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Vacations: Where to go, What to see, Where to eat

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Our roads (in CT) were pre-treated with a chemical mix, we had plows loaded with salt/sand mix ready to go, and we were still socked.  The storm just came on extremely quickly and its intensity was underestimated, as you point out, @JTMacc99 - I left work early when sleet started, and when I reached home 45 minutes later, I was crawling on snowy roads. 

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Going to Boston in mid-May and I welcome restaurant suggestions.  Also, suggestions for hotels located near public transportation. Thanks!

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I have Boston suggestions @Spunkygal, which I will post when I get back from Austin, where I am going tomorrow.

 

So... anyone have any suggestions for keeping busy during the day while Mr. ebk is working?  I won't have a car, so anything easy to get to around the downtown area would be fab.  We've been to the State Capitol and to the LBJ Library (where I may go again because it was so interesting and we didn't get through all of it).  Thanks!

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On 2/1/2019 at 11:14 AM, Spunkygal said:

Going to Boston in mid-May and I welcome restaurant suggestions.  Also, suggestions for hotels located near public transportation. Thanks!

I stayed at the Sheraton Boston on Dalton Street. The location was perfect - walking distance from a ton of things, including Fenway Park. We took an Uber to the start of the Freedom Trail, wandered around in that area while waiting for our spot at Neptune Oyster and found ourselves in the middle of a street fair. Had lunch and walked the Freedom Trail back - stopping in at the worlds longest operating pub Bell in Hand 

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2 hours ago, theredhead77 said:

I stayed at the Sheraton Boston on Dalton Street. The location was perfect - walking distance from a ton of things, including Fenway Park. We took an Uber to the start of the Freedom Trail, wandered around in that area while waiting for our spot at Neptune Oyster and found ourselves in the middle of a street fair. Had lunch and walked the Freedom Trail back - stopping in at the worlds longest operating pub Bell in Hand 

Thank you! I am so ready for some clam chowder and the pic on the Bell in Hand website looks awesome!

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27 minutes ago, Spunkygal said:

Thank you! I am so ready for some clam chowder and the pic on the Bell in Hand website looks awesome!

You're welcome! It was me and a girl friend. We never felt unsafe walking around our hotel area (we made it as far as the Fenway area) at night. I highly recommend the Freedom Trail and Paul Revere's house tour. There was a Holocaust memorial exhibit (or art installation ) just on the street not too far from Bell in Hand. It was really heavy (obviously) and in hindsight I would have preferred to see that first then go drink a lot of beer after.

During the day walking back from the Freedom Trail there was one sketchy, strung out dude that seemed to be following us in a not so populated shopping area but that could happen anywhere.

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On 2/1/2019 at 11:14 AM, Spunkygal said:

Going to Boston in mid-May and I welcome restaurant suggestions.  Also, suggestions for hotels located near public transportation. Thanks!

Okay - back from Austin, and while I was there, I tried to make a list of the stuff I did last time I was in Boston (2013):

We also stayed at the Sheraton on Dalton! So I did a bunch of strolling along Newberry Street.  Had lunch at La Voile (261 Newberry), a cute French Bistro with good food and lovely wine.  Also had lunch at Trident Books Cafe (338 Newberry) and enjoyed that - plus it's a bookstore! 

There's a beautiful church at 67 Newberry - Church of the Covenant, that's open to walk through during the day.  Got some great photos. 

Did a tour of Fenway (and a game), went to MFA (they had a great costume/fashion exhibit at the time) and took a walking tour of the North End (sorry, don't remember which company, but it was inexpensive and very interesting).  I also saw Robert Plant at the outdoor concert venue, but that was time-specific 🙂

I walked through Cambridge one day looking for a restaurant that was closed.  And, I walked around the theatre district since this trip was for a stagehands convention and figured I'd see how the neighborhood was looking after not having been there for a long time.  It's still the same.

I've been to Boston a bunch of times before.  The Freedom Trail is great if the weather is good.  Toured city hall.  There's always the JFK Library.  And have I mentioned the Saux? 

I just wish I'd been better about keeping a record of places we went for dinner.  If I think of some, I'll post.

Have fun - I like Boston a lot!

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I discovered that we will be in Boston during Lilac Sunday which is when a million lilac bushes will be in bloom at the Arboretum. It’s too hot where I live for lilacs so I am excited to squeeze in a visit to the arboretum. 

Thanks for the recommendations! 

