I'm a 37-year old Seattle girl who was bitten by the travel bug on my first tour of Europe in 2004. This personal blog follows my attempts to visit as many countries as I can, as often as my budget will allow. Since starting this blog in 2007, I've also worked as a freelance copywriter for an online travel publication. This only served to add even more must-see locations to my already extended list.
Follow me as I try to balance "real life" with exploring the world, all while trying to conquer a wickedly ironic case of homesickness.


Boston itinerary

I'm slowly working out general itineraries for our East Coast trip in September. Here is how Boston looks so far. It is a lot to cram into a short period of time, but we're the kind of travelers that hit the ground running in the morning and don't come staggering back until the late evening, so I'm pretty confident we can achieve this list. However, I'm still wide open to advice, from tourist traps to restaurants and beyond.

Day one:
Arrive by train at South Station at 11:30am
Cab to Omni Parker House hotel
Boston Common
All 14 sites on the Freedom Trail
Observation Deck of the Custom House Tower

Day two:
Boston Public Garden
Copley Square and Newbury Street
Trinity Church
Boston Public Library
Town of Cambridge
Harvard Square
Charles Street Meeting House
Louisburg Square
Charles River Esplanade
Beacon Hill, Acorn Street

Day three:
Spend the entire day out of the city
at a TBD Atlantic coastal town

Day four:
Check out of Parker House by 12N
A small handful of free hours, any suggestions?
Must be at the airport at 4pm

One of our biggest ponderings is which transportation option to choose within Boston. Should we do the more affordable LinkPass for the T or the more convenient Hop On/Hop Off trolleys? And finally, does Boston really live up to its walkable reputation?


Melanie said...

What days of the week are you going to be in Beantown? Boston is definitely walkable, although I would recommend taking public transportation to Harvard Square. Take the tour bus if you want a tour (which I think might be fun), but if you are just trying to get from point A to point B, I would suggest taking the T. You can very easily take the T from Park Street to Harvard Square (Red Line, $2.)

I am trying to think about how I would do this as a tourist. Your hotel is in an excellent location for easy walks to the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the Waterfront.

A couple of things: The Boston Common and Public Garden are right next to each other. I would suggest doing those together. They are a hop, skip and a jump from your hotel, and I would suggest coupling them with Beacon Hill/Louisburg Square stuff on your first day. They are all so close together so it would only take a couple of hours, tops. From Charles Street, which splits the Common and the Public Garden you can walk to the Charles River Esplanade. The end of Charles Street also has access to the Red Line of the T, which gets you to Harvard. Might I also suggest visiting MIT (on the Red Line at MIT/Kendall). It is a really original campus, and from MIT on Memorial Drive, you get a view of Boston like no other, and Restaurant Dante (Italian) in the Royal Sonesta Hotel is one of my faves.

Trinity Church and the BPL are on opposite ends of Copely Square and one street over from Newbury St. That's all Back Bay.

The Custom House is on the waterfront, which is where a lot of the Freedom Trail is located. I would suggest trying lunch at either Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market (food court and tourist trap, but still a MUST SEE) or the historical North End (Italian restaurants as far as the eye can see). Another great place to eat in the Waterfront is Sel de la Terre (French) or, of course, Boston's own Legal Sea Foods.

Piece of advice: the Freedom Trail is longer than people are led to believe. The touristy stuff says it is 2.5 miles, which it most likely is, but the streets are all twisty and you have to go up hills and maneuver over cobblestones, which means wear sensible shoes. It isn't BAD, you just need to know that isn't a casual stroll around Boston, unlike walking through Copley or the Back Bay.

(One last thing: Please keep in mind that the college students will be back in September, and subsequently, the city population swells. This means it might take longer to get on the T and that Harvard Square is going to be hopping. Not that that is bad, just it is a good thing to be aware of.)

Sorry this is so long!! I hope that your visit to Boston is super!

Melanie said...

Wrote you this HUGS thing and Blogger ate it. GRR.

Short recap:
I would suggest taking the T. The places you want to go are on the Red Line and your hotel is right there AT the Red Line. Hit MIT on the way back from Harvard - amazing architecture and view of the city.
I would suggest allowing a lot more time for it than you would think for the Freedom Trail. Also, if you aren't used to cobblestones, and even if you are, bring smart shoes for walking.
The Common and Public Garden are right next to each other. Couple those two with Beacon Hill/Louisburg Square.
Places to eat: I love Sel de la Terre along the waterfront or in the Back Bay and the North End has a million little Italian restaurants. Yelp! is helpful for dining out in Boston.
Just keep that in mind that the college students will be back in town by the time you visit.

Lisa E said...

Ah, but Melanie, Blogger didn't eat either of your posts! YAY!!! Thank you SO much; this is exactly what I was hoping for! We'll take everything into consideration, for sure!

Melanie said...

Thank goodness! I about had a heart attack when Blogger told me the first comment failed. :) The reason I mentioned days you were going to be in town: watch out for the T at rush hour. It gets packed, and people are short on patience.

Segue to something I feel honor bound to mention in case you aren't aware of this: New Englanders are not what you'd call "warm" people, with anyone including each other. (The one time I was to San Francisco, everyone I passed on the street smiled or said hello, and I was very suspicious of their friendliness.) It isn't a deliberate rudeness; we just keep ourselves to ourselves. But if you are lost, we'd certainly help.

Anyhow, glad to be of help. Have fun in Boston; I love it here!!

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