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Boston (Massachusetts)

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City: Boston / Country: USA / World Region: North America

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    12 Reviews
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      16.06.2011 08:15
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      Main city in Massachusetts, USA

      Sorry couldn't resist the title. Boston Manor is (nearly) my nearest Piccadilly Line station!

      FROM ONE EX-COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX TO ANOTHER

      Where do you start with describing an entire city; particularly one like Boston where I've recently spent 8 highly-enjoyable days? When my wife first announced that we were going there, I must admit I did have some trepidation. After all, more than a week in a busy city didn't sound like a formula for a relaxing break.

      However, factor in the means by which we went there, already documented in another opinion on Amtrak, and also the nature of our accommodation and you'll see why maybe it wasn't the hurly-burly I was dreading.

      Boston is a maritime city, which has to be a plus point in my book. The promise of a waterfront somehow makes the place that bit more relaxed. There's always the prospect of a 'round the harbour' boat trip to take the weight off the 'barking dogs' when being a tourist gets just too exhausting!

      Actually, we spent a large proportion of our time there afloat, maybe 10 hours a day. Firstly, we were able to avail ourselves of the Long Wharf (downtown) to Charlestown Navy Yard ferry at least twice a day; the reason being that we were staying in Charlestown (which was in The County of Middlesex*, hence the title). The second reason we spent so long afloat was that our home for the week was a house-boat!

      (* still referred to by the judiciary - well it was in 'Ally McBeal'!)

      ENTER THE GREEN TURTLE - OH A LIFE ON THE HARBO(U)R WAVES!

      The Green Turtle B&B is a houseboat tied up at Pier 8, end of 13th Street Charlestown (you need this degree of detail, as Boston's taxi-drivers seem to fall into two categories; the ones that live there, and the rest that are having trouble remembering which country nay planet they are in/on!). Its proprietors, Jon and Karen are the epitome of hospitable inn-keepers, and they're never far away as they live on the yacht next door! Every morning we were asked what we'd like for breakfast the following day. "Would I like Eggs Benedict tomorrow?" You bet your sweet life I would, and the day after.

      There were really only three slight drawbacks to our 'life more aquatic'.

      1. The ferry only runs till 8.30 pm, so after a night of debauchery, or even fine dining, taxis were our only hope (God help us)

      2. If you think 'Mind the Gap' is just our H&SE being cautious, you should try getting aboard the Green Turtle in the dark when the wind is pressing her away from the already floating jetty. Even getting the key in the door could be a challenge. Thank goodness the key-ring had a float attached.

      3. We had one occasion where it was so windy that the noise of the old girl straining at her moorings kept us awake. Of course, you could argue that the time to worry is when the noise stops without the wind dropping.

      Really, these were our only compromises which we gladly accepted as the price of a life of '8 days before the mast'. Before anyone feels too sorry, we did have cable TV (!), free wi-fi, a full sized shower and toilet, and kitchenette facilities similar to a bed-sit, with fridge, kettle, microwave. Then of course there was the queen-sized bed and harbour views from double-aspect windows.

      Many is the happy morning when we'd hear the steady almost infra-sound thump of 'something big' going past in the main channel some 200 feet away. We'd open the curtains to see the sky obliterated by a bulk carrier of some sort gliding by at walking pace. Curiously, these massive ships left no wash to speak of - it was the tugs that set us swaying for a while afterwards.

      If you fancy a really snooty way of arriving at The Green Turtle, get a water taxi directly from Logan Airport across the harbour, and get them to tie up four feet from the door.

      Way off in the distance was the restored lightship, Nantucket, which I felt was just asking to be the subject of a limerick. Nantucket, bucket, Phuket? The difficulty came in writing one that was printable in nice company.


      WHAT TO SEE

      Obviously, the places I'm about to list are just a scratch on the surface of Boston, and we're already planning a return trip, but they're ones we went to.

      The Old State House - You could argue that this is where the USA began. It was outside this building that the so-called Boston Massacre of 1770 took place, and if you believe Paul Revere's (yes, him!) engraving on the subject, the whole thing is portrayed as a redcoat firing squad complete with officer with sabre drawn no doubt shouting 'Fire'. The reality, as told to us by a historian during a very interesting talk given inside the Old State House is somewhat more mundane, although it has to be said that a handful of people did still die.

      It appears that after a scuffle during which a teenager, who had previously accused an officer of not paying his wig bills, was whacked with a musket butt, an angry crowd assembled around a handful of frightened soldiers, quite literally with their backs to the wall. Whilst their officer was remonstrating with the crowd, one of them was knocked to the ground by a missile and panicked and opened fire during a tirade which included them all being bombarded with rocks and lumps of ice.

      The Old State House still stands in all its glory on State Street, but is now towered over by high-rise buildings, looking a little unsure of itself, still carrying its Lion and Unicorn coats of arms.

      Amazingly, eight soldiers were put on trial and all but two acquitted, after being defended by John Adams, later, President John Adams. Given the location, and a trial by local jurymen, this was no mean feat. Even the guilty were punished by branding on their thumbs, not the death sentence.

      It has to be said in hindsight that maybe the way to keep 16,000 riot-prone settlers (they were British after all!) happy, and with it, a huge New World colony was NOT to send 4,000 troops to 'defend' them, billeting them on luckless householders in some cases. It goes part-way to explaining the tinder-box nature of Boston vis-à-vis the American independence movement.

      As for the tax on tea, well, that was just asking for trouble.........

      Entry to the Old State House is included in the Go Boston card, and it was our first port of call to get the cards validated.

      Incidentally, the official site of the massacre has had to be moved a bit, as more people have died or been injured in road accidents stepping back to photograph it than ever they were on that fateful day!

