Monday, January 9, 2017

Exploring The New Boston Literary Trail

Offered by the Boston History Collaborative, a three-hour theme tour of Boston's Literary Landmarks is offered the second Saturday of each month. Both a guided tour by bus, and a self-guided walking version,with guidebook, are offered. Among the landmarks "off the beaten path" are Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, and Sleepy Hollow in Concord.  We recommend joining a bus tour, which departs at 9:00 AM from the Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston's Downtown Crossing neighborhood.

The Omni Parker House is where Charles Dickens first read The Christmas Carol before the legendary Saturday Club, whose members included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, and James Russell Lowell, among others.  Just outside the hotel, at the corner of School and Washington streets, visitors can see the brick house with a steep gambrel roof built in 1712.
At the Old South Meeting House
The building has undergone several incarnations over the centuries, but today looks much the way it did as the Old Corner Bookstore, which occupied the site beginning in the 1820s and was frequented by prominent writers of the day.  Across the street from the bookstore is Old South Meeting House. When the building was threatened with demolition in the 1870s, writers Julia Ward Howe, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, and Wendell Philips led efforts to save it.

The Boston Athenaeum

The independent library known as the Boston Athenaeum is the depository for important paintings and sculptures, as well as book collections, including the private library of George Washington. Visitors are welcomed into the first and second floors of the No. 10-1/2 Beacon Street address anytime, but reservations are necessary for guided weekday tours of the Edward Clarke Cabot building.  Louisa May Alcott actually wrote her mysteries under a pseudonym while living in the building across the street.

The bus tour stops briefly at the Boston Public Library, and heads outside the city toward Concord, passing by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Cambridge home and Mount Auburn Cemetery, the final resting place of many famous literary figures.   In Concord, visitors will see the desk on which Henry David Thoreau penned Civil Disobedience and Walden on exhibit at the Concord Museum.  Another stop is across the road at the Orchard House, the fictional setting for the Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women.

In the nineteenth century, Boston was the intellectual hub and literary mecca of the United States.  Modeled after the famous Freedom Trail, This Literary Trail spans three hundred years and remarkable numbers of literary talent.  Your journey through literary history is complimented by a stay at the Clarendon Square Inn.  When you return from exploring the Literary Trail, curl up with a classic in our Library with a cappuccino.  Or take your leatherbound to the roofdeck for unparalleled skyline views while you read the classics.  Our Boston boutique hotel in the South End neighborhood is in a carefully restored 19th century brownstone rowhouse offering luxury accomodations. Let the team at Clarendon Square guide you in a discovery of all things Boston!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Innkeeper's Diary: A Walking Tour of Back Bay

Guests will often ask for recommendations on what they should do for an afternoon.  Realizing that I always recommend the same spots and routes, I think it’s time to put it in writing!

The Boston Public Library via Columbus Avenue to Dartmouth Street 
The Inn is centrally located, so walking is always the easiest and fastest way to get around.  When guests want to get out and explore with no real plan, I always point them to the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. Less than a 10 minute walk, it’s an easy way to get started in the city.  The Dartmouth street entrance brings visitors into Charles Follen McKimm’s 1889 Bibliotheque Nationale inspired building. A grand and beautiful Renaissance style structure awaits book lovers and tourists alike. The Bates Hall reading room is why I send everyone. An incredibly expansive and light filled room with a heavenly vaulted ceiling, visitors will find this quiet space loud with visual delights. From the book lined walls, to the streaming sunlight, to the rustic wooden tables and their charming green glass lamps, this room is something to feast on. But be quiet! It’s one of the last respites in the city where a ban on talking is enforced.

After you have been wowed with the reading room and the gorgeous marble staircase and frescoes, it’s time to head downstairs to the other best kept secret of the library; the courtyard. I think of it in terms of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.

A lovely, hushed open-air space filled with greenery and italicized with a spritely fountain - enclosed by elegant loggias – this secret city garden must be contemplated. City sounds are removed and running water and the wind’s breeze becomes the soundtrack of your day. It’s magical.

Now that you have refreshed your mind and body, it’s time to head back outside and continue on. A quick tour of Trinity Church is always recommended as it’s across the street from the library. But if that doesn’t strike your fancy, there’s always the The Oak LONG Bar + Kitchen at the Fairmount Copley Plaza.

