Visiting Boston

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Affordable place to stay with 6-year-old

Oct 2009

My son was born in Boston, six years ago. I would love to take him back for a visit but, for whatever reason, hotels are super expensive over there (at least for me). I am hoping that someone might know of a decent (no luxuries needed)and affordable place where we could stay for a few days? It doesn't have to be in Boston per se... It could be in Brighton or any other close spot that's safe, nice and close to Boston. Thanks! Boston nostalgia

We just returned from two trips to Boston: went there, stayed a 3 nights, went on to Vermont, then returned for 3 more nights. We had the best and worst possible experiences.

Best: Using, we ended up at the Hampton Inn--Billerica (which is actually in Burlingon; go figure), large spacious suite for $59 a night, including decent hot breakfast, taxes included.

Worst: Used PriceLine for the first time. They gave us the Bedford Plaza Hotel for that same price. It sounded promising since it is not far from an MTA station with free parking. It was, hands down, the worst hotel we've ever stayed at. Filthy, noisy, smelly, the works. The comments on Yelp Boston and (a good site for searching) confirmed this. John

We visited Boston in July 2008 for a wedding. My parents stayed at the Suite at 53 Wendell in Cambridge. It's awesome. You get a little suite with a bathroom and kitchenette. Their unit had a washer/dryer too. There are tons of snacks and beverages available in the building as well. It is very reasonable and is blocks away from Harvard and the Cambridge (and Somerville, too, I think) T stops. It's in a cute neighborhood. anon.

Try and

Private homes with kitchens. You have to pay a cleaning fee and a deposit however I have found some pretty reasonable rates country wide. I have always gotten my deposit back and love that I can prepare some of my own meals. Good Luck The Happy Traveler

HI, we stayed at this location (2 adults, 2 kids) this past summer. I don't know what ''affordable'' means to you since you didn't give a cost to stay below, but we loved the location in the North End (Boston sparkles now on the waterfront with the Big Dig complete) and the ease of making our own breakfasts in the shared kitchen of this family friendly B We paid $150/night. Here's the website so you can see the various room options and costs. Hope you enjoy Boston-- I loved seeing the city with my kids. Luisa

New York and Boston with 3 kids

Sept 2009

We're going to be in New York and Boston for a few days in October with our three kids, ages 3-8. I would love any recommendations of places to go or things to do. Any suggestions on places we can go to see the fall colors? Thanks so much! Heading East

Boston: My kids loved the ''Duck Tour'' which starts from the Children's Museum and they each got to drive! The Children's Museum is super, as is the Aquarium. Salem is a cool day trip -- pretty and some funky witch museums, Nathaniel Hawthorne's home, etc. Cambridge (across the river): Walking around Harvard is fun. The glass flowers exhibit in the botanical museum is very unusual. There is also the Peabody Museum on Divinity Ave. with archaeological finds. Harvard Square has its share of ice cream places. Herrell's is the one to go to. After Steve sold Steve's Ice Cream and couldn't use the name anymore, he started Herrell's. Yum! kl

Definitely go to the Children's Museum. Also, go to the Science Museum and the Aquarium. We go there via the T (public subway) and get to see the City that way. Try taking a Swan Boat ride in the Boston Public Garden and read THE TRUMPET AND THE SWAN as your read-aloud book while in Boston. Visit the ''Make Way for Ducklings'' statue while at the Garden. Go on a Duck Boat Tour; they originated in Boston. Depending on gender and interest, you might enjoy a tour of Fenway Park. Visiting the top of the Hancock Tower gives you a great view, a bit of history and some hands-on exhibits. And you might visit the Harvard Natural History Museum to see the gems, crystals and famous ''glass flowers'' depending on attention spans. There are great playgrounds all around; take a walk along the Charles near the Hatchshell if the weather is nice. If you make it out to Lexington with a car, try renting a canoe for an hour. The Berkshires are wonderful for fall colors and there are a variety of museums and lovely areas to visit out that way. You'll have a wonderful time, what fun. Belinda, former Cambridge resident