      Faneuil Hall - this splendid meeting hall, labelled 'The Cradle Of Liberty' was built funded by donations from a Huguenot immigrant, also had its part to play in the revolution, as much heated debate was held here. Today, it's somewhat more subdued and peaceful. Not imposing from the outside, its high vaulted ceilings and galleried mezzanine seating give it an air of half-church, half court-room and it comes as a welcome break from the bustle of the city outside.

      The jury seems to be out on whether its name rhymes with 'flannel' or 'Daniel' but you'll find it at the north end of a rather Convent Garden-like area called Quincy and North and South Markets, themselves great places to eat 'on the hoof' and buy things you never knew you wanted.

      Aquarium - OK, it's an aquarium. What else do you need to know? Well, it's a rather fine one actually, with a deep oceanic central tank of say four storeys, around which you can spiral as you climb towards its surface. It was also a great way to re-acquaint myself with those gorgeous Little Blue, or 'Fairy' penguins that walk ashore every night at Phillip Island in Victoria, Australia. In my head, I was doing Rolf Harris impressions. Just after we'd been, they proudly opened their new Shark and Ray Petting Pool. Hopefully they've been sensible with their choice of shark! Entry is also by Go Boston card, which saves queuing. The Aquarium is hard by the Long Wharf where harbour ferries depart.

      Freedom Trail - Old North Church. The freedom trails is really a red line painted on pavements to guide you to various sights connected with the nascent USA. We dove in at the Old North Church, a fascinating structure in its own right, with a distinct 'Wren' look to it. Inside, the family pews are enclosed to shoulder level when seated. This was to ward off the intense cold of a New England winter, as many parishioners would bring a warming pan or a hot brick with them to keep their feet warm! The significance of the church's participation in The Freedom Trail was explained to us as a volunteer gave a talk to a bunch of Canadian tourists, upon which we eavesdropped. It was from the very tower of this church that on April 18th 1775 a lantern signal was sent to warn patriots as to the route the British Troops were going to use in their attack on Concord and Lexington; one lantern for a land attack and two for sea.

      Chinatown Food Tour - An odd one this, picked out by my wife as something unusual to be doing with a morning. We were escorted around the Chinatown district by a charming young lady of genuine Chinese origins, having come to the USA as a child from Hunan Province. Having the services of an expert with us was also a passport to being able to enter shops and restaurants sampling wares as we went. The tour culminated in a lunchtime visit to a bustling Dim Sum restaurant (phew, they give you cutlery without asking), where a huge selection of tasty morsels came our way, along with plenty of tea.

      USS Constitution - The pride of the US Navy, and now the oldest still-commissioned war-ship in the world, it gained the nickname 'Old Ironsides', not because on any cladding it might have carried but because British cannonballs seemingly bounced off it rather than penetrate. Entry to what's left of the naval dockyard is free, but tours of The Constitution are timed, so it's necessary to queue for quite some time. We took the 'fast-track' option to contain ourselves on the upper deck and look around for ourselves. The below decks conducted tour was shaping up to be a) a long wait in the drizzle, and b) rather similar to that on HMS Victory. The associated museum gives a vivid and educational view of life in the navy. The custodian in the gift shop had a working knowledge of Monty Python, and he launched into his rendition of 'I'm Worried about The Baggage Retrieval System They've Got at Heathrow' as soon as we mentioned where we lived!

      Harbour Cruises - To be honest, we didn't feel the need for a harbour cruise, since we'd spent so much time on the same company's ferry, but suffice it to say that they depart from the same Long Wharf quayside, next to the aquarium.

      Salem - Well worth a visit, is the town of Salem, some 16 miles or a half-hour train ride away from North Station. Salem is famous for its case of mass hysteria in 1692, when several people were put to death for witchcraft. There's a lot on offer in the way of museums commemorating this phenomenon, some of them pretty tacky in a 'Halowe'en Ghosties and Ghoulies' sort of way (have your photo taken in a pillory), but a stroll around looking at some of the surviving New England architecture is nice. Unfortunately, the major 'serious' museum on the subject, The Peabody Essex Museum was closed for Patriot's Day! At least it meant the place was quiet.

      Science Museum - This museum is excellent, with plenty of interactive stuff to keep school kids amused for at least 1.5 seconds per display, just like in London as it happens! I particularly liked the display of various mechanical linkages, showing how certain gears and other rotary motions work, a dozen at a time. It even made elements of mathematics interesting with an excellent active display of random distribution, with plenty of ball bearings falling down through a triangular grid, all bouncing like on a pin-table as they fell into hoppers below.

      MIT Museum - I must admit, I didn't know what to expect from this museum. As it turns out, it's somewhat heavy on 'artificial intelligence', but cases with retired computers in them don't make for that fascinating a visit. The items of motorised artwork do, though. Entry before lunch on Sundays was free, although the Go Boston card also applied anyway.

      Duck Tours - As with London you can take a 'duck' tour of Boston in a large amphibious vehicle which will either be a restored WW2 veteran, or a newly-built look-alike. Departing from a central area, you tour the city in much the same way as you would on any other 'round-the-city' tour bus. The major differences being that this tour bus takes to the waters of the Charles River for some considerable part of the journey. Secondly, the drivers are hand-picked for their...well, weirdness it would seem, which all made the journey go with a swing. They even let my wife 'drive'. OK, it was only on the water but fun nonetheless. When we went, we had to cut short our water trip as there was work being done to a bridge, but that should be over by the time you read this.

