Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

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ram
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Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by ram »

My wife and I (early 50's, good health) and our son (early 20's) will be in Boston area for 9 days for my daughter's graduation. We will land in Boston on Sat, May 19 at about noon and fly out Mon, May 28 (Memorial day).
We need to be in Boston on Tues and Wed for the graduation. Tentatively I am planning to go to Martha's Vineyard for the initial 2 or 3 days, then in Boston for 2-3 days and then in Ogunquit for about 3 days (Cancelled Bar Harbor). I have been to Boston on multiple occasions but only for conferences and have never done anything touristy. This will be the 1st visit for our son. We do not like to cram too many things in a vacation. A museum or 2, sitting on the beach, walking some trails will be good. I can rent a car for the whole duration or for the Bar Harbor trip or for both trips. In general I prefer Uber in large cities rather than renting a car, so I may not need it for the 2-3 days in Boston. My daughter shares a small apartment 3 blocks from Fenway park with a room mate and we can book a hotel nearby for the time in Boston. That should be cheaper than downtown hotels. I am hoping to keep hotel costs at about $300/nite for the 9 nights. Looking for suggestions about what to do, hotels, restaurants etc(we do not eat red meat, seafood is fine). Any suggestions about scenic routes vs highways. Suggestions for alternative locations are welcome. Thanks.

Added: I have cancelled Bar Harbor and added Ogunquit based on recommendations from fellow bogleheads.
Last edited by ram on Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Dottie57
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by Dottie57 »

Go to the zoo, art museum. Eat in the Italian section (north?). Harbor tour. Freedom walk/trail. Boston is great.

Maine is Beautiful. Won't Puffins be out? Lghthouses? Beaches? Love you k for a maritime museum

Have fun! I envy your trip.
Ninnie
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by Ninnie »

May/June in Maine is black fly season. Consider yourself warned. There were a few threads last year on the drive from Boston to Bar Harbor. A quick search should give you lots of useful advice.
DrGoogle2017
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

Last time, when we visited MIT, I stayed at the Embassy Suites in Waltham, nearby and drivable to Fenway. Very roomy for a family, pretty affordable. I didn't want to fight with everybody for hotel room in Boston.
artibug
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by artibug »

Take the T, Uber/Lyft around Boston. Its a pain and not to mention expensive to park in Boston. The metermaids are quick at issuing tickets and tows. And the street cleaning signs can be hard to see/find esp in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill area. Its not fun to try to get the car out of the city towing lot.

Don't bother with the zoo. The Franklin Park Zoo is really a disappointment. MFA, Isabella Stewart Garden Museums, some of the Harvard museums are more of interest for adults. I am sure your daughter can give you some suggestions as well. Go to Quincy Market (quick walk to North Ends for Italian food), Freedom trails, duck boat. If you want to venture out of city proper. Don't forget to visit Lexington/Concord to visit where the revolutionary war started. There is always the Harvard square, Newbury street, Boston Garden/Common, Charles street to walk around.

The water will be cold in Maine. But you will avoid the summer crowds in Bar Harbor. Last time we were there during Memorial Day, we weren't too bothered by the black flies. But who knows with all the recent crazy weather pattern. There are a lot of small scenic coastal cities/towns heading up north. They are all so different and fun to visit. Even the water down at the Cape will be cold during that time of the year. I would definitely get a car for this part of the trip. Similarly, there are many small towns to visit on the cape. I personally prefer Block island, Nantucket over MV. But if you do go to MV, don't forget to take a ride on the Flying Horses.

Enjoy your visit! :beer
Swansea
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by Swansea »

While it will still be cool, I've vacationed in Ogunquit several times and really enjoyed it. You can walk down Marginal Way by the ocean to Perkins Cove. Also, it's a short hop to Kennebunkport.

https://www.ogunquit.org
imyeti2
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by imyeti2 »

All great suggestions. I'd pick either Bar Harbor or Martha's Vineyard. Not both. It'll become tiring very soon. Ocean water in Maine is very cold even in July. Martha's vineyard can be done in a day if you rent a car on the island. Bar Harbor a definite couple of days.

If you're into science, the Science museum or MIT museum is great.

Lot of history - Plymouth rock down south, Tea Party in the harbor etc.

