A Day of Boats in Boston

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday Jun 26, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, Revolutionary War Sites, Travel

We had a wonderful day in Boston. I enjoyed Boston more today than the first. I think it was combination of slightly better weather, knowing our way around,  and less traffic.  I realized on the drive to Maine that it was the day on boats – no wonder I liked it.

We started the day with what Claire wanted to do which was the Swan Boats. When we made the hike from the harbor to the Public Garden, we realized the swans where not what we expected. In our Boston Go Card book, it looked like you pedaled individual boats. As you can see it was a much larger boat and someone did the work for you. Claire decided that was still okay and we had a beautiful relaxing ride in a small pond. It was her favorite activity of the day.  The boats have been operated by the same family for 130 years . It is also the cheapest admission in Boston so don’t miss out. We walked around the park for a little while and it is quite beautiful much better than the commons. There are some beautiful flowers and some nice statues one is in honor of                                                                  the book Make Way for Ducklings which is set in Boston.

Our next stop was the Old State House where we looked at some exhibits and went on a tour. We did not do the audio tour that is included with admission. They have John Hancock’s red velvet coat on display and some other interesting artifacts. They have three small areas hands on activities for kids. Claire enjoyed where you get to be the bird in a cuckoo clock. The tour was an overview of the history of the State House and government in Boston. I thought it was good but the kids did not like it much. I don’t think it had enough revolutionary history for them. They liked the tickets the best because each one had a different person on it. Bruce was a British spy which they thought that was cool. The tour ended with an interesting story about a cane on display. We had lunch at the hotdog stand outside- again. Great hotdogs!

 

After a quick shopping trip for Cobey, we got on the  45 min. Harbor Cruise Tour that makes a stop at the USS Constitution. This tour is free with most of the trolley tours and I highly recommend getting out in the harbor on some sort of boat. The narration was only okay when I could understand and hear it. It was THIS view from the ferry when I first really appreciated the beauty of the Boston skyline. Unfortunately, we did not have time to get off at the stop but it was a nice ride.

 

We hopped off the ferry boat and got on a tall ship. We had booked the Boston Tea Party cruise with Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships. The kids helped hoist the sails and steer the boat. There was a costumed patriot on board that led the reenactment of the town meeting and the tea party. He also told a great  ghost story about a fort we passed. I would have enjoyed just a sailing without the extra but it made it very exciting for the kids. They loved it. It is only $5 more dollars than the other cruises. You have to pay $10 more if you have a Boston Go Card. Don’t ask me why. This was one of my favorite things we did. I think this, the Duck Tours and the Walking Tour are my top three picks for Boston.

 

Bruce headed for the airport by water taxi and we headed for a very quick stop at the Aquarium. It is not the best aquarium I have been to but it is good. It has a large penguin exhibit. It has a two different touch tanks. It also had some very nice tanks with some fish and sea creatures I had not seen before. There is a cool exhibit where you have to listen to find the hidden fish- teaching the kids about echolocation. You could easily do the aquarium in two hours. We only had an hour and were a little rushed.

 

 

 

I would have liked to have seen the USS Constitution and Museum and the Art Museum but I feel like we saw a lot in two days. The Boston Go Cards ended up saving us money. I saved $186 on my admissions, the kids saved $62 each of theirs, and Bruce saved $56 for a total savings of $366. Bruce had a 3-day card and we had 7-day. We purchased them at a discount price. There were a few things we may not have done if we did not have the card but I still think we would have come out way ahead.

If I was planning my first trip to the area again, I would have 3 days in Boston, 1 in Salem, 1 in Lowell, and 2 in Lexington/Concord. If I get a chance to come back, I will do a day in Salem, Boston and Lexington/Concord.

We spent the last four nights at a Homewood Suites in Andover. The hotel was in great condition and decorated nicely. The staff was very friendly and helpful. It took us almost an  hour to get to Boston on Friday and about half that on Sunday. It is closer to Lowell and Lexington/Concord. The really  nice thing about Homewood Suites is they serve dinner for free during the week. They serve a hot breakfast each morning but not cooked to order. It was less than half  the price of the hotels in Downtown Boston so you can consider it a great option if in the area.

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Busy Day In Boston

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Friday Jun 24, 2011 Under Claire, Cobey, Homeschool, Kid's Corner, National Parks, Revolutionary War Sites, Travel

We started off our day by picking up Bruce at the airport. Navigating underground tunnels was the first adventure. I never knew you could have so many exits in a tunnel. We then headed straight for Boston and set up our tours. We booked a Boston Tea Party Cruise, the Beantown Trolley Tour and the Duck tour. We then visited Paul Revere’s House and Old North Church. Both were included in our Boston Go Cards. We paid 1.50 for the children’s tour guide at Paul Revere’s House and it added a lot to the tour. I recommend it! We also got the guide at the Old North Church. The five minute talk in the church was much better than the guide. We then headed for a Freedom Trail Tour. We stopped for hotdogs on the way from a cart. I love that about cities.

We had the best costumed guide with Freedom Trail Foundation. He had a great voice that was loud enough to be heard over the noisy streets. He told the story of Boston and its people. After studying the Revolutionary War for months, I thought I knew a lot but he reminded me of some and told new interesting stories that I had not heard. He covered the story of the Revolutionary War with some other stories thrown in from different time periods. I HIGHLY recommend this tour and doing it before you do any other sites on the trail. After the tour, we went to the Boston National Historical Park. We probably should have gone there first and gotten the Junior Ranger information but it worked out fine. They answered the questions about the things we had seen and had to draw something from each of them. They have five sites and you have to do at least three of them. I thought the program was pretty good and they learned something new from it. If your kid hates to draw then they will not like it.

After they completed their Junior Ranger Program, we headed to the Duck tours. We scheduled our tour at 530 after everything else had closed. We had a snack from the grocery store while we waited to board. We had another great tour guide, who you could tell loved his city. He told us a ton of information about the city in a fun high energy manner. Claire was so excited when we hit the water. Cobey said the best part of the day was when he got to drive the boat. It was another excellent tour that I recommend. If you are short on time, do the evening tour but if you more time do it first as an overview. It gives you lots of information on what you may want to go back and see.

We also did the Beantown Trolley. We basically used it twice for transportation. It was included in our card. It worked out twice for us but I would not waste your money otherwise. The trolleys get very crowded and you can’t get on. You have to time it perfect or you will be waiting for a trolley for at least thirty minutes. And the Duck tour was more entertaining and gives you an overview of the city. It is a pretty compact city so I recommend walking.

After dinner, it took us forever to get out of the city and back to the hotel. We go back Sunday and there is no way we will be able to see everything left on our list. We will do our best though. I think Claire is a country girl. She kept complaining about the noise , chaos and crazy drivers.

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