I ran into a family this weekend who were doing two days (maybe three) in Salem, and wanted to add a day into Boston. This was their first trip to our neck of the woods, and in talking with them I realized I had a blog post topic on my hands.
This was a family of four: mom, dad, teenage son and (younger) teenage daughter.
SalemFerry.com), which departs Salem on the odd hours and takes 55 minutes to get into Boston. The Ferry runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (Columbus Day and Halloween Mondays) through October. Were it mid-week, I would recommend the MBTA Commuter Rail from Salem to Boston's North Station (mbta.com).
A Back Bay Day
Mom wanted to check out Boston University, which is easily reached via the MBTA Green Line from North Station or Government Center (which is near the Salem Ferry dock at Long Wharf North).
They guys were interested in sports, so a tour of Fenway Park might me in order. Fenway is near Boston University, so even if you don't do the tour, a stop at the store on Yawkey Way could take care of some holiday gifts. You may also want to visit the Sports Museum at the TD Garden, which is above North Station.
Not to be overly stereotypical, but the girls wanted to shop. And why wouldn't they? Boston has great shopping. Since they're heading to the Back Bay to see BU, the boutiques of Newbury Street and the shops in the Prudential Center are all a fairly short walk (when the weather is beautiful, walking Boston is wonderful).
And they wanted to check out Cheers, which is another short walk from Newbury Street (or a couple of stops on the T from the Prudential Center). Cheers is adjacent to the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common. Families with younger kids should check out the Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Public Garden. It's a most popular photo opp. Teenagers, however, would look funny sitting on the little brass ducks.
Be a Tourist - Take a Tour
Whether you are visiting Salem or Boston for the first time, I always recommend a good overview tour. Most trolley tours are perfect for getting you around, pointing out the sites, sharing the cities' history, and allowing you to hop on and off. Boston also offers Duck tours, so you get that water/land combination. In Boston, Supertours, Old Town Trolley, and Boston Duck Tours would love to show you the sites. In Salem, you'll want to hop aboard the Salem Trolley, which meets most incoming Ferries.
Transportation, a trolley tour, brushing up on Boston Sports history and shopping is a full day. It's not your only option in Boston, however. Stay tuned for Day Trip to Boston Part II, which will list a few options closer to the harbor.