Vacation sites nearby

Grayline Bus Tours is a national company that has one day, 12 to 14 hour tours for $149 to Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Niagra Falls and Long Island. If you have a friend visiting NY there 4 hour Manhattan narrated tours would cover more than you could on your own.

An inexpensive trip is to Club Getaway in Connecticut. They have many rave reviews in magazines. It is a cheaper Club Med in Kent, Connecticut with almost all New Yorkers and many that live near you. Most are from their 20’s to 40’s.
Weekends have themes such as for singles, sports, yoga and family week end and more.
A 90 minute ride and a bus leaves from NY as a group. If you go by yourself there is a Port Authority bus.
It is about $400 with no frills. It is bungalows and no tv. The attraction is about 10 events an hour to do or do nothing if you want. It attracts an active crowd into sports. Most are coed sports and hikes. At night there is square dancing, a campfire, a bar and volleyball all night. A lot of lake activities like skiing, wind surf also zip lining, repel a tiny mountain, trapeze, massage class…

Visit Boston where Paul is revered and there is the original tea party.

Fodor’s said it best: “There’s history and culture around every bend in Boston-skyscrapers nestle to historic hotels, while modern marketplaces line the antique cobblestones streets.”

It is as Old World as the New World gets. If you missed the revolution this is an easy trip to plan. You may just have to book a hostel and go to Amtrak. Boston is a pretty and clean city and hub for many sites. It is the biggest New England city and once was called Taxachussettes. There are an estimated 350,000 students in the city and surrounding areas.

Sites: The Freedom Trail of Revolutionary War sites where one if by land, two if by sea was said and colonial style buildings. It is the Athens of America with over 100 schools. Harvard and M.I.T. are in the suburb of Cambridge 5 miles away and a few subway stops. There’s Fenway Park where the Red Sox play and a harbor with whale watching boats. For a quiet reflective spot try the Boston Commons and swan paddle boats near real swans and the Christian Science Monitor block has a long reflecting poll. There’s the Boston Pops and many classical music concerts, JFK Library, museums and dozens of colleges.

Boston is known for their seafood like clam chowder and a duck boat tour. There’s the TV’s Cheers Bar, a gold dome State House, the Boston Massacre site, the posh Newbury Street and Beacon Hill and crewing races.

Franeuil Hall I think is the top image of Boston with the crowds. Part of it is Quincy Market or Haymarket with street performers. The Boston accent is one of the most parodied with the hard r’s to say pack ya car by the red sawks. Get some chowdah at Hayvard yawd or at the Gah-den.

You need to be 21 to drink. The Beehive Club at 541 Tremont St (Hanson Street) is considered the best laid back jazz and in a bohemia décor.  The Good Life Bar has the best dancing even though crowded at 28 Kingston Street, a block from Essex St.  Big crowds are at the reenactment, July 4th fireworks and marathon in April.

Amtrak to Boston runs from $69 to $156 and takes from 3 ½ to 41/2 hours.  Amtrak.com. Amtrak college discount is 15% if you buy a $20 yearly pass and book 3 days prior. Bus $15 taking 4 hours Fungh Wah Bus Company (fungwahbus.com)  leaves near Canal and Bowery. Greyhound Bus is $40 and cheaper on line one way. There are shuttle planes leaving nonstop to Boston from $100 to $400.

The subway or T is very efficient and run till 2:30am. The Greyline bus tour gets you to all the sites with commentary and a hop on and off trolley and also to sites out of town. There are walking tours of Harvard, M.I.T. and Boston University. Reserve the later online.  For Boston information:  Bostonusa.com (800) 733-2678.

The Freedom Trail: USS Constitution Boston tea Party, Paul Revere House, Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel, King’s Chapel Burying Ground, Benjamin Franklin statue, Old Corner Bookstore, Old South Meeting House, Old State House and the gold dome, Site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, Bunker Hill Monument and USS Constitution.

The advantage of staying at a hostel: you meet international students and travelers from every continent. Most are alone and friendlier then the average person. Travelers have been to many countries.  It is a communal setting. There are common rooms with a TV, library, kitchen, laundry and lockers. There are group tours, activities, pub crawls and it is centrally located. There are discounts in stores with a yearly membership at iyhf.org Disadvantages are some noise with 5 roommates or more and lights out 11pm to 7am.  The newest and biggest is the Hi-Boston Hostel $30 to $56 a shared room with 6 bunk beds Private rooms start at $120  888-464-4872 617-536-9455 12 blocks to Amtrak. For more see tip planning button on top.
http://bostonhostel.org 617-536-9455
Toll Free: 888-464-4872, 19 Stuart Street Boston MA 02116 with private hall bathrooms.

