Boston New Years Eve

This journal was going to be dedicated to many trips to Boston, but I decided to just focus on my recent NYE 2006 trip.

Boston New Years Eve

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on December 13, 2006

I did a lot of research about different places to go for New Years Eve 2006. I wanted something affordable, in a city, with something different going on. Boston turned out to be the destination of choice.

Boston's New Years Eve celebration is centered around "First Night." This non-profit organization encompasses many of Boston's favorite attractions into one 24-hour long festival. It's quite amazing. For $15, First Night participants can attend any of the participating Boston area events for free. Events include things like the philharmonic, plays, readings, museum tours, film fests, ice skating, etc. It begins at 1pm on 12/31 and ends at 1pm on 1/1. The focus of this event is for anyone (infants and above) to have a memorable New Years experience that is not centered around overpriced fancy dinners or getting wasted. It's a non-alcoholic party, but if you still want to drink just go into one of the bars.

We arrived into Boston later in the afternoon. We considered our options and realized that First Night wasn't going to be part of our plans. We didn't know the city well enough to get from Venue to Venue, so we decided to just walk around near our hotel and head to Boston Common when we were closer to midnight.

Many of the city's popular attractions are not available around New Year's Eve, so you want to check in advance to make sure you can do what you want to do. The shops on Newbury Street are open, as well as the Prudential Center. The times aren't the normal times, however. You can always walk the Freedom Trail, you just might find that some of the attractions on the trail aren't open. Boston Common is more than available, First Night celebrations include ice sculptures in the Common! Other than First Night events, there didn't seem to be any shows in the Theater District. This was good because some of the nicer restaurants in that area weren't crazy busy with people.

I felt Boston for New Years was an exciting destination that was not over crowded or over expensive.${QuickSuggestions} Going to Boston for New Years is your opportunity to see the city on the cheap. Boston is just too cold to be a popular nation-wide destination for New Years. First Night seems to mostly attract the local crowd, and I thought that was perfect. First off, hotels are cheaper. Second, there isn't a huge tourist crowd, college crowd, or even a work crowd. Since the summer, spring and fall attract more tourists, it's easier to do some of the touristy things you want to do (that are open). College kids are usually back home during the winter break, so they aren't there and with the 9-5 businesses closed for the holiday, the city is on relax-mode.

Hotels, I discovered, were anywhere from 25-75% cheaper than you can normally find them. What a great deal. If you do go for New Years, I suggest going at least a day or two before first night celebrations. You'll better acclimate yourself to the area and will be ready to go when you need to.

Here's a list of sites I used to plan my trip:

The Freedom Trail Website An awesome resource that gives you a little history of all the stops on the freedom trail before you make this trek. I will also write a review about my experience within the next couple of days, so check back.

First Night Even though I didn't directly participate, this site was so helpful before we got there. I didn't have to walk around wondering what all the First Night stuff was about. They will put a schedule on their site weeks before, so you can check to see if anything interests you.

The winter in Boston is cold. It was pretty mild while we were there, but coming from Florida it was still unbearable at times. Bring comfortable shoes, a good jacket and an umbrella.${BestWay} Boston is a large city that is very manageable. Everything is walking distance. In New York it seems that all the different areas are about 15-20 blocks apart. In Boston, they only seem to be about 5 blocks apart. The city felt safe in all the areas we walked and we really enjoyed all the sites as well.

If you are in a hurry, you can consider taking the T. For two dollars, the easy to understand system will take you from one part of town to another. If you take advantage of their website, you will be able to get exact directions from the spot you are departing from to your arrival. They will tell you how to get to the nearest tram station, how to change trains if needed and alternate routes. They will also estimate the length of time it will take - and I found it to be very accurate. You can buy T-passes (the Charlie Card) in any monetary denomination, or a one day pass for $9. Of course, this all depends on how much you expect to use it.

The taxis were affordable. We took one from the South Station to our Hotel (350 Stuart Street) for only $15, and to the airport for about the same. I didn't find a reason to use it for the rest of my stay since we were really centrally located.

My parents took the hop-on, hop-off bus and they loved it. It was about $22 depending on the discounts you can get, and for that reason, we opted to pass. They were only there for the day and felt it was worth it. They got to see all of the highlights, and hear stories about why the places were important.

