the police station is there and you rarely hear of trouble ... but it looks a bit 'scruffy' not "polished and buffed' like your typical tourist locales. Parts of the movie "Mystic River" were filmed in the neighborhood just beyond the restaurant. I've never eaten here because I've got really good take-out close to home and I didn' realize they had added a seating area until I just looked it up to be sure you weren't talking about someplace other than what I thought.

It's important to note that most Boston Restaurants have seafood on the menu, so you don't need to go to a seafood restaurant to get it. The Irish-style pubs near Quincy market often have seafood specials on their menu.

Search this forum for "Restaurants in the North End you'll find a million suggestions. This past Thursday at around 7pm, the line to get into Giacamo's was quite long. Perhaps you may consider going to the one in ythe South End where you can make a reservation.

One place that I don't recall being mentioned and that I know nothing about,

but was quite busy last time i walked by is Pasta e Pomedoro. I just checked out their menu and it looks good.

Pastry? The usual suspects, Mike's and Modern are the most well-known.

I really like Maria's on Cross Street but they don't have huge display cases, so it doesn't have the visual of the other two. BUT .... when you order a canolli, the pick up and empty shell and fill it while you wait. The end result is a thin, crisp sshell and a rich filling. They don't need thicker shells to prevent it from mushing while it sits in the case waiting to be sold.


The Boston Public library isn't opened on Sundays, so that's not an option after SOWA. The Trolley or a whale watch or a duck tour would all work that day.

Stopping in Sandwich on the way to Falmouth is a good idea. Since you really only have ONE full day on Cape Cod, i wouldn't bother with the Vineyard, but that's me. I think you should head down Rte 6 to the Outer Cape, the Cape Cod national Seashore is spectacular. Stop at the visitors center in Eastham to learn about some easy walking trails and the various beaches. http://www.nps.gov/caco/index.htm

And ... lastly take a stroll through Provincetown, check out a few galleries, grab a lobster roll at the "Red Shack' takeout stand and enjoy some of the BEST people-watching in New England!!

BUT ... of course, that's just MY opinion, hopefully you'll get others and enough good information for you to round-out your itinerary.

Edited: 09 June 2012, 20:07
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2. Re: My Basic Plan

Off the boat seafood:

Daily catch, Yankee lobster, dry dock cafe, no name.

Legal's does not fit the definition of off the boat seafood, buy their raw bar is good.

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3. Re: My Basic Plan

Boston isn't known for late night eating, but there are a couple of places not too far away from your hotel. The closest if the Parish Cafe, which is on Boylston St. near Arlington. It's probably your best bet. http://www.parishcafe.com/

In the South End, you'll find Anchovies and the Franklin Cafe serve food late as well. But that would be a longer walk.

In the North End, I would walk around and see what catches your eye. La Famiglia is more about quantity of food rather than quality--but that's just my opinion.

As forgotmypword said, you'll find seafood on most menus in Boston. I like Atlantic Fish on Boylston St. The Summer Shack is next door to your hotel (Hilton) and I have enjoyed my meals there. It is very casual.

There are plenty of places to have casual meals for under $25 in the Back Bay area. I would have dinner closer to the hotel on the Red Sox game night because places near Fenway Park will be very crowded.

Maybe you can pop into the BPL on another day and just walk around. There is a lovely courtyard there so it's a nice place to grab a cold drink at the cafe and sit outside.

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4. Re: My Basic Plan

You might want to look at the late night menu at the Top of Hub. For a late meal your first night in town it could be nice to sit in the bar area and overlook the city. Not the place to go with a budget if you're starving but great for a drink and a snack. It's at the top of the Prudential Tower an you can from the hotel through the shopping centers. Enter at Copley place and continue through into the Prudential Center.

Another person who is not a fan of places like LaFamigila, anther Maria's Pastry fan when there is a long line a Modern. You might like the Daily Catch in the North End but remember it is cash only.



