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What to shoot in Boston?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by DeeJayK, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I'm taking a spring break trip to the Northeast US with the family. We're going to be spending a few days in Boston on the second weekend of April -- hopefully it will have stopped snowing by then. ;) We're staying in Charlestown a few blocks from the Bunker Hill monument and will be using public transportation (no vehicle). We're planning on walking the Freedom Trail, visiting the U.S.S. Constitution, etc. Depending on the weather we may rent a car one day and drive up to the coast of Maine or something.

    I'm curious if anyone on this forum can recommend some picturesque locations that should be on my agenda. My research has turned up a few places I'd like to try to capture such as cobblestoned Acorn Street and historic Trinity Church, but I'm sure there are plenty more. Where are the best viewpoints from which to capture iconic Boston landmarks? Any particularly good spots for people-watching?

    Also, if anyone can recommend some good, local eateries, that would be wonderful.
     
  2. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    Boston's an amazing historical city. Take one of the 'hop on, hop off' trolley bus tours around Boston; you'll see so much to photograph and be able to get off and be picked up by another one later. The driver gives an excellent history of Boston and Cambridge as he takes you around town. A word of advice - start early and get back on a ride that has you back to your hotel by about 4:00PM, they tend to get a backlog of riders late in the afternoon.
    I was there for the first time at the end of July. I'm going to take my wife there in the next year or so. It's the nicest American city I've visited in decades.
     
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  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    The photographic opportunities are limitless. Beacon Hill. Harvard Square. Faneuil Hall. Columbus park. North End. Boston Public Gardens (a MUST -- ride the swan boats). Boston Common (Gardens are better, though). Boston public library (inside -- see the John Singer Sargent paintings). The city is super walkable. A bit outside the city, visit the Boston College campus (very nice!). It just goes on and on.

    If there is any bad weather, then the Museum of Fine Arts is a nice, small museum in the BackBay (near to Fenway and Northeastern University).

    I would recommend a fish eye -- maybe even the lens cap fish eye which would be nice and light. Or a wide normal zoom (7-14, 9-18, or 12-35 or 12-40). Boston is a small and tight city so there aren't that many needs for telephoto, except maybe if you did a Boston Harbor cruise, or visited some of the Harbor Islands, but I'm thinking not in April.

    Try to visit the Top of the Pru to see around Boston. There's also a restaurant there. It's not great food and it's pricey, but if you'd rather be sightseeing during the day, then make a dinner at the top of the Pru.

    For outside Boston, visit Lexington Green. Are you going to be here on Patriots Day (April 20)? If so, plan to watch the marathon. If you can, go out to Wellesley, and walk the grounds of Wellesley College and follow the marathon from Wellesley. Look up that start times and be there for when the leaders come through, especially when the ladies group comes by Wellesley College (a woman's college). It's crazy. If you are here on Patriot's day, you can also get up blindingly early (like, 4am) and see the recreation of the Battle of Lexington. This should be, IMO, a bucket list item that many people simply don't know about. You might think the later Battle of Concord is just the same, but it's not. Lexington is special. Out in the burbs, you will want a telephoto -- moderate to long.

    April, especially this year, is not likely to be leafed or flowered, so nature hikes are not going to be that interesting (but they would be muddy!). Stick to architecture and historical places. Other suburban spots -- Rockport to the north or Newport in Rhode Island (though Newport would eat up one whole day). If you were one month later, I'd also suggest Maine and New Hampshire locations, as they are only 1-2 hours away, but April is mud season up north, and not yet worth the trip.

    Gosh, there is SO much more else.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
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  4. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Oh -- missed "and the family" if you have kids you can also look at the museum of science on a rainy/gross day (if they kids are youngish). The aquarium is OK, but I think the MOS is better. The childrens museum is also nice if it's a bad day, and if your kids are real young.

    Go to Mike's pastry in the north end (hope you like crowds) and get dinner at the northend, too (Italian section -- book a reservation).

