I’ve lived in New Jersey for most of my life and had never been to Boston until this July 4th weekend. Even my parents were surprised that they never took me there (we took plenty of trips in the other direction to D.C.).
The original plan was to take Amtrak, but ticket prices increased a bit too much when I booked a month ago — it should’ve been $49 each way, but it rose to $101. I ended up taking Megabus for $54 round trip — it was fine on the way up, but got stuck in traffic on the way back. The train definitely would’ve been more comfortable (and it wouldn’t have required me to stand outside for half an hour in the sweltering heat and humidity). Also, I wasn’t impressed with the onboard wifi — I had a better connection through 3G and 4G, depending where we were.
For the first time since I was in college, I stayed in a dorm. I decided it would be worthwhile to meet people, plus Hostelling International was in a convenient location and about $100 cheaper than anywhere else. The hostel even provided breakfast! Although I enjoyed my private room at Reykjavik City Hostel, this one was better (though not private) — the kitchen and common areas were great for meeting other travelers (and there were a lot of people staying there).
While focusing on my photos of wandering around Boston, I neglected to take more pictures of the hostel — I only took the one of the pool table outside the kitchen. The cafe downstairs was nice too, but why pay $2 for coffee when there’s free coffee in the kitchen?
On the first night, the hostel organized a trip to see the fireworks. First we stopped at Sweetwater for drinks (and food for me) before wandering for far too long to catch the fireworks over the Charles River. Sweetwater was a nice dive bar with a limited beer selection, but good food. The burrito bomber with sweet potato fries was really good, but ridiculously large — usually burritos as big as my head taste awful unless I’m drunk.
This was the biggest organized fireworks display I’ve seen. I sort of saw some nice fireworks in Montreal two years ago, and a smaller show for Canada Day in Halifax last year, but Boston was more impressive. Unfortunately, the best view I had was slightly obstructed.