Find a hotel room outside Boston proper and preferably near a train station. Driving to city & parking during weekdays is pretty expensive.

Have fun !
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by fsrph »

I can't address the Boston portion of your trip but here's some thoughts for the other days. I'd very much recommend Bar Harbor. It's a quaint town with Acadia National Park in its backyard. It your looking for walking/hiking trails with beautiful scenery Acadia is the place. Can easily spend 3 or 4 days there and just begin to explore this place. Google a map of it and you'll see how large it is. So many things to see there, Cadillac Mountain, Jordan Pond, Frenchman Bay, waterside trails to name a few. On your way to Bar Harbor you can stop The LL Bean flagship store in Freeport if that interests you.

As far as Martha's Vinyard I suppose you can see the basics but you'd need more time to see everything. But a short trip is better than nothing. There are ferries that run from Martha's Vinyard to Nantucket but I don't know if they're running that time of the year.

https://acadiamagic.com

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Hillview
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by Hillview »

So many choices. First off I'd get a hotel quick -- this is a super busy time in Boston -- lots of colleges with graduations. Book now and then you can optimize. I'd look at places in Boston as it is a great walking area and really you might save $100 a night being in Cambridge but you will pay that in Ubers if you aren't walking. I love Boston so if the weather is nice you can walk through the Public Gardens, have lunch on Newbury street and shop or window shop. Check to see if the Red Sox are in town and get tickets at StubHub or Ace and catch a game in one of the best ballparks in America. Take the Red Line ("T") to Harvard Square and walk around -- grab lunch at Bartley's Burgers (if you are prepared to wait). Take a walk along the Esplanade along the Charles River. Dinners in the North End (Italian food), Newbury street (and walk around after), Beacon Hill. Book a table now (use OpenTable if you'd like) and then you have options -- again the city will be busy with loads of parents. The Vineyard is awesome -- if you are going to have a car you will want to make a Ferry reservation asap. Enjoy!
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by friar1610 »

Just make sure you check out the distance/driving time from Boston to Bah Habah so you allow plenty of driving time. The NH-Maine state line isn't very far from Boston but once you get into Maine you still will have a long haul ahead of you. Maine is bigger than many people realize. But Acadia is well worth the drive.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by SmileyFace »

friar1610 wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:26 am Just make sure you check out the distance/driving time from Boston to Bah Habah so you allow plenty of driving time. The NH-Maine state line isn't very far from Boston but once you get into Maine you still will have a long haul ahead of you. Maine is bigger than many people realize. But Acadia is well worth the drive.
And try not to make the drive on the Friday or Saturday or Memorial Day weekend- lot of locals head up North (or out to the Cape, etc) for the three day weekend so expect a lot of traffic if driving Friday or early Saturday.
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by neilpilot »

For the past few years, we've taken annual (separate) trips to Boston in the spring and MVY in the fall. I have always flown from Memphis direct to MVY, and have never been there in season. For our week on the island, we have always purchased a bus pass and stayed in Edgartown. The bus system is cheap, prompt and goes just about everywhere.

Assuming you plan to drive to the ferry for MVY, I'd be concerned that a large percentage of the 2-3 days you plan will be consumed in ferry transit time. If you do ferry, consider leaving your car at the mainland ferry stop (Woods Hole?) and then taking a bus on MVY, from Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven.
chw
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by chw »

My initial thoughts:
1). Seems like a lot of travel jammed into 9 days. I'm thinking perhaps skip Bar Harbor as its a solid 5-6 hour drive in each direction. The weather could be quite cool that time of year as well. An alternate area to visit could be Newport RI area, which is only about an 1 1/2 - 2 hours from Boston, and is also packed with things to do (Mansion tours, boating excrursions, shopping, hiking, wineries, etc).
2). Martha's Vineyard is nice, but also look into Nantucket (which I consider to be less touristy, and more scenic). You could stay in the Chatham area on Cape Cod (which is beautiful that time of year), and take the ferry to Nantucket from Harwichport. You could easily do a day trip to Nanticket, and simply spend the rest of your time in the Chatham area.
3) Car rental- definitely do Uber while in Boston, but you will likely need a car rental for the rest of the trip.
4) You can search BH for previous things to do in Boston. A few suggestions- a) if the Red Sox are in town, catch a game. It's worth seeing the ballpark, even if not a fan, b) do a duck tour, c) consider a foodie tour of the North End, d) perhaps visit Harvard Square area, as well as Harvard Yard, e) visit one of the museums- Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stuart Gardner Museums are near each other in the area where you are staying.

