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  1. #1
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    Boston Travel Advice

    In July I will be visiting Boston and I need some advice. First off, let me say that I will be staying at the Red Roof Inn Southborough. I am staying there because the soldier that I had taken care of while he was deployed is in the area of Southborough and it's easy for him to visit me when he gets off work and I am staying at the RRI because I work for the company so my room will only cost $25. Since I am staying in Southborough what is the best way to get to downtown Boston to see the sights? I really don't want to drive into the city even though I am driving to Southborough. I know I can take a taxi but is there any other options? Also, I was thinking about doing the Boston by Foot sightseeing tour. Is anyone familiar with that type of sightseeing option? I know there are those trollies where one can hop on and off and I was thinking about those but I was also thinking about the walking tour since it would be good exercise. I am into history so I want to see a lot of historical places but I'm not against seeing something that is not historical. I do know I want to do the whale watching tour. I will be by myself during the day if that matters. Sorry if this has been asked before but I am having an issue logging in and using the search function.

    Thanks!!

  2. #2

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    You can take the commuter rail into the city and then take the T or walk p. I agree that driving is a nightmare for non-locals, but the good news is that Boston is very walker friendly so you may not need the T.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southbo...(MBTA_station)

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    You can by a one week pass for the T and go wherever you want in Boston, Cambridge and Newton. I agree that commuter rail is the best option. The walking tour of the Freedom Trail is fun. If you're a beer drinker, the tavern Tour goes the same route and, in my opinion, attracts people who are a bit more fun.

    There's a thread in the US nationals area that has almost everything you need to know about getting around Boston. I'm on my tablet now and can't link to it.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    There's a thread in the US nationals area that has almost everything you need to know about getting around Boston. I'm on my tablet now and can't link to it.
    Here you go: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...Ask-the-locals
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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    I'm a local. I took some out of town guests on a whale watching excursion on a high-speed catamaran last September. I got terribly seasick and it was one of the most miserable 3 1/2 hours of my life. I was loaded up with Dramamine and had on my wrist band and ate my ginger and chewed the gum - none of it worked. I spent the entire time barfing. There were a couple of hundred people on the boat and maybe 20-25 clutching barf bags, so just beware if you are prone to seasickness on the ocean!

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    Do a Duck Boat tour! I did them when I went to visit a friend in Boston and I LOVED IT. You drive around downtown and get some history of buildings, then you go on the river! I'm not sure how much it overlaps the walking tours, but IIRC (it was years ago) it didn't spend too much time in the North End.

    Fire & Ice is a cool restaurant downtown: https://www.fire-ice.com/ Also Legal Seafoods: http://www.legalseafoods.com/

    We also used the commuter rail and the T to get around and it was really easy. But, I'm a superdork for subways/trains, so I was excited just to be using one.

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    Take the commuter rail, then the T or walk in the city. Certainly the easiest option.

    I'm thinking taking a taxi/car service into the city from Southborough would be a lot of money.

    If you like historical places, Boston certain is the right place to go. If you like museums and historical American decorative arts (rooms set up historically, furniture, silverware), the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a lot to offer, and I mention it because many people don't realize how extensive their collection of such things is. I used to go there on a Saturday and just wander. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is right across the street, and worth a visit as well.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    I'm thinking taking a taxi/car service into the city from Southborough would be a lot of money.
    I live just inside 128 and taxi fare from the city is $25-30 + tolls + tip one way.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yehudi View Post
    You can take the commuter rail into the city and then take the T or walk p. I agree that driving is a nightmare for non-locals, but the good news is that Boston is very walker friendly so you may not need the T.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southbo...(MBTA_station)
    THIS. Boston's public transit's not always that great if you're a genuine commuter and don't live in the city proper (a 45 minute drive even with traffic jams would have been almost two and a half hours via public transit when I lived there and impossible when I lived on the North Shore) but if you're visiting? SO much easier than driving. It's a hard city to get around by car. There are some things that can be a bit off the beaten path (Cambridge is a bit odd and the North End and Navy Yard take a little walking-locals look at you like you're nuts if you walk from North Station to the Navy Yard but it's easily doable) but even if you want to do something like go out to see something like the Concord Bridge and battlefield, the commuter rail goes there. Just get a good commuter map and walking shoes and you're good to go.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    I live just inside 128 and taxi fare from the city is $25-30 + tolls + tip one way.
    EYS, and Southborough is just inside 495, the outer belt, so at least double the distance (and fare, if anyone is even willing to take the fare) from being just inside 128, the inner belt.

    If you have only 1 or 2 days to spend inside Boston, then as other posters have noted, your best bet would be to:

    1) try finding parking at the Southborough commuter rail station first thing in the morning and take MBTA commuter rail in and out for the day, and then
    2) go on a pay-as-you-go, single-fare basis on MBTA subways and buses within Boston/Cambridge, which you'll only need if you venture beyond the core downtown area to either the museum quarter or to Cambridge. Once you get into South Station (Boston) from Southborough, go to an MBTA info desk and ask for a CharlieCard, which is a card that you can pre-load with money. With a CharlieCard, you pay a reduced fare over normal fares.

