tom911 goes to Boston

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by tom911, Feb 16, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Hello this Sunday night from Boston. Arrived here at 1430 today after an unexpected overnight visit in Philadelphia last night. My friends Jim and Zennie are traveling with me and it is their first time in both Philadelphia and Boston. Little did they know they’d be visiting Philadelphia when this trip started early Saturday with a 0500 drive from Benicia to the Sacramento Airport. Our original destination was Boston.

    SATURDAY

    As we were getting ready to board our AA DFW flight in Sacramento at 7 Saturday morning, AA cancelled all Boston service from DFW and LAX the rest of the day. Called AA from the gate, and continued the conversation as we were boarding, and they moved us over to US Airways flights DFW-Boston via Philadelphia. Same plane continued onto Boston. Had an hour stop in Philadelphia, and really thought we'd be good to go.

    Northeast ATC (air traffic control) issues while we were at DFW forced an 80 min delay. While in the air to Philadelphia they cancelled the second segment to Boston which would have been flown by a different crew than the one on our plane. I think the issue was more on the Boston side where the winter weather looked like it was playing havoc with arrivals. The US Airways flights before and after ours were also cancelled, as was a Jet Blue departure around the same time, so clearly weather in play.

    Found one of the US Airways lounges and the lone agent on duty went to work on our reticketing as nothing had been done. She had to call the help desk being that we were on a DFW-BOS through routing and she didn't know what to do with it when we stopped at PHL. Worked out O.K. in the end.

    Couldn't find any name brand hotels around the airport - everything booked and we had limited time as the lounge was closing at 2200. Called Marriott in the city center to ask if they knew if the train was running, as it didn't make sense booking with them until we knew, and they assured me it was, but the agent was surprised any rooms were available as she was told they were sold out. Apparently some rooms had been released. Double checked with Coughlins and just booked 3A rate there and took the 2212 train in.

    Hate not being able to rebook in the air as all the morning flights to Boston were booked full while we were en route to Philadelphia. First available flight out is at 1:15 in the afternoon and we're booked on it.

    SUNDAY

    Was out the door just before 10 for a quick run over to the Reading Terminal, just up from the hotel, for breakfast. I had a bagel with a scrambled egg, cheese and bacon for $4. Added in a Snapple mango orange juice and was set for the day.

    We were on the train back to the airport at 1105 and at the airport just after 1130. Went to the US Airways counter to ask about baggage restrictions on our flight (an Embraer E190, new aircraft for me), and was assured our rollaboards would fit in the overheads. Really had to force them in, but they did fit. Quick visit to the AA/BA lounge for a Diet Coke and we were off to the gate at 1230 for a 1245 boarding and 1315 departure.

    Arrived at the gate at Boston Logan Airport about 1430 and we were checking in at our airport area hotel at 1500.

    Hotel view from the airport train station that we walked to:

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    Out the door at 1530 on an ice and snow covered trail through a park to the airport T (train) station. Bought $5 round trip tickets and arrived just behind the State House at the Bowdoin station. From there a walk uphill on salted sidewalks, and then out right in front of the State House (legislature) where we visited the statue of one of Jim’s distant relatives, General Joseph Hooker.

    http://militaryhistory.about.com/od...can-Civil-War-Major-General-Joseph-Hooker.htm

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    From there a walk through snow-covered Boston Common over to the closed Granary Burying Ground which is home to Paul Revere, Sam Adams and John Hancock.

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    Along the way we met a new friend on Boston Common with paw protection in place:

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  2. tom911
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    Continued walking past King’s Chapel and their burial ground, past Boston City Hall, coming out at Faneuil Hall, which is a meeting hall dating back to 1742, and Quincy Market.

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    Did I mention there was snow here?

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    Continued further down the road to Hanover Street in North End, the start of a mutitude of Italian restaurants, cafes, bakeries and shops. Looked around for 15 mins and ended up at Panza which had impressive Yelp reviews. Had a 30 min wait for a table but worth every minute of it. Prospective customers that came in behind us without reservations were told the wait was 90 minutes, so our timing was pretty good to find an open table with a short wait.