Enjoy, and congrats to,your daughter's achievement!
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by forgeblast »

In Boston, the freedom trail is great, lots of nice places to dine and hang out, and if the Sox are playing Fenway is a wonderful park.
On the cape there are whale watching tours and the food ! Lobster rolls yum!
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by Yiewsley »

Former Maine/Mass/NH person here. While I love Maine, I would recommend not trying to add on a Bar Harbor trip to all you want to do in Mass. It's a LONG way (pretty much a day there and a day back) and it will be pretty chilly still. It really deserves its own trip.

I would add a day trip to Portland (and Freeport is only about 20 mins north if you're an LL Bean fan). The city is quaint and great for foodies. The Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth is worth a stop. You will recognize it from many ads and movies.

There is so much to do in Mass. The Cape would be great at that time of year but it will probably be chilly (like maybe not sitting on the beach weather). Newburyport/Plum Island (you can drive to the island), Walden Pond/Lexington/Concord, Salem, Rockport, etc.

From personal experience, you'll enjoy it more if you don't spend all your time travelling between places. The New England states look small but the roads aren't conducive to high speed travel.
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by fishmonger »

Yiewsley wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:38 am Former Maine/Mass/NH person here. While I love Maine, I would recommend not trying to add on a Bar Harbor trip to all you want to do in Mass. It's a LONG way (pretty much a day there and a day back) and it will be pretty chilly still. It really deserves its own trip.

I would add a day trip to Portland (and Freeport is only about 20 mins north if you're an LL Bean fan). The city is quaint and great for foodies. The Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth is worth a stop. You will recognize it from many ads and movies.

There is so much to do in Mass. The Cape would be great at that time of year but it will probably be chilly (like maybe not sitting on the beach weather). Newburyport/Plum Island (you can drive to the island), Walden Pond/Lexington/Concord, Salem, Rockport, etc.

From personal experience, you'll enjoy it more if you don't spend all your time travelling between places. The New England states look small but the roads aren't conducive to high speed travel.
+1. You say you don't want to cram too much into a trip, that is a lot for 9 days. Bar Harbor is one of our favorite places on earth (have been 3 times), but you are going to spend 1 entire day getting there and back. Not sure what your interests are, but May is early for Bar Harbor/Acadia. It's likely to be in the 40s during the day; in July it rarely hits 80.

If you want to explore Maine, I would recommend staying in the southern part - York, Ogunquit, maybe get as far north as Portland (still only 2 hours from Boston). Plenty to do in that stretch
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by DarthSage »

Love visiting Boston--tons to do!

First off, if you haven't already booked a hotel, do it now. Seriously--stop reading, book it, and come back. Our DD graduated from BU last year, and I booked the hotel 364 days out. We stayed at the Westin Copley Place, and were grateful to pay full price. We didn't rent a car, and walked/Ubered everywhere.

Some of our favorite attractions in Boston are the duck tours, Science Museum, and New England Aquarium. The duck boats are a total hoot--just make sure you book at the right starting point (there are three--DD messed this up, we ended up having to Uber from the Copley Place one to the Science Museum one).

While I love Maine, it IS a bit of a haul. If shopping is on the itinerary, consider New Hampshire (no sales tax) which has outlets and a couple LL Bean stores.

Another favorite activity of ours is whale watching--we went out of Gloucester, but I think there are ones the depart closer to Boston. The skippers know all the humpbacks by their distinct markings, and the whales come literally right up to the boat--you could touch them!

You'll get excellent, authentic Italian food in basically any hole-in-the-wall joint in the North End. Afterwards, pick up some cannoli at Mike's. You can't miss it--the line is out the door (but moves fast). We also made a trip to Eataly at Copley Place--authentic, but pricey. But it made my Italian heart very happy.
mako171
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by mako171 »

Yiewsley wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:38 am Former Maine/Mass/NH person here. While I love Maine, I would recommend not trying to add on a Bar Harbor trip to all you want to do in Mass. It's a LONG way (pretty much a day there and a day back) and it will be pretty chilly still. It really deserves its own trip.

