Tag Archives: Orange line

Lions and Tigers and Monkeys in Boston!

26 Jul

This is my favorite picture I took while at the zoo!

Everywhere I go, I try to go to the zoo.  For reference, the best zoo I have been to was in Dublin, closely followed by Cleveland and then Atlanta. The worst zoo is by far Washington, DC. Just so you know, because you had to have been wondering.

I am not even joking when I say the following: one of the first things I did when I decided to go to school in Boston was to look up where the closest zoo was. Lo and behold, it was in Boston! Who freakin’ knew?!

Franklin Park Zoo is, surprise surprise, in Franklin Park. I say that Franklin Park is in Dorchester, but honestly I don’t know. It is on the border of Dorchester, Roxbury and JP. So you choose. (Just so you have all the information, Franklin Park Zoo is part of Zoo New England, which also includes Stone Zoo in Stoneham. Creative names, huh?).

Freshman year, my best friend and I took and day and decided to go on an adventure to the zoo. It took absolutely forever to get there! We were not prepared. But it was worth it. It was raining lightly so we had the zoo almost to ourselves. We could stare at the tigers (including a white tiger!) and lions however long we wanted. It is understandably smaller than many zoos, but that is also the great thing. You don’t feel rushed to get through everything and you feel fine staring at the monkeys for half an hour.

How to get to Franklin Park Zoo: Drive. No, you can get there using public transportation. We took the Red Line to Andrew and then took the 16 bus to the zoo (we couldn’t find the 16 bus going back so we took a random bus to Ruggles). That was long
but we discovered the South Bay Center (which has a Target and Stop and Shop!). You can also take the Orange line to Forest Hills and take the 16 bus. Or take the Orange Line to Ruggles, then take the number 22, 28, 29, 44 or 45. All work.

General admission is $16 for adults, but all rates can be found on their website.

Oh, and take a ton of pictures!

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Southwest Corridor Park- A Hidden Gem

13 Feb

This past weekend I was bored and did not want to sit at home. I had yet to get a library card (mostly because I never had mail that had my Boston address on it) so I went to Copley. After the two seconds it took to get a library card I was not ready to go home so I started walking down Dartmouth Street toward the South End.

As I passed Copley Place (a ridiculous mall that I went in for the first time in December) I noticed a lot of people turning and walking down a pedestrian street next to Copley Place. I turned down.

I was very surprised. It was serene yet energizing. It is apparently the Southwest Corridor Park. Of course there was snow everywhere but I could tell that in the spring/summer there would be beautiful trees and flowers along the walkway. As it was, it was peaceful and relaxing. Dozens of people were walking the trail, many with dogs, which I love because it adds a suburban, residential feel to an area.

The park is straight and narrow and surrounded by brownstones. But it was amazing because you could see all the tall Back Bay buildings above the brick buildings. The old and the new. The residential and the urban. Seeing the two worlds collide is one of my favorite things and one of the reasons why I loved Europe so much.

Many of the side streets off Southwest Corridor Park were picture perfect (I took a ton of photos, some of which are below) and decorated for the season. I passed a church (no idea which one), a playground and an abandoned basketball court.

I eventually ended up on Mass Ave by the Orange Line station and decided to head home from there. I walked down Mass Ave past the Christian Science Plaza (my favorite place in Boston) and Symphony Hall until I got to Hynes. When I mentioned this walk to my roommate she explained how the park continues and she took it to get to the Arboretum. She said it was perfect for a bike ride.

I loved this park so much that I looked it up as soon as I got home (and uploaded my pictures, of course). It turns out Southwest Corridor Park is a linear park that stretches for 4.7 miles from Back Bay to the Arboretum and Franklin Park; it passes through the South End, Roxbury and Jamaica Plain. According to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the park has 11 playgrounds, 2 spray pools, 7 basketball courts, 5 tennis courts, 2 street hockey rinks, 2 amphitheatres and approximately six miles of biking, jogging and walking paths. How cool is that?

So I say if you are ever bored and just want to take a walk wander over to the Southwest Corridor Park. Or if you find yourself walking somewhere and walking through the park is option (like with me), take it.

How to get to Southwest Corridor Park: Take the Orange Line to any stop between Back Bay and Forest Hills. Take the Green Line to Copley and walk down Dartmouth Street.

Chinese New Year Parade and Chinatown, Boston

9 Feb

We are about a month and a half into the new year. How are you doing on those resolutions? That bad, huh? Well, I was thinking that we should start new resolutions and had them start on the Chinese New Year. It may be easier.

Anyways, that was random. But the Chinese New Year was February 3rd. But here are some fun facts about it: In China it is known as the Spring Festival, the festival starts on the first day of the month and ends on the fifteenth, it is the most important Chinese holiday and this year is the Year of the Rabbit.

