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Boston trip

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 7, 2004
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My girl friend is celebrating after a bad divorce and saw a virgin america sale from lax-bos for $300, so we're going to Boston for 5 days in sept!! :)

First of all, holy craaaap hotels are expensive!! I'm pricelining everything, and have always gotten 4*/resort class for under $100, many have been under $80 during peak season. Imagine my shock when i'm bidding up to $180 for a 3.5* and still no bite. Since we dont plan on staying in the rooms much, we ended up w/ a reasonably priced room in Cambridge near the T. But it still hurts to pay so much more when i've always gotten such good deals on way better hotels, and i find myself thinking that extra money can buy me a nice gem, haha. Btw, does anyone know why it's so expensive in Boston? dates are Sept 16-21 if it helps. I looked up festivals and events and didn't find anything, and schools aren't starting that week either, so i'm stumped.

I've combed thru tripadvisor and compiled a list, but since there are so many PSers w/ better knowledge, i thought i'd ask here. (plus i think there's a fair amount of shilling on TA and yelp, so i dont quite trust the reviews) We're planning on doing the Freedom Trail, duck tours (go early, i've been told), eat lots of seafood, explore North end, Copley, Quincy market, Faneuli, Beacon Hill, Bay Side, Harvard Square, MIT. Oh, and there's a dessert expo or something that we might do. Anything i'm missing? Must eats? i love food and that's usually the highlight of my trips...

Thanks in advance!! ::)
 

kenny

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They let non virgins fly too? . . . I mean you said your friend got a divorce, so I assumed that . . . oh never mind. :???:
 

ForteKitty

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there's a reason they're divorced.... ;)) :bigsmile:
 

kenny

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There always is.
 

Arkteia

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Condolences - Boston is expensive... The same way all big cities are.
Do not forget Isabella Gardner museum. I think entrance is free on Tuesdays and also they have music concerts there.
Boston Art Museum.
The Museum of Science is excellent.
Oh - you do not like to splurge, but still like designer clothes, right? Try Flagship Filene's Basement, it used to be at Downtown Crossing but has moved. You can check where it is now, still downtown. It my time, it was the best designer outlet store on a budget. Horrible place, very few fitting rooms but I bought my best Escada suit there...

OK here is a list of target days for some Bostonian museums. (BTW- is your name, by chance, Isabella? Then you get permanent free admission to Isabella Stewart Gardner museum).

http://b0st0n.livejournal.com/6677288.html
 

ForteKitty

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crasu- i feel like Boston hotels are more expensive than NYC and London because i couldn't priceline it for half off! (or even 25% off, blah) I live in LA and have always pricelined stuff for 50-60% off for visitors. I've gotten 4* in Hawaii, SF, Vancouver, Seattle, Bruges, Amsterdam, London, NYC, and Orlando for under $100 a night. My London hotel was about 65% off!! man i think i'm just really really cheap. haha.
 

Arkteia

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Not as cheap as my husband... you two should probably start a new thread, "traveling cheap". He gets the best deals around the globe! Next time he pricelines something, I shall tell you. And he also manages to get trips with free layovers, so we can spend several days in Germany on our way to Moscow, etc...

He is in Maine now - flew via Boston and spent a couple of nights there - found a very cheap ticket and a good deal on a hotel. I should ask him what the deal was when he gets back...

BTW - I love your new avatar (whatever it is).
 

chemgirl

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I was in Boston last month and I had the same issue with hotels. I managed to priceline a 3.5 star in a great location, but it was $125 per night when I named my own price. Much higher than expected. My advice is to get the seven day t pass since its $15 and super easy to use. Get out on the harbor when its sunny out. I took a ferry from Salem and the view was gorgeous. A bit pricey, but a waitress at a disappointing seafood restaurant suggested we try Neptune oyster restaurant and it was super yummy. Have a great trip!
 

ForteKitty

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crasru|1310332118|2966060 said:
BTW - I love your new avatar (whatever it is).
I took that picture when we were in French Polynesia!! There were soooo many fishies just under our bungalow, and that little fella kept harassing me so i took a picture of it.