      Harvard University - a stroll around the lawns and yards of this famous house of learning made a pleasant way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon even if a roadie was tuning mikes for a rock concert. Either that or he wasn't a math(s) student - "one two, one two, errr..." Harvard is within easy reach of the centre of Boston being on the same subway line as the rest of the Cambridge area, and of course there's always the Co-Op selling official Harvard sweat shirts, rowing caps etc.

      This list is by no means exhaustive, and to paraphrase Tom Lehrer,

      "We saw a lot of Boston and the many sights of Harvard,

      There may be many others but they haven't been disc-harvard"


      WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE

      Ask anyone who's lived in Boston for a few years, and they'll happily tell you all about 'The Big Dig', which caused huge amounts of upheaval over a few years leading up to 2003, when it was all declared finished. So what is The Big Dig? Well, in a project as grandiose as the building of the first underground railway across the north side of central London, they buried an entire freeway, Interstate 93, for about 3 to 4 miles of the city centre. There was to be no corner cutting here (pardon the pun) but two tunnels of 4 lanes are now underground with pleasant boulevard-style landscaping above. The only evidence of its presence is the periodic up-and-down ramp appearing at intersections - not the sort of place for a tourist in a hire car to venture, especially since sat-nav won't work down there!

      Local funding ran out as it inevitably ran over budget, so effectively, everyone in the USA ended up paying for it!

      WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT

      Atlantic Fish - this is a well-frequented restaurant on Boylston Street, not surprisingly given over to the eating of anything finny, with crustacea thrown in too. It was here that I had quite the nicest clam chowder I had in my visit. Décor is reminiscent of the lounge on the Titanic, and it gets extremely busy. Book or wait a long time - your choice. By the way, 'chowder' comes from the French word 'chaudière' which is a boiler, so that makes the dish 'clam hot pot' presumably.

      Le Sel de la Terre - We ate at both the Boylston Street and Long Wharf branches of this bistro, and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of what was served. I also drank my first glass of my favourite East Coast beer, Harpoon Oyster Stout here.

      Hamersley's - reputed to be the best in town, although with so many excellent eateries, it would be difficult to prove it, this place is run by a very hands-on chef who is also something of a local TV personality. I had the best calves liver I've ever had there, it being so tender that you'd only have to shout at it to turn it to paté. The evening was crowned by a lengthy chat with the owner, Gordon Hamersley himself

      Navy Yard Bistro - A good fall back, since it was walking distance from the Green Turtle and therefore ideal for the first night, and when it was raining too much to go too much farther. I think we went here three times in eight days, and it was very good, although the menu was a little limited, especially after finding it didn't change much.

      Island Creek Oyster Bar - From a limited menu to an over-the-top one. Is it me or is a choice of 15 types of oyster a tad too many? Over-faced, I gave in and had chowder! I think this epitomises why it takes me several days to get into 'being in America'. You'd think with having a common language it would be easy, but I feel more at ease in a Spanish eatery reading from a less comprehensive menu.

      On a general note, I do now realise though that asking for a fried egg, toast and coffee in the morning is just asking for being there ten minutes later with no food yet ordered. You need a patter to get the ball rolling. "Easy over, wheat and a tall black coffee" works for me.

      I have to say though, that unless it was in a specialist coffee shop, ALL the coffee we were served was utter bilge-water - even asking for an espresso was no guarantee that much in the way of coffee ingredients had actually been used!.

      HOW TO GET AROUND

      Subway - Boston's subway, the oldest in the USA (yes, it even predates New York) is a mixture of the old and the new. The original (now The Green Line) is effectively a tramway, running down the centre of dual carriageways, on overhead viaducts and finally underground. Like London's District Line, coincidentally also green, it has several spurs all of which come together before entering the city centre. Thus four tracks feed into one, with trams following each other only say 50 yards apart with constant stops and starts in the tunnel, all painfully similar to the District Line too. It's not unusual to be boarding one tram to see the next poking its nose into the station from the tunnel like a moray eel defending its cave. The trams are not at all wheel-chair-friendly, all involving a hike up from street or platform level of up to 3 steps. The other subway lines are a different kettle of clam chowder. These have full height platforms nicely levelled with the trains and escalators and lifts to platform level.

      Look out for a defunct siding at Boylston (Green Line) station - it's been turned into a tramway museum.

      Ferries are included on your Boston Link Pass, ($15 per 7 days). The ferry to the Charlestown naval yard from Long Wharf in the downtown waterfront area next to the Aquarium runs every 30 minutes and takes about 10 minutes on 'the good ship Rita', putting you very close to the USS Constitution.

      Bus - Boston is particularly well-served by buses, also included within the price of the Link Pass. Curiously, the Silver Line is not a subway line, despite the map. It's a set of bus routes. For the cheapest travel in town, except of course for 'Shanks' Pony', there's the free shuttle that runs from the Charlestown Dockyard area to the Massachusetts General Hospital, via useful stops like North Station. This is run by the hospital for the benefit of staff and patients (present and future!) alike. Many buses have a drop-down rack at the front to carry a couple of push bikes.

      Taxis can be pre-booked or hailed in the street. They also congregate in ranks at locations like South Station or hover outside key hotels. Don't expect many of the drivers to know Boston any better than you do! Some of the taxis, despite their American origins, feel very cramped and claustrophobic thanks to a security wall between you and the driver. It doesn't help that this is now even thicker thanks to live advertising screens. You do feel rather like you're being taken to jail by a county sheriff, and it's only the lack of a pump-action shotgun clipped to the other side of the fence that dispels this image. They are not all like this - it rather depends on the company that owns them. In my experience, the ones you phone for tend to be unencumbered by this barrier and the ones at ranks have them. As a little touch of home, they are all 'registered Hackney Carriages' with photo-ID for the drivers.

