Archive | October, 2010

Trees? You Want Me to Look at Trees?

31 Oct

Arnold Arboretum- fallen autumn leaves under a maple tree.

Yup, at an arboretum. Every time someone mentions an arboretum I think of That 70’s Show because there was one episode Eric and Donna thought they knew what each other wanted- to visit the arboretum- but really, “why would I want to look at trees?” (the script of the episode can be found here. I love this show so much!) So, I have a negative view of any and all arboretums. I mean, really, who wants to look at trees?

But, once again, I am wrong. The Arnold Arboretum is the kind of place that I love. It is full of nature (lets hope), people, animals and gorgeous colors, although the colors will only last for a few more days. The arboretum is filled with all kinds of people: young professionals, couples, old(er) people and students doing homework. People are biking, jogging, rollerblading and strolling through paths and roads lined with brightly colored leaves and green grass. This is fall in New England, nothing gets better than this. However, it is also probably gorgeous in the winter once there is a light snowfall and the tree branches are covered in ice.

Presumably what Arnold Arboretum looks like in the winter. So peaceful.

The Arnold Arboretum seems like a phenomenal place to escape the city and just to relax, take a walk and think. Or, in my case, not think. It is set in the Jamaica Plains and Roslindale section of Boston and offers a great getaway. Once you get there (directions below), the visitor’s center will be right at the entrance and they can provide any information you desire (well, within reason. I am not sure if they can tell you if aliens exist, but you could try). The arboretum also runs guided tours (free!) April through November. The schedule looks a little confusing but can be found here.

Oh, and did I mention that the Arnold Arboretum is technically Harvard? Well, it is. It is a department of Harvard but the land is deeded by the city and is a link in the Emerald Necklace. However, the university was given a thousand-year lease on the arboretum (to be honest, I’m not quite sure what that means but it sounds hella impressive). It is an educational and research center for the university.

This part of Harvard is in Jamaica Plain, not the easiest area of town to get to. But you can take the Orange line to the very end and get off at Forest Hills. You can also take the #39 bus (I know it goes through Copley) and get off at the Custer Street stop, which is apparently right past some monument.

This is one of my more favorite places to see the colors of fall in Boston. Have you found any places that I should check out either this year or next? And if you want a little more information, povo Boston wrote a post on Arnold Aboretum as well. Who knew there were so many people interested in trees?

Oh, Happy Halloween!

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Experience the Boston Sports Scene- the Cheap Way

27 Oct

Today, six years ago, the Red Sox won the World Series. Last night was the Boston Celtics first game of the 2010-2011 season. Seeing Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on the floor with Ray Allen again was priceless. Seeing them beat Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James was even better. And, really, who can argue with that?

The sports scene in Boston is priceless. No matter what ESPN says, Boston is America’s best sports city. We have championships in every sport, and our college teams are champions from top-ranked schools. Boston is number one in this category.

I had to add this. Matt Gilroy, BU captain in 2009 hosting the NCAA DI Championship Trophy. We are National Champions after scoring two goals in the final minute to tie the score and then win in overtime! (We even had a duck boat parade down Comm Ave)

I live a block from Fenway Park. I love it- except during baseball season. The Red Sox fans are, well, they are, no offense, completely and totally ignorant, arrogant, rude, loud, obnoxious and infuriating. However, they are also passionate. And because of that, my favorite time of the year is also baseball season. There is nothing like the energy in Kenmore Square on a game day. Pride, passion and love are in the air. And it is great, no matter how you look at it (I will be reluctant to admit it).

The Celtics and the Bruins have just started their seasons, and the area around the TD Garden is just as electrifying on a fall/winter/spring night as it is around Fenway in the summer. The difference between fans, that I have noticed, is that Celtics and Bruins fans seem to know what they are talking about more than Red Sox fans do, and they are fans of the sport as well as the team. Listening to these fans talk is mesmerizing.