I would add a day trip to Portland (and Freeport is only about 20 mins north if you're an LL Bean fan). The city is quaint and great for foodies. The Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth is worth a stop. You will recognize it from many ads and movies.

There is so much to do in Mass. The Cape would be great at that time of year but it will probably be chilly (like maybe not sitting on the beach weather). Newburyport/Plum Island (you can drive to the island), Walden Pond/Lexington/Concord, Salem, Rockport, etc.

From personal experience, you'll enjoy it more if you don't spend all your time travelling between places. The New England states look small but the roads aren't conducive to high speed travel.
+2 here. Former Portlander and Bostonian. Do MV and Beantown, plus shorter jaunt to Maine if you must. Portland is a cool city. Stay in the Old Port. Going to MV, a graduation, and Bar Harbor is a lot of travel in 9 days.
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by Doom&Gloom »

I'll toss out an option in response to the very valid comments that you may be spreading yourself a bit thin time-wise. If you have your heart set on Bar Harbor, consider substituting Cape Ann (Rockport, Gloucester) for Cape Cod. Last October we spent 3 nights each in Rockport and Bar Harbor. If making the effort to get to Bar Harbor, you should budget at least three nights there imo. There is just so much to see and do in the area.
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by jharkin »

Agree with everybody else that Bar Harbor is a stretch for this trip. It’s a solid 6 hour drive, and holiday traffic can make that worse... especially the NH seacost stretch.(and I say that as somebody who could live in bar harbor... been at least 5 times)

Plus you can easily spend a week or two in Bar Harbor alone and not scratch the surface of what Acadia has to offer .


In Boston... the museums, freedom trail, take the boat out to the harbor islands, etc. When you eat in the north end make sure to find Briccos hidden down in an alley and get your Cannoli at Modern, not Mikes ;)

If you are looking for a couple nights somewhere diffent but close, head to Newport. Go tour some mansions, Ocean Drive, eat by the water and stay in a nice b&b.
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by DarthSage »

jharkin wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:46 pm Agree with everybody else that Bar Harbor is a stretch for this trip. It’s a solid 6 hour drive, and holiday traffic can make that worse... especially the NH seacost stretch.(and I say that as somebody who could live in bar harbor... been at least 5 times)

Plus you can easily spend a week or two in Bar Harbor alone and not scratch the surface of what Acadia has to offer .


In Boston... the museums, freedom trail, take the boat out to the harbor islands, etc. When you eat in the north end make sure to find Briccos hidden down in an alley and get your Cannoli at Modern, not Mikes ;)

If you are looking for a couple nights somewhere diffent but close, head to Newport. Go tour some mansions, Ocean Drive, eat by the water and stay in a nice b&b.
Okay, dem's fighting words! Mike's is clearly the best, pay no attention to this poster! ;) Or you could go the scientific route and try cannoli from both places, then decide that Mike's are best. Or be wrong.

Seriously, though, there's no shortage of delicious Italian food in the North End.
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by GoldenFinch »

I would save Martha’s Vinyard for another trip. It’s a lot of travel and not a lot to do that’s different from the Cape, except that it’s an island. Spending a day visiting the Cape Cod National Seashore would be memorable and a nice contrast to the time you spend in Boston.

Hope you all have a nice time!
blackburnian
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by blackburnian »

A few Boston recommendations:

For restaurants, Oleana in Cambridge, excellent Mediterranean food: https://www.oleanarestaurant.com/
Myers and Chang in the South End, lively spot with delicious Asian cuisine: http://www.myersandchang.com/
(Reserve in advance, for both)

For hiking, in Jamaica Plain, the Arboretum is a lovely place to explore (you can get there on the Orange Line--get off at last stop, Forest Hills). Just a few miles farther south, the Blue Hills Reservation has miles of trails: https://www.mass.gov/locations/blue-hills-reservation

In Boston proper, check out the Museum of African American History and the Black Heritage Trail:
http://maah.org/trail.htm

Have fun!
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by Liberty1100 »

Since you are by Fenway already, do a tour of Fenway. Its cool and not terribly expensive. Also, check out the MFA and the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum. Since your daughter is a student, it is significantly cheaper for her to go too. Both are very close to where your daughter lives.

