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Weekend in Boston

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The boyfriend and I are headed for a weekend getaway from NYC to Boston. Neither one of us has really been to Boston before so we're excited about exploring the city. We won't have a car and basically want to relax, stroll and see the sights. We'll be arriving Friday evening (8:30pm) and staying at the Intercontinental in Downtown and leaving Sunday 4pm.

I've searched Chowhound and it seems that we'll definitely have dinner at Neptune Oyster and then dessert at Modern on Saturday night. That leaves quite a few meals up in the air.

We're also unsure about how best to see/eat the city in the most efficient way beyond taking the Duck Boat tour Saturday morning.

Any itinerary suggestions as well as where to have a late dinner Friday after we land, breakfast saturday and sunday and lunch saturday and sunday? We may also need a late afternoon snack before we head to the airport on sunday.

we're pretty much up for anything from street food to high-end as long as it's yummy and we can't get it in NYC.

Thanks!

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  1. Bastilla made with squab is pretty rare in the US; if you don't have a convenient source in NYC, I'd recommend Cafe Baraka in Central Sq. -- you'll need to place an order a 36hr in advance. Be sure to try their rose lemonade while you're there. For dessert, try the nearby Toscannini's for ice cream.

    1. The closest subway stop to where you are is probably South Station (Red Line).

      One breakfast spot worth a special trip is Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe in the South End (closed Sunday). Take the Red Line inbound to Downtown Crossing and change to the Orange Line, getting off at Back Bay. This will also get you to some worthy brunch spots on Sunday, with good choices being Metropolis, Aquitaine, and Sibling Rivalry. But they may not be Boston-unique. If you lack Ethiopian cuisine in NYC, you'll find Addis Red Sea here as well.

      The best two things for Boston first-timers to do would be to hit the Museum of Fine Arts and the Freedom Trail. There's not much good to eat near the former, sorry to report. The latter winds through downtown's Boston Common and Ladder District to Quincy Market to the North End and ends in Charlestown. Besides the wealth of North End Italian spots (good choices for dinner being Prezza and Mamma Maria, for lunch being Pizzeria Regina or Galleria Umberto), you might want to consider Durgin Park in Quincy Market, which is one of the last bastions of classic Yankee cooking and the best purveyor of it; Indian pudding with vanilla ice cream is a must there and not something you'll find in New York.

      I'm not sure how much Portuguese cuisine you've got in NYC, but there are plenty of good examples here, all in Cambridge. The easiest spot to reach by subway is Atasca, not far from Kendall on the Red Line, and it's excellent. There are plenty of good places near Inman Square, such as Casa Portugal, O Cantinho, Portugalia, and Sunset Cafe, which are a bit of a walk from Central on the Red Line.

      Boston has excellent ice cream spots as well, and most of the best can be found in Cambridge off the Red Line: Toscanini's (Central) is the best, with Herrell's (Harvard) and Emack & Bolio's (Porter) also very good. Christina's in Inman Square has champions here, but I don't like them nearly as much. Picco in the South End is also first rate.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bachslunch

        I really like the ice cream at Picco too, but I don't like their hot fudge-- it's made with Schaffenberger chocolate and has a soury finish characteristic of that chocolate.

        1. re: bachslunch

          An addition: Taranta in the North End combines Peruvian and Italian cuisine very successfully. Can't think of another spot like it anyplace. Open for dinner only.

        2. You will love Neptune Oyster...sit at the bar and let Jeff(owner) take care of you..in fact let him pick the freshest oysters to start your meal. If you get there too late for dinner you will probably not get one of their fabulous lobster rolls...served on a great brioche roll..they are worht the trip alone!! If there is a Red Sox game on the T.V. by the end of the bar, be patient and don't mention the Yankees

          1. thanks for the responses so far. I think i've made some additional decisions.

            saturday:
            - breakfast at Charlies Sandwich Shoppe (how far is the walk from the hotel?) then off to the Prudential Center for the duck boat tour
            - lunch - undecided - hopefully something along newbery street on the walk to see beacon hill, boston common, faneuil hall
            - dinner at neptune oyster and then perhaps a stroll through chinatown and perhaps the waterfront before calling it a night

            Sunday:
            - breakfast and lunch still undecided but want to see the freedom trail and north end before leaving for the airport @ 4:30. any good eats here? we will probably check out Durgin Park for the Indian pudding right before heading to the airport.

            how does this sound? does it sound like we're doing too much? too little? am i missing a must see/do? any other ideas for a more efficient trip?

            16 Replies
            1. re: sashimi

              Neptune Oyster is in the North End, which is near a great part of the waterfront.
              You could incorporate seeing both those areas on your way to dinner. Faneuil Halll is also nearby. Very touristy.
              A very pleasant walk, in nice weather, would take you from the Prudential, through the Back Bay, Public Gardens, Common onto Beacon Hill and down through Faneuil Hall and into the North End in a few hours.
              Chinatown isn't too close to those areas, and, IMO, not worth a sightseeing trip unless you're planning to eat there.
              Very small and nothing of distinction compared to NYC's Chinatown.
              However, a nice Boston tradition is a late meal after closing time and some "cold tea" at one of the Chinese places. Draft beer served in the teapot and imbibed out of the little cups.
              With the Duck Tour you'll be seeing the must see Charles River. While near the Pru or Newbury St. make sure you see Copley Square. Great blend of old and new architecture.
              Not sure if a New Yorker will appreciate it but Pizzeria Regina in the North end is an institution and the best pie in the city.