We lived just outside of Boston for 2 years, and my favorite places were the Museum of Science (which we liked way better than the Children's Museum; plus it's open late on Friday nights and has easy parking; be sure to walk past the gift store to see the musical staircase; there is also a kids' room back there but my boys ages 2 and 5 loved the main museum esp the 3rd floor), Drumlin Farm which is part of the Massachusetts Audobon society, and Walden Pond. One of our favorite restaurants was The Barking Crab. Boston is nice, but nothing beats Berkeley!

editor note: reviews were also received for New York

Boston with 8 and 12 y.o. boys

May 2007

We will be in Boston for 3 days this summer before we go to Cape Cod. Any recommendations of where to stay, actual place or area? Restaurants? Things to do? Thanks Linda

We stayed at the Copley Square Hotel and were very happy with our choice (47 Huntington Ave. We had a suite with 2 rooms and one (very small) bathroom, which was perfect for 2 adults and 2 kids. The location was excellent. I recommend the Duck Tour which was lots of fun; we caught it just down the block from our hotel. Nancy

When we were in Boston a few summers ago our kids enjoyed doing a Duck Tour (old WWII amphibious vehicles that are in several towns). We had also read ''Make Way for Ducklings'' enough times in their childhood that they enjoyed going to ride the Swan Boats and seeing the bronze sculptures of the ducks in the Public Gardens. They actually enjoyed a little history which we brushed up on before we went. And, they enjoyed Italian restaurants and pastries in the North End. Sally

Staying in Boston with a child

March 2004

My husband and I are traveling to Boston in mid-May with our son and we are looking for accommodations that are in the center of the city. We usually stay in bed and breakfasts, but it seems that most of them are not interested in having our one-year old along for the ride. Does anyone know of a spot that is not too expensive, comfortable and well-located? Also, any additional recommendations regarding things to do in Boston with children would be wonderful. Michelle

Do you need to be in the city? Getting around the whole Boston area is made very easy by the subway system (known as the ''T''), so you could choose to stay in any of the ''squares'', such as Harvard Square, Central Square, as well as downtown, and get around with ease.

Boston has a really fun children's museum. The Science Museum is a must! (If your kids are old enough to sit through an IMAX film there, DO IT!) The ''Duck Tours'' that take off from the base of the Prudential Bldg are fun for kids of any age. Walking around Newbury Street and window shopping are fun. At one end of Newbury street you will find the Commons and ___?__ which have a duck pond with ''Swanboats'' you can ride, a pretty gardens to walk through and a large field to play in. There are hotdog vendors and performers usually near Park Pl (a T-stop). And if your kids can tolerate it, great bargains to be found at Filene's Basement, located in downtown crossing. Faneuil Hall is also fun, with a food hall and other tourist-y restaurants. The holocaust memorial there is very moving.

I used to live between Central and Harvard Squares. There are nice neighborhood pockets to just walk through and hidden playgrounds. Just ask any mom with a stroller you happen to pass by. I would recommend a walk from Central to Harvard Square, which is nice and you can stop at Johnny Rockets (very kid friendly), which lies in between. There are some grassy spots in Harvard Sq, including Harvard Yard. And a stroll along the Charles River is always nice. Former Cambridgian

July visit to Boston with 2-year-old

March 2004

I'll be traveling to Boston for a conference in the ''Back Bay'' in July with my two year old. I hate hotels but will suffer through one if it has a kitchenette. Any suggestions of places to stay and things to do that will be fun for adults and my child? Any places to eat that are especially good for little ones? Appreciate the help. I checked the archives and the info seemed geared for winter trips not summer ones. Juliette

There are serveral options for you and your two year old, especially in the summer. The Science Museum is close to Back Bay and has lots of interactive exhibits for children. If you are there in the begining of the month, a big thing to do in Boston is go to the series of free concerts put on by the Boston Pops. It is along the river and in the Back Bay area. In the summer time, the Boston Orchestra goes west to Tanglewood and the Boston Pops goes east to Boston. Here's the link to both websites: It's also an ideal time to walk around in Harvard Square, which is very accessible by train (red line). Have fun! Donna

I'm going back to Boston myself in a few weeks. First time with a child. I draw here on experience with my nephews when they were little and would come to visit.

