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A week in the Boston area - advice please

A week in the Boston area - advice please

Old Feb 20, 17, 1:37 pm
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A week in the Boston area - advice please

Greetings!

We (Nigel & Mark) seek the help and guidance of the Forum in planning the last week of our motoring holiday in the USA.

We will be leaving Westbury on Long Island on Sunday 14th May having seen Aretha Franklin in concert the previous evening.

The next absolute is that we fly home to the UK from Boston on the evening of Saturday 20th May.

So we have a week to plan which is where we seek help and advice.

We were thinking of taking the Cross Sound Ferry from Orient Point to New London and perhaps go up to Provincetown but nothing is set in stone as we don't really know the area - which is one of the reasons for going!

Hotel prices in Boston seem very high over this period (at least double what we are paying elsewhere on our journey) so perhaps staying outside the city (and commuting in for a couple of days) will be best both for room rates and car parking charges.

Any help and advice will be much appreciated.

Last edited by Yorkshire Traveller; Feb 20, 17 at 1:39 pm Reason: Typo
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Old Feb 20, 17, 1:58 pm
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A few random thoughts:

I have taken the Cross Sound Ferry many, many times. It does not save you a lot of time overall, but it is MUCH more relaxing than driving. I highly recommend it.

When you arrive in New London, there is a very good lobster and seafood restaurant not far from the ferry called Captain Scott's Lobster Dock. It's worth a stop for lunch. Note that it's super casual (a "clam shack" as we call it in New England), and all of the seating is out doors. http://www.captscotts.com/Pages/Default.aspx

Not far from New London is Mystic, Connecticut. I've never been, notwithstanding having lived in the Northeast United States for most of my life, but it's a major tourist attraction.

If you drive up the coast through Rhode Island, rather than the more direct inland route to Boston, you can detour to Newport, Rhode Island, which is worth a stop for an evening. (On a recent visit, I stayed at the Cliffside Inn and enjoyed it very much. https://www.cliffsideinn.com/)

Provincetown might be nice for a night, but it still will be off season when you're there (which could be a good thing, depending on your perspective), and you have to consider how much driving you want to do; it's not a short detour.

Boston hotels are very expensive that time of year principally because Boston has so many universities that have graduation ceremonies in May.

To save money in the Boston area, you could stay in the suburbs and take "the T" (public transportation) into the city. I use Hotwire.com with great success in the Boston area. Hotwire offers unsold hotel rooms at discounted prices, but the catch is that they don't tell you which hotel you're getting until you've already committed to and paid for it. Here's what I recommend to eliminate any risk:

(1) search in Boston for the dates you want (you're usually better off waiting until the day before arrival to get the best rates);

(2) once the results appear, click on "Filter by Guest Rating" and select "9 out of 10" (I find that as long as I select a hotel with at least a 90% approval rating, I'll be completely fine;

(3) click on the shaded area of the map that is labeled "Waltham - Newton - Wellesley." These are suburbs directly to the west of Boston and provide for excellent access to Boston, whether by driving or by public transportation.

Almost all of these hotels will offer free parking, and many will include breakfast. Based on my own experience, if you are offered a "3.5 Star Boutique Hotel" with those search parameters, it will end up being the Hotel Indigo Boston Newton Riverside, which is directly next to the Riverside Station on the Green Line of the T, making getting into and out of Boston very easy. (You could of course book directly with the Hotel Indigo, which might be more expensive but would eliminate the risk of being assigned a different hotel on Hotwire. But even if you're assigned a different hotel in the area, you easily can drive to Riverside Station, where you can park at a reasonable cost, and take the T into Boston.)

