Assuming my wife and I can scrape a few bucks together between now and Columbus Day weekend, we'd like to take a short trip up your way to ride the Charles River Esplanade and maybe do some other "casual" riding.
This wouldn't be our first ride along the Charles. I believe we did it last in the mid 1990's. At the time, we also rode a good portion of the Minuteman Trail.
1. Is there still a big Columbus Day weekend festival in Boston?
2. Is the Charles path in better shape than it was ten or fifteen years ago?
3. Is the Minuteman in better shape than it was ten or fifteen years ago?
3a. Is Bedford still a trailhead for the Minuteman?
4. Can you suggest any new rides we should consider (my wife is not a hardcore cyclist - she's good for about 15 miles on a dead flat route, minimal traffic)?
5. Any "secrets" regarding where to stay fairly inexpensively on a holiday weekend? (ie: Here in New York, we'd advise budget-conscious people to stay in the boro of Queens and ride over a bridge into Manhattan, rather than paying $400-500 for a room in Manhattan itself.