Boston Gardens and Commons are attached. In the Gardens you can take a ride on the Swan Boats and visit the bronze ducks from Make Way for Ducklings. On the Common the rangers have tours. Some are geared for kids. Although 2 is young he might enjoy the walk around the Commons anyway.

Boston's Children's Museum is a cab ride away on Museum Warf. They have things for kids of all ages. Its a wonderful children's museum.

Near that is the Aquarium. Took my son on my last visit (only 12 months at the time) and he was bored by everything except the pinguins. There is a dolphin hosw, shark tank and much more. A 2 year old might get more out of it.

Also from the warves: Depending on how long you have--there is a boat that goes to George's Island, and one that goes to Provincetown.

Jamaica Plains is a neighborhood. Check out a map. On Jamaica Pond you can rent a row boat and go out on the pond. Growing up in Boston, this was a favorite destination.

The Christian Science Center has a ''maporium''. It was closed for a long time but I think its open again. You walk inside a stained glass globe. When my nephew was 2 we took him. He was so excited he squealed. Sound carries inside the globe and it was LOUD but the staff was really understanding. Apparently kids always get excited inside the maporium.

Go for a walk in Fanuil Hall. Lots of color and fun. Gets very busy on weekends so your son would need to be craried, or in stroller some of the time. Harvard Square--dido.

My nephews used to love going to FAO Schwartz, near Copley Square, when they were little. I have mixed feelings.

No restaurant recommendations. When I left Boston I was childless. Now if you want to know about bars...but that's a different post. Sharon

My sister and I went to a wedding in Boston last Labor Day with our daughters, ages 2 and 4. We absolutely loved the Museum of Science (my favorite exhibit being a playground that taught about the science of playgrounds, like swinging, but they got to play at a park, INDOORS, on a very hot day). We are also SO glad we took a friend's recommendation and signed up for the ''Duck tour'', which departs from the Museum (and probably somewhere else)--I know Boston well, having attended college and worked there for several years and was enchanted by the knowledge and humor of the tour guide (they all have their own schtick but they all get raves). Best of all, you're in these amazing WWII-era vehicles that after navigating the streets slide into the water and become boats for a nautical tour! It seems hokey/cheesy, it isn't cheap, but it's guaranteed fun.

If your 2 year old likes ''Make Way for Ducklings'', don't miss the commemorative statues in the Public Garden and a ride on the nearby swan boats. The New England Aquarium is great but expensive. As for dining, we *blush* ate at 4 (different) Legal Seafoods during the trip (I used to eat at the original ONE, in Porter Square, before it burned down!). They have a nice kids' menu, great service--very attentive to kids--tons of locations, and good reliable fish and seafood for you at affordable prices. Have a great trip! I want to go back!

Visiting Boston with Teens

August 2003

we are taking our daughter back east for college(!) and spending 3 days in boston first. any recommendations on what to see/what not to miss? kids are 18 and 13. i had planned on staying somewhere right in boston - is it really that easy to walk/take public transit? i don't want to waste any of our time commuting/ driving around looking for parking, but am wondering if we should stay a little ways out to get a cheaper hotel. i should have sent this out much earlier - we leave aug. 25 so quick answers appreciated! peggy

I wouldn't recommend driving in Boston if you can avoid it. It is a city of narrow, mostly one way streets with limited parking. The T is pretty decent as public transit goes; goes lots of places, reasonably priced, a bit beat up but still functional. I'd recommend the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science, maybe one of the Duck Tours (weird vehicle that goes on land and water and you go on a tour of the city), Fanueil Hall for shopping, eating and street performers. There's a ton of really interesting historical things, the whole ''Freedom Trail'' if you are interested. There are also all kinds of neat boat rides, I took one to Provincetown for the day that I liked. Try the www.BostonUSA website for tips. How about a baseball game at Fenway Park? Also definitely visit Cambridge (the home of Harvard), I loved that when I was a teenager. I also love the Italian section, called the North End - great food. Be prepared for lots of humidity and sometimes it even rains there in the summer! Boston is a really neat walkable city with lots of character, I think you will enjoy it. anon