Jurys Boston Hotel

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on January 4, 2007

Jurys Boston is conveniently located on the corner of Stuart and Berkeley close to many of Boston's biggest attractions. Newbury Street, Boston Common and the Theater District are all only a few blocks away. Restaurants and great shopping are only a block away. We got a great deal. We paid $165 per night. matched the price I found on another site. When we got there, the doormen were extremely professional and friendly. The lobby was gorgeous. Plenty of space to relax, a fireplace, newspapers, and magazines. There's a coffee bar, sit down restaurant and an Irish bar. (The Irish Bar is named "Cuffs" a homage to the building's former Police Station status.) There is also a 24-hour gym and business center and several conference centers. The front desk staff were just as friendly as the doormen. Right next to the elevator there was a concierge desk ready to answer any questions and book tours.

We were upgraded to a deluxe room, which was nice. We took the elevator up to the 8th floor and enjoyed our large room. Walking in there is a huge mirror down the hallway before the room. Inside we saw a beautifully decorated room with non-traditional wall art and nice bedding. The bed was perfect. We sunk into it every night slept peacefully through the night. There was a large desk, a chair and table next to the window, an armoire with a television, refrigerator (2 complementary bottles of water included every day), and room for clothes. There were two closets to hang clothes. The bathroom was large. It was a standard size tub with Aveda toiletries. They also provide to large robes that were so wonderful I wanted to bring them back with me. Jurys is also considerate and keeps a branded umbrella in the room in case it rains.

The Jurys Hotel has 24-hour housekeeping. I didn't know what that meant, but I do know that they were providing turn-down service every night. They gave us a piece of chocolate and a nice quote on fancy paper. In the morning we had a complimentary newspaper.

Best of all, and what I feel really differentiated this hotel. I was in Boston for my birthday. After we checked in, we immediately left to grab a bite to eat. When we got back there was a bottle of wine, two wine glasses, and a note saying: "Thank you for choosing Jurys to celebrate your birthday."

Overall, I felt this hotel was the perfect place to spend a holiday in Boston. With the great staff, beautiful rooms, and central location - you can't go wrong.
Back Bay Hotel
350 Stuart Street
Boston, Massachusetts, 02116
(617) 266-7200


Member Rating 3 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on January 9, 2007

I love desserts. When I first saw Finale on the Food Network, I knew I had to make that special trip to it when I visited Boston. It's a bar that serves desserts. Does it get much better than that?

I went to the Columbus Avenue location, which is conveniently located right next to the Theater District. It is the perfect post-show place to relax with friends. The night I went, New Years day, it wasn't full. I've read that reservations are recommended, but there was no need for them that day.

So, you walk in and you get a menu. The menu lists apps (prelude) and desserts. The prices were a bit higher than other places, but that's to be expected. There is a Prix Fixe menu which offers one appetizer and one dessert for $17.95. We didn't order that. There most beloved dessert is the molten cake ($10.95) and we didn't order that. They have a flight of hot chocolates (three taster sizes) and we didn't order that either. Instead, we ordered one white chocolate hot chocolate and shared the Fantasia for Two.

First the White chocolate hot chocolate. It was just under $5. It was DELICIOUS. I've never had a better hot chocolate in my life. It was the perfect combination of everything that makes hot chocolate perfect. I wish there was a way I could get some from a water fountain. To top it off, it warmed me up from the cold air outside.

The Fantasia had a medley of desserts that are meant to be shared. It was $16.95. The Fantasia consisted of small portions of:
Fresh Strawberry Tart with Vanilla Gelato: Delicious, but the crust was a bit dry for me.
White Chocolate flower petals with butter crumb cake: Nothing memorable here
Lemon Bavarian cream topped with sliced blueberries: My favorite part of the meal. The Bavarian cream was smooth and subtle.
Chocolate Baskets filled with mixed berry sauce: Again, nothing memorable.
Orange creme caramel: I love flan, so I loved this
Cinnamon rice pudding topped with peach sorbet: Maybe I'm not a big fan of rice pudding, but I definitely wasn't a big fan of this.

The staff were friendly, but I did kind of get the feeling that because we didn't order more we weren't treated as well as our wine-drinking neighbors. It didn't bother me much. It was New Years, and who really wants to work then anyway?