After drinks and bites, it’s time to get shopping! Continue north on Dartmouth to Newbury Street. There are goods and services for every price point, with stores from Tiffany & Co. to TJ Maxx. I always tell guests to start on the east end of Newbury facing the Public Garden to get your fill of luxury shopping. Then walk west towards Mass Ave and find more low to mid priced vendors. With the mix of local boutiques and chain brands, the choices are endless!
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If shopping is not your interest, you’re in luck! One block up from Newbury is Commonwealth Avenue. Modeled on The Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, this grand boulevard has a gorgeous city park nestled between two lanes of traffic flanked by some of the most gorgeous townhouses in Boston. If you want storybook Boston, this is it.
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Stroll east towards the Public Garden. If you are here in spring or fall, then you are in for a treat. Cherry blossoms and tulips decorate the garden when winter breaks. Canopies of yellow, red, and orange foliage greet you come autumn.

Meander east through the garden and you will find yourself on Charles Street. Take a left and follow into Beacon Hill. The cobblestone sidewalks and Federal and Georgian style architecture is enough to charm anyone.

But the lovely local shops and restaurants are what make Charles Street so lovely. I highly recommend stopping in at Eugene’s Gallery. This intimate one woman show of a vintage print shop is the definition of charming. Barbara, the proprietor, reigns over an extensive collection of antique prints primarily showcasing the Boston and New England area. You can choose an inexpensive lithograph and work with Barbara to customize the framing to create a museum worthy piece. It’s incredible!

There are countless options for how to spend an afternoon in Boston. But this walking tour shows off some of the best of Boston. Get out and enjoy!

- Innkeeper Melissa


Thursday, October 6, 2016

New Boston Restaurants That Are a Must Try This Fall

Fall in Boston is one of the most magical times of year for our fair city. Celebrate everyone's favorite season by treating yourself to a meal at one of Boston's newest restaurants.

Haley Henry Wine Bar - Downtown Crossing

Located in Downtown Crossing, Haley Henry has already become a fast favorite in Boston with its extensive and unusual wine list. For the food half of the menu, their specialty is tinned fish but we love the charcuterie and cheese boards.

Porto - Back Bay

If you love Trade, you'll love Porto, the latest Jody Adams venture. The menu is comprised of high-end, Mediterranean inspired dishes. With options like the seafood stew and lobster ravioli, Porto will have you coming back for more.

Saltie Girl - Back Bay

MET's Kathy Sidell has opened your new go to seafood spot. This tiny Back Bay restaurant is full of tinned seafood from places like Spain and Portugal. Other menu highlights include fried lobster and waffles, lobster bisque, and snow crab toast.

Kava Neo-Taverna - South End
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Located about a 10 minute walk from Clarendon Square, Kava is a very welcomed addition to the South End neighborhood. Kava's simple and fresh small plates are unlike any other Greek restaurant in the city. Pair their delicious dishes with a Greek wine from their extensive list. We are perpetually craving their octopus.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Activities to Keep You Busy in Boston Through the End of Summer

The slow fade to gray and cooler temperatures is on the horizon, but it is still summer in Boston with plenty of late season activities to enjoy!
St. Anthony's Feast Opening Night
Boston’s North End aka “Little Italy” hosts wonderful feasts and festivals all summer long, but the most popular ones happen in August. Saint Anthony’s Feast is one of the largest festivals in New England. Generations of Boston Italian-American families celebrate alongside tourists, the curious, and innocent passersby in this 100+ year tradition.  Go for the music, food, and parades: leave stuffed with good Italiano cuisine and culture!

Labor Day weekend brings fireworks over the Boston Harbor with gorgeous water views and refreshing sea breezes.  Enjoy the festivities over dinner and drinks at Pier 6 in the Seaport or other restaurants in the area. Be sure to make a reservation as tables go quick!

Baseball season is in full swing and the Red Sox spend most of August playing on the home field. Catch a game at Fenway Park, enjoy a hot dog, and cheer on the home team!

If you prefer sport of a slower pace, then don’t miss the Deutsche Bank Championship New England PGA Tour 2016 Sept 1st – 5th. Held at TPC Boston north of the city and voted by Golf Digest magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best New Private Clubs in the U.S.” when it debuted in 2002, gather your golf shoes and whale printed pants and catch some of the premier golf payers as they compete for an $8.5 million prize to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation and other New England charities.




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Upcoming Must-See Shows in Boston

Most people assume you need to go to New York City to experience a show but you can have the theater-going experience without ever leaving Boston. We've rounded up some shows coming to Boston within the next few weeks.

