MARAC/NEA Spring 2015: Boston – A View from the South

The trip to Boston may be longer than some are used to for a regional meeting. We are excited to have some folks, like Stephanie Bennett, considering making the trek from beyond the MARAC/NEA borders. We asked her about her plans and some of her favorite things about Boston (several of these topics will be expanded upon in future posts). Here is what Stephanie has to say.
Photo by Werner Kunz, Flickr Creative Commons,
Knowing that I am considering a trip up for the NEA/MARAC joint meeting from North Carolina, the intrepid Jennifer Sharp asked me to share my trip planning procedures. As a Simmons College SLIS graduate, I’m excited that archivists will get to take advantage of Boston’s wonders. I love planning (I think many archivists share this love!) so of course I have an idea of how I’ll make the most of my trip north.
Entering the City Limits                  
Planes: If you’re flying the friendly skies, the conference site Boston Park Plaza is a 20-minute cab ride from the airport. For intrepid travelers, Boston’s famous T can get you to the hotel in about 35 minutes – although that trip includes a mile walk from South Station.
Trains: The train – or Megabus that drops you off at South Station – is the easiest ride into the city. As I said, South Station is a 20-minute walk – or a quick cab ride – to the Park Plaza.
Automobiles: Driving in Boston is not for the meek, but armed with a GPS and a sense of adventure, you too can cruise the streets. Parking lots are all around the downtown area; you’ll find that overnight parking will run you somewhere between $30 and $50.
A Roof Over My Head
I doubt that I can teach seasoned conference-goers anything about cutting hotel costs. Students, you might take advantage of Boston’s hostels or talk Simmons’ students into putting you up.
Conferencing Like a Boss
This aspect of the trip is self-explanatory but also the most important! To make sure you have an adequate amount of sustenance, visit a grocery store – or a CVS, where the food section is pretty robust in a city. There is a Trader Joe’s a mile down the way from the conference site. If you’re in a hurry, my favorite bakery Flour is around the corner, 0.4 miles away, and Starbucks and food trucks are plentiful in the area.
A Warm Meal in My Belly
An important aspect of trips to Boston (and conferences in general, really) is the tasty food! Boston is bursting with enticing restaurants at all price points. I’ll be using Yelp and Eater Boston to determine where my archives buddies and I will be breaking bread. Eating out is also a good opportunity to leave downtown and explore the neighborhoods of Boston and Cambridge. 
Soaking Up Culture
Finding time to do anything but attend conference sessions and rest is nearly impossible, but thankfully the host committee has done its best bringing Boston’s cultural heritage to us. If you can, arrive early on Wednesday to check out one of the repository tours – or the trip to the Samuel Adams Brewery. Saturday evening’s Tipsy Tour is another option. If your trip is more abbreviated, history is right outside the hotel: stroll across the Common to the State House or walk down Boylston to the beautiful Boston Public Library Central branch.
I wish you all safe travels, happy learning, and delicious eating, archivists! Feel free to leave any questions in the comments, I’ll do my best to provide answers.
Stephanie Bennett is the Collections Archivist of Wake Forest University’s  Special Collections and Archives. In addition to her passion for the historical record, she loves Flour’s pecan buns and the Charles River Esplanade. 

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