First of all, I tried to e-mail the poster, but it bounced back! Have fun in Boston! I haven\x92t been there in a while, but my general recollection is that you should avoid driving if at all possible. Signs are bad, drivers are aggressive, and parking is horrific (like S.F.!). The subway system (the \x93T\x94) goes lots of places, including the airport. It isn\x92t just a \x93commuter\x94 system like BART \xad it covers a lot of territory. If you are only going for a few days, you should be able to find plenty to do right in town. The Aquarium is excellent (on the Blue line of the T). If you and your kids like art museums, don\x92t miss the Museum of Fine Arts (on the Green Line). I also recommend the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum if your family is art-appreciative. Of course, there\x92s shopping and historic walks, Boston Commons with swan-boat rides, and other touristy things. My husband reminds me that the Science museum (Green Line, Lechmere station) would be enjoyable, especially for your 13-yr-old. There is also a small (maybe bigger now) computer museum.

If you want to get away from the city itself, and decide to rent a car just for the day, go up to Salem. While the \x93witch\x94 related stuff is a bit overdone, there is an excellent museum focusing on the area\x92s nautical history (not as dry as it sounds), and a pretty commons area. Have fun! R.K.

Oh hogwash ! Don't let them scare you, Boston drivers are just fine, ok, we may get a little 'creative' sometimes, but where is your sense of humor? :) The 'T' is a wonderful way to get around (subway system) if you are particularly fearful. Start at Harvard Medical School, eat on the green, Go see the isabella stewart gardener museum, an easy walk from there, and then hit Newbury street, walk down to the boston commons, take a duck boat ride, take the T to cambridge and walk around, eat and sit outside at grendles, walk along the charles river, check out brookline village, listen to tons of great live music at the regatta bar in cambridge, tt the bears, or the alley behind fenway park. drive up to portsmouth new hampshire. have fun! felicia

Boston w/ Kids at Christmas

November 2001

We (two adults, three kids, 18m-9) are going to visit my sister in Boston for Christmas. Does anyone know of any special must do holiday events? Or just fun stuff for us to do in the cold? Thanks.

Ice skating at Frog Pond in Boston Common, short day trips to ski resorts, Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker are some fun Bostonian winter traditions. Jennifer

My kids loved the Boston Children's Museum. They have interactive exhibits for kids of all different ages - even a special area for little kids. When we were there in August, the big hits with my kids were the climbing walls (different walls for different age levels varying in degree of difficulty), the Arthur exhibit (from the PBS t.v. show), and the bubbles exhibit. Daphne

I visit Boston twice a year with kids, usually in the cold. Here are my ideas, in no particular order: -Skating on Boston Common/Public Gardens (if it's cold enough). The frog pond is shallow and so freezes easily. There's a hotel on the public gardens which serves high tea, but I don't know if you want to take an 18m old there. Walking around Beacon Hill and Charles St. would be fun for the adults, as it is a charming neighborhood--cobblestone streets, Georgian brick houses, etc. -Faniuel Hall/Quincy Market is a charming if touristy set of shops. The famous Durgin Park restaurant is there (family style seating, and waitresses who specialize in the brash Boston attitude). Nearby is the original Oyster House, an old old restaurant from around colonial times. -Children's Museum...fabulous, especially if cold or rainy. -Boston Tea Party ship -- quick, but fun. -U.S.S. Constitution in Charlestown, if you're into sailing ships. -Museum of Science is fabulous also, especially for the older kid(s). There's even a lot for younger kids. -Boston Aquarium. Haven't been in awhile, but it was great last time I went. -Boston by Food gives fabulous architectural walking tours. May be ambitious for the younger kids, but we loved it. (My husband was a docent.) If you're willing to drive further, Plymouth Plantation is a fabulous living history site. Reconstructed the original village and the guides all act in character as a specific person who came over on the Mayflower. There's also a native American village, but the interpreters are not in character (because they are real native americans, not actors). And there's the Mayflower II nearby, an exact replica of the original. Also further out in a different direction is Sturbridge Village, from a later period of history (early 1800's) and is also a village recreated. No living history actors, but people dressed in period costumes who demonstrate various crafts. Plymouth Plantation probably wouldn't be decked out in holiday themes, b/c the Puritans weren't big on papist holidays like Christmas, but I would imagine Sturbridge Village would be. On the north shore, Rockport is a charming village that gets all gussied up for Christmas, complete with Santa Claus arriving on a lobster boat. (For many years, that was my grandfather in that role!) Also on the North Shore are the Salem Witch Museum and even better, the House of Seven Gables which is the house the book was written about. Lovely historic old house, with good guides. And there's a national park in Lynn Mass. on the textile industry -- good for older kids -- as well as another national park on the north shore, I think near Salem, with some lovely old houses. If you get a chance, pick up a copy of In and Out Boston, With or Without Children. I ran a summer program for 8 year olds in Boston, and it was my Bible. Have fun! Dress for the cold. Meghan

