Correction: To get the Shaw’s grocery store from the conference hotel, you do have to walk across one street outside, for about 10-12 yards.
I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of you in Boston next week at XML 2006. Many of you may know Boston much better than I do, but for those who don’t, I’m writing a few quick tips.
- Getting around
- Boston has excellent public transit and really horrible traffic, so the subway (called the “T”) and commuter trains are usually better choices than taxis, unless it’s a quiet time of day or you have too much luggage to handle on the escalators. The Prudential, Symphony, and Back Bay T stations are all a short walk from the hotel, as is the Back Bay commuter rail station. The Silver Line on the T connects Logan Airport to the other lines, so it’s a cheap ride in.
- The Boston Sheraton Hotel has free wireless Internet and public computers available down in the lobby, and we hope to provide wireless access in the conference area. To access the Internet from your hotel room, however, you’ll need to pay an extra fee (about $10/day, I think), and you’ll need to have an Ethernet card — there’s no wireless available in the guest rooms.
- Shopping and dining
- The Back Bay area is big for stores and restaurants The two most important areas are Newbury Street, which runs east-west about three blocks north of the hotel, and (for those who prefer malls), the Prudential Center, a large upscale mall and food-fair connected to the Sheraton Hotel. The Prudential Centre includes a Shaw’s supermarket and a Barnes and Noble bookstore, just a few minutes’ (indoor) walk from the conference. If you need to make any emergency computer purchases, there’s a Best Buy about a 20 minute walk west along Boylston, just past Fenway Park.
- Sure, the hotel has a gym, but why bother when you can go walking or running around The Fens, through Cambridge along the Charles River past MIT, around the Boston Common, or up and down the steep, narrow streets of Beacon Hill? Bring your winter running gear, but don’t overdress — it’s not going to be that cold (see next).
- Current forecasts call for daytime highs from 2 to 6 degC and nighttime lows from -3 to 1 degC over the week. If the forecast for sunny skies holds up, it will actually be very nice for walking around Boston (an amazing walking city), as long as you dress for the weather. Thicker pants, warm socks, and a light lined jacket that can keep out the wind, and maybe a light hat and gloves will be sufficient: unless you’re not used to cooler temperatures, there’s no need to show up in full ski gear. Leave the thin ankle socks and sandals at home. An extra tee-shirt or sweater will let you layer up if you need to.
- (Old) New Age Religion
- Just in case you’re interested, the headquarters of the Church of Christ Scientist (aka Christian Scientists, not to be confused with Scientology) is located in a large plaza across the street from the hotel.