      SPORT

      Bostonians are fiercely supportive of their various sports teams, and T-shirts bearing the words "I'm not prejudiced, I don't care who beats New York" were popular.

      The Red Sox are their famous baseball team, and seemingly the sponsors of 'official beers', 'official trolley tours', and 'official hot brown coffee-look-alike liquid' I shouldn't be surprised, and they play at the famous Fenway Park when at home.

      The Bruins are the (ice) hockey team although in the USA, you don't have to mention 'ice'. Their home rink is above North Station.

      The Celtics are the basketball team and The Patriots are the football team.

      Expect the large TV screens in any bar or pub to be showing a local side by preference.

      SUMMING UP

      Would I go back? Yes definitely. I wouldn't even mind arriving by train from Newark or New York again, although this was more to do with securing flights at a good price than any aspirations to undertake some overland a.k.a. 'proper' travel.

      Boston is a 'city of the world', and it's very easy for a city dweller from anywhere in the largely English-speaking world to feel at home there in a very short space of time. The people are friendly without being brash or pushy (yes, even rail ticket office staff on a busy day!)

      There's plenty to see and do there (and eat) and good transportation. Anyone with a sense of history or eager to learn will find it fascinating, as it seems we only know the history of what 'we did' at school. For me it was Romans and Tudors, oh yes and the Second World War.

      Strange how the loss of our potentially most valuable colony never figured in the curriculum.

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      • More +
        22.09.2009 21:44
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        Check back soon for the next part: Just a day in Jackson.

        *** I've finally solved the mystery of why the links I've posted are not working. For some reason dooyoo decides to add a space in between year_book and 08 which completely messes up the link. If you are interested in seeing the photos you just need to remove the space that dooyoo have added***

        There's one point I always fear when about to go on holiday and that's my dad at airports. He's usually quite a strong minded person and an aggressive driver but mention that we're en-route to Heathrow airport and he will go weak in the knees and be so awkward and paranoid and be such a difficult man to be around. I feel sorry for the check-in lady who had to put up with shaky disposition and attempt at jokes.
        Once through check-in it was the simple case of putting up with 8 hours travelling via virgin, with whom I will never travel with again personally but I guess that story is for a different review.

        We touched down about 4pm at Logan International Airport in Boston on a saturday. After a disappointing realisation that Virgin had changed car hire company to a "lesser" one (obviously cheaper) and we had been given a car way past retirement, but funkily named "Avenger", we headed off to our hotel. The journey itself was quite eventful with the sat-nav we bought from home, dubbed Jane, attempting to send us the wrong way down several one way streets.

        We were stopping at the Inter Continental in the Marina district, (we being myself, my sister, Dad and Mum) a rather attractive hotel but also a very dear one. The entrance hall itself was very grand and followed the Marina theme with wooden boats positioned neatly throughout, due to a mistake by an elderly couple who arrived a day early, we were given the option to trade our two rooms for the Penthouse suite as no rooms were available for the couple. Even though this meant 2 of us would be downgraded to the sofa this was just an opportunity we could not pass up and one I will not regret.
        The suite itself had a hall, a small toilet room, a kitchen, a lounge and dining room with floor to ceiling windows, a spectacular master bedroom and a main bathroom with a shower bigger than my entire bathroom at home.

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        The next day saw an early start, after all we didn't really have long wherever we were staying this holiday so if there was something we wanted to do, it had to be done then. The first, and may I say most important, task was locating something to eat. With breakfast reaching about $25 per person at the hotel we needed something cheap.

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        After exploring the streets of the towering city, we came across a Dunkin Donuts advertising a very nice and cheap breakfast. In fact, during the hour following, we probably came across about 5 Dunkin Donuts.
        The first Boston activity was following the famous freedom trail which consisted of a red line painted through the city streets locating all the historical sites around Boston.

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        For a country with far fewer years behind it than England they certainly like to show off their history, the walk was in fact very educational and fun and we got to see a lot more of the city by following it and as my Mom likes to say, "it's nice to actually know something about where you're visiting".

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        After several Ice Creams to cool us down and several Starbucks coffees to heat us back up and allow us to complain we were too hot so we could have more ice cream, we arrived at the Bunker Hill Monument, it took us about 3 and a half hours from the start of the trail in the Park to reach this tower which commemorates the battle in 1775. You are allowed to climb the tower but be warned it's a long way to go in a very stuffy, narrow winding staircase.

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        After walking back across the bridge to the main part of Boston we headed to the docks. After some looking around and eating/drinking some frozen lemonade we took a look at the WWII French Destroyer that was docked and set up for tourists to look around in. It was quite a shock to see the cramped conditions that soldiers had to live in and makes you glad that engineering has moved us past that era.

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        After getting lost and eventually finding the marina we got a chance to look around some shops and watch crazy old couples dance to the Peruvian/Western mix music that was being played. It was an amazing atmosphere to be in with Little Italy just a few blocks away and street carnivals moving through the area.
        Dinner was spent at the main town market area. There were several street stalls and plenty of shops and restaurants to eat at but the main attraction had to be Quincy Market, the food court. This place had literally every type of food you could ever imagine all done fast food style, perfect for the indecisive family who all like to try different things, much like mine. It was a difficult choice deciding what to eat with BBQ food, pizzas, sushi, hotdogs, curry, Malaysian, Chinese the list goes on. I ended up having a half pound burger, very nice, along with my fourth bottle of Mountain Dew for the day, it still upsets me that you can't buy Mnt Dew in the UK.

        This would have been a perfect way to end our first and only day in Boston, but the only real way to end it was with a Whale watching trip with a sunset finale.

        The boat ride wasn't too expensive and the boat itself was comfortable and roomy with seats indoors and outdoors. It was a fear at first we might not be able to see many whales as they were so quick and so few, but after over an hour out at sea we were surrounded by them and they made for some truly stunning photos.

