Boston has a terrific subway system, called the T. It was actually the first subway system in the U.S. and there are murals at the Park Station celebrating that fact.
In the heart of the city, it is underground but, in the outlying areas, such as Brookline, it is above ground. It is a fast and inexpensive way to get around. One warning though, riding at morning and evening rush hour times can be an interesting experience. The trains are PACKED full to capacity (maybe even a little over) so if you can help it, don't ride at these times.
The downside to the T is that while it can save you the cost and hassle of renting a car while in town, if you want to get out to the other areas - Lexington & Concord or the Cape or Plymouth, then you will need a car.
We booked a flight to Providence Rhode Island and took a train to Boston's South Station. For some reason Providence was just much cheaper than Logan.
While the train worked well we had to take a local bus to Kennedy Station. Next time we will take a Peter Pan/Bonanza bus.
"You can always tell a Yankee, but you can't tell him much" Eric Knight, author
Boston's subways were the first in the country . Boston's public transit system today is usually informally called "T" which encompasses a sprawling network of subways, trolleys, buses, and commuter trains. Fortunately, it reaches every corner of the city. We found it quite efficient, clean, and usually on time.
(The "T" public transit system uses tokens.)
Even though mass transit goes nearly everywhere, the schedules are sometimes irregular. In addition, delays are sometimes long [although we had little or no trouble].
Unfortunately, many Bostonians travel by car. The car travel is anything but efficient. Boston is clogged with traffic. So, my advice if you drive to Boston is to park your car, then walk and use the "T"!
The Mass Highway website provides a lot of information on the highways tourists use in Massachusetts but the navigation of the webpages is a bit cumbersome.
If you carefully peruse the main webpage you will find links to:
accidents, road conditions, weather reports, detours, highway closures, biking and hiking, rest areas, visitor centers, maps, live-cameras on major routes, info on toll roads, point-to-point directions.
It is all in there and very useful to help plan your trip. But you have to be patient in finding the data because some of it is buried down two layers.
Logan International is the main airport for Massachusetts. There are 5 terminals for all major US airlines and several international flights from Europe. The airport is located in the harbor just outside of Boston.
For public transportation between the airport and Boston: there is a free shuttle bus service from all the airline terminals to the subway: T-station: Airport (blue line). From this station it takes about 10 minutes to get to downtown Boston.
The airport also has shuttle busses to several rental car companies, all located on the premises.
Boston Airport is one of the busiest in the country. Sometimes it is very confusing to get in and out of. But I leave it up to others to get me there & back. Such as taxi, bus or subway & shuttle.
Best to call ahead to see if your flight is on time. And get there early enough to check in. If you're traveling by car to get there, leave enough time for the heavy traffic you'll run into. If you don't ... you'll be sorry.
Sometimes the planes are lined up like a row of ducks on the runway waiting their turn to take off!
Once in awhile while driving through Massachusetts you'll encounter these giant traffic circles we call rotaries. In contrast to the smaller roundabout, the rotary is a massive affair frequently feeding five or more major roads or highways (yes, even highways do not escape the wrath of the rotaries). You'll be duely informed of a rotary by a sign NEXT to the rotary which reads 'rotary ahead' followed by a huge yellow sign proclaiming 'ROTARY' with an arrow pointed right to indicated you go around it in that direction. Navigating the rotary in theory is simple. You merge right into the rotary, yielding to those already in the rotary. You then revolve around its circumference until you find the desired outlet and then simply right-merge into that outlet. If you fail to find your outlet, you can continue endlessly circling until you decide which direction to head in. In execution, however, there are problems. Many people do not respect the 'yield to those already in rotary' rule and simply go when they feel like it. Others like to cut you off when you're about to turn and then honk wildly at you. The state even makes an insidious attempt to distract you by beautifying the centres of rotaries with flower gardens. Here you can see cars attempting to navigate the Wellesley rotary, which is really a roundabout, since only four roads lead into it and is devoid of state signage, but it gives you an idea of what to expect.