I would make sure I walk or run around the Charles River Esplanade. It's pretty. You can make a stop at the Boston Public Garden too to see the swan boats and the bend where Robin Willaims and Matt Damon did some scenes in the movie "Good Will Hunting".

I suggest taking the T or Ubering to Harvard Square in Cambridge. You can walk into the quad and rub John Harvard's shoe. Harvard Square has a different personality that the rest of Boston.

Going to the top of the Prudential Center (the big tall building in Boston) can be nice to get a bird's eye view of the old city. They discuss the history of the town and point out some cool landmarks that you may want to see later. While there, check out the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Eataly (gourmet food court), the Tesla store, and walk down Newbury Street (a shopping street).

I would like to suggest you research the Freedom trail too. It will take you to a lot of historic landmarks.
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ram
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by ram »

Thanks for all your replies. I have cancelled Bar Harbor based on many recommendations. Instead I have booked a hotel on the beach in Ogunquit for 3 nights. We may do a day trip to Portland from there. We will do a separate week long trip to Bar Harbor/ Acadia national park at a later date.

I also booked a hotel on Cape Cod across from Hyannis ferry. We will do a day trip to Martha's Vinyard or Nantucket which can be decided later.

The Boston hotel is booked. Thanks for the tip to get it done promptly. Still reviewing all the other recommendations and will discuss it with the rest of the family. Keep the suggestions coming.
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by fsrph »

ram wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:15 pm Thanks for all your replies. I have cancelled Bar Harbor based on many recommendations. Instead I have booked a hotel on the beach in Ogunquit for 3 nights. We may do a day trip to Portland from there. We will do a separate week long trip to Bar Harbor/ Acadia national park at a later date.

I also booked a hotel on Cape Cod across from Hyannis ferry. We will do a day trip to Martha's Vinyard or Nantucket which can be decided later.

The Boston hotel is booked. Thanks for the tip to get it done promptly. Still reviewing all the other recommendations and will discuss it with the rest of the family. Keep the suggestions coming.
I think you made a good decision. Even though I like Acadia a lot, going for a few days just doesn't do it justice. Plus it's a long drive. Am glad you plan to go to Acadia for a week in the future. It's well worth seeing.

Francis
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by jharkin »

DarthSage wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:03 am
jharkin wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:46 pm Agree with everybody else that Bar Harbor is a stretch for this trip. It’s a solid 6 hour drive, and holiday traffic can make that worse... especially the NH seacost stretch.(and I say that as somebody who could live in bar harbor... been at least 5 times)

Plus you can easily spend a week or two in Bar Harbor alone and not scratch the surface of what Acadia has to offer .


In Boston... the museums, freedom trail, take the boat out to the harbor islands, etc. When you eat in the north end make sure to find Briccos hidden down in an alley and get your Cannoli at Modern, not Mikes ;)

If you are looking for a couple nights somewhere diffent but close, head to Newport. Go tour some mansions, Ocean Drive, eat by the water and stay in a nice b&b.
Okay, dem's fighting words! Mike's is clearly the best, pay no attention to this poster! ;) Or you could go the scientific route and try cannoli from both places, then decide that Mike's are best. Or be wrong.

Seriously, though, there's no shortage of delicious Italian food in the North End.

Mike is a tourist trap. The locals go to Modern.


Mike pre fills the cannoli for the day. We have sometimes got some where the shells started to get soft. Modern fills them to order, as it should be.
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by neilpilot »

jharkin wrote: Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:23 am
DarthSage wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:03 am
jharkin wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:46 pm
In Boston... the museums, freedom trail, take the boat out to the harbor islands, etc. When you eat in the north end make sure to find Briccos hidden down in an alley and get your Cannoli at Modern, not Mikes ;)
Okay, dem's fighting words! Mike's is clearly the best, pay no attention to this poster! ;) Or you could go the scientific route and try cannoli from both places, then decide that Mike's are best. Or be wrong.

Seriously, though, there's no shortage of delicious Italian food in the North End.
Mike is a tourist trap. The locals go to Modern.

