Thank you for the reply. Is there any cheaper alternative to flying (trains, buses)
Yes, in that order. Busses are the cheapest at around $20 PP. Then you still need to get to Peabody. But you will need a car once you get to Peabody anyway.Edited: 16 February 2015, 20:26
And for a train (Amtrak) , you would need to travel from JFK to Manhattan first. Same for the low cost buses such as Bolt or Megabus. Then you need to get from Boston to Peabody. And in Peabody public transportation is extremely limited. I grew up there ... You really need a car. May I ask, why Peabody?
I agree that a car will be the easiest way to get from Boston (whether you arrive by plane, train, or bus) to Peabody and that you will need a car once in Peabody unless you will be staying with family or friends. If you are more comfortable getting to Peabody first and then renting a car, it is possible to do so though not especially convenient. Here are two options:
If you fly from JFK to Logan, you can take the Logan Express Peabody bus. It picks up passengers outside every terminal. Once in Peabody, you will probably need to take a taxi to the car rental agency; the bus driver will call you a taxi as you approach Peabody. Enterprise may pick you up at the Peabody bus terminal and we have heard from another visitor that Avis picked her up there.
If you take Amtrak (which will involve getting from JFK into Penn Station in NYC first, as noted above), you can get to Peabody via commuter rail followed by a bus. You can get off at Back Bay Station or South Station in Boston, but then need to get to North Station to pick up the commuter rail. If you don't want to take a taxi, get off a Back Bay and take the MBTA's Orange Line to North Station. At North Station, take the Newburyport/Rockport rail line to Salem. If a rental agency won't pick you up there, you can take MBTA bus #465 to the North Shore Mall in Peabody. Avis and Budget have rental offices there. Check the hours of the rental places carefully as they are much more limited than at the airport.Edited: 17 February 2015, 05:48
Just wondering about your October visit: Are you coming to visit Salem during its month-long Halloween celebration? That would be a common reason to stay in Peabody in the fall. If that's the case, you will really need a car to travel from Peabody to Salem. Public transit is very limited as noted above, and the Peabody hotels are not located near any bus lines that will get you to Salem.
Thank you so much for the responses. I'm staying in Peabody to head to Salem for Halloween, the accommodation innPeabody had good reviews and for a good rate at this time of year. I was going to rent a car once I got to Boston but might just rent one from JFK and drive. Is there any suggestions for driving (I.e. times to avoid, stops along the way)?
Ok, so it is Peabody for its proximity to Salem. What I said above about the lack of public transit from Peabody to Salem is correct, but I failed to add my usual caution to avoid driving to/from Salem on October weekends, Friday afternoons/evenings, Columbus Day, and Halloween itself. The traffic is extremely heavy and parking is scarce. Instead, you can drive to the commuter rail station in Beverly, park, and take the train for five minutes to Salem. On October weekdays, driving to Salem should be ok.