Last edited by Blumie; Feb 20, 17 at 2:03 pm
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Old Feb 20, 17, 4:32 pm
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You might also consider going to Shelter Island for a couple of days before catching the ferry over to New London.
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Old Feb 21, 17, 2:58 am
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Thanks Blumie and Yahtzee for your suggestions.
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Old Feb 22, 17, 9:59 am
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Some fun things to do in Boston I can suggest:

- Red Sox game at Fenway Park
- Take the Ferry from the seaport to Provincetown (1.5hrs each way) and spend a night in PTown or do a day trip.
- The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)
- Boston is far from being known for BBQ, but some of the best I've ever had in the US is at Sweet Cheeks (near Fenway). If you want to try American BBQ this is a great option.
- Seafood: Ostra (high-end), Neptune Oyster, Row 34, Island Creek Oyster Bar
- Duck boats are fun
- You could drive to Portsmouth NH for a night - its an amazing New England town, lots to do.
- Boston Pops
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Old Feb 22, 17, 10:04 am
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BostonFlyer1624:

Thanks for your tips - I like the idea of just taking a day trip to Provincetown as this would likely make better use of our time.

BBQ is one of our favourite foods!

Salem is on our list so we may well be travelling north of Boston for a couple of nights.
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Old Feb 23, 17, 7:43 am
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Thinking of hotels near public transportation and highway, there's also a relatively new Marriott AC Hotel near the Alewife Station in Cambridge (end of Red Line Subway). According to the hotel site, they do charge $10/day for parking, but it's about a 5 minute walk to the station, so no need to park there (station parking will run $7/day at Alewife, $6 at Riverside and most other subway stations). The hotel is right off the Route 2 highway, only about 10 minutes east of I-95/Route 128.

Like the Hotel Indigo at Riverside, there's not really much within walking distance around the hotel save for the subway station, but the Red Line is likely to be a faster ride into downtown Boston, and along the way it passes through Cambridge and Somerville with many good restaurants near virtually every stop along the way (between Davis Sq and Kendall Sq). Worth checking out if you can get a good rate there.

http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...ton-cambridge/

Highly recommend both Salem (Massachusetts, make sure you don't GPS your way to Salem, NH!) and Portsmouth, NH. Salem has some good restaurants, and Portsmouth many more. Also some great micro/nanobreweries if either enjoy craft beers.

Many of the towns up on the North Shore are worth a stop if exploring by car, like Newburyport, Rockport and Gloucester. The drive around Cape Ann (Rockport and Gloucester) is very scenic - think rocky coastline smack up against the ocean) and the town centers and harbors are nice New England sights. If the weather is nice, the state park at Halibut Point in Rockport is a cool place for a short hike out onto the rocks on the shoreline to enjoy the views.
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Old Feb 23, 17, 7:49 am
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octr202 - thank you for your suggestions.

We're thinking that we will stay on the northern outskirts of Boston and commute in to see the sights and possibly take the foot ferry to Provincetown for a day out.

A trip to Salem (MA!) is definitely on the cards with possibly trips to Portsmouth and the North Shore.

It's fascinating looking at all the place names - can appreciate why the area is called New England!

Thanks for your advice.
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Old Apr 6, 17, 12:28 pm
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A bit of a update - and seeking more advice on our tentative plans.

We're thinking of stopping for a an night or two in the Providence area and then the remaining four nights somewhere to the north east of Boston (perhaps on the coast?). Then we could make day trips to Salem, Provincetown, Boston and Portsmouth.

I've found the hotel prices in the Boston area to be truly eye watering during this period - $300+ tax per night - that's more than my mortgage payment used to be per month! and is beyond our budget hence deciding to stay well outside the city.

Any suggestion on areas where to stay gratefully appreciated - perhaps AirBnB would be the way to go?
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Old Apr 6, 17, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Yorkshire Traveller View Post
A bit of a update - and seeking more advice on our tentative plans.

We're thinking of stopping for a an night or two in the Providence area and then the remaining four nights somewhere to the north east of Boston (perhaps on the coast?). Then we could make day trips to Salem, Provincetown, Boston and Portsmouth.

I've found the hotel prices in the Boston area to be truly eye watering during this period - $300+ tax per night - that's more than my mortgage payment used to be per month! and is beyond our budget hence deciding to stay well outside the city.

Any suggestion on areas where to stay gratefully appreciated - perhaps AirBnB would be the way to go?
Reposting something I posted earlier in case you missed it:

Boston hotels are very expensive that time of year principally because Boston has so many universities that have graduation ceremonies in May.

