Author Topic: Boston's Back Bay area  (Read 602 times)

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alice

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Boston's Back Bay area
« on: April 09, 2013, 05:25:31 PM »
Hi,

A group of us will be staying at the Mariott Copley in Boston's back bay area on Memorial day weekend.  We are going to arrive mid afternoon on Friday and don't have any plans until Saturday morning.  We were wondering what is around there that we might be able to site see.  We have 4 14 year olds, and the rest of us are over 40 (all girls weekend).

Any insights will be appreciated.

thanks,
Alice

camlan

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Re: Boston's Back Bay area
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2013, 06:09:12 PM »
It depends on what you want to do--shopping, history, culture?

If you want to go shopping, you are right there at Copley Place, and a short walk from the Prudential Center and Newbury Street. Newbury Street has lovely shops, but tends to be expensive.

It's a short walk to Copley Square, where there might be a farmer's market (I don't know when they start). There's also Trinity Church, which you can tour. The Boston Public Library is right next door, and has a tour of the art and architecture of the old building.

From there, a short walk gets you to the Boston Public Garden and right beyond that is the Boston Common. I suspect the Swan Boats will be running for a ride around the little pond. The Boston Common is the start of the Freedom Trail, and several of the main historical sites in Boston are clustered within a few blocks.

You could take the subway to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market--combination of history (Faneuil Hall) and shopping, with street buskers and lots to look at and plenty of places to eat.

There's a good aquarium on the waterfront with a nice penguin exhibit and a huge tank that you walk up and around. There's also the Science Museum in Cambridge, easily reachable by the T if you don't want to drive, and the Children's Museum in the Fort Point area, but that might be a little young for your group.

The Museum of Fine Arts is right on a trolley line and you should be able to find something that everyone likes there. Just a short walk from there is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which is an old private house turned museum that is full of the treasures Mrs. Gardener picked up on her many trips to Europe--not just paintings, but floors, walls, fireplaces, furniture, tapestries, china, figurines, you name it. It's a very eccentric collection, the building is beautiful with a stunning courtyard and I consider it a little hidden gem.

Somewhat expensive, but fun, is the Boston Duck Tour, where you ride an amphibious vehicle around Boston on a tour, and then splash into the Charles River.

Boston by Foot offers guided tours.

Unless you are really used to Boston driving, I'd recommend getting T passes and taking the subway most places. There's not a lot of parking and it is expensive. The T will get you pretty much everywhere you want to go. Check out the MBTA website--you can type in your address and the address of where you want to go, and you'll get a couple of alternate routes, with fares and maps and directions.


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Susiqzer

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Re: Boston's Back Bay area
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2013, 06:19:49 PM »
All of the above, but especially the Duck Tour! So fun!!

POF

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Re: Boston's Back Bay area
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2013, 06:45:09 PM »
Ditto !

Love Faneuil Hall - you can easily get to the North End for some amazing Italian restaurants.  There was a great Sunday brunch at the hotel on the waterfront ( I can see it - but the name escapes me - google it though). I also really enjoy the aquarium. 

We've done boat trips to the Boston harbour Islands and it was really fun.

My favorite Art museum is the Isabelle Stweart Gardner - but have not been in years. There is so much to do and May is lovely.

crella

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Re: Boston's Back Bay area
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2013, 07:27:13 PM »


Love Faneuil Hall - you can easily get to the North End for some amazing Italian restaurants.  There was a great Sunday brunch at the hotel on the waterfront ( I can see it - but the name escapes me - google it though).

And Italian bakeries! The pastries (rum custards, cannolies etc) are wonderful! The Sunday brunch (if it's the one I think you mean) is at the Harbor Hotel. I just checked and the price has gone up since my family went there way back when  :D It's $58 a head now, including a complimentary glass of champagne, but I still hear that it's worth the price.

