Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blustery Boston, day two

Good morning Boston!
Day two in Boston and I was prepared with much more of a plan than day one. Golden rule of C&G travel, always have a plan. . . We had tickets for an 11:00 planetarium show at the Museum of Science. As much as I would have loved lounging around and enjoying the view out our 15th floor window, we had to pack up and find some quick breakfast. 

Thankfully with Quincy Market next door there were plenty of options to satisfy everyone's breakfast needs. Not too many stalls were open that early for breakfast, although I did see some people grabbing pizza slices. We each got something different and met back in the center at the long tables. The souvenir carts inside were just setting up for the day and provided a little entertainment for the kiddos while they ate their breakfast.

The incredibly ugly City Hall Plaza, built in the 1960's.
The Museum of Science is on the green line of the T (From Quincy Market get on the green T at the Government Center stop and get off at Science Park) but there is also an indoor garage if you're going by car. If you've got your car, don't bother looking for street parking to save a few dollars. Mr. C&G tried that once, dropped us off and then crossed the bridge into Cambridge to look for parking. Almost an hour later he returned, super grumpy, and the best spot he found was back in the garage. Lesson learned. 

Little C&G wants to be an astronomer when he grows up. Which means we've seen almost every planetarium show up and down the east coast. Rarely do they put out new ones, but starting in January the Museum of Science debuted "Moons: Worlds of Mystery", put together by the talented staff of the museum. It was very impressive and up to date, as things change quickly out there in the universe and Little C&G is the first to point any errors out. He was very happy with the new show, and it was perfect for kids 7-8ish & up. 

After the show (about 40 minutes run time) I knew we'd have less than an hour to explore the museum before the boys lost interest and started melting down. Big museums can be very overwhelming and I've found that no matter what activity it is, the boys are only good for about 2 hours. It's important to always assume you'll be coming back so you can take the pressure off yourselves. Don't try to see and do everything all in one day, and when the meltdowns start you know it's time to bail and search for some cocktails. And gelato!

Practicing his retrieval skills at the SHIPWRECK! exhibit.
I knew we'd be at the museum around lunchtime, and there's absolutely nothing satisfying about greasy overpriced cafeteria food. Usually served up with noisy and equally overstimulated kids. When making my travel plans I always try and find some lunch or cocktail options in whatever neighborhood we're going to be in. In this case, I found us a quiet spot across the river for lunch at the ArtBar restaurant in the Royal Sonesta hotel. Just a short 5 minute walk across the bridge into Cambridge and the first left onto Edwin H Land Boulevard, the Royal Sonesta is on the waterfront overlooking the Charles River. 

The hotel is a top rated hotel for families (we've never tried it, but that's what their website says), and the restaurant was chic enough that we didn't feel like we were dining in a chain hotel. The boys loved the kids menu, with a choice of goldfish, carrot sticks, or fruit as a starter. The goldfish came in a little cocktail bowls, which Little C&G felt were not for sharing with Big C&G. Mr. C&G and I had some fun appetizers , like deep fried mac & cheese egg rolls and sweet potato tater tots to go with our cocktails. We were all able to relax with some food and a much needed change of scenery. 

Other neighborhood options include the Hotel Marlowe across the street, which we have stayed in and it is absolutely wonderful. Their restaurant is also nice (a little fancier), while still being family friendly, with plenty of tasty options for lunch. Next to the Marlowe is the CambridgeSide Galleria, a typical mall with all the usual eateries if you're up for something super quick. Or for the triple crown of mall restaurants you can choose from California Pizza Kitchen, the Cheesecake Factory, or P.F. Changs. 

After our refreshing lunch nobody wanted to go back to the museum and instead we decided to get back home in time for dinner. With such gorgeous mid-winter weather, we spilt up and took our own long routes back to the hotel. I did some window shopping on Newbury Street while the boys checked out Newbury Comics and then we all met up back at the hotel. 

One overpriced valet parking bill later . . . (it's $40/day, and your "day" is up when you check out. Then the clock starts all over again, unbeknownst to us, so we had to pay $80 for our day and a half of parking. Oh well, there's always something in Boston.) and time for our little getaway to end.
Good bye Boston!

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