Boston with a baby

Sept 1999

Help! I will be travelling around the east coast before Columbus Day weekend looking at colleges with my husband and his 17 year old daughter and our six month old baby. We are going to fly into Newark and head up towards Providence and Boston. Does anyone have any suggestions for baby friendly accommodations in the Boston area (outside of it is fine, such as near Wellesley or Newton) and/or Providence. Or in Connecticut on our way back down (I used to live in Westport and would love to stay near there but can't think of anything feasible). I'm thinking something that would give us rooms with connecting doors so that baby can be shipped back and forth between our rooms in shifts if necessary and with the all-important survival tool of a MICROWAVE (yes, I know people used to manage without them but I frankly have no idea how). Any suggestions would be welcomed with tears of gratitude. (Also feel free to add general travel tips/advice.) Thanks!!! Fran

Jane (9/99)

I don't have any suggestions for accommodations, but if you have the time take a ride on the Boston Duck Tour. We just did on our recent visit and it was a lot of fun. See . The tour is on an authentic, renovated World War II amphibious landing vehicle, at the Prudential Center in Boston's historic Back Bay.

Boston in October

July 1998

Boston in October -- you are lucky, it's a great time of year to be there! Things to do with an 11-year-old that are non-museum activities: you can trace Paul Revere's ride (follow golden horseshoes in the pavement), visit Walden Pond and walk around there (it's spectacular at that time of year with the changing leaves too, and they have a small visitor's center), or drive out to see Plymouth Rock, etc. If you go around the third weekend of the month, you might catch the Head of the Charles, a huge rowing event that is ongoing all day, with teams from all over the country (and the world) and lots of people wandering up and down the riverbanks -- a real festival. And don't resist taking your 1-year-old to the Public garden to see the little statues of the eight ducklings and the Mommy and Daddy ducks from the classic picture book Make Way for Ducklings; little kids love to sit on the statues, feed the ducks and watch the swanboats. Allison

Of the things that all the guidebooks mention, don't miss the Science Museum since that will have things for both of them (there is an activity room for toddlers). That place is expensive ($9.00 for adults I think) but it reciprocates with Lawrence Hall of Science/Academy of Sciences/Exploratorium so bring your card if you are member of one of those.

One local form of recreation the fall is to drive out in the country and look at the leaves. The local weather reports will tell you where the most intense color is. Not exactly a kid trip but something that can be combined with attractions outside the city. This does imply driving amongst Boston drivers, something that might be quite entertaining for the older kid if he likes thrill rides.

Don't forget the joys of public transportation. The Red Line between Cambridge and Boston is my favorite since it pops out of the tunnel to cross the river with great views on either side. Sit in the front of the train for this if you can.

When you get there check the local listings to see if there are outdoor events on the Esplanade or the Public Garden. October is a little late but you might get lucky and be able to have lunch outside and hear music.

