Your guide to a fun Boston summer

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!


Summer Fun 2014

WATCH IT

  • 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 ICATap 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.

WORK IT

  • 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!

ETA: two new additions!

Free Fridays at a bunch of museums around the state, including some that are really expensive otherwise (I’m looking at you, Gardner Museum)

SOWA Sundays – awesome vintage and craft market in the South End, with food trucks galore and tons of delicious things and great gifts to leave your wallet utterly empty.

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Summertime and the living’s easy

I may not have been online for the past month, but I have been living it up, summer style, by:

  • Playing on the friendliest softball team ever, a ragtag group of strangers who met in May and have been tearing up the field ever since.  We won today’s game 16-8 and I pitched 4 innings and only let in a single run.  Next week, I plan to duel with the “regular” pitcher to see which of us gets to dominate the next game.
  • Basically forgetting that I own a fridge and eating at food trucks, new restaurants, friends’ houses, etc. for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and only really going into the kitchen for freeze pops.
  • Celebrating Katey and Sal’s wedding last month with a rocking good time at a farm in Connecticut…
  • … and getting ready to toast Kate and Cory at their wedding on Sunday, also at a farm, in Mass this time.  Last weekend was our bachelorette extravaganza and it was a blast.
  • Spending an awesome week at the lake with the fam, with lots of kayaking, s’mores, Settlers of Catan, and reading in the hammock.

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  • Working my butt off from the Boston office all the way down to DC.
  • Falling deeply into the Game of Thrones series, books only.  My theory is that if I can tough it through the books and skim over all the violence, the brutality of the TV show might be bearable.  MAYBE.
  • Some other athletic adventures (see more tomorrow!)
  • Eagerly awaiting and then celebrating the royal baby – I am just going to call him that forever.  Not offended by George, but also not impressed either.
  • Attending the 10th annual barn dance with Sara, and bringing the family this time too!

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  • Growing the most out-of-control patch of cherry tomatoes you’ve ever seen.  18 plants started… 18 survive.  Now to get some actual tomatoes out of them…
  • Living vicariously through the TV show “Camp” and being glad for my own sane friend group by watching “Big Brother” with Katie
  • Trying out for a game show (more on this later too!)

Stay tuned for more fun in the coming days/ weeks/ months!  Hope your summer is appropriately chill and/or hot as well!

Camp is where the heart is

Imagine a place where the unthinkable becomes reality. Where anything, absolutely anything, is possible. Where the fish are always biting, the spotlights are always shining on you, and everyone is singing the same song (ignore the fact that it’s in wildly different keys).

That place exists in Ashford, Connecticut, and I’ve been lucky enough to get to go there. And recently, the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp got some national coverage in a way in whole-heartedly deserves.  [Click here for the video.]

At twenty-five, I still dream of returning to camp. Helping kids who are having a hard time make their dreams come true, giving them the power they lose when they’re sick, being part of a group hug when someone takes a risk and finds out that they are capable of even more than they ever imagined: if there is a better feeling in this world, I haven’t found it yet.