Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Very Useful Travel Guide

My eleventh book for the year was a travel guide for an upcoming trip. The book is "Boston" from Eyewitness Travel with the main contributors being Tom Bross, Patricia Harris and David Lyon.

This was a very different travel guide than what I am used to reading. I buy a new one before every trip we take to Boston, hoping to find some gem inside that we have yet to discover. This book gave me several new ideas, plus a great layout that was easy to read and understand where everything is located.

First off, this was a very visual book. It is color-coded by area of town, with the city broken down into five sections. Each section has a short blurb about it, then is followed by a street-by-street guide. This section has an illustration of an interesting part of that section, complete with streets, buildings and landmarks. Following that is a listing of sights in that section of town. This includes information about the sights, location, nearby public transportation, hours and web addresses where applicable. Also, the major sights have dedicated pages with detailed illustrations and points of interest within the sights themselves. There is a section titled "Farther Afield" that does the same thing for towns outside of the city of Boston, but within a reasonable distance that you could visit while vacationing in Boston.

There is a section that describes three possible walks you can take in the Boston area. One of these walks is along the Freedom Trail, which is generally covered in Boston travel guides. There are two other walks described that are different from anything I have read about or done while I was in Boston. One is a walk on the MIT Campus and the other is a walk in South Boston. All of the walks are mapped out with important sights pointed out that you can visit along the way.

There are, of course, sections that briefly cover Boston's history and that give basic travel information. The "Travelers' Needs" section was quite helpful for me. It lists hotels, shopping and entertainment activities as you would expect. The list of restaurants was particularly good, I thought. There were several places listed (by section) that I have not been to that I have made note of to try when I am there. The descriptions are very thorough, yet succinct.

At the end of the book is a "Survival Guide" which seems to be directed toward foreign visitors. It covers health care, safety, currency and communications.

I felt that this book and its visual qualities would be more helpful to me than other travel guides. In fact, while reading it I discovered that in one particular part of town my directions have always been turned around. It is also thinner than other guides I have purchased in the past and the pages, instead of being paper, have a laminated feel to them, making the book better to stuff in a bag while I'm on the go.

I will definitely be taking this book with me on my trip and using it throughout my stay.

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