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        Boston is definitely somewhere I would visit again without hesitation as the city still has so much more to offer. We only managed to experience the historical side of the city and the Marina district's night life but I'm sure one day I'll be able to see it all.

        5 Stars.

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          26.07.2009 10:26
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          Fantastic city!

          Boston is one of my favourite cities for many reasons. I first went there last summer and can't wait to go back.

          I love Boston because there is so much to do, when I was there I went to Quincy market which i right in the centre of town and has such a mix of different shops and stalls. Its also brimming with street entertainers, all of whom were actually very talented and great to watch. (Although it was the summer holidays, this might not be the case all year round). I also spent a lot of time at the harbour side, which is so beautiful and some of the yachts there were about 6 times the size of my house, they were incredible and apparently one was owned by the owner of the Boston red sox. We took boats out to some of the small islands scattered around to explore them, very cheaply, I think it was about $7.

          Boston is also only a short boat ride away from Salem where the famous witch trials were held this is a really quaint little village which makes most of its living from the tourists that flock there. You can watch a staged witch trial, visit the memorials to the 'witches' and explore all the little shops and cafes through the village. Really interesting and goo un for a day out.

          Harvard was a bit of a let down, it was pretty but i think the Americans get excited cause the buildings are quite old...and we get a lot of that over here anyway!

          Also worth a visit are the 'Cheers' cafes, one was based on the tv sit com, and the one was where it was filmed. They have loads of memorabilia and great drink and food.

          If you get good weather, Boston common is great. A smaller equivalent to central park I guess, with big lakes, lemonade stands, artists etc.

          I would absolutely recommend anyone who gets the chance to go here.

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          03.01.2002 04:44
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          Boston is a city like no other - the only city I have been that combines the pleasantness of a European City with the delight of a US City. I spent three months there last summer and plan to go back as soon as I can. There is so much to do, so many places to see it would take a lifetime. In my opinion on Boston, I am only going to give some essential information about it and some of my favourite things about it, but it is still quite long. If you plan to go to Boston, try and spend as much time as possible!! Believe me its worth it!! ~ ~ ~ Arrival & Transportation ~ ~ ~ Most people will in arrive in Boston through Logan International Airport. There are a number of ways out of the airport to the city, but the cheapest is by using the MBTA transport system. The MBTA or "The T" as it is commonly known, is Boston's (mainly) underground transport system. It is THE only way to travel around the city. It costs $1 for each ride on the T, but I would advise buying a visitors pass. Last summer, the price was $11 for three days and $20 for 7 days (as far as I can remember). These are quite good value - visitors will use the T an awful lot and T stations are located all around the city and in most of the suburbs too. The passes can be bought from a number of the larger T stations (Park Street, North Station and Hynes Convention Centre are three that I remember sold them). If you don't use a pass, make sure you have coins, as they don't always accept dollar bills. A point to note: T drivers / T Station workers are probably the least friendly people you will meet in Boston so if you have any queries, the locals are probably the best people to approach. For more information on the T visit http://www.mbta.com where you can also download a free map of the T. ~ ~ ~ Accommodation ~ ~ ~ This would be an area that I have the least amount of information as I rented an apartment for the time I spent there. If you a
          re on a limited budget, there are a number of short-stay hostels in the city. The "Hostelling International" hostel is one that I stayed in for my first night. It was quite hot (no air-conditioning) and about six people were in the room. It cost $25 for the night, but that included a free breakfast (in the Dunkin Donuts around the corner). This hostel is quite centrally located and there is a T stop about 2 minutes walk from it. It is located in Back Bay, which is an upmarket area of Boston and is very safe day or night. Most of the local residents are students from the nearby Northeastern University and Berkley College of Music. If you are looking for somewhere more private or luxuries, there are a number of hotels in the city and http://www.boston.com is always a good place to look for information on anything related to the city. ~ ~ ~ Shopping ~ ~ ~ Boston is a good place for shopping, especially since there is no sales tax on clothes or food (that hasn't been prepared by someone in-store). Sales tax on all other products is 5%. Shopping for most things apart from clothes is quite expensive so don't bother!! A good place to start shopping is Downtown Crossing. To get there, take the Green T line to Park Street or the Orange or Red Line to Downtown Crossing (The red line also goes to Park Street). If you are coming from the Airport, change for the Green Line at Government Centre. At Downtown Crossing, you will find department stores such as Macy's and Filene's. If you are looking for clothing bargains, try Filene's Basement (massive savings if you are willing to give time to search) and Marshall's. If you are looking for something to eat while shopping here, there is a food court (you will see the big signs), which has a range of places to eat from Dunkin Donuts to Japanese to Pizzas, etc. For music bargains go to Strawberry Records. If you go up to the 5th floor there is a huge selection of Second
          -hand CDs (in really good condition) at amazing prices. If you are looking for expensive designer clothes, the place to go is Newbury Street (Take the Green Line to Copley). And if you want to see a great American mall, try Cambridgeside Galleria (take the Green Line to Lechmere), which is a great way to spend an afternoon. ~ ~ ~ Site-Seeing ~ ~ ~ If you are tired of shopping and want to see a bit of the city, the first stop should be Copley Square (Green Line to Copley). Once you come out of the T-Station, you will see the John Hancock tower - the tallest skyscraper in Massachusetts. Looking at it alone from the ground is good enough, but go to the Observation Deck and will be able to see all the City (and beyond on a clear day). Just outside Copley Square is the Prudential, another tall skyscraper with an extraordinary view. My advice is to go up to the top of the Prudential at daytime and the Hancock at night. (I did both at day and night!!) The Hancock observatory has other interesting things to look at and do, so if you only go to one, the Hancock is a better option! No visit to Boston is complete without a visit to Harvard. Well technically it is in Cambridge, not Boston, but lets not get technical! To get to Harvard take the Red Line to Harvard. There are free tours all day long around Harvard by Harvard students, so that's definitely worthwhile. If you would recommend you go in the evening time to Harvard Square. There is a bagel place called Au Bon Pain (they are all over the place) that stays open until midnight (great Peach Iced Tea, by the way!) with outdoor seats. There is always musicians of some sort (I've seen folk singers, a Beatles tribute band and native African drummers) busking and always attract a large crowd. The atmosphere at night is great and there are also some nice gift shops around. A great place for a meal just outside Harvard Square is the Border Café. They serve mainly Mexica
          n / Texan / Louisiana Style food. It is really delicious and very reasonable and you get free nachos and dip and free refills on soft drinks. It is quite busy but if the place is full, they give u a pager and page you when seats are available (how American). The food comes really quickly and the service is great. If you like museums OR if you like to have a laugh, I would definitely recommend a visit to the Museum of Science (Green Line to Sciencepark). Be warned: you will need a long day there. There are amazing hands-on exhibits and great shows running every few minutes (one in particular recreates a lightning storm). I would recommend it to anytime of person and age. If you can't make a full day, a visit to the museums IMAX Theatre, Planetarium or Laser Show is advisable. For a good night out, go Bean Town Madness comedy night. It takes place in the basement of a pub called Remington's (take the Green line to Boylston). Afterwards try a cocktail upstairs in Remington's (not the Bloody Mary!!). Most visitors to Boston go straight to Cheers (take the Green Line to Park Street). I'm telling you now not to bother going inside!! Take your pictures outside and leave!! It's just an ordinary pub inside with an overpriced gift store!! When I was leaving Boston, a recreation of the inside of the Cheers bar was just opening at Quincy Market (Take the Green Line to Government Centre). But I expect that that would be really hard to get into and definitely overpriced! If you have time to spare, a visit to Boston Common (Green Line to Park Street or Boylston) would be a nice idea. Boston Common is like the Central Park of Boston only it is nicer and cleaner than Central Park. For an authentic Bostonian experience, a visit to a Boston Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park would be perfect. Unfortunately, tickets are really hard to come by (Fenway Park is quite small and the Red Sox are huge!!). If
          your time in Boston is very limited, a Duck Tour is a great way to see the city quickly. Be warned - they will make you quack!! Ok there is a great deal more to say about Boston but I have already said so much! Just another point: if you are lost just as a local as they are really friendly - most of them. In my experience, if you look lost, a local will approach you anyway!! OK, I should really wrap up now. If you want any more information of Boston, don't hesitate to ask me. Just promise me that you will visit there one day!!