    Charlestown, btw, is changing a lot, but is not yet the safest of places (a friend of mine who lives in Charlestown says "I don't understand Holloween here -- you want me to open my door to a teenager in mask in Charlestown? Not happening!")

    Tom's townie tunes on Charlestown

    lol (hope it's not frightening -- Charlestown has really improved quite a bit)
     
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  5. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Thanks for the advice. I'll check out the trolley buses.

    BTW, is that SR-71 in your profile pic at the Museum of Flight in Seattle?
     
  6. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Duck boat tours, too, of course.
     
  7. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Thanks for sharing all your great "hometown" knowledge. This is exactly what I was hoping to get.

    Just picked up the Rokinon fisheye from a member on here (expecting delivery tomorrow), and plan on bringing that. Also have been trying to shoehorn a used 12-40 into my budget. If I do pick up the zoom I expect that to be my vacation stalwart. Otherwise it will be a combination of the FE, the O17 and maybe the P14-42.

    The kids are 9 & 10. I'm hoping to plant some seeds of interest in American history, which is one of the reasons for the trip. The battle re-enactment sounds like it would be perfect...we're gonna have to plan better next time.

    I was already planning on at least one Italian dinner in the North End. Any particular spots that stand out? I'd love to avoid the "tourist traps".

    Thanks for the "heads up" on Charlestown as well. Our 'hood in Seattle is slowly gentrifying, but still a little rough around the edges, so I'm (perhaps naively) not overly concerned about Charlestown. But it's good to know that a little extra watchfulness is in order.
     
  8. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
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  9. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Another history idea is Plimouth Plantation to the south of Boston down Rt93. Google maps says it's an hour, but the southeast expressway (Rt93 south) is bad for traffic near any commute time. This is standard kid's school field trip location. I wouldn't put that at the top of my list, unless you are really trying to drill into history, and you've got about a week. There's nothing else really out there, though, so you'd be going out there and coming back.

    So you don't stick out too much, a pronunciation guide.

    Worcester is pronounced "Wuh-stah" or "Whuh-stur" if you must, but NEVER "Wor-chest-er" Same with Gloucster (Glaw-stah or Glaw-stir never "Glow-chester") Peabody is "pee-buddy" not "pee-body" Brookline is "brook-line" never "Brooklyn" which is someplace we generally pretend we've never heard of.

    "Newton" is "new(t)un" (the 't' is barely heard, and acts almost like an 'n') not "new-town"

    Rt 95 is also Rt128 (old timers name). Rt 93 to the south of Boston is the Southeast Expressway, but Rt93 north is not the northeast (or northwest) expressway. It's just 93 heading north. Rt 90 is also "the pike" or the masspike.

    The MTA is the mass turnpike authority (runs the pike) the MBTA is the massbay transit authority (runs the trains -- both the underground subway, which sometimes runs above ground (where it might be called "the trolley", and the commuter trains, which are always above ground) and "The T" is the subway system. Green line, red line, blue line, orange line are all part of the T, which is the subway (underground) and the trolley when above ground.

    Be warned -- Boston taxis are expensive for what you get. Not much you can do about it other than walk, but sometimes taxis are cheaper than the T, if you have like 4 people.

    Find lunch sometime at Faneuil Hall - it's like a food court, but there are so many choices. And, they are talking about changing the area, so eat there while you still can. It's a tourist trap, but it's still fun for the kids.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
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  10. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    If you want better ethnic food, scour around Cambridge or maybe Alston. Boston will have more upscale or trendy eateries. Cambridge across the river or alston to the west will have more hole-in-the-walls. I think Cambridge, though, has more tourist desinations, and is a little friendlier for kids. Alston is more like where all the students live.
     