Before you order, make sure you understand the establishment's definition of shakes and frappes. A traditional New England shake consists of milk and flavoring but no ice cream. Ken

for the person going to boston. I grew up in boston. and beleive it or not the best place to go and plan on spending all day is thre museam of science its like the exploratoriam x 10. I try to go whenever im back and always bring any kids i have with me. I gaurentee big fun for all ages. there is the largest IMAX screen in the states in there (Like at great America only WAY WAY bigger), as well as a planaterium/lazerium. hands on computers etc. YOU cant imagine. Bring a bag lunch the cafateria on the top floor is spendy. Its MBTA (BART) accessible. Other visist include of course the freedom trail and hanging in the boston garden (PARK) ride the duck boats around the pond. they have a very large aquarium but your kids have probaly been to the one in golden gate park. its bigger in boston but similiar. I strongly recommend the museam of science. have fun!-K Kimberley

From a UCB employee temporarily stationed in Boston with two boys, 8 and 12, here are some fun things we've found in the Boston area that your family might enjoy as well:

Definitely another vote for the Museum of Science. Like the Exploratorium, it has a lot of hands-on exhibits which they'll enjoy. The IMAX theatre is currently showing the Everest film, which is quite an awesome visual adventure; I think your 11 year old would enjoy this, but the baby would probably have to sit this one out, due to theatre policy. A lot of other things to see, though. The musical stairs and kinetic displays are big hits.

Also in Boston, take the elevator to the top of the Hancock building ($3-5 dollars each, I think) and have a wonderful, almost 360 degree view of the entire Boston area and harbor. There's a lot of historical info around the walls of the observatory, plus a narrated diarama depicting some of the Revolutionary War battles.

If the weather is nice, you can take a 45 minute ferry ride around the Boston harbor area. You get a lot of info on the various sights around the harbor from the crew, on the way to George's Island. Once there you can either get off and walk around the Civil War era fort that is pretty much intact, picnic on the lush grass and take a later ferry back, or simply stay on the ferry for the return trip. My boys loved exploring the huge fort, and if you bring a flashlight, you can go into various stairways and tunnels. Fun!

If you have a car and an extra day, head out of the city, northwest to the Lexington/Concord area. The drive is about a 1/2 hour, and the foliage should be pretty spectacular at that time. On either the first or second weekend in October, Lexington hosts Colonial Days. There are a number of colonial-era activities for the kids - games such as hoops; lantern, candle and husk doll making, plus the demonstration of musket loading and shooting (cover baby's ears) by uniformed Minutemen and British troops. In Concord, you can walk over the Old North Bridge, see Walden Pond, and tour Emerson's and the Bronte houses and the old cemetary with its interesting gravestones. Very nearby, in Lincon, is the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. The Sculpture Park, all outside, is a wonderful place - everywhere you turn, hidden in the trees or looming above you, there is sculpture and artwork, a lot of it humorous and whimsical enough to really catch kids' attention and start a discussion. About a mile down the road is Drumlin Farms, an Audubon reserve, with both farm animals (gather your own eggs and take a hayride), and injured/recuperating wild animals (owls, hawks, foxes). This is one of our favorite weekend spots.

Hope this gives you some ideas - enjoy! Eileen

Another great thing to do is apple-picking...I was in Boston two years ago for the month of October and that is one of my best'd probably want a backpack rather than a stroller for the 1-year-old, but the place we went was not very far from the parking lot to the trees. It was a slight drive from Boston, but as the other postings describe, the drive itself can be really stunning if the leaves are good this year. Ann

Oh, boy, Boston in October! My favorite time of the year to go! Not too hot, not cold, but juuuuust right!

1) The Boston Gardens. I don't know if the swan boats will still be in service, but if they are, that's a treat. Buy plenty of popcorn or peanuts to feed the ducks, squirrels and pigeons! There is a wonderful bronze sculpture of the mama duck and her babies from the Make Way for Ducklings book at the entrance to the Gardens that leads out to Charles Street. Be sure to read Make Way for Ducklings before you go!

2) Exiting the Gardens, then meander down Charles Street for the beautiful sights of old brick buildings, antique shops, quaint, quaint, quaint! Beacon Hill will be a challenge with a stroller, so only tackle that if you perhaps put the little one in a backpack.