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25 minutes ago, theredhead77 said:

I forgot to mention Bleacher Bar - it's a bar that has a view to the outfield inside Fenway Park and doesn't require a ticket. I wanted to see a game, my friend had zero interest and this was a great compromise (and budget friendly). https://bleacherbarboston.com/

That’s a great idea! I’m a big baseball fan but my friend is not, so we’ll have to go there. Thanks for mentioning this! 

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And...  we didn't go to city hall.  We went to the Massachusetts State Capitol - a bit more impressive than city hall.  Nothing against city hall... 

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On 2/1/2019 at 11:14 AM, Spunkygal said:

Going to Boston in mid-May and I welcome restaurant suggestions.  Also, suggestions for hotels located near public transportation. Thanks!

We love Boston...go there often.  We usually stay in the Back Bay area...

Boston has terrific public transportation and also, many areas, are very walkable.  Lots of history, museums and other activities, depending on your interests.

We like to go off the beaten path in terms of restaurants - there are just tons and tons of options.  Depends on what you like, where you are etc  I'm sure you will have a great time!

Edited by Kelly

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On ‎2‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 6:33 AM, theredhead77 said:

 Had lunch and walked the Freedom Trail back - stopping in at the worlds longest operating pub Bell in Hand 

Possibly the longest operating in the US, certainly not the world!  Off the top of my head, my local watering hole when I was at university dates back to the 12th century.  (Wanting to verify this, I came across the following list.  Possible bucket list for beer drinkers/travelers?)

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2014/11/10-of-the-worlds-oldest-pubs/

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6 hours ago, Brookside said:

Possibly the longest operating in the US, certainly not the world!  Off the top of my head, my local watering hole when I was at university dates back to the 12th century.  (Wanting to verify this, I came across the following list.  Possible bucket list for beer drinkers/travelers?)

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2014/11/10-of-the-worlds-oldest-pubs/

I'm not sure why I said world, I know there are older pubs. My apologizes. 

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7 hours ago, Brookside said:

(Wanting to verify this, I came across the following list.  Possible bucket list for beer drinkers/travelers?)

That's a fun idea; I've been to the one in Dublin (Brazen Head) and Lafitte's is my favorite bar in New Orleans; I hang out there whenever I visit.  So I've got two down ...

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On 2/1/2019 at 9:23 PM, ebk57 said:

I have Boston suggestions @Spunkygal, which I will post when I get back from Austin, where I am going tomorrow.

I am headed to Austin next week for 3 days for a work function. Any good recommendations?

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7 hours ago, AgentRXS said:

I am headed to Austin next week for 3 days for a work function. Any good recommendations?

If you love going to Presidential libraries, check out LBJ’s. http://www.lbjlibrary.org/ 

The Oasis overlooks Lake Travis and be sure to go for good food and really spectacular sunsets.

http://oasis-austin.com/

Yes, there’s ton of great BBQ in Austin, but it doesn’t get better than Franklin BBQ (IMHO). Note they are only open for lunch on Tues-Sun. Aaron Franklin is the first BBQ chef to win a James Beard award. They open at 11 am and are only open until the meat is sold out which is sometimes before 3 pm. The line starts sometimes as early as 8 am, which is too early for me! I think we went between 9:30 and 10 am. So worth the wait. 

https://franklinbbq.com/

https://www.esquire.com/food-drink/food/a19684539/aaron-franklin-bbq-austin/

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Second Franklin's, but be prepared to wait in line no matter what day or time.

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22 hours ago, AgentRXS said:

I am headed to Austin next week for 3 days for a work function. Any good recommendations?

I second @Spunkygal's suggestion of the LBJ Library.  And Franklin BBQ is worth the wait - spectacular!! 

Museum-wise, I went to the Blanton Museum - it's free on Thursdays and has some nice stuff.  Also went to the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum and enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.  I spent a couple hours at the Texas Music Museum.  A warning about that one - it's tiny and there's one guy there when it's open, so if you're the only one browsing, it might be a little overwhelming (not in a bad/creepy way, but I'm not big on one-on-one attention).  Fortunately for me, there was another guy there doing research for the museum he worked at, so they had an interesting conversation that I got to listen in on. 

We took a tour of Austin City Limits theatre.  Wish I was interested in seeing the show that was there at the time.  It's a great space. 

Wandered into the O Henry House/Museum.  It was lovely.  Then wandered into the Driskill Hotel and had a drink at the bar. 

