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WeekendWatch: Weekend road trips for easy riders

The start of the Summer II session at Northeastern University brings a sudden revelation: the summer term is more than halfway over. So take advantage of the nice weather while you can and plan a weekend getaway — the nearby, affordable options are endless. Here are just a few to get the wheels turning.

Provincetown, Massachusetts
Why go? Getting to Cape Cod by car can be a daunting task if traffic is backed up at the bridge. And let’s face it — it often is. But ferry service to Provincetown departs from the World Trade Center pier daily and will get you there in just 90 minutes. Explore the charming, campy downtown area, spend the day at Race Point Beach, or enjoy some of New England’s best seafood in this village that becomes a Scene in the summertime.
How to get there? A round-trip, high-speed voyage will set you back about $80. But a second ferry option runs every Saturday at 9 a.m. and costs just $22 each way.
Want more information? Check out Baystate Cruise Company.

Providence, Rhode Island
Why go? Check out WaterFire Providence, an independent, nonprofit arts organization that brings the downtown area of the state capital to life every weekend by lighting more than 80 floating bonfires along Providence’s Waterplace Park. The event draws artists, performers and vendors from across New England and, with more than 10 million attendees since its inception in 1994, it is among the nation’s most popular ongoing arts events.
How to get there? Providence is accessible via the MBTA’s Commuter Rail’s Providence/Stoughton line.
Want more information? Visit the WaterFire event page.

Mystic, Connecticut
Why go? Mystic is home to far more than the pizza that helped make Julia Roberts’ movie career. Check out the well-known aquarium and seaport district, two of the most popular tourist attractions in New England. Explore the shops on both sides of the historic bascule bridge that spans the Mystic River, and don’t miss the cool treats that Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream has to offer.
How to get there? Mystic is about a 90-minute Amtrak ride from Boston, with tickets available starting around $30.
Want more information? Visit the Mystic tourism website.
Portland, Maine 
Why go? Once you arrive in Portland, consider visiting one of the city’s countless restaurants in search of the perfect lobster, or browse the boutiques that line the downtown area. Don’t forget to take to the water and stop by Portland Head Light, which marks the entry to the city’s picturesque harbor and is said to be the world’s most photographed lighthouse.
How to get there? The Amtrak Downeaster line runs five round-trip trains between Boston and Maine each day, with tickets starting at just $17.
Want more information? Get up to speed on Amtrak’s Downeaster line.

New York City, New York
Why go? Trick question. You really don’t need a reason to hit up NYC for the weekend. But here are a few, anyway. From midtown, head up to Times Square and Central Park, or move south to see how construction is progressing on the new World Trade Center tower or to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. If you’re feeling adventurous, travel to one of the outer boroughs for more of an off-the-grid adventure, like a trip to Coney Island for a hot dog and a ride on the famous Cyclone roller coaster (though maybe not in that order).
How to get there? With the advent of two relatively new bus companies, Megabus and BoltBus, it is easier, cheaper and more comfortable to get into New York. Both buses offer wireless Internet and, if you book early enough, you can get a ticket for as low as a buck.
Want more information? See schedules and book a trip through Megabus or BoltBus.