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Boston and round about?

Discussion in 'New York/US' started by bi0boy, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. bi0boy

    bi0boy .

    Is there anything to see in Boston? If you had a spare week in that part of the world would you just go to New York? Are there any natural wonders of the world in the North East part of the US, or are all the volcanoes, national parks and pretty deserts in the opposite corners?
  2. kabbes

    kabbes kah-bus

    I'd want to go where everybody knows my name.
  3. Epico

    Epico wordsmiff

    The GUM clinic?

    I'd hang out at Havard. How'd you like them apples?
    Go to a Red Sox game.
  4. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in America

    I think Boston's a great town.

    There's plenty of good food, including the North End with its lovely Italian restaurants (somewhat overpriced) and old-fashioned coffee shops and delis. Loads of good local bars and pubs too.

    Public transit is pretty good, with a subway and streetcar system that will take you to most parts of the city. While the massive number of colleges and universities do give it sort of a "college town" feel, you get both the good and the bad. On the upside, there's plenty to do; on the downside, there's lots of self-obsessed undergrads everywhere, jamming the public transport while talking on their cellphones.

    Be careful crossing the street. Boston drivers are notoriously bad, homicidal even. Of course, Boston pedestrians aren't too much better, and will blithely step out in front of speeding traffic as if they own the place. The whole process of crossing the road is some sort of high-stakes death match in Boston.

    If you fancy a bit of culcha, i highly recommend the Museum of Fine Arts. It's easily accessible by public transit, and its collections are fantastic. It's a bit pricey ($17), but if you go after 4pm on Wednesdays, admission is by voluntary donation (although often very crowded).

    If you're an intellectual type, the area has some excellent bookshops, especially for antiquarian and scholarly and academic books. Cambridge is a good bet for that sort of thing, and you can walk through lovely Harvard University, America's oldest college, while you're there. There's plenty of capital-H History in Boston, too, given the city's role as one of the main site of the American Revolution. Loads of historic buildings, tours, all that sort of thing.

    If you go in the summer, you can try to catch a Boston Red Sox baseball game at famous Fenway Park. There's the Boston Common if you fancy a picnic in the park.

    It's not as big or vibrant as New York City, and there's probably not as much for the visitor to do, but it's well worth a visit.
  5. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    Hey wait a minute. I live there! I'll tell you all about it later when I'm posting from a computer and not my phone. But yes, there are many reasons to visit.
  6. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    oops, I kind of forgot to write my response. It's hard to think about what to include, also. Boston is probably not the kind of city that's going to totally amaze someone who has travelled a lot, through European cities and whatnot, but it is definitely worth doing. The wikipedia page is good, and might give you some ideas of what you'd like to visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston
    I'd recommend going in early fall, if you can, but spring and summer are nice. Just be aware that it can sometimes rain a lot in the spring and be very hot and humid in the summer. September is normally very clear, sunny, and warm but not too hot. It's also nice in winter but can get very cold/snowy, especially in Jan/Feb.

    One thing I'd really recommend is the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, http://www.gardnermuseum.org/index.asp which is basically the home of a wealthy Boston family who bought lots of artwork and turned their house into a beautiful, relaxed museum
    "Isabella Stewart Gardner first welcomed visitors to her museum on New Year's Day, 1903. On that evening guests listened to the music of Bach, Mozart, and Schumann, gazed in wonder at the courtyard full of flowers, and viewed one of the nation's finest collections of art. Today, visitors experience much the same thing. The Gardner Museum has remained essentially unchanged since its founder's death in 1924. Unchanged but certainly not stagnant. Three floors of galleries surround a garden courtyard blooming with life in all seasons.
    The galleries are filled with paintings, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, and decorative arts from cultures spanning thirty centuries."

    the museum is in the area near the fenway area, which contains the Museum of Fine Arts (mentioned above) the fenway gardens (fens) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_Bay_Fensfens) , http://www.aviewoncities.com/boston/backbayfens.htm which is really nice for walking around (lots of gardens, etc)

