Boston-On the Cheap

pete

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At the end of August my wife, daughter and I will be in the Boston area (Tweksbury) for a wedding. Since my daughter has never been to Boston, we are going to spend some of that time doing Boston, and maybe some of the surrounding area (she heard that we would be close to Salem and as she loves the supernatural wants to go-we'll see about that). So here's my question; since I was unemployed for almost 3 months we have blown through most of our savings and this trip is kind of a stretch at this point, so I am looking for suggestion for great, inexpensive places to eat in Boston and get some seafood. Any suggestions?
 
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If your going to be north of Boston (especially if going to Salem) keep going a bit further and get clams or other seafood. Essex MA: Woodman's, JT Farnhams, Essex Seafood. Ipswich MA: The Clam Box (which may be a seasonal operation so check first). Rowley MA: Agawam Diner

Great, inexpensive, seafood, and Boston don't often go together in the same sentence. :)
 
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... but if you don't mind going a bit more in debt for the sake of a very unique historical experience... Sudbury MA: Wayside Inn. Food can be good (but not great); Setting is FANTASTIC.
 
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Hi Pete.

There really isn't anything cheap about Boston nor is there really any way to do Boston on the cheap. Seafood is extraordinarily expensive in and around Boston area. Even when you get out of Boston into places like Essex and Ipswich, seafood prices are still insanely high.

If you are looking for seafood anywhere within a couple hours driving distance of Boston, you can expect to pay anywhere from $13 to $25 per plate, per person just for the entree', depending on what you order and what's in season. Even the "seafood stands" are outlandishly expensive.

So, here is what I recommend. No BS.

Go find a hardware store and buy a couple of buckets, a hand rake, a hoe and a shovel. Find a beach, look for the eel grass at low tide and start digging. You will find more clams than you can eat.

At low tide, find a peer and chances are you will find mussels and oysters growing on the columns. For about $25, you can purchase a 12ft diameter casting net. Find a peer or a dock and cast the net. You will be surprised at what you will catch.

Or, for about the same money, you can buy a crab trap and bait it with a chicken neck to catch blue or rock crabs from a peer or a dock in between low and high tide. None of this requires a fishing license and I guarantee you and your daughter will have the time of your life.

If rolling up your sleeves and getting wet is not in the cards, go to any pier and find a local, small boat fisherman. The best time to find them is mid afternoon when they come back with their catches. In most cases you can buy directly from them in cash and save a ton of money. The only drawback is you are on your own to cook it, which can be easily fixed with one of those disposable grills and a few ingredients you can pick up at any stop-n-rob.

This is the real way to do seafood when you are in New England.

Good luck! :)
 
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We went to 'seafood shack' named Holly Crab that was pretty good for the price. We bought a dozen fresh oysters, a boiled lobster, some fish and fries. Some beers. Paper on the tables, they give you gloves and a bib. Had fun, made a mess, didn't spend a ton.
Oh, and your dinner may show up in a plastic bag.
 
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Like Brianshaw said,The Clam Box (which may be a seasonal operation so check first). Ipswich Whole belly fried clams are a must. Boston is an easy walking town. I would recommend the hop on hop off bus at just sty on it for a nice tour of the city. It also goes over to Harvard. The Daily catch and Yankee Lobster. You'll also want to get a Lobster roll CT style or New England style. CT style is with drawn butter and New England style is Lobster mixed with Mayo. There are some old cemetery's in town. Spend some time at Faneuil Hall and Market/QuincyMarket There is a food hall in Faneuil Hall. There is a ferry that goes over to Salem from a Dock downtown Boston.
water-transportation
 
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I know this may sound "cheeky" Pete, but you might try Rachel Ray's episodes of "$10.00 a day."
The show gave me inspiration when I visited Seattle....
 

pete

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Sgsvirgil, I grew up in Vermont and every few years find myself back in New England (various spots all around New England) so I am aware that seafood meals can be expensive and I'm willing to pay for good seafood. I guess, I should have re-phrased the question as "no high end places". But I've got no problem paying the prices on some of those listed menus, for killer, fresh-from-the-ocean seafood. But I do like your idea of attempting to catch my own. A few years back we were at a family reunion, in NH, just north of the MA border and we did a clam and lobster boil. I forget what we paid for the steamers (but it was darn cheap, in my eyes) and only paid $7.95 each for 1 1/2 pound lobsters (that was each, not pound).

As for places, other than seafood places, I am sure that Boston has plenty of cheap, local eats. Back in 2016 we were in NYC and for the most part were able to keep our meals under $15.00 per person, except for a few splurges. Many we were even able to keep at close to $10 per person.
 
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