Boston vs. Seattle

Sure, the weather was good, the people nice and the scenery stunning, but Rebecca Pacheco reports she was chafing under an Irene-imposed extended stay in Seattle:

I'm a native of Cape Cod and a Boston resident. And in both circles, inclement weather is a point of hearty New England pride. I felt like I was missing out. I recalled Hurricanes Gloria and Bob and the Halloween Nor’easter of 1991, which inspired local author Sebastian Junger's Perfect Storm and, later, became a film starring Mark Wahlberg. What if I missed the meteorological inspiration of another Mark Wahlberg movie? I liked Seattle well enough, but I found a few things unsettling.

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      One huge advantage

      It won't cost you big money to be stranded in Seattle.

      Where could you find a good solo hotel room, funky but clean, for $65 a night in downtown Boston while you waited for an available flight? One where you could walk to a grocery store if you didn't want to spend big bucks on food? In Seattle, you have several options like the Moore Hotel that are affordable, convenient, and close to cheap eats and stores that cater to people who live nearby.

      Seattle also has a huge HI hostel if you only wanted to spend $35 a night and have use of a full kitchen ... but Boston is about to catch up there when the new one opens next to Jacob Wirth's in the spring. (the current HI Hostel on Hemenway is tiny and hard to find a space in this time of year).

      If anybody knows of hotels that are as cheap in conveneient areas of Boston, please tell everybody ...

      SEA-TAC vs Logan

      No doubt that the cost of living in Boston is probably more than Seattle but neither is SEA-TAC airport in downtown Seattle. If you moved Logan 13 or so miles outside of downtown you might be able to find some cheaper hotels that would be convenient (although probably still more expensive than 13 miles outside of downtown Seattle I suppose). A real HI Hostel in Boston will be a great addition though.

      You can get to Sea-Tac from Downtown

      I was comparing downtown Seattle to downtown Boston. Downtown Seattle has some more expensive lodgings, sure, but the low end exists and can be much more reasonable than at Logan or Downtown Boston. It is also possible to walk to a grocery store - something Boston struggles with.

      If you were stranded in Seattle, it would be possible to take a $2.50 ride downtown where you could find a bed, eat, and entertain yourself on as little as $50-100 a day, depending on your choices.

      The airport hotels near Sea-Tac have shuttles, but they are isolated and more expensive than the funky old places downtown.

      As for public transport, you can get to Downtown Seattle from SEA-TAC without even getting wet. Oh, you might have to walk a block to one of the many light rail entrances from your $65 a night hotel or three blocks from the HI Hostel ... there are entrances and shopping concourses that connect buildings to the system. The same rail line also gets you to Mariners and Seahawks games.

      Last time I was there, I stayed downtown for a conference and rented a car on a friday-saturday out of Sea-Tac to drive up to a kayaking trip out of Annacortes. Overnight parking on the street? No problem. It was $5 round trip on the light rail to pick up the car and return it. $14 a day for the car, too.

      Then there was a band I wanted to see in Ballard - buses run quite frequently on weekends, and run pretty late too. (In Boston you can also see shows using public transit if you get back before 1am ... and rent a car and get to Gloucester/Rockport, etc.)

      I walked from the hotel to the train station the next morning.

      Just don't jaywalk like Manny.