    So, I guess you could "do" that area in one day

    For another day, you could do Boston Common (a large public park, since we're on that theme) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Common, the Freedom Trail (The Freedom Trail is a red (mostly brick) path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts that leads to 16 significant historic sites)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Trail, and Faneuil Hall which is a big, old marketplace http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faneuil_hall

    and maybe end the day in the north end, for some seriously amazing Italian food. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_End,_Boston


    I would spend another day in the Harvard Square area, Harvard is in Cambridge, across the river from Boston, but basically part of Boston http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Square and is a really nice area for just walking around and seeing what you find...great people watching etc. Also Cambridge (there are several "squares" in Cambridge) tends to be the best area for local music (IMO) ..the Middle East is where all the cool kids go..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Middle_East_(nightclub)


    Ok, I'm sure I'm forgetting to mention a lot of cool things, but I'm gonna move on to day trips outside the city.

    You could do a Transcendentalist writers/environmentalist/revolutionary war history/fun day at a pretty lake trip to Concord http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concord,_Ma and Lexington, Ma.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexington,_ma It's about 20 miles away, and you can take the train. Anyway, Concord is home to Walden Pond http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walden_Pond, which is where Thoreau lived and wrote. There is a little replica of his cabin, which you can go inside. The lake is awesome, (a mile or so from downtown) and the only one I've seen where you can walk all the way around it on a pretty little trail, and there are many little paths down to the water where you can have your own private spot. The main beach can get very crowded.
    It is also home of Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc, and the town is just very quaint with lots of history and museums and nice restaurants oh, and you could also visit the Decordova museum and sculpture park, located nearby in Lincoln http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DeCordova_Museum_and_Sculpture_Park


    If you don't have a car, there are several places the commuter rail will take you that would make for excellent day trips .
    You could go up (about 25 miles north of Boston, a 1/2 hr train ride)to Salem/Beverly. Salem, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem,_ma#Geography_and_transportationyes, is where the infamous witch trials took place. In some ways, it is kind of a tourist trap (full of kitshy, new agey shops) , but it has seemed to be turning itself around in the last decade, with the expansion of the Peabody Essex Museum http://www.pem.org/ which is a museum full of treasures from around the world brought back by shipmerchants etc. It is really worth checking out. A few years back they disassembled, brought over and reassembled an entire Qing dynasty Chinese house to tour...http://www.pem.org/sites/yinyutang/ the museum also does tours of several local historic buildings/homes. Salem is on the ocean (yet doesn't have a good beach), and it's where you start getting really good little fresh seafood places, which are prevalent north and south of boston on the coast. Anyway, good bars/pubs and restaurants. There are local colleges, so lots of young people, art, and music.

    A little further up, you could get off the train in Gloucester, MA, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gloucester,_Massachusettsfor a little bit of old gritty but pretty fisherman town. Gloucester was the setting for The Perfect Storm, and yes, many locals do have that accent! Good place to get into a bar fight!

    And just a little bit further up, you can step off the train and enter a portal into the best day trip of all, beautiful Newburyport, MA, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newburyport,_MAwhere I happen to live, but I'm not just saying that...a really lovely place with lots to do http://www.visitingnewengland.com/scenesofnewengland56.html and the best place if you want to go to unspoiled beaches and see beautiful wildlife. It is the last stop on the northbound commuter rail, about 35 miles north of boston.
    Home of Plum Island http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plum_Island_(Massachusetts) and a wildlife refuge with trails and several beaches, becoming less crowded the further in you go. http://www.fws.gov/northeast/parkerriver/ I would recommend renting a car, but you don;t need to, as there are cheap reliable taxis, pedicabs, etc.
    The downtown area has lots of great shops, restaurants, a gorgeous waterfront park where there are often live concerts during the summer. http://www.newburyportchamber.org/Riverfront.shtml ha, just noticed The Lemonheads will be doing a concert there soon.
    Anyway, come up and say Hi, I'd be glad to show any urbanites around and/or give many more suggestions of local things to do.

    and last but not least, yes, the islands are wonderful.

