If you want to do that, I would plan on renting a car. You can use that for the trip from Boston as well. It will make your trip much easier and more flexible.
I agree with Alanm that a car would give you more flexibility both for travel between Salem and Marblehead and within Marblehead. However, if you decide to rent a car and are visiting in October, plan this for a weekday. Driving to Salem on an October weekend is not recommended. Traffic into and around the city is extremely heavy and parking is hard to find.
If you decide to stick with public transportation, note that the Salem Ferry will be running only on Fridays through Sundays, and service ends on October 31st. The commuter rail from Boston is the other option for getting to Salem. I don't know what the fare between Salem and Marblehead is and in the past have found the taxi calculator programs to be inaccurate for suburban travel. Your best bet would be to contact local taxi companies. Here are a few to try:
Salem Taxi, 978-741-2235
Marblehead Taxi and Livery Company, 978-601-2282
North Shore Taxi, Peabody, 978-532-5747
Tri-City Taxi, Beverly, 978-744-4772
You should probably make arrangements for a pick-up in Marblehead ahead of time. Hope you will enjoy your visit!
Also, there is MBTA bus service between Boston and Marblehead so another approach would be to take the ferry or train to Salem, a taxi to Marblehead, and then the bus back to Boston (or vice versa). We recently suggested this to another poster, but I can't seem to find that thread. Here's a link to another thread that may be helpful:
Look at bus routes 441, 442, 448, and 449:
One last thought since I see you are from Portland, OR, which has Zipcars. Do you happen to be a member? If so, Zipcar now has cars available in Salem, so you could take the ferry or train to Salem and then use a Zipcar to get to Marblehead and back. (I am assuming that a Portland membership would allow use in Salem. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.)
Thank you all for all the info,...love Tripadvisor!! I am still in the planning stages of my vacation to Boston area,probably wont be out there till next August or September. I try to plan way ahead and get an idea what the general cost of things will be so I am prepared. Just trying to decide if I should rent a car for the day trips I want to take (Salem,Marblehead,Plymouth,Lexington,Concord) or use public transport. I have heard that Boston hotel parking is very expensive,so just weighing out my options . I'm not a member of Zipcar,but I willl look in to it,great idea. Thanks again
You're welcome, Rockinahawdplayse! All the places outside Boston that you mention can be reached via public transportation (plus taxi in some cases), but a car will be more convenient, give you more flexibility (commuter rail runs on a fixed schedule and service is not frequent outside of rush hours, for example), and allow you to explore more. However, as you have heard, parking in Boston is very expensive and a car is definitely not needed in the city. A suggestion: spend a few days in Boston, then pick up a rental car (a regular rental; Zipcar is perfect for a few hours in Marblehead, but too expensive for multiple days) and spend a few more days in the outlying areas. Good luck in your planning!
I'll second Route128North's suggestion, and add that lodging in the outlying areas will be much less expensive and will have free parking. Spend a few nights in a Boston hotel, then rent a car and stay elsewhere for your visits to the other towns.
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