To celebrate the new year, there will be the annual Lion Dance Parade in Boston this Sunday, February 13th. The parade begins in the morning at the main stage in Phillips Square (Harrison Avenue and Essex Street). It then continue throughout Chinatown all day. The Lion Dance is meant to bring prosperity to local businesses while entertaining the masses with lively music and sounds. The parade starts at noon (I read that somewhere, can’t remember where) and it is free. I have never attended but it should be incredible; the atmosphere has to be electrifying.

If you want a little more information on the festival and on Chinatown as as whole, there is a website called Chinatown Main Street. In addition, here is the link to Boston.com’s Chinatown’s neighborhood page. It has a ton of information including restaurants and maps. If you are going to go, I suggest taking five minutes to browse that page.

Also, while you are there, or on a whole different day, you should explore Chinatown. It is the only historically Chinese neighborhood in New England and it is centered on Beach Street. There are dozens of restaurants that you can try out and most are inexpensive. Although it is not my favorite place in the city, it is a lot of fun to explore a new neighborhood and experience another culture.

How to get to Chinatown, Boston: Take the Orange or Red Line to Chinatown and walk south and east. You can’t really miss it as a lot of the signs are in Chinese.

Also, here are some pictures that Lane Turner of the Boston Globe took. They are magnificent and capture the importance of the holiday throughout the world. If you are at all interested in photography, different cultures or the Chinese culture I suggest taking a look.

Christian Science Plaza: The Best of Boston

17 Nov

Christian Science Plaza- Boston

What is your favorite place in Boston? Is there a specific reason? Everywhere I have lived I have always been asked what my favorite place is. In London it was a no brainer for me: Trafalgar Square. But I did not realize what my favorite place was in Boston until this summer. I am in love with the Christian Science Plaza.

It is unbelievably peaceful yet is hustling with the traffic from the city. It is near to tourist attractions so you still get to see the faces of tourists when they enter the plaza for the first time. But it is also a place for Bostonians and their kids who just want to cool down in the fountain on a hot summer day. The plaza is a meeting spot for friends and families, a resting spot for travelers and a relaxing spot for students and professionals. The large reflecting pool reminds me of Washington DC, a city I am also in love with. The view of the Back Bay reminds you that you are in a city and surrounded by different cultures. Then, of course, there is the gorgeous Christian Science Church standing in all its glory.

The Back Bay from the Christian Science Plaza.

Christian Science Church- Boston

This past summer I would often get off at the Prudential stop (because an E train always came to North Station first and because I am impatient and because I don’t mind walking when it’s nice out) and just chill at the Christian Science Plaza for an hour or so. I just loved sitting on the stone wall, reading, watching the kids run in and out of the fountain while their parents laughed and talked to their friends. (On a side note, the Christian Science Church is going to redesign the plaza. I think it is a great idea and the Boston Globe article on it can be found here.)

Anyways, you all have probably already been here so I should stop rambling, although that may not be possible. However, I want to offer a couple alternatives to just sitting outside. One day last year when my parents visited, my dad decided he needed to see the inside of the Christian Science Church. I told him that was weird to just walk into a church (and yet six months later I was in Europe walking into every church I came to- I know, I know, such a hypocrite). But we did and I still talk and think about it every time I walk by it. There was an elevator adjacent to the huge lobby and as we got to the main hall, a tour was starting, so we tagged along. Turns out the tours are free and offered Tuesdays through Sundays (they also meet in the lobby and last about a half hour). I would highly recommend the tour. It is informative about not only the church but also the religion and the founder, Mary Baker Eddy (who I mentioned in this post, as I saw a monument dedicated to her at Mt. Auburn Cemetery). The church is enourmous and gorgeous; the organ has 13,000 pipes. In addition, you get to see the original church, which is smaller and attached to the large one that we view in the plaza, as well as the extension. If you do not have time for a tour, you can still walk around and take pictures.

After the tour, my mom decided we needed to see the Mapparium, which is in the Mary Baker Eddy Library directly next door to the church. It is a three-story, painted glass globe that you can walk through (there is a 30-foot long bridge across the middle of it). It was created in 1935, and there is a presentation called A World of Ideas containing music, lights and information on how the world has changed. It does cost a few dollars and although it wasn’t my favorite thing, my parents loved it and the church was free, so it all evens out.

The Fountain at the Christian Science Plaza, Boston

How to get to the Christian Science Plaza: take the Green Line to Prudential and walk across the street. If you are not on the E line, take the Green Line to Hynes and walk down Mass Ave until you hit the church. The #1 bus also goes right past there, and the Orange Line stop Massachusetts Ave isn’t too far either.

Note: the Christian Science Church is not Scientology. Just fyi.

Drink Up: Boston Beer Company and Harpoon Brewery

8 Nov

While I was studying in London, my best friend and I traveled to another European country about twice a month. There were three things we looked to do in every city: visit the main church, find something tall to climb and find a brewery to tour. The last item did not happen in every country (okay, so it just happened in Ireland and Belgium) but it was one of the best part of our trips. So why should I let it just be a European thing?