Waterloo Records is great if you're looking for music of any kind. 

Food-wise, we ate at the following (we stayed at the Sheraton at the Capitol and most of these places were walkable from there): 

Franklins, Blue Dahlia (a cute French bistro type place), Hillside Farmacy, Olamaie, and Old Thousand (a really good Chinese restaurant where we ended up enjoying a Chinese New Year show). We also met Mr. ebk's college friends at Trudy's.  Don't eat there. 

I had cocktails (actually, just wine and/or beer) at Hopdoddy Burger Bar on South Congress, the Driskill, and Sholtz's Garten (a neat, old beer garden with a bowling alley in the back), 

It's a fun place for a few days.  If I think of something else, I'll post.  Or if you have any questions, please ask. 

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1 hour ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

I'm going to Maine in 4 weeks from Saturday. So excited for it as well!

I'm excited for you!  Where in Maine are you going?  I'm sad that I didn't get to spend much time in the interior, but I loved the coast (and Freeport, home of the LL Bean mothership).

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2 hours ago, Browncoat said:

I'm excited for you!  Where in Maine are you going?  I'm sad that I didn't get to spend much time in the interior, but I loved the coast (and Freeport, home of the LL Bean mothership).

Thank you! I'm going to Old Orchard Beach.

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26 minutes ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

Thank you! I'm going to Old Orchard Beach.

Have a wonderful time and be sure to eat some blueberry pie for me (I’m allergic to lobster, but do indulge in that too). 

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9 minutes ago, Mindthinkr said:

Have a wonderful time and be sure to eat some blueberry pie for me (I’m allergic to lobster, but do indulge in that too). 

You can eat some lobster for me, then!  🙂

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26 minutes ago, Mindthinkr said:

Have a wonderful time and be sure to eat some blueberry pie for me (I’m allergic to lobster, but do indulge in that too). 

Thank you.

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Try lobster rolls! A New England speciality.

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50 minutes ago, ABay said:

Try lobster rolls! A New England speciality.

This!!!!!

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54 minutes ago, ABay said:

Try lobster rolls! A New England speciality.

So yummy.  I had a particularly good one in Ogunquit.  I've never been to Old Orchard Beach.

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1 hour ago, ABay said:

Try lobster rolls! A New England speciality.

23 minutes ago, Spunkygal said:

This!!!!!

14 minutes ago, Bastet said:

So yummy.  I had a particularly good one in Ogunquit.  I've never been to Old Orchard Beach.

I've had lobster rolls many times before.

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We are tossing around the idea of going to Normandy and its surrounding regions next year. Not interested in going in the summer—-probably late spring or early fall. I’ve gotten some good info on Trip Advisor for reasonable B&Bs and on guided tours to the American Cemetery and other “must see” places in the area.  I thought I’d solicit travel experiences from fellow posters who have done this. I’d like both the do’s and don’ts, whether it’s use X tour guide or don’t stay at X B&B.  Please share any advice you may have! This is a bucket list item for us and we want to do it right!

Thanks in advance for your input! 

Edited by Spunkygal
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On the way to Williamsburg, VA with my daughter and grandchildren. Any tips would be helpful. Someone did mention the Cheese Shop for sandwiches and of course the kids want to do Busch Gardens. 

@Spunkygal I’ve been there and it is a wonderful place to go. I saw a documentary about a lady in Holland who has kept vigil over the grave of an American who helped her family. I’ll try to find it’s name so you can watch it and maybe visit it there. Other than that make sure that you take some loose clothing as the food is really good! 

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3 minutes ago, Mindthinkr said:

On the way to Williamsburg, VA with my daughter and grandchildren. Any tips would be helpful. Someone did mention the Cheese Shop for sandwiches and of course the kids want to do Busch Gardens. 

@Spunkygal I’ve been there and it is a wonderful place to go. I saw a documentary about a lady in Holland who has kept vigil over the grave of an American who helped her family. I’ll try to find it’s name so you can watch it and maybe visit it there. Other than that make sure that you take some loose clothing as the food is really good! 

I found one good documentary called Hallowed Grounds, but not the one that I’m looking for. It reminded me of some famous people’s graves: George Patton, Glenn Miller and the five Sullivan brothers (which a movie was made about and changed the laws of how many of one families sons can go to war). Gee, I’m excited for you. I look for the other when I return this weekend from my vacay. 