I thought that for our particular meal, the price was a little bit much. We had a good amount of food, but of the six options, we only really liked 2 of them. I would go again, though. It was a nice atmosphere, especially for a group of friends or a couple. The lighting is low and the tables are close. It was cool to watch the bar/dessert-tenders make your order at the bar. They kept a mirror over the bar so that you can see it from your seat.
One Columbus Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts, 02116
(617) 423 3184

Boston Freedom Trail - Part 1

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on January 7, 2007

The Freedom Trail is an absolutely free way to see Boston's historical sites. A red painted or doubled red brick line acts as a guide through the city, with a freedom trail marker telling you that yes, this is historical. There are some places where the line might disappear for a second and because of that, it might be useful to get a map. There is also a chance that you will want to know what you are looking at and if that's the case, get the guidebook. The map and guidebook are available at the Boston Common Visitor Center, which is conveniently also the start of the Freedom Trail! The Trail starts in Boston and ends in Charlestown, right across the river. We only went through Boston, which ended in the North End. It was less than 2 miles one way. (To do Charlestown also is a total of 2.5 miles.)

Before starting, make sure you have at least 3 hours to devote to this, some cash, comfortable shoes, and a camera. We decided against purchasing the map and just got the guidebook. The guidebook was only $7, the map $2. The guidebook included suggested detours off of the trail, but we decided not to do those. We began at Boston Common. The history of the common is as old as the history of Boston itself. Like many parks in America's cities its diverse usage includes agriculture and hangings.

We next marched up to the New State House. The guide book told us that the New State house is actually 200 years old, but is called new because it is newer than the Old State House. The day we were there, there was a protest outside of the State House. It was great to see government in action. We did not get to really enjoy the site, but it is still a pretty magnificent building. If anyone has seen the movie "The Departed," this building is the view Matt Damon's character has when he gets his Boston condo.

We followed the red line to Park Street Church. It's a simple church that could probably go unnoticed. On the steps of this Church the song "America" or "My Country Tis of Thee" was first sung. Right next to the church is the Burial ground that according to the guidebook holds a large number of famous historical names. A big statue in the center of the cemetery marks the graves of Benjamin Franklin's parents.

Next was King's Chapel. We weren't able to go in this trip, but I have been in before and found it to be quite different than any other chapel I have ever been to. I recommend it. There is also a Burial ground next to this.

On the way to the next stop, you will walk by the Omni Parker House Hotel. Here you can eat Boston Creme Pie and the Dinner Roll from the very place that invented it.

Part 2
Boston Common
Charles, Beacon And Tremont Streets
Boston, Massachusetts, 02116

Boston Freedom Trail Part 2

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by IsabelleTravels on January 7, 2007

To read the first part of my review: Click Here.

The First Public School and Ben Franklin were the next sites, but I don't really remember seeing them. We then passed the Old Corner Bookstore which is now a jewelry store and sits right across the street from a very large Borders.

From here we went to the Old South Meeting House. We skipped the $7 museum. (We were on a budget.) It was from this meeting house the angry colonists marched to the Boston Harbor to dump tea. While the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum isn't part of the Freedom Trail, it is a suggested detour and worth the visit. Just be sure that it is open because a fire in 2006 has kept it closed until sometime in 2007.

From the meeting house we went to the Old State House. This is where the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Massachusetts took place. Outside of this is also the site of the Boston Massacre. The path does not take you directly over the small area where the five colonists were killed. Instead, the guidebook tells you to look for it cobblestones in a circle in the middle of the street.

After this you are taken to Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market. This by the way, is where the detour to the Boston Tea Party Museum is. This is a great place to get in some shopping, eating or just sit and relax. Quincy Market has a great variety of food from local favorites to international cuisines. The walk from Faneuil Hall to Paul Revere's house (the next stop) is the longest area on the path between sites. This is also where the red line seems to disappear. Crossing over to the North End, we lost the line, only to retrieve it shortly before getting to Paul Revere's home.

I have to say, if you didn't eat at Quincy Market, you are going to want to eat in the North End. There are many Italian Restaurants and everything smelled delicious. If it's a warm day, stop for a gelato and if it's a cold day stop for a cappuccino.

Next is the Old North Church, which is right next to the Paul Revere mall. The mall is just a beautiful garden/patio area with a statue of Revere. The Church was used to signal to other neighborhoods that the British were coming.

The last stop on the Boston part of the Freedom Trail was Copp's Hill Burying Ground. I almost wasn't willing to go this far because I figured once you saw one burial ground, you saw them all. I was wrong. Go to this location. It is on a hill overlooking the harbor and onto Charlestown. It was very scenic, and worth the trip.

This is where it ended for me. I think the Freedom Trail is great for first-time visitors to Boston to witness the history of the United States.
Boston Common
Charles, Beacon And Tremont Streets
Boston, Massachusetts, 02116

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