To save money in the Boston area, you could stay in the suburbs and take "the T" (public transportation) into the city. I use Hotwire.com with great success in the Boston area. Hotwire offers unsold hotel rooms at discounted prices, but the catch is that they don't tell you which hotel you're getting until you've already committed to and paid for it. Here's what I recommend to eliminate any risk:

(1) search in Boston for the dates you want (you're usually better off waiting until the day before arrival to get the best rates);

(2) once the results appear, click on "Filter by Guest Rating" and select "9 out of 10" (I find that as long as I select a hotel with at least a 90% approval rating, I'll be completely fine;

(3) click on the shaded area of the map that is labeled "Waltham - Newton - Wellesley." These are suburbs directly to the west of Boston and provide for excellent access to Boston, whether by driving or by public transportation.

Almost all of these hotels will offer free parking, and many will include breakfast. Based on my own experience, if you are offered a "3.5 Star Boutique Hotel" with those search parameters, it will end up being the Hotel Indigo Boston Newton Riverside, which is directly next to the Riverside Station on the Green Line of the T, making getting into and out of Boston very easy. (You could of course book directly with the Hotel Indigo, which might be more expensive but would eliminate the risk of being assigned a different hotel on Hotwire. But even if you're assigned a different hotel in the area, you easily can drive to Riverside Station, where you can park at a reasonable cost, and take the T into Boston.)
I'll add to what I previously posted that I use Hotwire a fair bit, and I find that as long as I select a property that has at least a 90% user approval rating (Hotwire calls them "Recommendations"), I'm never disappointed. (And for that matter, I never would book a property with less than a 90% rating.) So after you do your search on Hotwire, click on the drop-down box labeled "Recommendation" and select the 90% and above option.
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Old Apr 6, 17, 5:03 pm
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Thanks Blumie. Yes I had seen your previous post - but am a bit nervous about leaving our bookings to just a day or so before we arrive. I generally like to have things firmed up well before we leave the UK.

As we will be wanting to visit some areas north of Boston we thought that we might stay further north or on the coast and perhaps just come in to Boston for the day.

What do you think?
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Old Apr 6, 17, 6:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Yorkshire Traveller View Post
Thanks Blumie. Yes I had seen your previous post - but am a bit nervous about leaving our bookings to just a day or so before we arrive. I generally like to have things firmed up well before we leave the UK.

As we will be wanting to visit some areas north of Boston we thought that we might stay further north or on the coast and perhaps just come in to Boston for the day.

What do you think?
Although Hotwire rates often are lower at the last minute, there's no reason you couldn't do a search right now and see what the rates look like. You might be pleasantly be surprised. You also can look at rates at the hotel I mentioned (Hotel Indigo Boston Newton Riverside), which is conveniently located both for taking public transportation into Boston and for day trips outside the city (it has free parking and is at the intersection of two major highway -- Interstate 90 and Interstate 95).
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Old Apr 7, 17, 4:11 am
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Hi Blumie - thanks again for your help & advice.

I'll have a play around with Hotwire over the week-end.

Best rate I could find for the Hotel Indigo was $259.46 + tax which for a four night stay is somewhat above our budget.
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Old Apr 7, 17, 7:45 am
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Yeah, that's graduation week, so you aren't going to find much for cheap accommodations, pretty much anywhere around. And lots of people, too. I would probably choose something more suburban for a hotel, if you are looking at north of Boston try the Doubletree in Bedford Glenn. Not the greatest hotel, but certainly decent enough. Sounds like you will have a car, so from there you can drive to Alewife station on the Red Line and get into Boston that way. You can try the Air B&B but I bet they wont have many better options.

Keep in ind for your plans - lots of New England is based around the smaller towns, not just the big cities. Certainly stop in Providence and Portsmouth, but also maybe look at Lexington, MA and Ogunquit, Maine. Alternatively, spend a few days on the cape, not just P town but Hyannis and Sandwich.
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Old Apr 7, 17, 7:58 am
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Hi Cloudship:

Thanks for your advice. Think we'll stay well out of Boston. Thanks for the tip about Doubletree - the Bedford Glen property is coming up at $181, but cheaper Doubletrees at Boston North Shore, Andover, Milford, Westborough and Leominster. Any thoughts?

Last edited by Yorkshire Traveller; Apr 7, 17 at 8:05 am Reason: Typo
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