Boston trip - suggestions?

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jebmke
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Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by jebmke »

My wife and I are headed to Boston for a few days in early September. Vacation trip, not business. We lived there for 15 years but left in the mid 90s. I am interested in suggestions on any new things to check out. We have done most of the usual tourist stuff in the area. Will have a car but not interested in real long day trips (e.g. no longer than say an hour out driving distance). Any suggestions welcome.

Thanks,

jeb
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BostonBoy
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by BostonBoy »

Check out the Arnold Arboretum and the Jamaica Pond over in Jamaica Plain.
orlandoguy
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by orlandoguy »

A couple of things since you were here:

1) (Re)development of the Waterfront in South Boston, including numerous restaurants and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA).

2. If you are a shopper, Newbury Street continues to add local boutiques as well as national chains.

3. The New Hampshire and Maine coasts make for more of a New England getaway but even the closest destinations push up against your hour drive time limit.

Enjoy!!
nepats
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by nepats »

If you haven't done the Fenway tour, and like Baseball/history, it's awesome!
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FNK
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by FNK »

Wingersheek Beach.
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jebmke
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by jebmke »

orlandoguy wrote:A couple of things since you were here:

1) (Re)development of the Waterfront in South Boston, including numerous restaurants and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA).

2. If you are a shopper, Newbury Street continues to add local boutiques as well as national chains.

3. The New Hampshire and Maine coasts make for more of a New England getaway but even the closest destinations push up against your hour drive time limit.

Enjoy!!
Thanks. Looking forward to seeing the redeveloped waterfront. When the artery was elevated, it was always an experience making the dash from one part of the city over to Lewis Wharf to go sailing. Agree, NH and Maine are really separate trips - can't really do them justice in a day trip.
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The Wizard
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by The Wizard »

Doesn't seem like there's been THAT much new here since the mid-90's. (I've been here since 1968...)
Yes the Big Dig and the surrounding landscaping but how interesting will that be?
New restaurants since then, depending on how much a foodie you are.
You probably want to do a Duck Boat tour if you haven't before; they probably started somewhere in the 90's.
To me it seems mostly like it's the same old, same old...
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jebmke
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by jebmke »

The Wizard wrote:Doesn't seem like there's been THAT much new here since the mid-90's. (I've been here since 1968...)
Yes the Big Dig and the surrounding landscaping but how interesting will that be?
New restaurants since then, depending on how much a foodie you are.
You probably want to do a Duck Boat tour if you haven't before; they probably started somewhere in the 90's.
To me it seems mostly like it's the same old, same old...
Thanks. I didn't expect a lot has changed. Just thought I'd check so we didn't miss anything by not knowing. Plenty of old haunts to revisit.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
jodydavis
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by jodydavis »

If you like museums, the MFA has a new wing, as does the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. Also the ICA is new and would give you a chance to visit the newly developed waterfront in South Boston. And although there isn't that much specific to see, definitely check out the downtown area, as the absence of the old central artery has changed the look of the area dramatically. The South End probably is a bit more gentrified, with lots of nice restaurants.
etselec
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by etselec »

Walden Pond if you haven't made it there yet. It's a pleasant walk around the pond, good swimming if you like to swim, and a dash of history for good measure.
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by dpbsmith »

It's quirky, not everyone will think it's worthwhile, but it doesn't take very long and it's a personal favorite of mine: the Mapparium, in the Christian Science complex. It is absolutely unique, that's for sure. The guide will tell you to keep quiet during the presentation. When it's done and they get to the "anything else?" be sure to say "Would it be OK to try making some noises?" Standing in the center, the tiniest little hums or whispers you make come back to you as if they were reverberating through the universe. If you and a companion split up and stand roughly equal distances from each end of the bridge through the globe, you get a sensation whispering gallery effect.

The Rose Kennedy Greenway is new, and worth a stroll in good weather.

I always enjoy visiting the Boston Public Library for its overpowering, weird, Victorian secular-temple aspects. It is a pretty good trivia test to figure out how many of the supposedly names on the facade you can recognize. Then go inside and do the same thing with the names on the lobby ceiling. And it is crammed full, littered, with busts here, busts there, busts and statues everywhere. Full of great stumble-upons, and always a nice temporary exhibit or so. And the statue of the drunken lady in the courtyard fountain always makes me smile.

The other day in the BPL I stumbled upon a three-by-seven-foot plaster bas-relief memorializing Sacco and Vanzetti, made by Gutzon Borglum (better know as the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore). The card says that Borglum made a full-size bronze casting, but it was never publicly exhibited--nobody in Boston wanted anything to do with it--and it remained in storage at the Borglum estate for years and mysteriously vanished :?: :?: :!: :!: Don't visit the BPL just so see the bas relief, just find your own stumble-upons.
TA_Lurker
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by TA_Lurker »

The Wizard wrote:Doesn't seem like there's been THAT much new here since the mid-90's. (I've been here since 1968...)
Yes the Big Dig and the surrounding landscaping but how interesting will that be?
New restaurants since then, depending on how much a foodie you are.
You probably want to do a Duck Boat tour if you haven't before; they probably started somewhere in the 90's.
To me it seems mostly like it's the same old, same old...
I disagree about the degree of changes since the Clinton era. I grew up just outside of Boston and one of my best friend's moved to my town in the early 1990s from the South End because of gang voilence. The home his family sold in the South End is now worth almost a million dollars. The South End, the Fenway area, Washington Street from Downtown Crossing to Chinatown (the red light district is gone), and the South Boston Waterfront have seen huge transformations. All four of these areas have been revitalized / gentrified.