If you need to travel by air to Massachusetts, then try getting a flight to Hartford, Connecticut (Bradley International Airport) which brings you about a 15 minute drive from the Massachusetts border on the south, central to the state. From there you can easily reach Boston and Cape Cod to the East, and Berkshire County to the West. Interstate 90 runs east/west in Mass, and can be picked up from I-91 from Bradley Airport.
Because of the small size of the state and it's relatively dense population, driving is probably the best way to go once you're there, but remember to turn off onto 'side roads' rather than traverse the somewhat boring interstates.
My main focus on this page is Western Massachusetts since I can't profess to be well-versed in any other area. Rt 7 is the main access road through Berkshire county, running North/South. You must expect it to be slow-going though, as it goes through many small New England towns, including the town of Stockbridge which is wonderful for those that love typical New England villages, expensive Inns (Red Lion) and many Bed and Breakfasts. The Norman Rockwell museum is a must-see as his art appeals to everyone. He is part of the culture here and once made his home on main street.
Rt 7 also takes you through Great Barrington, as I've described and further south through Sheffield and Ashley Falls, all dotted with many antique shops. We call it 'Antique Alley' although I'm sure the shopowners would prefer a more classy name. To really appreciate the small towns of the area though, one must turn off Rt 7 and explore the smaller roads. A local map is helpful, however, because getting lost is easy. Ask a villager for directions and you'll often get a puzzled look. That is because so many of the roads here simply fork or 'blend' into other roads, without defined intersections, etc.
Fly into Boston airport. But never try to find someone who is arriving there! We tried to find Sharrie, but her flight from Toronto landed in the national terminal B, while we waited in international terminal E ! Why is it so difficult, and why is Toronto not international?
Rent a car. But not when you only want to visit Boston. A car is not usefull in Boston, park it and take the public transport or simply walk!
The best way to get to Boston is probably by taking a plane into the Logan airport. The airport is clean, friendly, and sometimes hectic. You can have a taxi or limo pick you up from there.
Getting around the city is easy too, walking is of course the best way to go, but if that seems a bit impossible, it's easy to hail a cab. Next is driving, but that can be dangerous if you're not used to the roads in Boston.
To get to boston from a local town, take the T. it's cheap and its good for the enviroment, its also really quick.
By car, by train, by plane, by bus...
If you're flying in, try to use one of the outlying airport, such as Providence (Rhode Island), Manchester (New Hampshire), or Worcester (Massachusetts). Logan Airport in Boston is in the most congested part of the city.
Everywhere but in the city of Boston, a car is the way to go. There is only one note of warning: road signs will tell you where you are going by indicating cross streets, but it is amazingly difficult to find out where you actually ARE. Outside Boston, however, people are friendly and it's easy to get directions.
Flying into Logan Airport is easy, though not always on time. Logan is one of the worst airports in the country for delays. Amtrak trains go into South Station, and the commuter rail goes into North or South Station. Avoid driving into Boston at all costs.
Boston has the oldest underground subway system in the country, known as the T. Its age is obvious. it's rickety, loud, not always handicapped accessible (though they are working on that), but it is cheap ($1 per ride) and gets you anywhere you want to go in Boston. Visit The T for more info.
How to get to Boston, eh?
You can fly, swim , walk or come over the old way - by boat:}:}:}
When in Boston you can actually forget about driving your car. Their transit system is really great.It works! and it takes you everywhere you want to go. Most of the time you will want to walk anyways - to see and soak up all this grand city has to offer.
Bicycling is a good idea when you want to cover more ground in a day.
If your far away, I suggest driving. If you don't really want to fly. Driving is much better because of the scenery on the way through Massachusetts.
You always have to use the subway. The MBTA is the best way to get around, it will take you anywhere you want. Once you get to your destination, it's always good to walk around a bit.
I usually get better airfare from Los Angeles to Providence, Rhode Island. Boston's Logan Airport and the Providence airport are the same distance to my friends on the Cape. The airport in Providence is stress free and very easy to get in and out of.
Well the best way is to have your friends drive you around. My sense of direction when I'm on the Cape is always twisted and the roads are very rural and packed during the summer. In Boston, public transportion or walking rules. Take the underground subway, fast and priced fairly.
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