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            22.08.2001 18:48
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            While visiting NYC I decided to take a day trip to Boston. It costs about $60 for a few hours coach journey and is it well worth it. Boston is totally laid back city compared to NYC, the people are generally more friendlier and helpfull. Clothes are a big bonus as they have 0% sales tax compared to 8% in NYC. There is one street I think Newbury street where you have all the clothes shops from Emporio Armani, Guess to Donna Karen plus some urban street wear(try some pimpgear t-shirts). Staff are all very welcoming and first to lend a hand unlike the attitude in NYC. Even the security guard saved my wallet from being stolen as I left it on the side by a pay phone. The city streets and buildings are cleaner,more historical and better maintained compared to the hustling bustling metropolis of NYC and walking around is more enjoyable in the less crowded streets. If it wasnt for the fact that this city was in the US I would think I was in Europe.

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              16.06.2001 04:34
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              Last summer, well in terms of years because we all know about Britain's weather, was really special as i took a trip to the states and visited New England taking the lovely city of Boston. I stayed in a hotel on the very edge of the centre, very close to the two biggest buildings in MAS. The Prudential Tower and The John Hancock Building. A trip to the top during the day and at night is most reccommended as you get to thw hole of Boston if the whether is fine. The centre of Boston is brilliant, with shopping areas, bars, restaurants and cafes as well as quincy market, a food court lasting the length of the old building with multi-cultural food on offer. Also the transport into the centre as from where i was staying you could walk, or take an all-day troley bus which could be picked at the many stops, as well as this the MTA provides a historic and relatively cheap option to get around Boston see the surrounding suburbs including Cambridge and CharlesTown. With the airport only a short trip out of Boston on the MTA, arrivals can be easily transported through to the centre of Boston and it is also ideal with a shuttle bus ferrying people back and forth from the terminal to the MTA station at no cost. Places to visit in Boston include Cambridge and Harvard in one trip, the Cheers bar, the Boston tea party, and the previously mentioned buildings. Also there are several tourist friendly trail routes which make sure you see all of the city. There is too much to do in 2 or 3 days and so a week is necessary and i don't know if you would get it done in that. Finally i reccommend not hiring a car for your stay in Boston, but if you are planning on going north i propose you catch the MTA out to Logan Airport and get shuttled to the necessary car hire firm. from here you can pick up your car hassle free and get detailed instructions of where to go. if you are to proceed south i havn't tried it so i wouldn't know, best thing to do is ask at the hotel you
              are staying at.