3) FAO Schwartz in Boston has a HUGE bronze teddy bear statue in front--great for picture taking! And, the inside of the store is different from the one in SF.

4) The Boston Children's Museum has stimuli for kids of all ages.

5) The Boston Museum of Science is a treat for your older kid.

6) A tour of Paul Revere's house is a must. Imagine what it was like to live back then, with those tiny beds and tiny rooms! Fascinating. Also, the house is in the heart of Boston's north end, which is an Italian neighborhood with wonderful restaurants and lovely, friendly people. You can also walk to the old North Church, of one if by land, two if by sea fame.

7) The Fanueil Hall Marketplace has become a total tourist area, but I like it. There are a jillion little stands that sell everything from the charming to the vulgar. One place there that hasn't changed one iota is Durgin Park restaurant. Go there for the best value in beef or lobster and sit down at a huge table covered with a red-checkered cloth and eat family style. (Not a good place if you're a vegetarian.)

8) A walk along the Charles River and a picnic by the water, watching the boats go by, can be a wonderful thing to do.

Oh, you'll have so much fun! I hope you have the time to get to know this area at least a little bit. Boston in October and May are my two favorite times of the year. Becky

I grew up in Amherst, Ma. but left Ma. when I was 17 so it's been a long time. I'm writing because from me you get a kid's perspective, because that's when I experienced it all. Trips to the 'city' were big deals, but as an impressionable kid what impressed me most were the swan boats (your 11 yr old might be getting a little big for them, though) and the Boston Museum of Science. My dad once dropped my sister and me off at the museum early in the a.m, and we still weren't ready to be picked up when he came for us at 5:00. Lots of historical buildings and I remember driving past as my parents would explain things, but I have a feeling your son would just do what my brothers and sisters used to do - just grunt at all the dumb buildings and statues. If you're going to a wedding, hopefully you have family or even hotel people who can give directions. How long will you be there? I have a 12 yr old boy and 10 yr old girl and yes, in fifth grade my son's class studied the 13 colonies and the revolution and much of the action was in Ma. If you have a car Plymouth Plantation in Plymouth (south of Boston) is a village that recreates history with people dressed in 1700's outfits performing tasks of way back then. There's a similar village in Worcestor, I forget the name - maybe Worcestor Village - that is a standard field trip for all the schools. I remember it from 5th grade! Very authentic, and brings what you've been studying to life. Plymouth really does have a Plymouth Rock. Not very impressive at all - just a big rock in a pit. Not very thrilling but nice to see. Again, if you have time, and if you haven't seen Atlantic beaches, go either to Cape Cod, but a bit of a drive, or head north of Boston to Gloucester. New England beaches don't have the grandness of Ca, beaches, however, they have such a quaintness and I think much 'friendlier' and relaxing. (Starting to get homesick!) It's interesting to compare the two coasts. Ma. is beautiful in October when you'll be there, the trees are changing color. I met people literally from all over the world who've made a New England trip largely to see an autumn in New England. But you need to get out of the city and more inland to see it. It'd be a beautiful drive to Worcestor Village.

Also close to Boston is Salem -witch hunt land - which I understand is pretty good. I've never been personally so can't recommend specifics, but that's one trip the family never took. Have a good trip! And yes, New Englanders are much more reserved but don't be put off by it - we just don't do the hugs and kisses like Ca.

Duh, here you are associated with Cal, and I neglected to mention Harvard!! Again, considering your son's age, I'm sure he'd be impressed with Cambridge, and youself, too! Just be sure to point out to your son that Cal tops Harvard at everything! Kathy

re: traveling in Boston: I highly recommend the Boston's Children's Museum. It is on the waterfront, in an old industrial building, and has amazing things to do for an 11 year old, plus a tot area for the one year old. Also the Boston Aquarium, nearby, has dolphin shows. And have you read Make Way for Ducklings? The story takes place downtown in the Boston Common, which still has swan boat rides where you can feed the ducks. Another thing we loved to do with our kids is ride the trolleys. This is more for the 3-5 set though. Have fun! Kateri