If you are fan of one of Boston’s championship teams, you have to go down to the arena the night of the game. There is an electrifying feel to the area, no matter what team is in town and who they are playing. Take the T to the Garden, walk around and listen to everyone talk about their team, the expectations and the other fans. Then meet up with your friends and grab some food in the North End or Faneuil Hall. Or if you have a little extra moolah in your back pocket, try getting a ticket last minute and see why everyone is so excited before they even set foot in the arena.

Are sports not your thing? Look at the concert schedule for Boston, specifically TD Garden, and if it is someone interesting go stake out the gates to see them arrive or wander around to see the crazed fans arrive. I worked right across from the Garden this summer and saw all of Lady Gaga’s “monsters” arrive. I have never seen such ridiculousness. My first reaction, before I knew she was in town, was “Why are all of these people not wearing clothes?” and then my second reaction was “why does this fat guy have on fairy wings, a tiara, short shorts and a bumblebee shirt?” Then it all made sense (well, not really). For reference, I believe she is back in March. It will be mayhem.

Warning: Technorati, not a real post (disappointed, I know)

27 Oct

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Celebrate the Creativity of Others

24 Oct

The summer is the time for farmers markets. It is the time for fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as homemade bread, pastries and crafts. Well, the summer is over. But not all the markets are.

The SoWa Open Market is one such market. The SoWa Market is open on Sundays from 10 am to 4 pm, and the last weekend is next weekend, on Halloween. (Have you decided what you are going to be for Halloween yet, or just what you are going to do?)

SoWa is named such because it used to be on South Washington Street (So…Wa…get it?). However, in recent years it has moved to 460-500 Harrison Ave. The area is fabulous and absolutely perfect for the market. Located in the heart of the South End, the artsy neighborhood of Boston, the booths reflect the area’s creativeness. The market is located in a couple of lots surrounded by old, warehouse-looking buildings (sounds lovely, doesn’t it?). There is one building that looks just like the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy (it impresses me every time I see it). The buildings adjacent to the market house art galleries and vintage stalls.

The market is often filled with people walking their dogs, their kids or just strolling the area. There are food stands, fresh vegetables, homemade breads and handmade crafts (includings scarves, bracelets, vases, glasses, windchimes, etc.). What is your favorite part of a market? Do you prefer farmers markets or craft fairs?

So, you want to spend Halloween at the SoWa Market? I will be honest, it is not the easiest thing in the world to get to. It is in the South End between Copley/Back Bay and Arlington. I live on the Green Line, so I usually take the train to Copley and walk from there. I absolutely adore the South End (a future post will come about that) so I love walking the different streets to the market. It does take about 15 minutes to walk at least from Copley and the same from Arlington. The silver line does run one block down on Washington Street, but it is not the most convenient train/bus to get to (it runs through downtown). I suggest getting off at Copley and walking there (basically just walk South and a little West, down whatever streets look adorable). Or go on Google or the MBTA Web sites to get exact directions.

Markets are important to me because they remind me of my parents; we always attend them during the summer in Connecticut visiting different towns and types of markets/fairs. Does anything similar have a special place in your heart?

Want Even More (and Budget Friendly) Info?

21 Oct

I, once again, should have mentioned these before. And once again this is regarding Twitter. But you should definitely follow @FreeFoodBoston, which updates you on free food in and around Boston as well as food events and other things. Although I have yet to follow through on my own idea, I suggest that if you are bored one Saturday, see what @FreeFoodBoston says and take an adventure to that restaurant/bakery/stand. You never know what you may find.

Also, I just found this Twitter account: @BostonBudget. They give deals and discounts around Boston. I mean, who doesn’t love savings?

@grouponboston is another account you should follow. Or just sign up for their email updates. I get them and I have to say there are some really good deals. This summer my friend and I bought one for this restaurant we have been meaning to try; so not only did we get to try the restaurant, we only spent about $10 each rather than $20. I have also gotten a Groupon for Ben & Jerry’s, which was awesome. And they don’t just have food. My family and I purchased BC Football tickets for $10 each.  Plus, if you see a really good deal for an amazing looking restaurant, I say just get it and explore the area it is in. Have you ever used Groupon? What did you buy?!

If these really interest you, then I also suggest looking at the Twitter page of your favorite and seeing who is similar to them (right hand column) and follow them. You may find the next big thing.