              1. re: joestrummer

                "Chinatown isn't too close to those areas" - Chinatown is at most a 10 min walk from most of those areas. But, if you're coming from NYC, I'd skip our Chinatown.

                1. re: Dax

                  Sorry, I added a paragraph about walking from the Pru to North End.
                  C-town is very close to the Common, etc, but not the North End.
                  A quick walk from the North End to Chinatown would entail a trip along the construction wasteland remaining from the Big Dig and would have little, if any, sightseeing potential.
                  The point I botched trying to make earlier is that Sashimi may be better off not having dinner in the N. End and then heading to Chinatown.
                  Definitely not efficient, which is one of the goals.

                  1. re: Dax

                    Totally agree, avoid Chinatown.

                    1. re: Dax

                      There's actually a number of things in Chinatown that are worth getting for someone from NYC. The oyster pancake or cuttlefish balls at Rainbow Cafe for instance. Or a live salt and pepper eel from New Jumbo. I'd also check out the banh mi bo kho at Xinh Xinh, or the pho at Pho Hoa.

                      1. re: limster

                        I hope my post isn't misunderstood. Chinatown has many great places for meals. I'm just not suggesting it for a sightseeing destination for someone familar with NYC's C-town.

                        1. re: joestrummer

                          I agree.

                  2. re: sashimi

                    You could get lunch at the Paramount on Charles St. in Beacon Hill, try to go at an off time when it isn't packed. Parish Cafe would be a possibility too, on Boylston parallel w/ Newbury.

                    After Neptune and putzing around the North End, I'd walk down Hanover St. toward Commercial to Atlantic and get a drink at Intrigue or one of the other bars in the Boston Harbor Hotel then you're almost back at your hotel.

                    Maybe grab a baked good at Sel de la Terre by the Aquarium to hold you over til you have lunch at Durgin Park.

                    1. re: sashimi

                      Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe is a hefty walk from your hotel, but taking the subway from South Station (Red Line), changing at Downtown Crossing onto the Orange Line and getting off at the Back Bay stop will work fine. It's a brief walk from that stop to Charlie's. And it's an easy walk back to the Pru Center to catch the Duck Tour.

                      I'll heartily second the suggestion of Parish Cafe for lunch on Saturday. It's on Boylston Street close to the Public Garden. Newbury Street tends to be weak food-wise despite all the restaurants you'll see, though it's fun to walk there.

                      Note that the Freedom Trail starts at Boston Common, and if you follow the first part of the Freedom Trail, you'll get to Faneuil Hall, which is located at Quincy Market (where you'll also find Durgin Park). The Freedom Trail continues from there into the North End.

                      1. re: sashimi

                        Thanks everyone! We're really excited...we'll be heading to Charlies Sandwich Shoppe at 7:30 Saturday for breakfast then lunch at Parish Cafe and dinner at Neptune Oyster - possibility for ice cream at Toscanini's or a pastry at Maria's.

                        We'll be sleeping in slightly Sunday as we'll have to rise early Saturday. perhaps dim sum in chinatown and then a walk around the areas we might not have gotten to on Saturday, Lunch and Indian pudding at Durgin Park and then off to the airport. By the way - does the T take you to the airport?

                        will report back after our trip...

                        1. re: sashimi

                          Sounds like a great eating plan. Yes, the T will take you to the airport.

                          1. re: sashimi

                            Sounds like a terrific plan!

                            Alternatives to Maria's for North End pastry (which is excellent) should you desire them would be (in descending order) Modern Pastry and Mike's. And possible suggestions for dim sum would be (in descending order) Hei La Moon, China Pearl, Chow Chau City, and Empire Garden (aka Emperor's Garden).

                            Getting to the airport from where you are via subway is easy: take the Silver Line from South Station, making sure your bus says it's going to the Airport (some go to City Point or Boston Marine Industrial Park).

                            Have fun!

                            1. re: bachslunch

                              Excellent - i'll look out for those chinatown digs. Hopefully Hei La Moon isn't packed :D Thanks!

                              1. re: sashimi

                                I think bachslunch directions are from your hotel. If you're going directly from durgin park you'll want to walk to the nearby aquarium stop on the blue line and go outbound a couple stops to the Airport stop and catch a shutlle bus to your terminal.

                                1. re: joestrummer

                                  oo.. thanks for the clarification. We will be going to the airport directly from Durgin Park. Blue line it is!

                                  1. re: sashimi

                                    You're welcome. While at DP you should try to see if the Great Hall on the second floor of Faneuil Hall is open for visits. Beautiful and historic room in the building known as the Cradle of Liberty