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Everyone associates Boston with the television show "Cheers." Visitors flock to the Cheers bar on Beacon Street every day to get a glimpse of the bar where "everyone knows your name." Well now Cheers is coming to the stage with a live show based off the first television season. The show will be running from September 9 - 18 at the Citi Shubert Theatre.

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Running from October 14 - 30, the José Mateo Ballet Theatre begins its 31st season with "Impelling Forces," which is three Mateo original ballets set to Mozart, Beethoven, and Philip Glass. Shows will be performed at the Sanctuary Theatre in Cambridge.

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"Company," the 7 time Tony Award winning comedic musical about modern relationships is being presented by Back Bay's Lyric Stage Company. This smart comedy sheds a light on everything from marriage and relationships to life in general. Shows will be performed from September 2 - October 9.

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The Boston Lyrical Opera starts its 40th anniversary season with a bi-coastal premiere of "Carmen." This production is co-produced by the San Francisco Opera with the goal of bringing opera back to the Boston Opera House. "Carmen"  will run from September 23 - October 2.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Must Try Summer Cocktails to Quench Your Thirst

Summer is in full swing which means longer days and warm nights. These summer inspired cocktails will keep you cool all season long.

Summer Breeze - Savor summer with a pleasantly pink cocktail of pineapple and grapefruit juice with gin.
Summer Breeze

Summer Fruit Sangria - A pitcher of sangria made with white wine, fruit, and liqueur will get the party started.
Summer Fruit Sangria

Watermelon Cucumber Cooler - Nothing screams summer quite like a pretty pink watermelon cocktail.
Watermelon-Cucumber Cooler

Cherry Beer - Cold beer on its own is just about perfect. But teamed with a fruity mixer, it becomes the life of the party.


Honeydew Granita Spritzer - Seltzer enlivens this effervescent drink, which consists of sweet honeydew melon puree and mouth-puckering lime juice. Add vodka for a little kick.
Honeydew Granita Spritzer

Watermelon Tequila Cocktails - When watermelon is in abundance, this is a great way to use it.
Watermelon-Tequila Cocktails

Tabernacle Crush - This light and refreshing cocktail is as reminiscent of the American South as it is of the South of France.
Tabernacle Crush

Strawberry-Lemon Mojitos - The addition of strawberries sweetens up this classic cocktail.
Strawberry-Lemon Mojitos

Mango-Peach Sangria - This lightly sweet sangria is perfect for a warm summer night.
Mango-Peach Sangria

Manhattan Ice Cream Float - An adult version of the ice cream floats you enjoyed as a kid.
Manhattan Ice Cream Float

Monday, July 11, 2016

These Events Will Have You Busy in Boston All Summer Long

A Boston summer brings a bevy of wonderful can’t miss events and activities. We've compiled a list of events that have become beloved summer traditions.



Starting in June and running through the end of August is the WBZ Free Friday Flicks at The Hatch Shell on the Charles River. Come sunset the lawn becomes a sea of picnic blankets and beach chairs full of big and small movie goers. Don’t forget to bring your favorite snack to munch on!

Another event not to miss at the Hatch Shell is the Landmarks Orchestra Classical concerts. The orchestra founded in 2001, by conductor Charles Ansbacher, is a collation of some of the finest professional musicians in Boston. Running through July and August on Thursday nights, the free concerts began in 2007 and have seen attendance grow every summer.



Boston’s waterfront is a cool respite of sea breezes and sail boats. The Harborwalk beginning in Charlestown and winding south towards Carson Beach covers beaches, public art, historical sites, wharves, and museums. It’s along the walk that you will find the Boston Harbor Hotel. Every year the hotel presents its Summer in the City entertainment events. Tuesday through Thursday bands take over the floating barge (yes, barge) and delight audiences with Pop, Rat Pack, or Blues (depending on the day). On Fridays and enjoy a classic movie on Friday evenings at dusk.


An absolute favorite among locals is Harborwalk Sounds in conjunction with ICA Free Thursday Nights at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Running June 30th through September 1st, the ICA offers live music of all genres from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. Visitors sit and relax on the steps of the museum’s Grandstand, drink in hand, listening to Berklee College of Music’s plethora of talent. The tunes are infectious, the food is delicious, and the spectacular Harbor view is the perfect dessert!


Boston takes care of its literary enthusiasts as well. If the boring beach paperback in your bag isn’t cutting it for you and you crave linguistic substance, Shakespeare is your answer. Since 1996, The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company puts on full productions in the Boston Common July through August. This year’s production of Love’s Labour Lost begins July 20th.

No matter what you prefer, Boston has an event for everyone!