Hostels are inexpensive, safe and clean. They range from urban high-rise buildings with hundreds of beds to small more remote hostels in rural settings. I’m guessing rates are around $30 but was surprised Boston was $46. Hostels are friendly and people oriented, filled with others who are looking for the same things you are-adventure, excitement, discovery and a chance to meet others from around the world. You may meet new or worldwide travelers. It may be the lowest prices around and self-service kitchens, lockers and laundries. It has some of the best travel information. Travelers have already found the great places to eat, shop and sightsee. The hostel may have activities such as biking, trekking, horseback riding, skiing, nature walks and pub crawls. There are programs and activities, including architectural and historical walking tours, environmental programs, cultural events, theater outings, baseball and other sport events and barbecues are part of the hostelling experience. There is a yearly membership to get discounts on your lodging and in stores in many areas. In Canada hostellingintl.ca

Some have lock out times like 1 am to 5pm but less in recent years. Quiet hours are 11pm to 7am. Often they are open 24 hours. Blankets and pillows are provided. To foster the community spirit they limit the stay and natives of the area are not allowed unless there is a lot of room. There are common rooms, libraries, lockers, storage, Internet for a fee, in Boston it was 20 minutes for $2.

 Images: http://www.google.com/search?q=boston+sights&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=l-ZKUJGYGqym0gHdnYDIBw&ved=0CFMQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=876

Sites with overview by Fodors: http://www.fodors.com/world/north-america/usa/massachusetts/boston/sights-nam_best:30058.html

Websites: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/2006/05/the-top-120-sites-in-town/

Philadelphia trip planning
A quick cheap weekend or longer trip is 2 hours away in Philadelphia.
Bus $15
Hostel (lodging) $40
Walk, bus or subway very cheap in the city.

Advisory: I have been there twice. I went early July and had a safe time. Recently there has been some crime so you may want to check the Philadelphia Inquirer. I was told the tourist areas were safe but the edges of the city were not. I would avoid South Street. There is a 12 hour Grayline tour from New York which also goes to the Amish Country for $149.

Philadelphia Trip Highlights: Independence sites, Ben Franklin’s and Philadelphia Museum with the Rocky Statue.

There is a 2 hour city hall tour. It is the biggest in the world and most statues. It has chandeliers and the senate in session. There are muralled walls outside. The observatory has a good view of the city. Open Monday to Friday. Tour 12:30pm (215) 686-2840. Italian Market tour in South Philly for groups Friday 10am.(possibly you can group up with a hotel tour leaving) For more tours check with the information bureau or concierges.
They have the third biggest Chinatown with an impressive gate. In City Center there are sidewalk cafes.
There are many museums like The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, African American Museum and the US Mint.
The Masonic Temple is impressive. The American Jewish Museum had many displays with 5 minute videos. They show comediennes like Mel Brooks, Groucho Marx, Jack Benny and the 3 Stooges.

The River Deck Bar holds over 1000. It is on the river and has Japanese lanterns and a broken pier which makes a nice design in the water. Some nights they have contests. Macy’s was the old Wannamakers and a very big department store.

There is a 12 or 14 hour tour to the Amish Country near Lancaster. (Grayline Bus tours from NY also has a Philly tour has a 12 hour tour also for $149) The one from Philly I was not thrilled with and had many dead hours. At the town of Bird in the Hand you see a film and a replica house and school. There is a farm and restaurant and horse and buggy rides. Then there is a van tour of the area. The Amish do not want to be photographed and it violates their religious beliefs.

Some foods they make are shoe fly pie with molasses. In Philly they sell their goods at the Terminal Market. Phillysteaks and pretzels are famous all around the city. Ferry cruises and concerts are at Penn Landing.
It is a very small city about 3 miles long and on a grid. A cab to most spots is under $6. The bus/subway is SEPTA septa.org. Try to get a bus map on Market Street and about 10th street or information bureaus has it. Market Street is the main commercial Street through the city.
There is a narrated hop on off bus for $27 and a cheaper one probably not narrated.
In Philly I stayed at the Ace Hostel which was recommended in many travel books AND by HostelWorld.com.

Useful Numbers:
Apple Hostel of Philadelphia $40 (877) 275-1971
Visitor and Convention Center (215) 686-2840
Gophila.org visitphilly.com independencevisitor.com muralart.org visitpa.com
Buses from NY to Philadelphia $15 MegaBus, Bolt, $20 Greyhound

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