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Help - 3 weeks, Boston to New York, with 3 month old child

Help - 3 weeks, Boston to New York, with 3 month old child

Old Jun 22, 18, 3:26 pm
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Help - 3 weeks, Boston to New York, with 3 month old child

I''d appreciate constructive help in planning a forthcoming trip to the US (from UK) - wife and I and our 3 month old baby son have flights to Boston (arriving end July) and departing New York JFK 3 weeks later. Taking advantage of maternity leave etc I foolishly booked a long trip, and now don't know where to begin with an itinerary. We plan to hire a car and do a bit of moving around, but probably finding 2 or 3 bases max to stay and going on day trips with quite a few days lazing around our base / short walks with baby etc. With mini-so3003 we are acutely aware that we're likely to spend a lot of time in our accommodation rather than our pre-children approach of charging around seeing just about anything there was to see / exquisite dining out etc.

Can anyone make some helpful suggestions for our itinerary? We have booked airport hotel at BOS for the evening we arrive, but otherwise nothing booked. No particular budget constraints, but really struggling to see "value" in most of the accommodation options currently available on expedia / tripadvisor etc, ie upwards of £250 GBP/ night for a grubby looking 2* hotel room. Ideally looking for ideas of smaller places / accommodations we might not find on the standard websites (expedia, tripadvisor etc), and routes we could drive with a small child in tow.

All help gratefully appreciated - usually at this point we have everything booked, but a combination of new baby, sleep deprivation, work issues etc have meant that we are seriously behind with planning, and there's a serious risk we will end up having to cancel the trip through not having managed to plan anything!

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Old Jun 22, 18, 4:07 pm
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Personal opinions:

1. You'll probably want to spend most of your time at the two ends of the trip: Boston and New York.

2. Boston hotels are expensive. (Have you priced rooms large enough for 2 1/2 people at good hotels in London lately?) The only way around that is to stay some distance from the city. You can reach the city easily by public transportation, but depending on your interests and what you want to see, that may take more time than the savings are worth.

3. Many sights in the Boston area are outside the city itself. In contrast to many other cities, the city itself is relatively small. (Not quite as small as the City of London, but much smaller than what people generally think of when they hear London.) Harvard University, for example, is in the city of Cambridge, but if Boston were structured like most cities, it would be in Boston. I'd suggest seeing what you want to see in the central Boston area first, then getting your car - no need to have it for Boston and immediate environs; public transport there is reasonably decent - and doing the day trips.

4. Possible day trips from Boston include Lexington/Concord (where the fighting started when we kicked your ancestors out), the North Shore (attractive cities, waterfronts, etc.) and more. See any guidebook.

5. On your way to New York, I recommend a stop in New Bedford. It's slightly off the direct route but it makes sense to do it while you're driving in that direction. It's the biggest fishing port in the U.S. in terms of landed seafood value, has a real gritty waterfront - not a tourist attraction. While you're there, visit the Whaling Museum. It does a great job of balancing the contribution of whaling to the regional economy 100+ years ago with the more recent recognition of whales' intelligence and their need for protection. If you want to spend a night there, there's a reasonably-priced Fairfield Inn within easy walking distance of the docks.

6. You might consider New Haven, Connecticut, as an intermediate stop. Very historic town, home of Yale University.

7. You probably want to ditch the car as soon as you get to NYC, or if you will need it for day trips in the area, schedule those for the first few days after you get there and ditch it as soon as they're done.

Now let's see what others have to say!
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Old Jun 22, 18, 6:36 pm
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I'd head north to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, or Portland, Maine, for my first few days. I love lobster and this is the place to get it. There's lots to see and do along the coast.
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Old Jun 23, 18, 11:58 am
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
Boston hotels are expensive. (Have you priced rooms large enough for 2 1/2 people at good hotels in London lately?) The only way around that is to stay some distance from the city. You can reach the city easily by public transportation, but depending on your interests and what you want to see, that may take more time than the savings are worth.
Boston hotels are expensive, but as a former full-time resident and still frequent visitor, I've learned how to use hotwire to conquer high hotel prices in Boston. I'm going to start a separate thread on this topic and will edit this post to link it. (As promised, here is the link: My hotwire technique to conquer the high prices of hotels in Boston)


Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
On your way to New York, I recommend a stop in New Bedford. It's slightly off the direct route but it makes sense to do it while you're driving in that direction. It's the biggest fishing port in the U.S. in terms of landed seafood value, has a real gritty waterfront - not a tourist attraction. While you're there, visit the Whaling Museum. It does a great job of balancing the contribution of whaling to the regional economy 100+ years ago with the more recent recognition of whales' intelligence and their need for protection. If you want to spend a night there, there's a reasonably-priced Fairfield Inn within easy walking distance of the docks.
New Bedford is a fascinating place, and an off-the-beaten-path option, but I'm not sure I'd venture that far out of my way to go, especially with a three-year-old. In fact, I would suggest that the OP consider taking the train between Boston and NYC, rather than drive. On the plus side, it's a very pleasant ride down the coast and is much more relaxing than driving. On the minus side, it's a lot easier to dump all of your belongings into a car than have to pack up to take it all on the train, and it eliminates the option of side trips between Boston and NYC.


Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
You might consider New Haven, Connecticut, as an intermediate stop. Very historic town, home of Yale University.
Like New Bedford, a nice place to spend a few hours, but I'm not sure it'd be at the top of my list.

Last edited by Blumie; Jun 23, 18 at 12:22 pm
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Old Jun 23, 18, 1:01 pm
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We did a similar trip in 2016 although LAX - SFO Over two weeks. It was with our then 3 month old (travelled from U.K.) and we made a few mistakes - although still had an awesome trip.

I totally agree with your thoughts on only having two or three locations. We found we moved around too much and was stressful for everyone.

Secondly, and this may not be relevant to yourself. But, our little one was already in her own room and we found sharing a standard hotel room with her was difficult for her as she wasnít used to the noise of us being around her which resulted in us often going to bed not long after her.

Finally, and again, in may or may not apply to you, but we found our time out of the cities more enjoyable than in them. Fortunately, we had both visited LA and SF so didnít stay there other than 1 night either end. Our little one loves the outdoors and our time at Yosemite and in and around Monterey were the best and most enjoyable parts.

You will make mistakes - assuming itís your first - but youíll have a great time!!!

enjoy.
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Old Jun 23, 18, 3:22 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
I'd head north to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, or Portland, Maine, for my first few days. I love lobster and this is the place to get it. There's lots to see and do along the coast.
Can't argue with either of those as destinations. My honeymoon (admittedly just three days) was in Portsmouth, and we'll visit friends who live just outside Portland the week after next (over July 4th). It's a question of how much driving you want to do on your day trips. There are lots of good lobster places in that direction but still within Massachusetts.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 9:33 am
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If your trip to NYC is to catch your flight from JFK, I would do as Blumie suggested and take the train. Amtrak is comfortable and the water views are beautiful; find seats on the left side of the train for coastal views.

You will not need a car if you stay overnight in Manhattan or if you fly out of JFK same day.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by Analise View Post
If your trip to NYC is to catch your flight from JFK, I would do as Blumie suggested and take the train. Amtrak is comfortable and the water views are beautiful; find seats on the left side of the train for coastal views.

You will not need a car if you stay overnight in Manhattan or if you fly out of JFK same day.
Even if you plan to spend several days in NYC it usually doesnít make sense to have a car.

By the way, if you do take the train, note that there are two Amtrak stations in Boston: South Station and Back Bay Station. All NYC-bound trains stop at both. I recommend, however, boarding at South Station rather than Back Bay, even if Back Bay is more convenient. In addition to being a much (MUCH) nicer station, Sourh Station is where the train originates, so youíll have a better choice of seats and will be able to get one of the sets of four seats (two sets of two facing each other), which will be more comfortable for the three of you.
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Old Jun 26, 18, 2:36 pm
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If you stay in Portland, there are many things to do - visit islands (easy ferry rides), drive to cute little towns, easy family-friendly hiking trails in and around POrtland, Mt Desert Island, etc.

Three weeks is a lot - you can spend three days in Boston and see just about everything. NYC is a different animal, too, but if you've got a baby and will be in the hotel room most of the time it's probably better to be in more laid-back places.
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