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3 hours ago, Mindthinkr said:

On the way to Williamsburg, VA with my daughter and grandchildren. Any tips would be helpful. Someone did mention the Cheese Shop for sandwiches and of course the kids want to do Busch Gardens.

Definitely the Cheese Shop for sandwiches.  They have some interesting gourmet foods and wines as well.  The other eatery I can suggest (if you like pulled pork barbecue) is Pierce's Pitt BBQ.  Delicious!

Definitely go to the Visitor's Center.  They'll have all the information about activities and events each day while you're there.  There is an app with that info, I think, but I'm not familiar with it.  Also, parking at the Visitor's Center is free, and you can take the shuttle bus to the historic district (free with your visitor's pass). 

Jamestown is worth a visit, too.  I recommend driving down the Colonial Parkway to get there.  It is very easy to access from the Visitor's Center.

Stay hydrated, and take it easy.  The heat and humidity in Williamsburg are no joke.

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Spunkygal: While the D-DAY sites and exhibits are truly worth seeing, please don't miss venturing to Bayeux where they have the Tapestry on display which is not only astounding re its history but also could open one's eyes re the warped artistry! 

Edited by Blergh · Reason: clarity
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9 hours ago, Blergh said:

Spunkygal: While the D-DAY sites and exhibits are truly worth seeing, please don't miss venturing to Bayeux where they have the Tapestry on display which is not only astounding re its history but also could open one's eyes re the warped artistry! 

Thank you! We have been talking about staying in Bayeux an extra day to see the tapestry. Our discussions include 2 days in Vernon (one to go to Giverny and one to explore the village of Vernon), maybe 2 days in Bayeux and a day in Caen or Rouen. Trip Advisor has been pretty helpful but we are in the very early days of research so nothing is set in stone. 

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@Blergh, well, this has come to my attention:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42713552

If tests on the tapestry confirm that it is safe to do it, the tapestry will be moved from Bayeux for display in the British Museum in London, but not before 2020. It would be our luck that they move it right before we travel to Normandy! Of course I’m no expert, but I can’t imagine that it would be safe to do this without damage to the priceless piece.

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2 hours ago, Spunkygal said:

@Blergh, well, this has come to my attention:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42713552

If tests on the tapestry confirm that it is safe to do it, the tapestry will be moved from Bayeux for display in the British Museum in London, but not before 2020. It would be our luck that they move it right before we travel to Normandy! Of course I’m no expert, but I can’t imagine that it would be safe to do this without damage to the priceless piece.

YIKES! I can't say I'd have ever greenlit doing this had I had to the fortune of being in charge. However; while there HAVE been disasters to irreplaceable artifacts and works of art via moving them to other locales, it seems the majority have been moved without damage. Of course, the Tapestry itself has had damage (and even lost panels) throughout the centuries but perhaps we should be thankful to that French lawyer who literally put his neck on the line by raising a legal objection to the French Revolution authorities who proposed cutting it to use as cart canopies for a parade! In any case, I hope you DO get to see it . However; if your timing doesn't  work that way, the town of Caen with the chapels of William the Conqueror and his wife Queen Matilda of Flanders are worth seeing (especially the latter's tomb  still in the original black marble).

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18 hours ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

Only 1 week away until my Maine vacation!

I hope you spend at least a day in Bar Harbor. That used to my grandparents' to-go spot back in the 1930's and my father always said that the family never relaxed nor enjoyed each other's company more better in any other place! 

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6 minutes ago, Blergh said:

I hope you spend at least a day in Bar Harbor. That used to my grandparents' to-go spot back in the 1930's and my father always said that the family never relaxed nor enjoyed each other's company more better in any other place! 

Sadly, we won't be going to Bar Harbor.

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7 hours ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

Sadly, we won't be going to Bar Harbor.

Well, there's plenty of OTHER cool spots in Maine. Hopefully, you can put that spot down for your next jaunt there! 

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27 minutes ago, Blergh said:

Well, there's plenty of OTHER cool spots in Maine. Hopefully, you can put that spot down for your next jaunt there! 

You’re right, there is. But I really would like to visit Bar Harbor in the future though.

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7 hours ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

I'm in Maine right now.

I'm envious.  Have a great time!

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Nature is the best master. Time will tell everything where to go, what to see and eat. 🙂

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Today is the last full day here in Maine, because we have to check out before the afternoon tomorrow.

It's supposed to be lousy tomorrow, so we'll be going right home instead of staying at the beach.

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