Now that was a cheap trip. Our flights were $900 including tax and our 6 night stay in a panoramic overwater bungalows @ the Moorea Hilton was only $220 a night, and it included breakfast buffet!! (FP food is so expensive...)
 

ForteKitty

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chemgirl|1310338665|2966096 said:
I was in Boston last month and I had the same issue with hotels. I managed to priceline a 3.5 star in a great location, but it was $125 per night when I named my own price. Much higher than expected. My advice is to get the seven day t pass since its $15 and super easy to use. Get out on the harbor when its sunny out. I took a ferry from Salem and the view was gorgeous. A bit pricey, but a waitress at a disappointing seafood restaurant suggested we try Neptune oyster restaurant and it was super yummy. Have a great trip!
Thanks! We are getting the t pass. you can get it at Logan, right? i started bidding at $90 for a 4*, tried the free re-bid zones, and lowered the stars... finally went up to $180 for a 3.5* in the Boston proper area... and knew that the hotwire one showing for a 3.5* was either the Sheraton or Hilton and it's $182 so it'll probably sell for that price... but just couldn't stomach paying it. (I could buy a gem with that money!!) So i gave up. :( Figured Cambridge isn't that far away and the $80/nt we save will go towards food.. and that will make me much happier than spending it on a room i will hardly see!
 

ForteKitty

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OOoooh! We're gonna take a day trip to Provincetown! Take the fast ferry, right?
 

Arkteia

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Oh, you'll love the P-town! Don't forget to visit their shops, you'll get so much fun just from looking at the displays! And oh, I never saw such an abundance of handsome guys in one spot! Just keep in mind, the tips in these restaurants are very high. When I was young, in the 90-es, the tip that was included in the menu was 18% and you were supposed to pay on top of it.
 

Autumnovember

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Hellllloooo!

I was just in Boston in April....and YES, the hotels are definitely expensive.


I did find a good deal for a hotel called "The Ames Hotel," perhaps you can check it out?

It is absolutely beautiful there and I got it for about 160 a night which was pretty good considering how nice it was.
 

ForteKitty

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Thanks AN! I did check Ames and it's $325/nt... :(
 

Allison D.

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Forte, I think part of it is that there just isn't an abundance of higher-end inventory. Also, September is the busiest month in these parts for weddings, so that might also contribute to it.
 

lizzyann

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I also wonder if the prices on hotels are high in September because many college kids are back to school and parents need places to stay while helping kids move in. There are so many colleges in Boston, so that could be a reason for the higher prices.
 

ForteKitty

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Thanks Allison and Lizzy! I didn't think about weddings, and that could totally be it! I did check into the schools' calendar and it seems they all start in late august/first week of sept, so I dont think that is it either. Rates during those weeks are actually very slightly cheaper.. like $20, haha.

I also looked at the convention center and apparently the New England Wizard World Comic Con is in town that weekend... but they said they're only anticipating 2500 participants. Who knows. Either way we're gonna have a blast and i'm gonna get sooo fat on this trip. Got a whole list of restaurants already! :bigsmile:
 

NewEnglandLady

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I never realized how expensive Boston hotels were until I moved away, but continued working for my Boston-based company. I'd fly in once a month or so and was always perplexed at the hotel prices!

My parents were able to snag a pretty good deal at the Omni Parker House (<$200/night), but I just checked cheaphotels and it was $260/night. Blah!

I think all the things on your to-do list are great: freedom trail, duck tour, north end, day trip to the Cape, etc.--plus you're staying in Cambridge, so you'll have easy access to MIT/Harvard.

In terms of food, I'll list some of my favorites. The North End is absolutely my favorite place to eat. Giacomo's is my favorite restaurant there, but you have to stand outside to wait for a table (not bad in September)--it might be a good weekday choice, though. Mama Maria's is also amazing, but it's pricey and you need reservations. Worth it in my opinion, though. And no trip to the North End is complete without some connoli. Mike's Pastry and Modern Pastry are both on Hanover Street--I'm a Mike's girl, but both are delicious!

