Guest Post: Rachael's Guide to Boston!

Friday, September 28, 2012


Hi all!  Bridget here.  From time to time, I'll get asked if I have a Boston guide being that I live near the city and, well, I don't.  There are things I love to do in the city time and time again, but a tried and true guide would be so much more fitting coming from my good friend Rachael who lives IN the city.  Beacon Hill to be exact.  Her daughter Lux is less than half a month older than Parker, and we've been doing playdates since they were a few months old.  New moms, surviving one playdate at a time!  You could say we bonded.  

Also, Rachael is a seriously beautiful writer.  Check out her blog, Erstwhile dear, for more of their sweet life in and around Boston.  (Bonus: she's got a Nantucket guide too!)

Without further ado, here's her little family.

And, here's her guide!

Welcome to Boston! Ditch your car, meet the MBTA and get yourself a T pass to ride around the city. Get ready to ignore the crosswalk signs, Bostonians walk everywhere and consequently view cars as competitors for the road. Like seafood? I hope so! Dollar oysters are this city's version of a happy hour. It's tough telling folks what to do here--there are sooo many things. But here a few of my favorites:

Kendall Square, Cambridge

Do the letters MIT make you say "ooo la la"? The university is based along this neighborhood on the Red Line and there is loads of great stuff to eat around here. Voltage Cafe has the city's best lattes. Across the street, Tatte Bakery is possibly the loveliest coffee shop you will ever vist. Area Four has a pizza oven that chefs all over Boston envy, plus a chic little coffeeshop during the day. Hungry Mother is the restaurant you'll read about in national magazines: it's the best of hipsterism--beautiful wallpaper, creative light fixtures, amazing unique drinks, incredible crafted food. I recommend reservations, though for a seat at the bar it is usually a short wait.

And, random: I think Central Bottle is the best wine store in the city. They always have great events so check the website. I love their Thursday night wine tasting parties. 

Harvard Square, Cambridge

I still remember visiting Boston for the first time and driving past the towering brick walls of Harvard University. I was in love---there it was! The most famous Ivy League of all time. I couldn't believe we could just wonder through the campus, lounging on benches and peering up at the beautiful libraries. (Of course, you can't go in the libraries, oh no no, that would be too much.) 

Any visit to Boston is worth a quick trip on the Red Line to Harvard Square. Get a slice of pizza at the tiny Otto's shop. Order the darkest hot chocolate from Burdick's and sip slowly. I love to visit Harvard's wonderfully dated Museum of Natural History. It's a old museum with a million interesting things to look at. And.....shop at Oona's! This incredible vintage store will welcome you as soon as you step inside. Just the warmest, coziest space, with perfectly seasonal and curated items. Also! You can bring the boyfriend--the men's section might be more fun than the ladies. 

Beacon Hill, Boston

Beacon Hill is essentially Charles Street, with the sprawling brick neighborhood on either side. It is framed by the Esplanade along the Charles River, and Common and Garden on the other side. Bridget adores Paramount for all meals--if it's nice out or you've got kiddos, take it to go. I love Beacon Hill Bistro for an quiet elegant breakfast where you can count a coffee refill and real cream. 75 Chestnut is frequently voted the neighborhood favorite. The food isn't stunning but the ambiance is friendly and cozy, and the bartenders are kind. 

Step into our neighborhood market Savenors to get cheese and crackers for the park or buy a Bequet salted caramel (the yummiest). Take the footbridge over to the river and watch the sailboats. Just off Charles Street, turn left at Philips St. and go up a block to see the gorgeous flower shop Rouvalis. If you need a break from the heat, or just a spot to sit awhile, step into the lobby of Liberty Hotel

Traveling with kids alert: Myrtle Street playground, at the corner of Myrtle Street and Irving is the neighborhood's favorite. 

North End, Boston

Boston's Little Italy, the North End, is a wonderful neighborhood that begins along the Greenway (a fantastic park that cuts through Boston following the old highway line). If it's nice out, get sandwiches to-go at Volle Nolle (featured recently in Martha Stewart) and a bottle of wine at the Wine Bottega (you gotta be sneaky about drinking in public in Boston. Use normal paper cups and keep the bottle in a paper bag) and sit along the Greenway watching the children frolic. My favorite restaurant there (and perhaps in all of Boston) is Neptune Oyster. You'll spot the lemons lined up at the window, the fresh oysters peaking behind, and the gilded mirrors of menus beyond that. If you have an flexibility in your schedule, go here at an odd hour. The wait can be crazy

If you do have to wait, walk up the street two shops to Acquire one of the loveliest and most unique shops in Boston. Everything here, as they say, is wonderful.

