The lazy man's Boston weekend family getaway — from my notes, based on a spur-of-the moment trip we took, Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. We did no planning, no driving around town, and almost no walking…

Before leaving, visit Hotwire to pick up a room at the brand-new Intercontinental at the spooky-cheap rate of $129/night. My family decided it was the most splendiferous hotel they'd ever stayed in (and, importantly for my boys, the beds had long cylindrical decorative pillows ideal for pillow fights). The hotel is a shimmering glass palace loaded with granite, limestone, dark wood, brushed metal. High ceilings, posh restaurant, buzzy bar. But beware the $39/night parking charge.

The "waterfront" rooms (facing a ship-channel, at the site of the Boston Tea Party) are costlier, but we loved the evocative (for Ken Smith, anyway, since they face the Federal Reserve tower a block away — would be good inspiration for a graf or two for his site BernakesFed.Com) west-view rooms, which overlook a construction site with lots of heavy earth-moving equipment — free entertainment for the boys, right out the hotel window.

If you check in early enough, visit the Children's Museum — a quick walk across the bridge from the hotel. It's only $1 on Friday nights. Otherwise, visit on Saturday, after a good workout and swim at the Intercontinental's beautiful spa/gym, followed by brunch at Flour Bakery a block from the Museum (or, if Flour is packed, nearby are Finagle-a-Bagel, Au Bon Pain and Panera)

After the Museum (which is well-designed to appeal to kids as old as 10), stop at Barking Crab across the street for an early dinner, before the Saturday night rush. The swordfish with gnocchi is a good bet for the grown-ups, as are the burgers for the kids. Or, if more ambitious and eager to visit a landmark, walk north a few blocks to the Legal Seafood by the Aquarium, or over to Durgin Park.

Optional extension: Saturday (or Friday) night, drive out the Mass Pike a few exits to catch a Harvard ice-hockey game — We saw them beat nationally-ranked Quinnipiac; next weekend they play Yale and Brown.


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