For seafood, I like the Union Oyster House for the ambiance, but it's probably a bit overpriced. Legal Seafood is always a popular choice. I recently went to Chart House and it was good. Atlantic Fish Company is liked by many of my friends. I've also heard great things about Neptune Oyster, which is in the North End.

I don't eat over in Cambrige much, except to go to Hungry Mother, Coast Cafe and Mr. Bartley's. Hungry Mother is a high-end southern comfort restaurant in Kendall Square. Coast Cafe also specializes in southern food, but it's a tiny hole-in-the-wall that is a little off the beaten path. Mr. Bartley's is a famous hamburger joint that is right in Harvard Square--it's a quirky place with great food.

If you're feeling a little famished while walking the Freedom Trail, watch out for Sweet bakery in the Financial District (it's directly on the Freedom Trail, right in front of Old North Church). It's about a block from where I work, which is unfortunate because they have amazing cupcakes and I crave them constantly. The red velvet is delicious.

Have a great time!! September is my favorite month in New England!
 

Hudson_Hawk

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crasru|1310358348|2966257 said:
Oh, you'll love the P-town! Don't forget to visit their shops, you'll get so much fun just from looking at the displays! And oh, I never saw such an abundance of handsome guys in one spot! Just keep in mind, the tips in these restaurants are very high. When I was young, in the 90-es, the tip that was included in the menu was 18% and you were supposed to pay on top of it.
I'm sorry but I don't know of any restaurants in Boston or P-town that tack on an 18% gratuity and then expect additional $ on top of it. Automatic gratuity is usually reserved for parties of 6+. Maybe it's something they did in the 90s...

Boston is a very popular destination in the fall because the weather is nice, it's the beginning of foliage season, there are lots of HS kids visiting colleges, there are college sporting events, the red sox, etc... You'll enjoy staying in Cambridge, it's a lovely city in and of itself. Take the redline to Harvard Square if you have a chance.

Also there is no "flagship" Filene's Basement anymore. There's a location on Boylston St. (#350 I think) between Berkley and Clarendon Streets, but it's just a normal location, nothing special. But still, FB is an awesome place for a good deal. And it's right next to Copley Sq., the Boston Public Library and the Prudential Center.
 

Loves Vintage

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I think hotels in Boston are just universally expensive. Maybe it's just a supply and demand thing? We paid $309 a night (just looked it up) to stay at the Fairmont Copley Plaza last early-November and that was after much searching around for a good deal!

I would not miss Mike's and would definitely recommend a small box of cannoli!! You'll save on breakfast the next morning! :cheeky:

I really liked the aquarium too. Penguins are soooooooo cute!!!
 

Graff_Pink

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Oh my gosh, New England Lady - my husband and I just went to Hungry Mother for the first time last weekend - it was an awesome foodie-adventure! The food was out of this world!

Having just moved here, I didn't think I would love Boston as much as I do, but I DO. It truly is a wonderful place to live - and I am looking forward to The Fall!
 

ForteKitty

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Thanks everyone for all your suggestions, i really appreciate it! HH, thanks for letting me know there isn't an additional tip on top of 18% in provincetown... i got a lil scared when i saw that, haha.

Breakfast is included but who knows if it's any good, so we might end up eating something small and getting an early lunch like at 10:30am. Right now we have about 3 restaurants listed for each day (early lunch, late lunch, dinner), so we need to remember to not stuff ourselves so we can eat at all the yummy places. Thanks NEL for the restaurant suggestions, i had some of them on my list already and was really glad to hear they're good choices. LV & NEL, we will definitely try out Mike's! :lickout:

I started subscribing to boston's groupon and livingsocial, and saw something that we might be able to use. There is a groupon for the all day harbor shuttle... if we are getting the 7 day T pass, should we get that too? It's only $13 but i dont know if we really need it or will use it much? http://www.groupon.com/deals/cityside-harbor-shuttle-boston
 

NewEnglandLady

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Fortekitty, I'm no help with the shuttles, I've never used them. Seems like it could be a fun alternative to taking the T, but I don't know if you really need it in addition to the T. It could be really useful or it could go to waste--I know, not helpful at all.