    Had an Italian wine, garlic bread and salad, and my dinner choice was open sheet chicken lasagna. Didn’t quite look like a lasagna--more like a bowl of pasta with chicken, spinach and tomatoes, but very good. Had to pass on dessert.

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    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
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  3. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Next stop: Mike’s Pastries where there was a fast moving line out the door. I had a hazelnut cannoli which Jim got for me as I maneuvered around patrons to take photos, and Jim and Zennie split a tiramisu slice. We had those back at the hotel. Also a quick visit at a very nice wine shop in the North End where Jim and Zennie picked up a bottle to bring back.

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    Easy train trip back to the hotel from the Haymarket station just across from North End and only one train change. We traversed through the same park back to our hotel from the airport T station, though a little icier now that it’s well after dark. I instructed Jim to protect my cannoli at all costs.

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    Watching some Olympic coverage back at the hotel now and back out in the morning. Bright blue skies today and hopefully more of that tomorrow.

    Boston photos start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-USA/2014-Boston/i-Br7fpmW
     
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  4. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Thanks for the Boston report, tom911!
    It's been a few years since we've been in Boston, but you're definitely making the most of it between the snowstorms! Enjoy! I just have one restaurant recommendation, a Boston institution - the "No Name" restaurant, see:
    http://www.nonamerestaurant.com/
    We've been going there since before they put the "No Name" signs up (it was fun giving directions to folks trying to find this restaurant w/o any signs!). If you like seafood, the No Name fits the bill!
    Newscience
     
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  5. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    I'll pass that on to the friends traveling with me. Haven't decided on anything for Monday night yet.
     
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  6. Muerl
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    Kinda late on this, for dinner, but if your down in fort point I would go to Harborside over No Name. Fresher and more diverse.

    If your in the mood for more Italian, you might want to try Daily Catch up in the north end.

    If your heading inland I had amazing meal friday night at Ribelle in Washington Square.

    Enjoy Boston. PS, It will snow again tomorrow.
     
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  7. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Scheduled to fly out at 1300 so hope we beat the worst of the snow.

    Looked at the map for No Name and couldn't sort out an easy way to get over there by train, so back to North End again. We had passed by the Daily Catch last night and they were busy. Decided we were more interested in Italian. Details in the next installment that I'll post Tuesday.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
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  8. Muerl
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    Getting over to Ft Point from the North End is a bit strange. I feel like there should be a boat.

    In somewhat warmer weather its a pleasant walk along the waterfront.
     
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  9. Camino Cielo

    Camino Cielo Silver Member

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    Tom, you may be going with some outdated information, and it all revolves around the "T" Silver Line. First, have a look at a "T" plan to see the Silver Line. Second, next time, take the Embassy Suites (if you walked across the athletic field to the Blue Line Airport Station, you probably stayed at the ES, or did you walk longer from the Hyatt?) shuttle back to any terminal, and take the Silver Line bus for free admission to the "T", thence free to any subway destination. Third, the Silver Line is your way to the Seaport District restaurants etc., too. Connect at South Station. It's only free inbound from the airport, though. Another advantage: In cold or hot humid weather, you're exposed much less to the elements, this way. Anyway, glad your time on the ground was good. --Bay Area transplant CC
     
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  10. tom911
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    I think what confused me is that the silver line is a bus versus a train. I saw that line on the map at the train station as we went in last night, but by that time we had already committed to Italian again. We had daily passes yesterday as we traveled enough to come out ahead on those. Yes, we were at Embassy Suites. Have a better photo of it with the photos I'll be adding today. Just not enough time to hit everything we wanted to hit.
     
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  11. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Hello this Tuesday morning from Boston. Our flight is on time for a 1300 departure and snow is due any minute with 1-3 inches expected in Boston today. Heading over to the airport in about an hour.