Mike pre fills the cannoli for the day. We have sometimes got some where the shells started to get soft. Modern fills them to order, as it should be.
I think Modern is good, and Mike's is almost as good. However, for a better cannoli walk around the corner to Maria's Pastry at 46 Cross St. They have a smaller selection, fill fresh like Modern but are better quality. However, for ricotta pie I still prefer Modern over Maria's.
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor

Post by fishmonger »

jharkin wrote: Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:23 am
DarthSage wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:03 am
jharkin wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:46 pm Agree with everybody else that Bar Harbor is a stretch for this trip. It’s a solid 6 hour drive, and holiday traffic can make that worse... especially the NH seacost stretch.(and I say that as somebody who could live in bar harbor... been at least 5 times)

Plus you can easily spend a week or two in Bar Harbor alone and not scratch the surface of what Acadia has to offer .


In Boston... the museums, freedom trail, take the boat out to the harbor islands, etc. When you eat in the north end make sure to find Briccos hidden down in an alley and get your Cannoli at Modern, not Mikes ;)

If you are looking for a couple nights somewhere diffent but close, head to Newport. Go tour some mansions, Ocean Drive, eat by the water and stay in a nice b&b.
Okay, dem's fighting words! Mike's is clearly the best, pay no attention to this poster! ;) Or you could go the scientific route and try cannoli from both places, then decide that Mike's are best. Or be wrong.

Seriously, though, there's no shortage of delicious Italian food in the North End.

Mike is a tourist trap. The locals go to Modern.


Mike pre fills the cannoli for the day. We have sometimes got some where the shells started to get soft. Modern fills them to order, as it should be.
Lived in Boston for 8 years, and this is a common argument. Honestly, I liked both!
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JoeRetire
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by JoeRetire »

Ogunquit is nice if you like ocean views, small shops, nice restaurants, and nicely decorated homes/shops.

You could stay at the Meadowmere. Nice place within walking distance of shops, etc. Nice rooms, pools, etc.
Plan to walk the Marginal Way.
Visit Perkins Cove. Nice shops, restaurants, and boats. Eat a lobster roll. While there, take a boat trip. We took visitors on the Finestkind Lobstering Tour last year - it was terrific for all ages! We'll go again this year.

On the way up, you should drive through York, visit The Nubble Lighthouse and take your picture there.

May is not always beach weather in that part of Maine. But it is beautiful and less crowded.
We have a place in York where we spend every weekend and most vacations. Eventually, we'll retire there.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
eddot98
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by eddot98 »

Instead of going to the observatory on the top of the Prudential ($19 each for adults), consider a light lunch or a drink at the Top of the Hub, one floor down. You get almost the same view, walk around a little to see it, and you get good food, a little pricey, but you don’t pay to get in. Go off hours for the best seating (3:00 pm maybe) and make sure to get a window table looking downtown. Besides seeing the city, you can see the planes coming and going from Logan.
Sandman62
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by Sandman62 »

While you're in Ogunquit, if you like musicals, check out their playhouse. We caught a good show there a couple years ago with Sally Struthers.
criticalmass
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by criticalmass »

Good call with booking the hotel early. You will not need a car while you are in Boston and Cambridge, and I would strongly discourage bothering with one. Parking is a pain and extremely expensive (including at your hotel). Driving is a pain and can be very slow and frustrating. Take the T. If you are used to rapid transit, you will find it very easy. If you are not used to rapid transit, you will learn quickly and also find it easy and convenient. I'm writing this as a local who is very familiar with driving in Boston. The poster who mentioned that signs can be confusing is not joking, even I've gotten a parking ticket because I only read 3 parking regulation signs and missed the fourth about 15 feet high above the street on a light pole at the end of the block.

As others have mentioned, driving outbound from the city will be slow in the afternoons, especially to the south, and especially near Memorial Day. While staying in the city, spend lots of time walking around the downtown area. The freedom trail is a great route to walk. Take the boat to the harbor islands on a nice day (pack a lunch, it's an awesome way to spend a few hours--buy the tickets at kiosks on the greenway near the aquarium, and you can get off/on at each island on your schedule). Consider taking the commuter rail from North Station to Rockport if you want to explore an interesting town. Gloucester is nearby. Also consider taking the Amtrak Downeaster for a day trip to Portland.