Bruges Zot, the beer we tasted in Bruges, Belgium. Each Belgian beer has their own unique glass.

Boston is home to two breweries: Harpoon and The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams). My parents are obsessed with both. We own stock in Sam Adams and my dad is a friend of Harpoon. He will even pull out his membership card as soon as someone mentions Harpoon. Oh, and before we go any further, my parents are not alcoholics, they just like to drink. A little too much.

Now here is the bad news: I have actually never been on one of the tours. During my orientation for BU three years ago, my dad took my brother to Sam Adams for a tour while my mom and I were stuck in orientation meetings (not happy). My brother was only 15 at the time and couldn’t taste the beers but he loved it; my dad was even more enamored. Every time a commercial comes on TV both go off explaining how neat it was, how to pour the beer and what each label means. Honestly, it is kind of annoying. Okay, it’s really annoying. But they have reason to be excited- the hour-long tours are free (a $2 donation to local charities is suggested), you get to taste three beers and you get to keep the glass. Sounds like a win to me.

Sam Adam's Tour

Harpoon is very similar (and our first stop the next time my parents come to Boston, meaning December). For $5 you get a guided tour of the brewery (about 45 minutes), beer tasting, a souvenir tasting glass and the $5 includes a donation to Harpoon Helps, their charity. Harpoon’s tours only run on the weekends but from what I have heard from friends it is worth the trip. Even though I have never been, my dad has read up on it so much I know what goes on during the tours and it sounds fascinating. Most brewery tours are.

Harpoon Brewery

So how to get to Sam Adams: take the Orange Line to the Stony Brook station and it is a short walk from there.

How to get to Harpoon: take the Silver Line (SL2) to Harbor Street and the brewery is right across the street in South Boston. The Silver Line can be picked up from South Station on the Red Line, which is where I usually pick it up.

And, as always, I suggest that you explore the area as well if you have time/are waiting for a tour. Near Harpoon is the ICA, which is free. Stony Brook is more residential but can provide a peaceful walk. Either of these would be perfect for someone who is visiting from out of state or someone who has been to Boston numerous times and doesn’t want to do touristy stuff yet again (but how can you escape that in Boston?).

Trendy, Hip and Gorgeous: The South End

4 Nov

The South End: Notice the park in the middle of the street, the iron rails, brick sidewalks and trees lining the street of row houses.

Before anyone asks or wonders aloud: The South End is not South Boston. Not. Just so we are clear.

Every neighborhood in Boston has its own unique taste with some flavors being better than others. But the South End is definitely one of the better neighborhoods (this is not taking safety into account, just for reference). The buildings are gorgeous, the area is peaceful and there are usually some hot guys running around (the South End is known to be a hub for the gay population, so that explains the hot guys).

The South End is filled with vintage brownstones from the 1800s. They are gorgeous and the iron work on the railing and balconies are amazing. And I don’t even admire or take notice of architecture. Almost all the sidewalks are brick lined with trees. The “front yards” of the brownstones are well-maintained and manicured.

The neighborhood, as mentioned above, is a home to the lesbian and gay population. In addition, the South End is artsy, galleries and shops are literally on every corner. But it is also one of the more diverse sections of Boston, bringing together people of all nationalities, races and religions. Parks are abundant and often act as meeting places. I love places like this.

As much as I want to say “Just wander, explore the area,” there are a few things you should see. Union Street is one. It is said to be one of the more historical streets in Boston and one of the most beautiful. Union Park separate the two sides of the street and at the end of it, on Washington Street, is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, which is the largest church in New England. My dad and I tried checking it out one time but they were painting and wouldn’t let us in. Tremont Street, which runs parallel to Washington and Shawmut Streets, is lined with shops that you probably can’t afford. But they are cute and can be made fun of quite easily. Other than that, though, just wander, sit in a park, get a cupcake at the South End Buttery or explore the BU Medical Campus (don’t do the last one).

Cathedral of the Holy Cross

As with getting to the SoWa Market (also in the South End on Harrison St.), it is not the easiest. And we all know we are all lazy, so to be honest, it sucks. But it’s worth it. Really. I suggest taking the Green Line to Copley and walking down Dartmouth Street, which crosses all the major streets. You can also get off at Arlington and walk south as well. If you do that, all of the South End is to your right. If you are on the Orange Line you can get off at Back Bay and walk down Dartmouth as well. Then there is Mass Ave. You can get off at that stop on the Orange Line and walk down Mass Ave. Or you can hop on the #1 bus, which runs all the way down Mass Ave (and into MIT and Harvard the other way- great bus route). Then there is the Silver Line which is a great choice as it runs right through the neighborhood. So there are a variety of options but I would say get off somewhere that is farther away and just walk (leisurely) for a while; take everything in, relax.

Oh, and while in Copley take a picture of the church’s reflection in the John Hancock Tower. My favorite picture of Boston!

You can't really see it but the church is reflected in the building. My best friend took this. Gorgeous, huh?

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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