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Boston Trip - Any Great Recommendations?

Alex T

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 24, 2012
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Hi all,

My bonkers 71 year old mother in law is adding the Boston Marathon to her collection this year, which is only a week before she does the London Marathon. She fundraises for Cancer Research & has been running marathons for years - last year it was London & Chicago, the year before London & Melbourne, and so it goes on. She is also doing New York for the first time later this year.

My hubby is going with her for the week (which annoyingly is only 10 days after my op, so here's hoping for a smooth recovery) and the guide book he has bought doesn't really have many 3* recommendations. Mostly it seems to be activities for children, such as a particular museum & parks.

Any fantastic suggestions? They are both really easy going people who like to get about a bit. Shopping is not their thing, nor sadly jewellery (though I'm expecting a nice present for being home alone with my babies for a week so soon after my procedure!)

Boston people - what do you think are the highlights of your fabulous city are?
 

Bayek

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I love Copley Square... just about anywhere you walk is historic, if they can they should visit the north end.. it's beautiful... the Constitution is being revamped I think so that is out for this year... the harbor.. Harvard... it's all beautiful.. (I live about 1 1/2 hours from Boston).

peace.
 

MollyMalone

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Do they have any special interests/passions, Alex (e.g., history, art, music, food)? My initial thought is that since they are arriving (I think) a full week before the Marathon, they should do the more "touristy" things in town early on & then make a day trip or two to, e.g., Salem or Plymouth, on the weekend immediately preceding the Marathon when more visitors are piling into Boston.
 

Alex T

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Thank you both, for your suggestions.

Molly - great idea to do the tourist things first & day trips further afield as Marathon day approaches. That hasn't even crossed their minds!

My mother in law likes historical buildings & facts. Anything generally interesting - she very much likes to learn things about her environment. And food! They both love to try new food!
 

Arcadian

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The Duck Tour
http://www.bostonducktours.com/


Freedom Trail tour which will include the old north church
http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/

If you're going to be near Concord, Minute Man National Park (the site of the first Battle of the war):
http://www.nps.gov/mima/index.htm

You can take a tour of Harbor Islands
http://www.bostonharborislands.org/

harvard museum of natural history
http://hmnh.harvard.edu/

MIT has a museum (its very cool!)
http://web.mit.edu/museum/

The Pru Observation deck. This is tied to the prudential center mall (worth checking out) also Top of the hub restaurant (good but expensive)
http://www.prudentialcenter.com/shop_detail.html?id=64


Newbury Street is shopping and eating heaven. Tapeo is there, the sister restaurant is in Cambridge (Dahli's)
http://www.tapeo.com/menu/default.aspx

There's also Salem, Its a bit of a drive from downtown but worth it, but thats a day trip.
Peabody Essex museum is there, its amazing
http://www.pem.org/

The witch trials memorial also in salem.

There's various tours there, but we always did our own.


Also, if you're interested you can take the ferry to Provincetown which is at the end of the cape. The highspeed takes 3 hours to get there, 3 hours to get back, much more of a weekend visit.

I'm not sure if you guys will be in Boston Proper or at some place along the race route. Let me know, I'm near Wellesley College so could make some suggestions out here.
 

MollyMalone

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This probably sounds hokey, but I think the best thing they could do first-off is ride the Old Town Trolley for the entire loop, i.e., don't use it for hop-off/hop-on transportation for a maiden voyage. Depending on the driver-tour guide, there may be a few corny jokes along the way, but I've done this with friends & family several times in recent years & found the information they impart to be worthwhile and reliable (the last tour guide was especially notable, turns out he is a history professor who moonlights with OTT for fun). Superior to the Beantown Trolley. And because OTT takes you into Charlestown and Cambridge (not just downtown Boston) -- big map here
http://www.trolleytours.com/boston/boston-map.html
-- it provides a nice orientation.

OTT has a great, online-only $39 deal that, sadly, is set to expire at the end of March:
http://www.trolleytours.com/boston/rates-and-reservations.asp
But let's see if OTT offers some sort of other deal come April 1 or if we can rustle up a discount code for the week they are in Boston.

For the Freedom Trail, would they prefer to do it on their own (accompanied perhaps by an audio guide) or join in a guided tour? A number of possibilities no matter what their preference.

A few, more off-the-radar possibilities that might appeal to them: free, guided art/architecture/history tours of the Boston Public Library, the Boston Athenaeum, and Harvard University:
http://www.bpl.org/central/tours.htm
http://www.bostonathenaeum.org/visit/take-tour
http://www.harvard.edu/on-campus/visit-Harvard/tours

The USS Constitution is in dry dock, but right at its usual berth, and visitors are still welcome. I think it's a great spot to spend some time; the nonprofit's USS Constitution Museum & the Park Service visitors center are both worthwhile
https://ussconstitutionmuseum.org
http://www.nps.gov/bost/learn/historyculture/cny.htm
(the link on the above page to the visitors center is a dud just now, sorry)
And you can get there by MBTA commuter boat service, which is a fun, cheap way to travel:
http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/boats/

Unfortunately, fast ferry service to either Salem or Provincetown doesn't start running until mid-May, but MBTA commuter rail service can transport them to Salem.

What hotel have they chosen? I think a lunch or evening in the North End (Italian) is a don't miss, but their hotel location would have a bearing on what other restaurant recommendations we offer.
 

soxfan

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Where they are staying? SO much to do in Boston.....
 
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