MsCopper

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Re: Boston's Back Bay area
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2013, 08:24:13 PM »
The North end. Some of the best restaurants in town. Mikes pastry and Modern pastry are great but if you do a little exploring you can find some that are less touristy and so much better. Bova's (134 Salem street) is the best one of them all.  I agree about Newbury street as well. High end shopping with some hidden gems mixed in. I know there is a LUSH there so maybe a girly spa day. Definitely take the T I'm a born and raised Bostonian and I won't drive downtown.  The redline will take you into Cambridge which has some great places as well. There is a big mall there too. In my opinion Cheers isn't worth the money. You can get a much better burger someplace else that won't cost you and arm and a leg. Hope you enjoy your stay in Boston! :)
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Morty'sCleaningLady

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Re: Boston's Back Bay area
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2013, 08:29:04 PM »
I vote for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  It's fascinating.  Isabella had rather strict rules about her museum and the items that were to be showcased.  Then, on St. Pat's in 1990, the Museum was robbed.  So, per the rules in Isabella's will, the frames continue to hang with nothing in them, as the museum cannot change out the art pieces. 

http://www.gardnermuseum.org/resources/theft

Then the Freedom Trail, returning through the North End for dinner.  Anything on Hanover is fine.  Debate Modern Pastry versus Mike's Pastry for cannoli at your own caution.  Google Mike's versus Modern for far too much speculation and then eat at both.
Formerly Mrs.Bart

camlan

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Re: Boston's Back Bay area
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2013, 03:27:59 PM »
I don't know what you are doing the rest of your weekend, but if you'd like to get out and stretch your legs after a day of traveling, then I'd suggest a small walking tour.

From your hotel, head up Huntington Ave. to Copley Square. There's a statue of Phillips Brooks, who wrote "O Little Town of Bethlehem" near Trinity Church. Tour the church or not, as you wish. Then walk a few blocks to the Public Garden. I checked and the Swan Boats will be running. You can also look for the duck statues based on the ducks from Make Way for Ducklings. (If you all haven't read the book, it's worth checking out of the library before you go.) There are other statues in the Garden, including one celebrating the first use of ether in surgery.

Walk through the Gardens to Boston Common. There is usually a Memorial Day display of flags in one corner. There's also a monument to the African-American unit in the Civil War that came from the Boston area (the film Glory was based on them). You can see the State House with its gold dome from there.

Then cross Beacon Street and head up Beacon Hill. For many generations, the elite of Boston society lived on the Hill, or the neighboring "flat of the Hill" facing the Common and Garden. But the back side of the hill was stables and tenements. You'll see lovely old homes. Look for the purple glass in the windows, really just a sign of some chemical in the glass reacting with sunlight, but a source of pride for the homeowners. There's one street that's still cobblestones. Find Louisburg Square, once home to the elite of the elite. And also Louisa May Alcott. (If you've ever read Eight Cousins, or An Old-Fashioned Girl, Beacon Hill is the Hill they are running up and down. Polly goes sledding on the Common, much to Fanny's dismay.) There are small shops along Charles Street.

From there, if you still have any energy, go back across the Common. There's a vistor's center, and the Freedom Trail starts there. There are several historical sites within an easy walk.

That would give you a feel for the center of town and take you past some of the places the girls have probably studied about in history class. (Just in case they have to write "What I did on my long weekend" essays.

If you'd rather not walk so far, take the Duck tour.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


alice

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Re: Boston's Back Bay area
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2013, 03:48:28 PM »
Thank you all.  I am going to print this out for my travel companions. I know the teenagers in our group will enjoy the shopping and pastries!!  I am interested in the Freedom trail.

camlan

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Re: Boston's Back Bay area
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2013, 04:16:21 PM »
I completely forgot--there's also a Black Heritage Trail, run by the National Park Service. It focuses on efforts made in Massachusetts to end slavery, such as the Abolition Movement and the Underground Railway. It's mainly on Beacon Hill, I think, so right in the same area as the Freedom Trail.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn