Boston MA Reviews
No Cash, No Problem Mar 17, 2010
So you’re going to Boston and may be worried about spending a lot of cash, don’t be.
Don’t worry about buying souvenirs, and stuff like that just bring a camera and just a little cash and it will be no problem.
Riding the subway in Boston costs about $2(us) a ride, the Prudential Skywalk is $12(us).
Try not to park in Boston, find a subway station on the outskirts of the city, parking is much cheaper and so is the train ride. Not only being cheaper it is less stressful than driving through the city itself.
Take a lot of pictures and have fun, Boston has a lot to offer without spending tons of cash. There is plenty to see without having to pay to see it. Check out Faneuil Hall and the Freedom Trail, but don’t forget to see the make way for ducklings monument in Boston Common, while you are there you can see the original location for Cheers which is almost right across the street.
Part of the The Phoenix Trip travel blog
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Feb 11, 2007
About a month ago now, my partner Paul and l headed off for a short break to Boston, Massachusetts, from 2nd December until 7th December.
We flew from Belfast City airport with BMI – at a cost of around £80 per person return, flying on to from London Heathrow with United Airlines to Washington Dulles then to Boston’s Logan International airport. This cost approximately £550 for 2 adults.
Now we flew with United for one simple reason – United are Star Alliance members – we could have flown direct to Boston with the likes of British Airways or Virgin Atlantic – but we would not have gained air miles and membership miles (l know its sad!)
The overall flight took from 8.55am and we arrived into Boston around 2pm (-5 GMT). So it was just over 10 hours – a direct flight would take over 7 hours to get you into Boston.
We did loose our luggage between Washington and Boston – there was a very tight turn around and we had to clear immigration and recheck our bags in for security reasons on our first point of arrival in the States. Luckily l was forward thinking enough to carry my wash bag, hair bag and so on in my hand luggage so there was no big deal and we got our luggage back in time for morning – no real harm done.
We stayed out in Cambridge across the Charles River from Boston City itself – this was very easily accessible from the airport – the T (Boston metro system) took us from the airport changing once directly to the T stop, which happened to be about 2 minutes from the front door of our hotel.
We stated at the Harvard Square Hotel – a doubletree chain – nothing special but it was perfectly adequate – clean, normal sized, TV, fridge, hairdryer & tea and coffee facilities. The shower took a bit of getting used to – in fact l don’t think l was able to turn it off alone once having to call upon Paul’s muscle power to help out! It also could have been a bit warmer. Still the location and handiness of the hotel made up for the poor shower! To book you can log on to www.doubletree.com - expect rates around $150 per room – no breakfast included.
Harvard within the Cambridge City vicinity is home to the world-renowned university and business school. You can wander around the campus, which by American standards is historic and ancient. It is quite a size the buildings are very olde worlde. The campus encompasses various sites to see including:
· Massachusetts Hall – built in 1720 and the oldest building on campus – it acts as a meeting place on campus.
· John Harvard Statue – statue to the founder of the college – rub his foot for good fortune (we couldn’t get close for all the Japanese tourists!)
· Harry Widner Memorial Library – defined by its columns and pillars, it is the largest library in USA
Around the Harvard Square area where we stayed there is a good range of shops and restaurants and coffee houses. Its everything you would expect with a university on its doorstep. There are outlets of Gap, Urban Outfitters, Radio Shack, Aldo and other North American retail outlets. Also there is the Harvard Coop – drop in for anything to do with the university.
You will never starve or die of thirst – Starbucks aplenty! We breakfasted a lot in The Green House – a diner just on the edge of the Square – with buckwheat pancakes to die for! There are plenty of other eateries which l would recommend including:
· Pho Pastuer – Vietnamese – very busy and very popular with students.
· Bartley’s Burger Cottage – Burgers named for everything under the sun – try a Sadam Hussein Burger- spicy can blow your head off!! I sat where Johnny Cash had plonked his bum apparently!
· Henrietta’s Table – found in Charles Hotel – traditional American grub – very tasty – with very tasty waiters too! Also deli and craft store as you go in – purchase some American tasty bites.
With the T being so accessible we were able to scoot in and out of Boston City very easily – for approximately $20 for 3 day pass we could ride the subway as often as we liked.
Boston is a very historic city in terms of the youthful American history, and you can tell that by the buildings – start off on Boston Common and follow the freedom trail – this will take you past the most famed buildings within the city, and its free! It was rather chilly when we visited so we only walked as far as the Fanuiel Hall, but you can see how the walk in the New England summer would attract hundreds and hundreds of tourists. Key sites include:
· Massachusetts State House
· Old State House – with a T stop underneath
· Old South Meeting House
· Old Granary Burying Ground
· Faneuil Hall and Marketplace
We investigated Faneuil hall mostly – there’s a huge food market place selling anything your heart could wish for – especially specialising in the famous Boston seafood – many stalls offer tasting bites – and l can recommend the chowder is delicious!
There are many other craft stores – get your Bostonian memorabilia here – or your Red Soxs gear. Further on into the market place you will find other stores again Gap, American Eagle and there even was a Christmas Store and look out for the outlet of Pier 11.
There are plenty of bars about to whet your whistle too – mostly Irish ones l may add, l can recommend the Black Rose – an Irish bar with live music, they even had Tayto crisps on sale – and being Irish l can assure you that was a most welcome treat! Personally we stayed off the black stuff – the allure of Sam Adams was more appealing – also Sam Adams Winter Ale was a darker larger and most delicious!
I can also recommend a visit to the New England Aquarium – found off central pier – just take the T to Aquarium and it is easily found. Admission for adults was $15. We spent a good 3 hours wandering around and believe me we could have spent longer. Its great educational entertainment for all ages. The penguins as you enter are ear shatteringly noisy – but hysterical to watch their carrying on! Follow the displays around and take a look at aquatic life from all over the globe. Although the piece de resistance has got to be the centre piece Giant Ocean Tank. Filled with 200000 gallons of sea water – you can see a cross section of oceanic life – from Caribbean reef culture – there are huge tortoises, sharks, tropical fish and enormous rays.
So we were in Boston in December – the main bulk of our time was spent shopping – shopping we did! With the incredible dollar- pound rate at the minute it was a great time to go bargain hunting.
Boston has great shops – everything you would expect in an American cosmopolitan city. The usual department stores Macy’s – Saks of 5th ave, or Barnes and Noble are all to be found. It was great to get cosmetics and clothes for approximately half the price you would expect to pay in the UK. I was luck enough to get my much longed for Tiffany’s necklace from Paul – although l did have to wait until Christmas day to unwrap my gift!
The huge shopping complex at Copley Place off Huntington Ave – is an upper class shopping experience – expect to find all the designer labels under this roof. Also check out the basement at the city’s own department store Filenes’s – if you are prepared to search – you will get a bargain or 2!
Boston is a beautiful city – and l would say l like the feel and the people more so that that of NYC. I would say as our break was predominantly made up of shopping, l would like to go back – at the end of summer to watch the world famous trees change colour and perhaps take trip out to Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod to experience that true New England flavour. But as a short break to a city l can thoroughly recommend it and for all you shopaholics out there – you will not be disappointed l can guarantee!
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