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Boston travel hints???

 
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milehimom
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Joined: 23 Feb 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 9:03 pm    Post subject: Boston travel hints??? Reply with quote

Our family is going to take a trip to Boston, probably in the Fall, to see all the historic sites that accompany our study of the settling of America and the Revolutionary War. I've been before, but my children and husband haven't. I can't wait to walk the Freedom Trail with them, stroll through Boston Common, see 'Plymouth Rock', Old Ironsides, Concord, etc.

However...... where should we stay? Anyone been lately or have a great experience with modestly priced lodging?? Also, any special sites I may not be aware of that we should see in Boston? Any help is appreciated!

Debbie
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milehimom
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
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knobren
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Joined: 29 May 2007
Posts: 195
Location: Charleston, IL

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:08 pm    Post subject: whales Reply with quote

I don't know about accommodations, but I would highly recommend taking a whale excursion through the New England Aquarium! They have trips through October. I went in May last year and it was fabulous! We saw a number of different whales and they were close to the boat. The humpbacks make bubble nets to corral the fish and then swim up through the middle scooping them up in wide open mouths. We also saw right whales and dolphins or porpoises.

http://www.neaq.org/visit/wwatch/index.html


(BTW, the boats use a type of propulsion that won't cut the whales.)

The boat ride was quite windy and chilly, so bring warm clothes and something to secure long hair. They have a consession stand inside that sold hot chocolate, coffee, snacks, etc. There is some inside seating, but most people were sitting on-deck. It is a three hour cruise. Initially, the boat is passing islands close to the city and there are some lighthouses, shorebirds, ruins of some sort, the water treatment plant, and so forth to look at. I think there are seals or sea lions around, but we didn't see any that day. Planes fly low right overhead as they head for the airport and I have a photo of a plane that looks like it is landing on the buildings along the shoreline (Someone stuck their head in the way just as I clicked the shutter, but oh well.)

Also, Boston is a good walking city and the public transportation is very good.

Have fun! Very Happy

knobren
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knobren
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Joined: 29 May 2007
Posts: 195
Location: Charleston, IL

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:18 pm    Post subject: Old Ironsides Reply with quote

Old Ironsides (USS Constitution) was a fun historical site to visit. The guide gave a good description of what it was like to live and work on her. It is still a commissioned ship, so navy personnel give the tours.

http://www.ussconstitution.navy.mil/
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milehimom
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Joined: 23 Feb 2007
Posts: 67
Location: Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for the valuable info. I'm going to try both of the website you offerend and copy down the info you gave me! We saw some humpback whales in Hawaii and the kids were mesmerized! I know a whale watching trip would be just fabulous for them! Did you kids get bored or tired on the 3 hour cruise? What about sea sick? I have trouble with that... even with dramamine!

Thanks again...
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knobren
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Joined: 29 May 2007
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Location: Charleston, IL

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:29 pm    Post subject: whales Reply with quote

Unfortunately, I don't have any kids. (I'm just interested in home schooling in case I have kids some day and because I am a biologist and am interested in helping folks find science resources.)

Anyway, it was just me and my boyfriend on the whale cruise. The kids on board seemed to be having fun though. I think it took about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the whales' feeding ground. As I said there is some pretty scenery for the beginning of the cruise. We also saw some dolphins or porpoises ( I don't remember which) on the way there. There were water birds, too. Gulls, of course, and I think courmorants (sp?) and pelicans maybe. I also like watching the waves and other boats. I think there was a video about whale research playing inside the cabin, but it was crowded in there, because of the wind and cold. There was a biologist or naturalist on-board answering questions about whales on the way to the feeding grounds. He wasn't on a loud speaker though. People were just gathered around him. If you sat inside or found a spot out of the wind, you might consider bringing along a whale book or something, if you think they might be bored.

I don't know if we got wind burn or sun burn when we went. The sun is bright off of the water, too, so bring sunglasses. Hats will blow off. Some kind of hood with string pulls would probably work better. I had a windbreaker on, but it didn't have a hood. I saw ponytail holders lying on the deck, so they probably blew out of people's hair.

I don't know about sea-sickness. I didn't think the boat was swaying much, but I've never experienced sea-sickness, so maybe I'm not a good judge on that.

-knobren
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knobren
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Joined: 29 May 2007
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Location: Charleston, IL

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:44 pm    Post subject: museum Reply with quote

If you have time, the Museum of Science is a fun place with lots of interactive exhibits. For example, they had a room where you could make music and a room where you could spin on something to explore centrifical force. There were optical illusions in another room and so on. They also have a really cool electicity show!

http://www.mos.org/exhibits_shows/live_presentations&d=192

We didn't have time to see everything the day we went, because we had show tickets or something that we had to leave for.


Oh, the Mapparium is a must-see! It is a three story stained glass globe with lights that you walk through! The accoustics are fun, too. If someone whispers on one end of the walkway, someone on the other end (or was it in the middle?) can hear him as if he were right next to her.

http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/exhibits/mapparium.jhtml


Speaking of stained glass - the Trinity Church has beautiful architecture and stained glass windows. There are different styles of stained glass artwork reflecting the changes in style over time. The architect was the first American to attract international attention and the church is one of the 10 most significant buildings in the country according to the American Institute of Architects.

http://www.trinitychurchboston.org/art/index.php


I would advise you to SKIP the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It was dark inside, which made it difficult to see the artwork. I didn't find the MIT museums all that great either.

I didn't go to the TOMB, but it sounded fun. http://5-wits.com/home.htm

The New England Aquarium is fun. It has three species of equatorial penguins. They don't need to be cold, so they aren't shut behind a glass wall. They can be pretty loud! There is also an IMAX theatre that you can buy separate or combined tickets for. The whale watch cruise is through the aquarium and leaves from a dock right next to it. (There is another whale watch tour run by another group, but I don't know anything about them. I think the tour through the aquarium might help support their research mission, but I'm not sure.)
http://www.neaq.org/penguins/aquarium/index.php

We also saw the Blue Man Group at the Charles Playhouse. It is a small setting and a great show. If you want to see that or some other show, you can get same day tickets for half-price at BosTix. One of the kiosks is by Faneuil Hall. They post a list of whatever they have tickets for for that evening. You have to pay with cash though.

There is always a tour of the Samuel Adams brewery, as well. I don't know your kids' ages, but they might find it interesting. They might get bored while you sample the beers at the end though. The subway goes close to there, so you don't have to worry about driving (orange line to Stony Brook). http://www.samueladams.com
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momo3boys
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Joined: 14 Feb 2006
Posts: 574
Location: Western Mass

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget the Boston market! a real treat.

As far as whale watches go, it is best to go out of Gloucester. the ride out isn't as long and you get to stay out with the whales longer. as for the ride back the kids just sleep! On the way in, you can have them discuss all the things they might see, including birds and fish and sharks. Basking sharks are quite common. I've been on a lot of whale watches and Gloucester is the best by far!

If you have strong footed children just walk the freedom trail, you will see all the great sites including the market.
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laurabeth
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Joined: 20 Aug 2007
Posts: 48
Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I grew up in MA, just left there a few months ago actually but anyways, I lived in Western MA. Although this has nothing to do with Boston itself, if you are going to go to MA I have to suggest you take a gander to the western part of the state especially if you are going to go in the fall. The Mohawk Trail is an absolute must for any visitor to MA. There are so many little towns so full of history but Shelburne Falls is by far a must see! You can read more at this site, but nothing compares to seeing it yourself. I actually do have some pics I am sure I could dig up if you are interested!


http://www.mohawktrail.com/html/history.html
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