Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Safari #78: Boston Duck Tour

Do you have out of town visitors heading your way this summer? If so, here's one perfect way to introduce them to our beloved Hub - a Boston Duck Tour.   

And now after my first tour, I can see what everyone has been quacking about.

Duck boats are amphibious vehicles that allow you to see Boston from both the street - and the water. These historic tours take you through Boston's quintessential neighborhoods all the while sharing history, tips, and secrets along the way.

It's the perfect introduction to the city for tourists, newbies, and locals - who may need a reminder of all the wonderful things at their fingertips. The views of the city from the Charles River - especially on gorgeous summer day - will leave you longing to take a stroll, jog, or kayak trip on the Esplanade.

**If you want to make a full day of your trip, try the fixed price lunch at Top of Hub or a frosty beverage afterwards and continue delighting your guests with awesome views of the city.

Sounds like the perfect day to me.

My Tips:
  • Book Early. Boston Duck Tours are very popular with locals and tourists alike. As soon as you make your plans, act fast.
  • Take the Tour from the Prudential Center. Don't get me wrong - the Museum of Science and Aquarium locations are great, especially if you plan to take your guests there.  However, if you want to get off the boat and go to any of the sights you saw while on board the Duck, catch your tour from the Pru.
  • Kids Are Captains. Under the careful guidance on your tour guide, small children are allowed to steer the boat when it's out on the Charles River.  What a great way to make a memory last for a little one!
  • Special Needs? If you are planning to take small children or elderly passengers with you, keep in mind that you may need extra time getting on and off of the vehicle. If you have a passenger with special needs, try to make arrangements to sit right up front or in the last row as there is more room in both locations.  Speak to the tour representative for more details.
  • Make a Donation. When you purchase your tickets online, you have the opportunity to round up your purchase to the next dollar to make a charitable donation to Community Boating - easily viewable from the water portion of the tour. 
**Thanks to the Marriot Courtyard for the image!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Safari #77: NYC's Old City Hall Subway Station

Fellow travelers, every once in a while, I head down to NYC for a new adventure.  And whenever I do, I always share.  This adventure is truly one of a kind.

In Boston, there are many abandoned subway stations, but we rarely get to pass through them - legally. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit what was once the shining beacon of NYC subway - the old City Hall station.

Built originally as the terminal station of the Lexington Avenue Line (the first line built for the NYC Subway), the City Hall station was meant to inspire travelers with its beauty. The station tunnel contains 15 vaulted archways (designed by R. Guastavino - the same designer of the vaulted Bates Hall in the Boston Public Library), some of which include glass skylights that allow natural light underground via small glass squares at the surface.

In the mid-1940's, the station was abandoned as travelers began to use the newly build Brooklyn Bridge station with connections to multiple lines.

It's sad to think that something so beautiful sits alone, longingly awaiting the light of a passing train.

Catch Your Glimpse
  • Take the 6 Train. The 6 train (downtown) ends at the Brooklyn Bridge station.  At the final stop, passengers are asked to leave the train, but stay on board.  The train will turn around within the City Hall station, allowing you to catch a rare glimpse of the vaulted tunnel and skylights.
  • Take a Tour with the New York Transit Museum. After becoming a member of the museum, you can register to take a private tour with the museum.  You will board a 6 train and be able to get out and walk within the station itself.  A docent is available to discuss the history of the station itself as well as the New York subway system. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Safari #76: Boston Dragon Boat Festival

How many events can boast that they are the largest in the United States?

Well, the Boston Dragon Boat Festival can - and it's right in your backyard.

Taking place over the course of two days, the festival is full of cultural performances, street vendors, and of course, boat races along the Charles River. It is the first and largest dragon boat festival in the country, and it has been taking place since the late 1970's.

Nearly 50 teams compete in racing heats over the weekend, with the final winners crowned towards the end of the day on Sunday. The event is great for all ages as there is something for everyone. 

My Tips:
  • Free. The festival is free, but if you're so included, make a donation to the organization.

  • Bring a blanket or lawn chairs. The only way to find a comfortable seat is to grab some grass.
  • Places to Watch. Both the John W. Weeks bridge and the Cambridge side of the Charles River are great places to view the shows. In additional, the street festival and cultural performances are located there as well.
Images kindly borrowed from http://www.flickr.com/photos/leslee/8999340652/sizes/l/in/set-72157634028471973/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/leslee/8998154589/in/set-72157634028471973