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5. Re: My Basic Plan


You've done some good research and it shows in your plan!!!

re: seaport and whale watch

Whale watches can be a lot of fun! We've always seen whales, albeit sometimes only in the distance), but the best was coming up on a "pod" of dolphin. We followed each other around for about 45 minutes, the dolphin (about 40 of them) dancing the whole time on the waves from the boat.

The only problem is that its a good distance out and back. You're captive for a while.

Alternatively, you could take a harbor cruise of one flavor or another. We've done the sunset cruise where you go out to one of the lighthouses at the mouth of the harbor and back. On the way back, we lingered over near the USS Constitution with all the other boats for the evening gun. Pretty OK.

We took the ferry ($15/p) out to Spectacle Island and George's Islands a few weeks back. Spectacle is a recovered trash dump. They covered it with fill from the Big Dig about 15 years ago. Very nice now. Mostly grass and short trees, windswept and great views of the harbor and city. Also about 5 miles of easy walking.

George's Island is home to the huge Ft Warren. Never any battles there, but lots of other history. If you choose one, probably George's. There is food on both. Ft Warren is fun to explore. You might also wander to the far side (away from the dock), find a nice quiet grassy spot and watch boats pass below you thru "the Narrows".

Fantastic picnic spots on both. Spectacle is pretty uncrowed.

You would need to check out and confirm connections between Islands. We left at 9:30 from Long Wharf and returned around 3 or so.

Not a better day out, especially if it's hot! You'll be 10-15 degrees cooler out there on the water.

re: La Famiglia

That's our regular resturant now in the NE. You can surely find "fancier food" at fancier resturants. You can spend 3 or 4 times as much and still leave hungry - you know the places, fine chrystal, white linen, perfect presentation and great taste - OK, that was good, now can you bring me 3 more?

But this is just plain good, old fashioned Italian food and lots of it. Meals top out around $20+/-. Very much a family resturant. We were there 3 weeks back. In the NE twice (Fri & Sat). Very crowded, with many, maybe most, resturants with lines out the door and down the block. Same true w/La Famiglia. Got there at 7pm and there were at least 15-25 people waiting. Our wait? 5 minutes, we had reservations!!! DO call ahead and make reservations!

I've never been to the Modern or Mike's. Was planning to stop, but alas, probably a 30m wait just to get in the door. If you go to La Famiglia, then you might want to stop in at Bova Bakery. It's about a block or 2 up Salem St from La Famiglia. Probably just as good, but since it's on Salem in instead of Hanover, less busy (when I say less busy - there were still 25 people crowded into the place).

I like your walking plan too. Try to catch Comm Ave to the Public Gardens, then the Common, then Freedom Trail....

Anyway, a few ideas....

Edited: 09 June 2012, 21:29
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6. Re: My Basic Plan

I love the SoWa market, good plan. Right next door to the market is Gaslight, a great French brasserie, which you might consider for brunch. I am in the "rethink la Famiglia" camp. Big portions, but just meh for me. You will see looong lines at Modern and Mike's for pastry, I second the suggestion for Maria's. It is a little off the well beaten tourist path, so less lines but very good.

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7. Re: My Basic Plan

There are so many places in the North End with good food. I wouldn't dream of waiting in line at Giacomo's.

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8. Re: My Basic Plan

No need to wait in lines for anything. Salem street has several good places without lines.

LoConte is one.

Lines at modern pastry don't move quickly. The line at Mike's does move and is worth the short wait.

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9. Re: My Basic Plan

Thank you for all the replies. I really appreciate a little insider knowledge to help finalize my plans. Does anyone else have an opinion on if Martha's Vineyard is worth a day trip? Or other suggestions on things to do around the Cape if we don't go to MV?

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10. Re: My Basic Plan

A block away from your hotel, on Dartmouth St. is the Salty Pig, which is wonderful and open late. They serve at least part of their menu until 1am. The pizzas are really delicious.