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1st trip to Boston - help!

Yellowknife, NT
3 posts
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1st trip to Boston - help!

My husband & I are arriving in Boston Oct 13/04. We have 5 days and would like to see some of Boston and the country colors this time of year. Can anyone provide help on best way to see the countryside (bus, rent car, ferry, ??)? We'd like to stay over 1 night - possibly somewhere Cape Code (which place though?) OR should we be looking at Rockport/Gloucester? Recommend place to stay in either? Not looking for anything expensive! Also, where would be the best area to stay in Boston? Recommend hotels? We will probably walk or learn to take the T every where.

One more thing...recommend good eating places, best sites not to miss.

Appreciate ANY help! Thanks.

Newton, MA
12 posts
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1. Re: 1st trip to Boston - help!

If you want to see the foliage (which is beautiful in New England in the fall) you'll want to stay up North (Rockport/ Gloucester area). This area is on the ocean and completely different from staying in the city. However, the public transportation will be easier in the city.

The Cape is beautiful also, plenty of beaches and more ocean atmospere, however it can be more expensive.

Before making plans, you need to decide what you wish to get out of your vacation, and then us "locals" can help you out a bit further.

Yellowknife, NT
3 posts
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2. Re: 1st trip to Boston - help!

Angelface, thanks for reply. We are interested in travelling up to Rockport/Gloucester mostly because its closer and probably easier than South. We are staying at the Hyatt Regency Financial District in Boston. What are our options to making this trip from that location? Are there tours? Would renting a car be a DISASTER? My husband is petrified of driving in big cities. Give me a map and I think I'm ok. We are interested in staying over a night in either place. Any quaint accommodation recommendations? Should these be booked now?

Thanks again.

Cambridge, MA
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791 posts
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3. Re: 1st trip to Boston - help!

There's good commuter-rail service to the North Shore, although trains run less frequently on weekends. For a day or overnight trip, start by catching a train to Salem. There's a beautiful historic residential area close by the station, full of houses ranging from small 17th-century merchants' dwellings to grand 19th- and early-20th-century homes. The House of Seven Gables and the Witch Museum are good to tour. And the Peabody Essex Museum has an awesome collection of Asian art.

When you board the train again, you'll want to be on the Rockport line. (Part of the North Shore route is shared by the Newburyport and Rockport branches. The former city is also a tourist favorite.) After leaving Beverly Depot, the Rockport train will traverse wooded areas and "nice" - middle-class to super rich - neighborhoods in Beverly and Manchester-by-the-Sea before reaching Gloucester. The station in Gloucester is not far from the fisherman statue and other local "things to see." From there it's a short ride to the end of the line.

Once you've exited the Rockport station area, turn right and follow that street to its end, then take a left. You have just a few blocks more to walk before you get to the downtown waterfront area. As soon as you're past the old high school, now converted to apartments for the elderly, you'll start to see the shops and galleries. ("Motif #1," anybody?) Opportunities to eat and shop abound along the winding streets. Being a local Bostonian, I have zero experience with hotels and B & B's on the North Shore. In addition to perusing the reviews on Trip Advisor, Google the respective towns for their Chambers of Commerce and other Websites. Making an objective decision based on advertising isn't easy, but you can determine which places have a range of room rates that works for you.

Driving in Massachusetts is a hair-raising experience. Pedestrian anarchy is the rule: people here jaywalk at will. City streets are mostly narrow and usually clogged. Expressways are replete with road ragers and speed demons. I've not owned a car for six years and have rented one on maybe four occasions. To me the "freedom" of driving is just not worth it!!! Rent wheels only if you have leaf-peeping as a primary purpose and will be going straight from city to country, and then only if you'd prefer wandering rural roads to seeing what can be seen from a train window.

Speaking of trains, you can obtain maps and schedules for every MBTA route - including the commuter-rail lines - by visiting http://www.mbta.com .

I prefer National/Alamo and U-Save for car rental. Word to the wise: when booking a rental car, particularly on a weekend, make your reservation well in advance. Then on the day of rental, phone in directly to the location you'll be renting from to confirm the reservation. Tell them you expect your preferred car to be on the lot when you get there. Everybody has their war stories to tell about car-rental agencies. Take those two proactive measures and you're less likely to have one of your own.

I've patronized dozens of restaurants in this state. There's a wealth of places to choose from. An appreciation of seafood is a big plus here, needless to say. Tell us what kind of meals you enjoy (vegetarian, steak, Chinese, French, bar food...) and the sort of environments you enjoy eating them in.

No matter what you like to eat, there are two places in Boston which can't be beat when it comes to "a room with a view." Top of the Hub, in the Prudential tower adjacent to the Prudential (!) station on the MBTA Green Line's E branch, takes up one of the highest floors in that building. You can "see forever" from its windows on all sides. The Bay Tower Room (which may have been renamed if I've heard right) is on the 35th floor of the office building at 53 State St, close by City Hall and Quincy Market. It offers a wide-ranging view of the city and harbor which is magnificent at night.

Edison, NJ
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139 posts
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4. Re: 1st trip to Boston - help!

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Edison, NJ
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139 posts
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5. Re: 1st trip to Boston - help!

By the way, since you are going to be the 1st time visit Boston, it is much more effective to take the Trolley that will automatically lead you to all the major attractions, and you can skip the ones you don't like and go on to next stop. This is what I would do to visit any city the first time. If you drive, you can also get a Trolley map and follow the route, but it would take lots of energy to find parking. There is also a Freedom Trail at Boston that you can walk thru the trail of about 2.5 miles to visit lots of attractions. Both maps you can find from Hyatt hotel and other hotels as well. Taking T subway to travel is also very convenient, and it is most economic options. I tend to use it with other options such as Taxi...

6. Re: 1st trip to Boston - help!

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