You can climb up the Customs House tower at a certain time on certain days and view the whole city plus the harbor. Its run by the Marriott Vacations, you have to ask the lobby when they allow this because they are always changing the rules---they have to allow public access per an agreement with the city. You can also get almost as great a view from the 470 Atlantic Avenue observation deck during the daytime. This is a private building, but the observation deck is public if unadvertised, per agreement with the city--you just have to sign in with the lobby attendant.

You can get a great taste of Boston by just walking the neighborhoods, take a stroll through the North End (Maria's pastry for canolli). Some excellent dining options here--beware the north end restaurants though that cater to tourists rather than locals. Visit the USS Constitution in Charlestown (on the freedom trail). Walk through the Common and explore the Gardens, then take a walk down the Commonwealth Avenue mall (the greatest street in America per David McCullough). Return via Newbuy Street to see and be seen, also checkout lots of overpriced shops/restaurants here. There are many great restaurants in Boston, use a guide book to find one that suits your tastes or we can provide recommendations. Do stop in the Boston Public Library on Copley Square, the building is magnificent (closed Sundays). If you want one museum, go to Isabella Stewart Gardner museum near the Emerald Necklace in the Fenway. You may get a very discounted pass at the library. Also stroll across the river and walk through the MIT and Harvard campuses. (The MIT museum is interesting). Save time and take the T from Harvard Sq back to Boston.
DarthSage
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by DarthSage »

Ooh, I forgot about the Public Library! It is so beautiful--there was actually a wedding rehearsal going on in the courtyard when we were there last May! Best of all, it's free. Don't be fooled into thinking it's just a place for books--it's an art-filled treasure (and did I mention free?). It also happens to be right around the corner from Eataly (I have a weird obsession with that place), and right near one of the duck boat starting points.
dowse
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by dowse »

ram wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:15 pm Thanks for all your replies. I have cancelled Bar Harbor based on many recommendations. Instead I have booked a hotel on the beach in Ogunquit for 3 nights. We may do a day trip to Portland from there. We will do a separate week long trip to Bar Harbor/ Acadia national park at a later date.

I also booked a hotel on Cape Cod across from Hyannis ferry. We will do a day trip to Martha's Vinyard or Nantucket which can be decided later.

The Boston hotel is booked. Thanks for the tip to get it done promptly. Still reviewing all the other recommendations and will discuss it with the rest of the family. Keep the suggestions coming.
Others have already given you some great ideas, but let another local add some. Since you'll be heading to Ogunquit, you'll be near to and travelling through Portsmouth, NH. It's worth at least a stop for lunch. Many spend a few days there, but if you have time for a leisurely lunch, you'll be able to walk around the quaint downtown area on the waterfront. Highly recommend the River House for the best seafood chowder I know. Also, while in Oqunquit, check out the Nubble Light House, aka Cape Neddick Light. Kennebunkport is also within easy reach of Ogunquit and is another place worth at least a leisurely lunch excursion. Your idea to day trip to Portland is a good one. Besides walking around the Old Port area as has been suggested, there are also nice harbor ferry tours you can take. Portland Head Light is spectacular and should not be missed if you go up that way. As someone else suggested, the Boston Public Library is spectacular inside. Just across the street from BPL is Old South Church where you can walk in and take a peek at their beautiful sanctuary adorned with wood carvings and stained glass. Also near that area is the Christian Science Center, known for it's architecture, outdoor reflecting pool, and if you step inside, you can see the Maparium, a 3-story stained glass globe. As for the trip to the Vineyard or Nantucket, you have a choice of a shorter ferry ride to the Vineyard, but quite a bit larger place to try and see vs. a longer ride to Nantucket, where it is smaller and easier to get around and see things on a day trip. There are likely other opinions, but if it were me, I would choose Nantucket.

You now have more ideas than time to do them all. Hard to go wrong with the choices you have. Have a great time, and come back again to see the things you don't have time for this trip.
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ram
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Re: Vacation in May. Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Ogunquit (cancelled Bar Harbor)

Post by ram »

Thanks everybody for the additional info.
Ram
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