Celebrate Italian Heritage Month by Traveling to Italy

20 Oct

The North End, a view of St. Stephen's Church.

My current internship is in the North End, for which I am eternally grateful. I am in love with the area and usually a smile on my face as I walk to and from work (I know, I’m weird). But the area is amazing and is actually one of the first places I went after I started college in Boston. I mean, who isn’t up for a trip to Mike’s Pastry? (Who has been? What is your favorite thing to get? I always get the lobster tail. Just fyi.)

Anyway, the North End is a great area just to go and walk around, take everything in. It is called Little Italy because of its very large Italian population; I usually hear people screaming Italian to each other from across the street every morning on my way to work (you think after seven years of taking Italian I would be able to understand some. Nope.). And October is Italian Heritage Month, so what better time than to explore Italy (in Boston)? The buildings are adorable and there are too many restaurants to count. The restaurants include Italian, seafood, Irish, delis, bakeries and bars/pubs. Many, when it is warmer, so not now, have tables set up on the sidewalk and open fronts, which is so Italian and amazing.

Also during the summer, (yes, apparently I should have written about the North End three months ago) there are festivals almost every weekend, and let me tell you they are entertaining!

St. Anthony's Feast, a festival in the North End

In the heart of the North End is Paul Revere Mall, where the famous statue of Paul Revere stands. Directly across from him is the Old North Church (oneth by land, twoth by sea- all that nonsense). Down the street from there is the Skinny House, which is only 10.4 feet wide! It’s adorable. There is a lot of history in the North End as you can see, which is probably the reason the Freedom Trail runs through there for so long.

The Skinny House- so cute!

I know I probably did not do such a good job convincing you that you need to go to the North End, but you have probably already been there, right? And if you haven’t I am simply letting you know that you should go; if you have people visiting (parents are the best), this is the place to take them.

To get to the North End, take the Green Line to Haymarket, walk across the North End Park, which used to be I-93. You can then walk up Salem Street or Hanover Street. Hanover Street is a little more famous and houses Mike’s Pastry, Modern Pastry and a ton of restaurants. The Paul Revere Mall is about three-quarters of the way up the street on the left, across from St. Stephen’s Catholic Church. If you are on Hanover, you can walk down Fleet Street or Clark Street and wander down North Street. Off of Fleet Street is Moon Street, which is adorable as well. I suggest, as always, just wander around the area and take everything in. You won’t regret it.

Start of the Holiday Season.

18 Oct

Too bad it has to start with Halloween. I don’t like Halloween. I, honestly, find it somewhat stupid and think only kids should take part. It may also have to do with my dogs freaking out every Halloween night.

But we are in Massachusetts, the home of Salem, which is the home of the Witch Trials of 1692. Many people parade to the town during the month of October to get in the Halloween mood, or just to explore a new area. I will admit that I have not been, but my best friend has been twice (stupid schoolwork). Have any of you been?

Well, my friend is also not a Halloween person, but she did have fun looking at everyone roaming the town. I have heard that many people feel the same way, and the ones who love Halloween say it is a must.

There is some organized activity in Salem during October and specifically on Halloween. These activities range from a seance to a costume ball to ghostly guided walking tours. More information on these types of activities can be found at this link. There is also the Salem Witch Museum, which my friend says reminds her of Taylor’s Stars Hollow Museum in Gilmore Girls (you know what I am talking about, right?). Honestly, I don’t know if that is good or bad, but I do know that sounds interesting and somewhat entertaining.

Salem Witch Museum across from the Salem Common

So you probably want to know how to get there, huh? Well, you can take the Green Line to Haymarket and then hop on the 450 bus. This takes you right into the center of Salem. This bus leaves about every 50 minutes but I would check a schedule anyways; they are always posted at the bus stops and are available online. Or if you are against buses (which would be weird), you can go to North Station and take the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line to Salem. Obviously the latter is more expensive but probably a tad bit quicker.

Anyway, what are y’all going to be for Halloween. I do not like costumes but I love hearing other people’s creative suggestions.

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