  11. Evan614

    Evan614 Mu-43 Regular

    109
    May 6, 2014
    BuckeyeState
    if you rent a car and go north.
    Rockport (see the iconic red building with the lobster traps) google "bearskin neck" Architecture and streets in that area too.
    Gloucester (fishing town) go up Fort Square (google that street... don't expect to park on the street ... wayyy to narrow to park on it, but see if it is an area you want to walk to and photograph) Plus the fishing boats docked in bay, and the road on top of Gloucester is Prospect st. (nice church on/off that road, architecture and can look down on bay/ roofs - requires a little bit of walking)
    Eat at Causeway restaurant (Gloucester) if you like seafood. Best hole-in-the-wall place you can visit. HUGE portions. (share fish chowder and any fish dish or lobster) eat at off peak hours since the place is small and waits can be over an hour. Second best place to eat at is Woodman's in Essex. (must eat lobster, steamers (clams) and clam chowder here) this road has some great angles to photograph architecture.

    Touristy - Salem, MA. Historical buildings: House of seven gables, the witch house, Check out Chestnut St. (one way street)
    Shopping and typical New England - Marblehead, MA Washington st I think is the shopping road. Front st is a nice road w/ fort at the end of it.

    All I can think of right now.. use google map road level images to decide.
     
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  12. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Wow, some amazing shots there, Paul. Kinda makes me wish I were visiting in the Fall rather than Spring. I particularly like the shots of Rockport harbor.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  13. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    It is. Actually, it's the sole surviving M-12 (A-12 conversion for D-21 drone launches).
     
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  14. Carbonman

    Carbonman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2014
    Vancouver BC
    Graham
    This is an awesome place to eat! My buddy is a chef; he went nuts over the choice of excellent food in Faneuil Hall. Everywhere we ate in Boston and Cambridge had great food.
     
  15. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    While you're in the North End getting pastry at Mike's, as mentioned above, don't forget the Old North Church of "One if by Land, Two if by Sea" fame, and the very old burial ground at the top of the hill nearby. I live a block from both for a while. If Mike's is a little steep for the wallet, try Bova bakery on Salem street -- no dining in and no ambience, but good sweets. Have fun!
     
  16. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Also visit the greenway near Columbus park. You can go Faneuil Hall, Greenway, Northend -- easy walk
     
  17. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    When I left Boston the Central Artery was still there between Faneuil Hall and the North End. I went under it every day for three years getting from my home on Salem then Endicott Street to downtown. Snow, ice, and humidity drove me to the desert southwest, but Boston is a great city. The Paul Revere house is worth taking in while you are in the area and the old State House is worth a peek if you are downtown.
     
  18. Evan614

    Evan614 Mu-43 Regular

    109
    May 6, 2014
    BuckeyeState
    I keep forgetting there is a fort at the end of the shipyard. google map should show it just south of Logan airport.
     
  19. dccase

    dccase Mu-43 Regular

    85
    Feb 25, 2014
    Massachusetts, USA
    That fort is at Castle Island (not actually an island) in South Boston. Lots to see there. Planes, boats, people. Fun for kids too. Easiest to get there by car. Get a hotdog or fish 'n' chips at Sullivan's.

    Another good place to see the harbor is from the end of Long Wharf. It is also close to Faneuil Hall.

    USS Constitution is currently in drydock for repairs. You can probably still see it but can't go on board.

    From Charlestown you can walk to the Museum of Science through Paul Revere Park, under the Zachem bridge and over a neat foot bridge to North Point Park in Cambridge. You'd see trains at North Station and the ramp where the Duck Boats enter the river.

    There is a lot of neat stuff to see along the Freedom Trail, but it might not keep kids interested. But you can see it in parts while you visit other places.

    There is a lot going on at Faneuil Hall, but ultimately it's mall with a food court. 95% of the people there will be tourists. It's worth a visit, but I wouldn't make it a featured destination.

    P.S. No one says "Beantown". Don't be that guy.
     
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  20. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    Thanks again for the detailed information. I read about Plimouth Plantation and would consider visiting if it were a bit closer or easier to get to. For this trip, I think we'll probably skip it.

    Faneuil Hall is definitely on the itinerary...will try to make sure we arrive there hungry.