Graff, glad to hear you loved Hungry Mother! D and I had a long list of Boston restaurants we wanted to try over the years and Hungry Mother is one that we go back to a few times a year. I really like the Kendall Square Theater (we're not artsy types, but I do like independent films) and Hungry Mother is a block away, so it's a great dinner-and-a-movie option.
 

zoebartlett

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NewEnglandLady|1310495074|2967395 said:
Fortekitty, I'm no help with the shuttles, I've never used them. Seems like it could be a fun alternative to taking the T, but I don't know if you really need it in addition to the T. It could be really useful or it could go to waste--I know, not helpful at all.

Graff, glad to hear you loved Hungry Mother! D and I had a long list of Boston restaurants we wanted to try over the years and Hungry Mother is one that we go back to a few times a year. I really like the Kendall Square Theater (we're not artsy types, but I do like independent films) and Hungry Mother is a block away, so it's a great dinner-and-a-movie option.
Forte -- I haven't taken the shuttle, but I'd opt for the T pass rather than using both. The T can get you to so many parts of the city, and I think you'll be fine just using that.
 

ForteKitty

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Thanks ladies, i didn't get the water shuttle. I did, however, add Harpoon Brewery and Yankee Lobster to the list. LOVE craft beers and cider, and they have both!!!! Can't wait to try everything, and i'm keeping my fingers crossed that the raspberry hef will still be in season.

This is gonna sound stupid, but i'm SO looking forward to getting dunkin donuts again. There aren't any in California, and i keep craving it. Last time we were in NY (upstate) visiting bf's family, he drove 20 mins each way, every single day, just so we can get our fix. Grocery stores sell the packages, but it just doesn't taste the same. ahhhhhh sooo excited about the food!
 

zoebartlett

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ForteKitty|1310887970|2970706 said:
Thanks ladies, i didn't get the water shuttle. I did, however, add Harpoon Brewery and Yankee Lobster to the list. LOVE craft beers and cider, and they have both!!!! Can't wait to try everything, and i'm keeping my fingers crossed that the raspberry hef will still be in season.

This is gonna sound stupid, but i'm SO looking forward to getting dunkin donuts again. There aren't any in California, and i keep craving it. Last time we were in NY (upstate) visiting bf's family, he drove 20 mins each way, every single day, just so we can get our fix. Grocery stores sell the packages, but it just doesn't taste the same. ahhhhhh sooo excited about the food!
Ha! No, looking forward to getting DDs again doesn't sound weird to me. I agree about the prepackaged stuff the stores sell -- it just doesn't taste the same.

I'm sure you'll have a great time in Boston!
 

centralsquare

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It's a great time of the year in New England...it'll be well worth it with the nice weather and foliage. You may want to consider apple picking...it's a very typical thing to do in the area that time of year. I love, love Cambridge. There is dessert restaurant (they specialize in desserts) called FInale in Havard Sq that is truly unique. Sounds like you ended up with an ok deal on the hotel room, but if you'd still like to go cheaper you may consider cities such as Allston. A bit further on the T, but not that much more.
 

ForteKitty

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I thought fall foliage doesn't start till mid oct in the Boston area? i've seen it while visiting upstate NY, but my friend hasn't and she would love to see it!

Re: the hotel, we're staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Cambridge, which will be easy to cab to in case we decide to stay out late at night, so it worked out great. Price for hotel was $115/nt on priceline NYOP... looked on its site and it's going for $199/nt, so i'm still pretty happy. (not a 4* resort-w/a lazy river- for $90 kind of happy, but an at-least-i'm-not-paying-$200/nt-happy!!)
 

centralsquare

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Regarding the timing for the foliage...it may be too early...depends how far out of Boston you want to go. To your point, in Boston proper, it may be too early.
 
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