Budget travel: A northeasterner's guide to 4 states in 1 week
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
You live somewhere in the Northeast and you want to explore as much of the region you can during your vacation.
Check out our budget-friendly way to explore four states—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York—all in a single week.
Pack your car, head to Boston, and park in a lot close to Hotel 140, a chic and modern property near Copley Square and Boston's Back Bay district. Rooms here start around $119 per night, which is very reasonable for such a great location. Spend the day exploring the New England Aquarium, going on a Duck Tour, and visiting Fenway Park. You can do all of this with a GO Boston Card, starting at $54 per person. Multi-day options are also available.
If you're looking for an inexpensive place to eat dinner, opt for Gene's Chinese Flatbread Café, where you can get a hand-pulled noodle dish for just $6. For nearly-free entertainment, go to Bella Luna & The Milky Way Lounge at 284 Amory Street for comedy shows, game nights, and DJs spinning lively beats.
Spend the next day of your vacation exploring more of Boston. Stroll through Cambridge and Harvard Square, and check out the Museum of Bad Art in Somerville. Pick up some grub at a local deli or grocery store, and have a picnic in Boston Common and the Public Garden, created in 1634 as the country's first public park. Beer fans will want to stop by the Sam Adams Brewery for a tour. Admission is $2 (a suggested donation that benefits local charities), and tours leave every 45 minutes.
If you happen to be in Boston on a weekend in the summer, be sure to visit the Hatch Shell for free Friday night movies. The summer is also filled with other events at the Shell, like concerts by the Boston Pops.
Wave goodbye to Boston, drive an hour south to Providence, Rhode Island, and settle into your room at Hotel Dolce Villa, a colorful and well-appointed property at 63 De Pasquale Avenue in the city's Little Italy district. Rooms start at $99 per night, and some even include a kitchen and living room, which is perfect for traveling families.
Now set out on foot to explore the city. Consider a (free) self-guided walking tour with a handy map. If you're more interested in exploring specific sites, try the RISD Museum (free every Sunday and the third Thursday evening of the month; otherwise prices are $12 for adults and $3 for kids). The 40-acre Roger Williams Park Zoo is also a good option, where admission is $14.95 for adults and $9.95 for kids.
For dinner, head over to Wickenden Street and check out the many affordable restaurants in a variety of cuisines—from Cambodian and Indian to Japanese and American.
Relaxation will be your goal for the next leg of your trip. Drive 70 miles southeast to Falmouth, Massachusetts, and jump on the Steamship Authority ferry to Martha's Vineyard. Make your way to the Dockside Inn, an adorable boutique property with rates starting a little above $100. Be sure to check availability, as high season can mean an increase.
There's more to do in Martha's Vineyard in the summer, but even if you're visiting in the winter, you can still check out the Offshore Ale Company and shows at Martha's Vineyard Film Society. You can also explore the gorgeous beaches here, at any time of year.
Wake up early and drive five hours west into Greenwich, Connecticut, a leafy, high-end town near the water with 62,000 residents. Today is your day to splurge, so cozy up to the check-in counter at Delamar Greenwich Harbor, a four-star hotel right on the harbor. Nightly rates start around $247.
Spend your day feeling like a celebrity as you walk around the harbor, and bop into the Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, a world-class space that offers a variety of exhibits at an admission price of $7 for adults and $6 for kids and students.
Keep your car parked in Greenwich and take the 50-minute train south into New York City for the last hurrah of your vacation. Take the subway into Brooklyn and check into 3B, a downtown bed and breakfast spot that offers rooms starting at $149 per night. Spend the day walking the streets of Manhattan, where there's tons of free things to do, like walking through Central Park, touring City Hall (call in advance for reservations), or relaxing in the cavernous New York Public Library.
On your last day, spend the morning exploring the streets of Brooklyn. Don't forget to walk across the famous Brooklyn Bridge, which is a great place for photos. Other must-sees include the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Green-Wood Cemetery.
At the end of the day, hop back on the train to Greenwich to your car. Use the drive to reflect on the memories you've made and the experiences you've had—all in a single week.
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