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              03.11.2000 00:38
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              Boston is a truly wonderful place. It's a city but it doesn't feel like your typical American city such as New York. It's almost like a big town. Most of the people are friendly, their isn't much pollution about. It's not your biggest city which is a plus point and I didn't have too much finding my way around. Another plus point about this place is that it isn't too overcrowded so walking about and window shopping ins't too difficult. Becuase this is America EVERYTHING is cheap. Especially in this city. you can get clothes, electronics, etc, etc for almost HALF the price! These prices were outrages and they aren't blackmarket products. They're all from highstreet store names such as GAP, Sony, etc. It's absolutely amazing. If you ever go there make sure you go up the John Hancock tower and admire the view from the windows. Athough you can't go right upto the windows because of safety restrictions put in place you can see as far as the Logan Itl. Airport which has it's own runway that was extended so that it could allow more types of aeroplanes to land. Boston is not only the state capital it is also a cultural centre with many events happening year round. Boston has numerous theatres and musical performances that cater for all tastes. The Boston Symphony Orchestra performs at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue. The Boston Ballet presents contemporary and classical works at 19 Clarendon Street. As far as music goes in Cape Cod there is the Cape Cod Symphony and internationally renowned chamber music quartets to choose from. Folk greats such as Gordon Bok show up periodically at the Woods Hole Community Building, Liberty Hall in Marstons Mills and the First Encounter Coffee House in Eastham. Recording artists delight audiences every summer at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis and at numerous nightlife hot spots around the Cape. Tanglewood one of the US's pr
              emier outdoor music sites includes beautifully landscaped grounds and an open-air pavilion. It is located in Lenox and is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Other attractions in the complex are a grand new concert hall, music pavilions and studios. The Berkshire Opera offers performances in English at the Berkshire Center for the Performing Arts also in Lenox. Lowell celebrates author and voice of the beat generation Jack Kerouac with the annual 'Lowell celebrates Kerouac' festival. The festival includes poetry, exhibits, musical performances and tours. Kerouac is best known for his novel On the Road. Massachusetts' second­largest city Worcester has its annual music festival from September to March and it features musicians, ensembles and musical theatre productions. Mechanics Hall in Worcester was built in 1857 and still has performances today. Here are a few things that you might wanna check out if you ever go there... Arrowhead, 780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield Arrowhead is the historic home of Herman Melville who wrote his famous novel Moby Dick here. Aptucxet Trading Post Museum in South Side Bourne Bridge Bourne Aptucxet Trading Post Museum is a replica of a trading post museum built at this site in 1627. It includes 17th­century furnishings and Pilgrim, Dutch and Indian relics. A saltworks, an old windmill and US President, Grover Cleveland's private railway station are on the grounds. Black Heritage Trail, 46 Joy Street, Boston The Black Heritage Trail covers the history of Boston's 19th-century African-American community. A highlight of the trail is the African Meeting House at 8 Smith Court. Dedicated in 1806 African Meeting House is the oldest standing black church in America. It is used as a centre for African activities and cultural heritage. It also offers changing exhibits and a guided tour. Boston Public Library, 666 Boylston S
              treet, Boston Boston Public Library houses rare books and manuscripts and has changing artistic exhibits by visiting and local artists. Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, Congress Street Bridge on Harbor Walk Boston The protest led by Samuel Adams against the British is recreated aboard a replica of a tea­party ship. Children's Museum of Boston, Museum Wharf 300 Congress Street, Boston Designed for fun and education this museum has many interactive exhibits that promote cultural understanding between children of different countries. Emily Dickinson House, 280 Main Street Amherst Emily Dickinson House offers 45­minute tours of the house that the famous American poet lived in. Freedom Trail Boston The Freedom Trail is a well­marked, 3­mile (4.8km) walking tour of Boston that links 16 sites of historical interest. Each site on the trail is accompanied by historical information. Boston presents a mix of old-money Yankee conservatism and a flair for the hip. The city's youthful population, attracted by some 60 universities and colleges, and heady multicultural mix demand modern and diverse playthings, and Boston's financial and commerce centers, in part responsible for the tourism industry, have fostered growth of some of the best restaurants, hotels, nightlife, and attractions in New England.

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              27.08.2000 06:33

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              Peace, tranquility and beauty. These words sum up the area around Boston, MA. Although I spent little time in the city itself, I found the surrounding area and nearby states to be absolutly gorgeous. Completly picturesque - there is no way you can truely say that this part of the United States isn't wonderful. I highly recommend visiting the area in late summer/autumn time. The leaves are turning and you get a definate feel for the place. You'll find so many different colours and if you look hard enough before hand and contact local tourist boards before your trip, they can recommend the best accomodation. If you visit, be sure to visit such attractions as Mount Washington and take a trip on the railway. This is definatly a holiday that you won't forget.

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              11.08.2000 21:57
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              I spent a few days in Boston eight or nine years ago, and found it to be an okay kind of a place. The harbour and central shopping area were very clean and nicely laid out. There were the usual choice of shops found in America and an array of good food (Great for fish lovers , Surf n Turf and Clam Chowder were the main fare) . The Technology Museum was quite interesting, and they have some old sailing ships you can have a look around, they seem to make a big deal of the Tea Party chapter of their history. These are part of the (Fairly futile in my opinion) Bostonian attempts to persuade you that Boston is steeped in a rich heritage of historical greatness. Yes, it’s old in N American eyes, but the one or two skirmishes chronicled, and a couple of buildings more than 150 years old make poor history by European standards, and anywhere else this would be quite embarrassing. The Cheers bar would possibly be more interesting to your many Brits anyway. I found the Bostonians to be nice people, but like other New Englanders I felt they had a condescending attitude towards Americans from elsewhere. They were particularly critical of Californians who, I was told several times, were all weird and should be avoided . The Californians I’ve met were very likeable . New England in general is really beautiful and actually has a very historic feel to it, so I wouldn’t spend too much time hanging around Boston.