    MONDAY

    After breakfast at the Embassy Suites, included in our rate, we walked across a snow-covered park to the airport T station. Bought daily passes for $11 and off to the Haymarket Station. After about a 20 min walk including crossing a bridge over the Charles River, we arrived at the Boston Navy Yard, home to Old Ironsides (USS Constitution). Just happened to be there at noon as they fired the guns a good dozen times. Couldn’t get on board due to the holiday. Also saw a destroyer just across the dock from it. Cold and windy with a high temp of 29F/-2C, though we had bright blue skies again which are great for photo taking.

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    Quick visit to the gift shop and museum and we were off for a short uphill walk to Breed’s Hill where the Bunker Hill Monument is located. This is the site of a battle in 1775. Construction of the monument started in 1825.

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    Visited with a dog owner who had his 3 month old labradoodle out for a walk, and after we came down the hill a rest stop at a neighborhood coffee shop.

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  12. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    Back across the Charles River to Haymarket Station and off by train to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. Walked the exterior of the stadium taking a number of photos, and after our visit headed across the street to the Boston Beer Works for beer (they brew on site). Very quiet there in the winter and limited food service due to the Presidents Day Holiday today.

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    Back on the train for a quick break at our hotel, making it back at 1700. Stopped at the managers reception at 1730 for soft drinks and appetizers, then out just after 1800 for dinner.

    We walked around Salem Street in North End this time and found a very busy larger restaurant that looked good, but once inside we checked wine and food prices and left as they were on the high side. Walked over a block to Hanover Street and returned to a much less crowded Panza restaurant which was able to immediately seat us. I had spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli with pine nuts and a cream sauce that was very good, and we all enjoyed another bottle of Italian wine. Paid a lot less than our first stop would have been. Main courses averaged about $15-18.

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    Quick look around at North Church and the Paul Revere statue in the park across from it. Stopped at Mike’s Pastries again and then back to the hotel for the night, arriving after 2100.

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    Last of the Boston photos start here:
    http://tom911.smugmug.com/Travel-USA/2014-Boston/i-MKx9Rp4

    Looking forward to a future visit as we have lots more to see.
     
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  13. tom911
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    Good amount of snow coming down at the airport, though can't get a good photo because of the glare from the overhead lights in the Admirals Club. Our aircraft is on the ground and we should start boarding in 15 mins, so feel pretty safe we're going to get out. Snow plows have not been called into action yet, though I see two spreader trucks out in action with what I gather is some type of deicing solution for ramps and runways.
     
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  14. tom911
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    Had a 20 min delay for deicing at BOS, but still arrived DFW at our scheduled arrival time and made our 50 min connection to Sacramento without any problem. Shuttle to the parking lot was right in front and we were quickly off airport property heading northbound on I5 on the way home. Posting from home now.
     
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  15. tom911
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    One thing I didn't mention earlier was the prepaid, nonrefundable hotel booking we had for our three nights in Boston. As you've read, we spent the first night in Philadelphia, at our cost, due to the weather in Boston. There's actually a success story here that just came about today.

    We had booked a 3 night stay in Boston at the Embassy Suites near the airport train station on the AA website. Their rate was $40 less than the Hilton website and was very competitive compared to other options we had that weekend, so booked with AA instead of directly with Hilton. I have booked a number of hotels in the past with AA and always been happy with both the price and the property, and as a bonus you do get some AA miles.

    When we landed at PHL and became aware we were not making it to Boston that night, we called both AA's hotel provider (number on the booking sheet) and the hotel trying to cancel and refund the first night, after all it was AA flights that were not going to get us to the AA-booked hotel. AA said they could not cancel but told us to e-mail customer service after our stay and request a refund. The hotel would not touch the booking because it was made by a third party, and, in fact, they checked us in before our arrival on the second day to guarantee our room so we would not be no-shows.

    Today we heard back that AA contacted the hotel and they will issue a full refund for that first night. Very happy with the resolution! :)
     
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