To the OP: Walk the Rose Kennedy Greenway from North Station to South Station and then walk over to the South Boston Waterfront and grab lunch. Afterward take one of those hop-on/hop-off all day tours. That way you can experience the new growth at your own pace.

*edited for clarity
Last edited by TA_Lurker on Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by TA_Lurker »

If you're interested in something free to do check out this walking tour of public art:

http://www.publicartboston.com/content/public-art-walk
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Aptenodytes
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by Aptenodytes »

I lived in Boston from 1981-1983 and 1985-1992, and visit a couple of times per year. I'll second the general impression that from a tourist perspective there isn't anything new that is a "must see" for a returning visitor. At least I can't think of anything. Walking around the area where the central artery used to be and driving over the new bridge into Charlestown is kind of a kick when you remember how horrible that all used to be. The person who recommended a tour of Fenway Park is onto something. I did that maybe three years ago and it was fun. I have been to Fenway regularly since 1981 and it was fun to see the renovations and get a behind-the-scenes look at things. If you are a baseball fan then the single most compelling answer to your question would be "buy tickets on the new seats on the Green Monster at Fenway."
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Timoneer
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by Timoneer »

jebmke wrote:Looking forward to seeing the redeveloped waterfront. When the artery was elevated, it was always an experience making the dash from one part of the city over to Lewis Wharf to go sailing.
If you still have an interest in sailing, the redeveloped waterfront has many opportunities for getting out on the water. Lunch hour cruises, 2 hour harbor tours, dinner cruises, half day whale watching cruises, daily schooner sails (Liberty Clipper and Roseway). The Boston Tea Party Museum has been rebuilt, and has two replica vessels tied up alongside. The Harbor Islands have been developed into a National Park, and ferries will take you there. The Provincetown ferry is now a high speed catamaran, so you can easily do a day trip to P Town.

From Long Wharf, the T has a ferry service over to Charlestown. The USS Constitution has undergone a major overhaul since you left, and is the centerpiece for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. If you were going next Sunday, you would see the ship under sail for just the second time in 100+ years.
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jebmke
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by jebmke »

Timoneer wrote:If you still have an interest in sailing, the redeveloped waterfront has many opportunities for getting out on the water.
Good idea. The best views of the city are actually from the water. We used to go out for late afternoon racing and drift in around twilight after the races were over.
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2retire
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by 2retire »

I also recommend the globe thingy at the Christian Science Monitor complex (in left building when facing the church from Mass. Ave.). When I went, you didn't have to wait for a tour, you could walk in the building and room anytime you wanted. Be sure to position yourself at one of the the walkway and someone else at the other end. Have one person speak in a whisper and the other person will hear it as though they are talking in a normal voice right beside them (quite freaky).

Edit:
Also, the science museum and the OMNI theater (especially the OMNI theater). It is by far the best IMAX theater I have ever been to. The screen wraps around you and the sound system encompasses you. I believe they also have custom films that are only shown in such a setting.
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by Stonebr »

jebmke wrote:
The Wizard wrote:Doesn't seem like there's been THAT much new here since the mid-90's. (I've been here since 1968...)
Yes the Big Dig and the surrounding landscaping but how interesting will that be?
New restaurants since then, depending on how much a foodie you are.
You probably want to do a Duck Boat tour if you haven't before; they probably started somewhere in the 90's.
To me it seems mostly like it's the same old, same old...
Thanks. I didn't expect a lot has changed. Just thought I'd check so we didn't miss anything by not knowing. Plenty of old haunts to revisit.
Au contraire.
1. The Harbor Islands have been turned into a National Park.
2. ICA has moved to its new digs and is much larger than it used to be.
3. MFA has a new American Art wing that is super.
"have more than thou showest, | speak less than thou knowest" -- The Fool in King Lear
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jebmke
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by jebmke »

Stonebr wrote:1. The Harbor Islands have been turned into a National Park.
I used to land a sailboat at the dock on Gallops and we would take a picnic and roam around the island - it was a pretty good view. Getting back off the island was sometimes a challenge without an engine. Which islands are accessible now?
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by 6miths »

Wait a couple weeks and try to do the Red Sox/Pats/Celtics/Bruins tetrafecta! (I'm sure the wife would cherish it forever!)
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Timoneer
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by Timoneer »

jebmke wrote:
Stonebr wrote:1. The Harbor Islands have been turned into a National Park.
I used to land a sailboat at the dock on Gallops and we would take a picnic and roam around the island - it was a pretty good view. Getting back off the island was sometimes a challenge without an engine. Which islands are accessible now?
Gallops Island still has a dock, but it is closed to the public due to asbestos from former buildings on the site. Lovells, just a biscuit toss away, has a good dock, and is served by a shuttle from Georges Island, which acts as the hub for the Islands.

Spectacle Island, closer to the city, is also very accessible.
wilked
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Re: Boston trip - suggestions?

Post by wilked »

How did it go?
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