It’s summer in the city – long nights, short dresses, sweet cocktails, and a million reasons to throw caution to the wind and stay out for one more song, one more drink, one last train.
This winter was brutal. Many of us felt like our urban abodes were suddenly stranded in the middle of nowhere, with no chance for socializing or adventure. Now, my friends and I are more determined than ever to live it up this summer – both to reward ourselves for surviving the cold, and to stock up on warm memories for the inevitable cold ahead (as George R.R. Martin won’t let us forget, winter is always coming.)
Here’s my starter guide to having a stupendous Boston summer – where to go and what to do to ensure that you’re making the most of these next glorious weeks. I’ll add more items as I hear of them!
- Free films and music at the Boston Harbor Hotel: BHH has an amazing summer series of music and movies that can be enjoyed for free. Get there early to get a seat at their restaurant, and take in some tunes while watching the sunset over the harbor.
- Concert series at Post Office Square: Check out free tunes at Post Office Square, a mini oasis in the city.
- Shakespeare on the Common: Get cultured on the Common with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and their performance of Twelfth Night. You can catch my friends and me there on August 5!
- Free nights at the ICA: Tap into your artsy side with free nights at the ICA – perfect for dates of the romantic or BFF variety!
- Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell: pack a picnic (or buy one at nearby Whole Foods) and take in a film along with thousands of other Bostonians at the Hatch Shell, right next to the Charles River.
- Free exercise classes at Post Office Square: Before work, during lunch, after a long day – take a break and work out with one of the free classes in Post Office Square. I went to their boot camp all last summer and it was incredible – great community and quality classes for free!
- Get a Sweetgreen passport: check it out to find free exercise classes and events near you.
- Join the November Project: Check out this fun group and attend one of their high-energy outdoor workouts – rain, shine, show – they never stop!
- Swim in the sunset at the Rooftop Pool: the Rooftop Pool (RTP) at the Colonnade Hotel lets you swim for free in the evenings – or just dangle your legs in and enjoy a mojito, your call.
- Run on the Freedom Trail: Sometimes you think you know your neighborhood, but there’s more history than you can imagine, right beneath your feet. Join a Freedom Trail Run and get an insider’s view of Boston’s rich past, while picking up your heart rate in the process.
JUST DO IT
- Explore the Boston Harbor Islands: from forts to fries to glittery beaches of sea glass, the harbor islands are the perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday. I recommend going out to George’s Island and then stopping at Spectacle on the way back.
- Cool off at the Boston Public Library: In addition to hosting every book in the world (true story, I checked), the BPL also has a beautiful courtyard, a cafe, and a great array of exhibits and events, not to mention some pretty strong air conditioning.
- Ride the Swan Boats: Head over while it’s still under $3 and take a ride on Boston iconic swan boats (dare I call them the proto-duck tour?). The ride is short but sweet, and it will make you appreciate the many flowers in bloom and wildlife in the Public Garden.
- Seek out the best ice cream in town: It’s a hard job, but somebody has to do it – search out some of the best flavors in Boston ice cream, from Toscanini’s in Central Square to Christina’s in Inman to JP Licks… everywhere. With options like rose, burnt caramel, and coffee oreo to choose from, this challenge has no losers.
- Enjoy the student-free city: take in the areas that are painful during the school year (Harvard Square, anyone? The entire Green Line?) and enjoy owning a small slice of our city by yourself, rather than always sharing it with a mob.
What else are you loving about Boston this summer? Post in the comments below! And have fun out there!
Thanks to Laura for sharing this wonderful twist on the Frozen craze – watch it now, before it gets taken down! The chorus is the best part, by far.
As usual, the Maccabeats have come out with a catchy video to kick off the Jewish holidays. This time, it’s less about creative new lyrics and instead focused on the crafty repurposing of the Les Misérables songs to tell the story of Passover (with some mighty fine singing in the process, though I would have liked to see them hit those high notes…).
Check it out below – and check out my matzo brei recipe if you’re looking for a way to spice up your unleavened bread.
Every day, I check the marquee of the Orpheum Theatre on my way to work. Whose tour bus will be blocking my door this week, I wonder? But for the last few days, I looked up with an extra smile because I was actually going to see the band whose name was displayed – it was time for me to have some FUN.
It was surreal to actually be inside the theater for the first time – it felt like walking into Mary Poppins’s bag, like “how could this large space possibly fit in the downtown Boston that I know?” The opener was underwhelming, the beer was $13, but the seats were good and FUN. was amazing. They rocked the house, even if they did play a little too much new stuff for my fellow fans’ taste – it’s rare to find a band that sounds as solid in person as in the studio. They also brought the Boston charm for encore #1 (photo courtesy of the lovely Katie Catano).
(c) Katie Catano
My favorite part was just how much they enjoyed playing, and their newfound fame. When they held their mics to the audience to let us sing “SO WE SET THE WORLD ON FIRE, WE CAN BURN BRIGHTER…” the looks on their faces were of mild disbelief and sheer joy. This is my absolute favorite part of live music – seeing the face of an artist who clearly is still wondering “What did I do to deserve this, to get all these people to pay ME to sing to them, and to have people who not only like my words and tunes… they love them so much that they know them by heart?” If that isn’t the point of getting famous in the first place, I don’t know what is.
Here’s their megahit – trust me when I say it’s even better in person.
Last weekend, we lost my Grandma Sugarplum. She was 93 and one of the best people I’ve ever known. She was kind to everyone, loved her family with all her heart, had an inquiring mind and a love for tv game shows, baked the best brownies in the world, had the biggest sweet tooth, and was eternally grateful for everyone from a cup of Lemon Zinger to a warm hand to hold.
This was one of her absolute favorite songs – when I used to bring my guitar to her house. she would sit through the John Mayer and cowboy songs then would request this one which we would sing together. It will always make me think of her, and remember this amazing woman who has left the world, but will stay in my heart forever.
What do you get when you combine one of the hit movies of this season with the biggest political news story of the New Year?
LES FISCAL MISERABLES
And my personal favorite:
Seriously though, this bargaining with people’s jobs – and healthcare, and benefits, and schools – is ridiculous. I hope that our elected officials can get it together and actually govern, instead of fighting.
I might be a little late to the party, but I am obsessed with this 2012 pop mashup. From the paths of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to Logan Airport to the streets of Boston and NYC, this is what 2012 sounded like – and I loved it all.
What was your favorite song of 2012? Let me know and you could see it here some future Monday!
In case you ever wondered what it’s like to live in a swing state, it’s a little bit like this:
I was one of 14 thousand people who showed up to see POTUS and “OLD POTUS” (as my mom says) in Concord New Hampshire yesterday. Five hours in the cold gave us plenty of time to think about tomorrow and what’s actually at stake in this election – healthcare, equality, women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies, climate change, and more. So while I know the ads are getting annoying… we’re tired of people knocking on our doors… you can’t stand to see another poll or political pin… just remember what’s on the line. And don’t stop thinking about tomorrow – and then DO remember to vote tomorrow. The future of our entire planet could depend on it.
Still not sure where to cast your ballot? Click here to find out!
As the days get shorter and the evenings get longer, I need some music to put some pep in my step. So today, I want to know – what are you listening to/watching for great music and music videos these days? What gets you out of bed in the morning, provides the soundtrack for your day, or mellows you out at the end of a busy day? Leave a comment below and you might see your song featured here on a future Monday!
Here’s your daily dose of awesome, with a good song to go with it from my friends at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.