Pizzeria Regina's original location is here, a classic pizza joint where they practically throw the pizzas at you, black and white photographs line the wall, and the booths are tiny enough to hear your neighbor's conversation. It's now a chain with 10+ locations, but many swear that the pizza from this original location is the best. 

On the way to the North End, if you're walking from Boston, you'll probably pass Saus. You must stop at this amazing french fry and Belgian waffle spot. Yup, that right's---the two most amazing food groups, in one location. They also have fantastic Belgian beers and unique lunch-y food. 

To Stay

There are several hostels in Boston but I love that 40Berkeley is located in the South End. This is such a great neighborhood to be based in for your visit---delicious restaurants everywhere! 

Try the John Jefferies House which is cheaper than Holiday Inn and a great Beacon Hill location. The rooms are a little old fashioned, but in a semi-charming way. 

The Women's College Club, a great charmingly-chintzy spot in Back Bay, a good deal if it's available.

This b&b, Harding House, is in Cambridge, but right next to the red line, thus easily accessible to everywhere. Um hello, charming. The breakfast looks amazing! 

The Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro, one of my favorite spots ever can be comparable to cheaper spots, if they have a full bed open. Delicious breakfast included! 

It's always good to check airbnb when in new cities. Unfortunately very few people in Boston have any extra space, so the listings are pretty measly. They might get better though!

---

Bridget again.  There's some seriously good info here, so if you're planning a trip to Boston (Come, come!  New England in the fall cannot be beat!), you should bookmark this!  Or, are you a Boston-local yourself?  Anything to add?

And thank you Rachael!

19 comments:

  1. Fenway Park! Even if you don't love baseball it is so old and awesome for a tour, and it's right off the green line.

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  2. @laura, i'd agree with you! we did a tour of fenway once and i LOVED it. it's got to be one of the greatest ball fields, right?!

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  3. Thanks so much for this post! We recently moved back to Boston, and while I'm not new to the city I do love exploring new parts if it! I'll be sure to check out Rachael's blog too -thanks again :)

    - Sonja / http://whuffling.com

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  4. I have never been but have always wanted to go. Hoping my husband gets a job out there. So much history and interesting architecture. I'm so glad she included places to stay- that seems to be the hardest part about traveling!

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  5. Well i wasn't planning a trip to Boston (since we live on the west coast) but after reading this post, now I know I have to come! One day I will experience New England in the fall, dang it.

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  6. This was great! We live in the city and I can't wait to try out some of these restaurants! Another really great place to try is Christopher's in Porter square and the Museum of Fine Arts has free admission once a month I believe!

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  7. That's it. I'm coming to visit.

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  8. woot woot cambridge! love central bottle and flour :)

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  9. @emily, ANYTIME.

    @Rachel, thanks for the recs! do you know i've never been to the MFA? shame.

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  10. The MFA is awesome! You NEED to check it out. They often have kids' workshops during school breaks and such.

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  12. I went to Boston for my first time this past summer and LOVED it! Which means i'll be back and will be using all this helpful info., thank you much!

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  13. Such a great list of Boston attractions! I've been living here about a year, but I'm so happy to be introduced to most of these for the first time. Saus looks particularly awesome.

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  14. @julie, it IS awesome. we went together last week! get the lemon cream waffle and fries with the bacon parm dip. mmmmmmm.

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  15. Seriously - this couldn't have come at a better time. My hubby & I are leaving TOMORROW morning for Boston! (3 days in Cape Cod during our vaca, too). We're getting out of Florida for the week and I'm so excited for some cooler fall weather - and some ah-mazing food! Can't wait to experience/explore Boston. Thank you for this post!!

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  16. Ah! Boston...how I dream of visiting you one day. In the mean time, thank you Rachael, for giving us a little online tour of this city. :)

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  17. I LOVE THIS! love! love! love!

    Love that you put this together, both of you.

    And now, I will go and spread this link. Because I think it's terrific.

    P.S. Bridget Hunt. I think we (all three of us) need a blogger date at the MFA. For serious.

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  18. Thanks for your post which is truly informative for us and we will surely keep visiting this website. We are also in same field and welcome you to visit our website

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  19. I work down the street from Saus and it's all I can do not to go every day.

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talk to me.

(also! if you have a question, check back as i usually answer it here!)

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