    Also, if you're going into Boston over multiple days, there used to be a several-day "Passport" visitor pass for the T but I believe they've phased this out in favor of 1-day and 7-day passes which you may find economical too. These passes only cover MBTA subways and buses in the core Boston area, not your commuter rail ride. In this case, you wouldn't need a CharlieCard; just the 1- or 7-day paper pass will suffice. It'll be up to you to decide whether going pay-per-ride with a refillable CharlieCard, or opting for a 1- or 7-day unlimited-ride paper pass, is the most economical option.

    Aceon's advice is always right on the money - the Freedom Trail is self-guided and links just about every historic site and monument of note. Not all of it may be coverable or worth covering in a day, but I'd say 90% of it is in the core downtown area which is very compact and highly walkable, especially if you have a printed map to follow, in conjunction with a phone that has a compass feature enabled. (Even locals like me need both sometimes, because there's no grid pattern in the core downtown area and you can easily end up walking in circles.) A hop on-and-off tourist trolley should not be necessary as you've mentioned that you like walking. Also, see if visitor passes like these are worth their while for you.

    A whale-watching cruise sure sounds nice, and a Duck Tour may be a good touristy thing to do early in the day to help you identify major sights you'd want to investigate further later, and as it covers far more distance than just the downtown area. Also, since they just opened this past weekend for the summer, the Swan Boats are a must-do quick treat.
    Last edited by UMBS Go Blue; 04-21-2014 at 08:35 PM.

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    ^^UMBS suggested the glass flowers collection at Harvard's natural history museum, and I went there the last time I was in Boston. It was tremendous.
    http://www.hmnh.harvard.edu/on_exhib...s_flowers.html

    I second the suggestion about the Museum of Fine Arts and the Gardner Museum. You can take the T to the Museum stop on the Green line, and they are a very short walk from each other.

    The MFA has a fantastic collection of pretty much everything, and if you buy a full-price adult, senior or student admission, you can use the same ticket to get in again for free within 10 days.

    The Gardner Museum is also great because the original part of the museum has one of the prettiest interior gardens you will ever see, and the collection has been left exactly as it was when Mrs. Gardner put it there (it is in her will that it can't be changed, or the museum loses the funding from her estate). There is a newer extension built on the back of the original building, but it's not worth spending too much time in IMHO.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  12. #12
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    We love the MFA and there's a T stop right outside. We usually use a refillable Charlie Card.
    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”– MLK

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    Quote Originally Posted by UMBS Go Blue View Post
    Aceon's advice is always right on the money - the Freedom Trail is self-guided and links just about every historic site and monument of note. Not all of it may be coverable or worth covering in a day, but I'd say 90% of it is in the core downtown area which is very compact and highly walkable, especially if you have a printed map to follow, in conjunction with a phone that has a compass feature enabled. (Even locals like me need both sometimes, because there's no grid pattern in the core downtown area and you can easily end up walking in circles.) A hop on-and-off tourist trolley should not be necessary as you've mentioned that you like walking. Also, see if visitor passes like these are worth their while for you.
    The Freedom Trail is about 2.5 miles, so it's quite do-able. I've never walked the whole trail, but did walk from the State House all the way to the North End/Copp's Hill Burying Ground (didn't walk all the way to Old Ironsides/USS Constitution or Bunker Hill in Charlestown). Midway you can stop at Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market for a bite to eat and/or some shopping.

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    This meme pretty much sums up my experiences with both cities. Rated pg-13 for profanity. http://weknowmemes.com/2013/04/new-york-vs-boston/

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    Thumbs up to everything mentioned above (except for the restaurant Fire and Ice, but to each his/her own). A few other "touristy" but fun things: Samuel Adams brewery tour, Fenway Park tour. If the team is in town, a Red Sox game is good fun (even non baseball fans seem to have a blast at them).

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    I'll second the Duck Tour especially as a way to orient yourself to the city. In July, it should be a nice break if the weather is hot. The Science Museum is fun, too.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

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    Thanks everyone! Computer rail is definitely something I will take. I was thinking about the duck tour because of the book Make Way for Ducklings. I believe there is a statue of those ducks in the city if I remember correctly. I am looking forward to my visit. There is so much I want to do but if I only get to see the historical places then I will be happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tracylynn View Post
    Thanks everyone! Computer rail is definitely something I will take. I was thinking about the duck tour because of the book Make Way for Ducklings. I believe there is a statue of those ducks in the city if I remember correctly. I am looking forward to my visit. There is so much I want to do but if I only get to see the historical places then I will be happy.
    At the corner of Charles and Beacon, just inside the Public Garden.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Make_Way_for_Ducklings

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