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              28.07.2000 05:53
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              I visited Boston in the early autumn and found it quite different to other American cities I have been to. The city is quite compact and it is easy to get around. We stayed in the city centre and felt quite safe both during the day and in the evening. I can recommend taking one of the trolley bus tours which gives you all the background on the city's history. You can hop on and off and the ticket is valid all day so you can get off and explore further if there is somewhere that interests you, and rejoin another trolley (a bit like an old fashioned tram)later. Alternatively you can follow the red line - literally a red line painted on the pavement, which links all of the historical sites in Boston. Must see sights include the view from the observation deck at the Hancock Tower,the harbourfront including regular shows depicting the Boston Tea Party and the city's central parks. If you watched the TV show 'Cheers' you will want to visit the bar where 'everybody knows your name'. This is great from the outside and even has a 'Cheers' flag flying but unfortunately it is totally different inside - a disappointment to myself and many others I'm sure. Boston is a very friendly city and a great gateway to the rest of New England

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                27.06.2000 04:04
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                We visited Boston for the Millenium celabrations last year and found it to be a wonderful, wonderful place. In Boston they really go to town with their New Year celebrations. Although last year was a special new year there was every indication in the local press and TV that last year was to become a benchmark for future new years. The celebrations started at 7.00pm local time (midnight GMT) with a huge firework display in the main park. Further Masive firework displays were also done at midnight local time, and 7.00pm for the next two nights. The three days had so many things going on it is difficult to remember them all, but they included a street procession, live bands of all kinds, street theatre and much much more. The shopping in boston is excellent, many many shops and malls give such a wide variety. Personally i hate shopping, especially with my wife, but even i enjoyed it. A must to visit is Felines Basement, with some absolute bargins available if you hunt hard enough, many of which are designer lables. It can get very cold during this time of the year, which gives Boston the chance to have Ice Sculptures all over the City. There were approx 10 last year, all of which were magnificent, and are all illuminated at night, have your camera ready. A must for any visitor at this time of the year is the New Year Button, this is sold all over Boston for approx £15 if i remember correctly. Basically this gives you unlimited free access to many of Bostons main atractions over the 3 day period, aswell as disounts in many shops. It is well worth it, we had free access to the Boston Zoo and Aqurium amonst others, and it more than paid for itself. It also offers free travel on some buses and underground during certain times. I cant think of a nicer place to spend the New Year, and very much hope to go back at the same time in the next few years. Make sure you have some ID with yo
                u if you plan to drink as they are strict about the over 21 rule.

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                  25.06.2000 21:26
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                  If I said Boston to you, what would come into your mind? Ally McBeal, Tea Parties, lobsters, Cheers, Autumn? Well all of these things are true (except Ally McBeal, I think that it filmed in LA). Boston brings you the more traditional and rustic side of America. It is one on the first colonies and as a result it has many historical buildings. We spend five nights in December there in the four start Raddison Hotel in the theatre district. The accommodation was fine and in the heart of the city. It was walking distance to the theatres, Chinatown, Boston Common and Copley Square, an up market shopping centre. Boston is around 150 miles from New York, so if you have time you could pop there or vice versa. There are tours which you can take and further information would be found in the tourist information centre, or ask your hotel. Site seeing can be done on the Boston ‘trolley’, they look like cable cars on wheels. They are quite expensive, something like $20 per a person, it is basically like a bus route with stops at all of the main tourist attractions on the way. You can hop on and hop off all day. The tours are guided and you can have running commentary. The historic routes of Boston are its most prominent feature, the ‘Freedom trail’ is a red line around the city showing the route to freedom. The ship which was home to the Boston Tea Party was closed during our visit, during the winter months it is left in dock. If you do like ships, well we visited ‘old ironsides’ a historic ship and guided tour which was free. Shopping is on the agenda of most British who go to Boston, not only is the USA normally cheaper, but Boston also has its own collection of Outlet malls and cheap shops. The state of Massachusetts has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the country and therefore things are cheaper here compared to the rest of the USA. There was a coach provided to the outlet m
                  all which was about 1 hour away. I think it normally costs $5 but if you travel on certain days it is free. The famed discount basement store which reduces its prices the longer it has been on sale is a must just to experience it, I didn’t find many things worth buying but is definitely worth a visit. There are some places you must not miss, these include, Quincy Market, a beautiful market with small shops, ideal for a souvenir or two. Just walking distance from here is an Irish pub, you have to go in. We have one of the most delicious lobsters ever here, for just $7. A bargain! Boston is also home to Harvard University, the quickest was to get there is to use the metro train system, fast and efficient we got there within 15 minutes. Boston common is the main park area in the centre of the city, we were lucky enough to catch the turning on of the Christmas lights. The Frog Pond is an ice skating rink and a must if can skate, and maybe if you can’t! Boston is great in the summer and wonderful in the winter. Check out the temperatures and decide when you think it is best to go. Summer allows you to see the Boston Tea Party ship and even take a whale watching trip. Winter allows Christmas shopping and festive fun. Boston can be taken as part of a New England tour which is best seen in the autumn. I’d highly recommend Boston. Out five night trip cost £400 per person including flights in December. Let me know how you enjoy your trip! :-)

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                  Boston is the capital and most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Founded in 1630, it is the largest city in New England. It has expanded throughout and beyond the Shawmut peninsula, and has become one of the oldest and most culturally significant cities in the United States. It is recognized as a global or world city. Boston was the location of several major events during the American Revolution, and was a major shipping port and manufacturing center. Today, the city is a center of higher education and health care. Its economy is also based on research, finance, and technology—principally biotechnology. Boston, with a city proper estimated population of 596,638 in 2005, lies at the center of America's eleventh largest metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, which is home to 4.4 million. Residents of the city are called Bostonians.