    I highly recommend Martha's Vineyard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martha's_Vineyard for its relaxed feel and good nightlife.

    Nantucket http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nantucket,_Massachusetts can be kind of stuffy, but less crowded
    there are regular ferries to both islands, but if you want to go right from Boston, you have to take a little airplane.

    Oh, that reminds me, you CAN take a ferry http://www.bostonharborcruises.com/...ult.aspx?gclid=CJS5j-v8laICFch_5Qod2i45DQfrom Boston harbor *to Provincetown, MA, at the very tip of the cape. Really worth the trip, a little "gay village" I like how wiki puts it, very eclectic, with beautiful scenery and beaches and fantastic nightlife. Home of John Waters, need I say more?

    that website also lists other harbor tours, of islands off Boston, which are fun.


    okay, that's all for now.
  7. Rainingstairs

    Rainingstairs Well-Known Member

    I like the culture of the Northeast but from my experience (I live in Cambridge) is that it's a city one lives in and not so much of a tourist attraction. Can't really get the feel for it if you're just passing through.
  8. bi0boy

    bi0boy .

    awesome post, thanks for that, it should keep me occupied for the time I'm there.

    I'll be going in October and was worrying about it being too cold, but sounds like it'll be ok. Will defo check the North End for some grub as Italian is my favourite.

    Hopefully i'll have time for some day trips out before I get the Amtrack back to NY.
  9. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    damn. ya'll make me wanna get outta Brockton and go cruisin the towns north of me....
  10. Dr. Furface

    Dr. Furface One small step for man

  11. Dunno if you've been to Boston already/ But definitley pay to see Trinity church/ go in the library. Trinity is great - V. beautiful look up some pics of the inside if your unsure. I loved the colour scheme. The bunker hill monument has a good free view of boston. Eat lots of clams, especially stuffed clams with chips, or if you go to nantucket stuffed quahog, best seafood ever.
    You could go see some basketball if they're playing it now, their team is pretty good I think? Bruins for ice hockey would be better but wrong time of year obvs.
  12. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    If you're into boxing or have heard of Rocky Marciano and Marvin Haggler, I live in the city they're from - Brockton. Not that great of a city at the moment. The locals pride themselves on their sports - the high school has won 90 per cent of their championship games. The city cares more about it's sports then it does education. The kids graduate at 18 and if they're not dead by then (drugs and gangs), they either are having families (some girls already have up to 3 babies), or are going to a community college and doing nothing with their lives. There are some that are lucky enough to have gotten out of this dump, and once they do, they never look back. Or come back for that matter. It's sad. Stay away from Brockton if you can. Go to Boston and north. Visit New Hampshire - it's wonderful (and tax free). South is Connecticut (beaches, casinos, Mystic village / Aquarium), Rhode Island has good night life in Providence (so I hear).

    if you went, hope you had fun!


    ETA: If you're there in the beginning of Oct, def see if you can see the foliage in New Hampshire, for sure... it's quite the site (providing the leaves are still up!)
  13. uk benzo

    uk benzo أنا ليس أمريكي

    I'm also going to Boston at the end of October.

    I love to eat crustaceans. I know Boston is famous for its crab and lobster. Can someone suggest a value for money seafood place in or around Boston that will serve me crab/lobster galore without breaking the bank?

    Thanks!
  14. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    Legal Seafoods near the aquarium is a Boston institution. Food is less expensive in the states for the most part so I don't think you'll have trouble. Away from Boston along the coast there are many places where they have big lobster tanks, you can even select your own, and either take them home and cook them or have them steamed and eat them there. The prices are usually good, but you sit at picnic table style seating inside or out.

