Boston: Part I

Dan and I decided to take a trip for Valentine’s Day instead of buying each other gifts, and we decided to go to Boston because I’ve never been there! It’s under 4 hours away, and I’ve been meaning to go, but somehow in all of the years I’ve lived here I never made it over there–I always choose New York. It was February Break around here, so there were no sub jobs for Dan, so we decided to take a belated V-Day trip last week.

Since we were staying multiple nights, we decided to be wise and stay outside of the city and take a commuter train in to save money. We stayed in Peabody, MA, and took the train out of Salem. It was a good move, as we stayed at the Hampton Inn (I really love this hotel. I’m a total germaphobe, but I always feel comfortable at the Hampton Inn; the rooms are always clean. As an added bonus, the breakfast is delicious.) for $90/night. We couldn’t leave until 1 on Thursday, so we had planned to just relax in the hotel that night, which was really nice.

We went to Santarpio’s Pizza for dinner, which was conveniently located right next to our hotel. The pizza was really good. The restaurant was weird, as the only options were pizza or three kinds of kebab. Maybe that’s a Boston thing, I don’t know. We did not try the kebabs, but we did get mushroom & pepper pizza, and I liked it. The crust was thin and there wasn’t too much cheese.

It was a rainy Friday as we headed into Boston. We realized further how wise we were to stay outside of the city because it only took about 20 minutes for the train to get us there. We went to the New England Aquarium, which was pretty lame. Last summer we went the aquarium in Brooklyn which was pretty awesome and had a lot of animals, so I expected this one to be even better. It wasn’t. They mainly just had penguins, and then smaller fish. Boring! The main display was a four-story tall tank that you walked up a winding path around, but even this was full of mostly boring fish. There was like one sting ray, one little shark, and one sea turtle. Yawn. Even the sea lion demonstration was short and unimpressive. The best part was the 3D imax movie we saw. Oh well.

Next we planned to head to the Faneuil Hall marketplace, as we were desperate for indoor locations (it was pouring and we were both soaked!). On the way, we stopped at b.good for lunch (and to get out of the rain for a second to find our bearings!) and it was so good. I had a turkey burger with avocado, cilantro, and salsa, and Dan and I shared an order of hand cut sweet potato fries. Yum! While we dried off a bit, we figured out where we needed to go. We found our way to Faneuil Hall, and went into Quincy Market. We walked around and then each had a cookie the size of our faces (me: sugar, Dan: chocolate chip).

Since it was so rainy, we decided to take a trolley tour as a way to stay out of the rain. We were the only ones with that idea, so we found ourselves on a private trolley tour. It was pretty funny! It was a good move, because it helped us feel oriented and spot things we wanted to check out on Saturday. It also made us realize how tiny Boston is and how funny it was that we took a train from the aquarium to the stop nearest Quincy Market, because they are really close together.

After the trolley ride, we were ready to head back to the hotel and dry off. On the way home, we went to Su-Chang’s for dinner. We each got a bowl of wonton soup and a crab rangoon appetizer to share, and then we shared the chicken and mixed vegetables (because we didn’t have a fridge in our hotel). Everything was delicious, and the portions of everything were so big that we couldn’t finish anything even though we were sharing. The prices were really low, too, even though it was a nice sit-down restaurant.

That was the end of our first day. You might be wondering why I haven’t posted any pictures. I decided not to bring my camera because I wanted to just enjoy the trip and really be in the moment rather than always keeping an eye out for a photo-op.

I’ll write about the rest of our trip soon, but first I wanted to share two iPod Touch (or iPhone) apps that really made our trip easier. First, MetrO is an app that allows you to download public transportation information for any city and access it without an internet connection. Obviously there weren’t train times, but I could type in “From Aquarium To Quincy Market” and it would tell me how to get there via train. This is one I’m definitely going to use in New York and when we travel to Vienna this summer.
Next, Smart Maps Boston was awesome. There are tons of maps that you can download and use offline, but I chose this one because it was searchable, so it was easy to find where I was on the map and then see where to go.

Now I’m off to catch up on school work, but stay tuned for Boston: Part II!

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