    Hi abe by the way! I used to know some people from Brockton they were cool.
  15. Johnny Canuck3

    Johnny Canuck3 Well-Known Member

    I've only been once, but I loved Boston. It has a European feel to it. I think it's a relatively unique US city, the way that San Francisco is, but in a different way from SF. I quite enjoyed my visit there.

    @Miss Caphat: who goes to those clubs located near the Fenway?
  16. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    Ha, funny question...mostly college students (but NOT the hip ones), ex frat boy types from the suburbs, people wanting more drinks after a game, and tourists.
  17. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    By the way, ukBenzo, Boston isn't known for crab sadly, that's Maryland, about 7 hours south...but we are known for the clams and lobster so make sure you get some of those
  18. Johnny Canuck3

    Johnny Canuck3 Well-Known Member

    That's kind of what I thought.
  19. Gavin Bl

    Gavin Bl terrible awful baaad

    I would have thought you would still have time to go out into the sticks and see the leaves changing colour, they really are sensational - much more vibrant than over here. I went late Sept/early Oct and they were great. Just drive around the sticks basically.
  20. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet ammonia snooker balls

    Yeah, that was recommended by a workmate who used to spend a lot of time in Boston. Odd sort of place in the middle of nowhere on a dock, but you get more good quality seafood than you could ever think of eating for basically buttons.
  21. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    This year things are starting later though because of higher temps this month. And no, you don't have to go out in the sticks but its absolutely magical if you do.. Vermont, New Hampshire, western Mass., New York state...very much worth it. The farther north you go, the earlier the leaves start changing.
  22. ouchmonkey

    ouchmonkey Singe Gainsbourg

    I spent a while in Boston - it's OK, quite like england in a lot of places - cambridge in a lot ways reminded me of england but, in plenty of others it's very different - The North End is great, really nice old part of town plenty wonderful italian food, and i'd agree with everyone who says to get out and see the countryside there this time of year - it's glorious - the Cheers bar (Bull & Finch) really ain't worth your time.
    Is The Middle East still there? that was a good place/venue in Cambridge - I saw Shellac there
  23. uk benzo

    uk benzo أنا ليس أمريكي

    Miss Caphat, I am heading for Boston in 3 days. Do I need to bring my thick winter clothing with me?

    Thanks!
  24. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    Hi back, Miss Caphat!

    I was in Worcester (Western part of the state) last week for a day and the drive there was spectacular because of the leaves changing!

    @ouchmonkey: Middle East is still alive. At least that's according to some relatives of mine.

    @uk benzo: regarding a winter coat... it's been warm here the last few days. nice short sleeve or light shirt and trousers. if you dare, shorts. but rumour is the warm isn't going to last past Sunday. No idea for extended forecast, tbf. It's been rainy since last night as well.
  25. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    Hi uk benzo!

    Okay, I would bring your winter stuff but you might not need it. It's been nice and warm the past couple of days, but freezing cold some days last week.
  26. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way

    Hey abe11825,

    where are you now? I'm glad you had a nice drive..though for the sake of annoying correction, Worcester is more in the middle of the state. I don't think it's really considered western Mass (which is like a whole different state, like upstate New York is)

    A really great way to see the foliage is to hike to the top of a hill or mountain. If you're lazy, there are places that have chair lifts ( ski resorts, etc.) to take you up the mountains for views. Hope everyone's having fun!
  27. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    Worcester's a drive from me, kinda west-ish, so that's why I said west. But no arguments :)

    I'm still in the marvelous city of Broke Vegas (Brockton), Miss Caphat. Hard getting out of the city when you don't have a job!

    Ooer... never thought of using the ski resorts to view foliage! Great idea!!
  28. Miss Caphat

    Miss Caphat I want it that way



    sorry abe! I was confusing you with someone else who said they were visiting from the UK. sorry if my comments were condescending since you're from here.

    and yeah, ski resorts, they're trying to find ways to make money during the off season.
  29. abe11825

    abe11825 Like to take a cement fix

    No worries! Anything outside the Rt 24 belt is a whole different state to me anyway. :D

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