Monday, December 24, 2012

Where To Go Ice Skating in Boston

Guests at Boston Bed and Breakfast are immersed in classic Boston traditions like cobblestone sidewalks, gorgeous brownstone buildings and fabulous places to sip a warming hot coffee or hot chocolate. During the winter months, are historic city is transformed into a winter wonderland with fabulous activities abound. From our downtown Boston location  anything is possible. Another favorite of our favorite things to do in New England is ice-skating.

Whether you are taking the family to the Frog Pond or your sweetheart across the river to Cambridge, everyone can enjoy himself indoors and out. Probably one of the most iconic skating locals is the Frog Pond in the Boston Commons. The Frog Pond offers public skating, private lessons and ice show spectaculars on special nights such as First Night on December 31. Admission is $5 per adult and free for children under the age of 13. Skate rentals and sharpening are also available for $9 and $8 respectively. Another magical outdoor skating rink is Community Ice Skating Rink in Kendall Square Cambridge just off of 3rd Street. This Rink is exceptional. The landscape surrounding the rink provides a fabulous setting for enjoying winter in the city. The Community Rink in Kendall also offers affordable admission and rental rates, $5 for Adults, plus $8 for skate rental. Love ice skating in Boston? Consider the season pass for $80. This rink has all the services like lockers, concessions and lessons you need. For those of you who are not as fond of winter weather, there are plenty of indoor options as well. The Steriti Memorial Rink in the North End offers free public skating during the winter until March. While admission is complementary, skate rentals are $5. This is one of the best options for indoor ice skating in Boston. The rink has huge windows overlooking the Warf and creates the illusion of skating outdoors, while still staying cozy warm inside. And of course, the fabulous restaurants and cafes of the North End are all at your fingertips!

These and many other ice skating locations are great opportunities to experience Boston winter at its best. Clarendon Square Bed and Breakfast is conveniently located close to public transportation for easy travels across the river & across town.If you find the winter weather a little too cold, you will find our warm home and atmosphere to help take the winter chill off -- and if not, try a soak in the roof top hot tub!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Boston Bed and Breakfast Celebrates Boston Ballet & Nutcracker

Guests at our Boston bed and breakfast can feel the holiday spirit throughout downtown Boston. From admiring the holiday decor or taking a winter stroll through the South End, there are plenty of things to do in Boston for Christmas. 
If holiday shopping and or  holiday decorations in the Boston Common have not put you in the jolly mood, it might just be time to go out and see Boston’s number one holiday tradition: the Boston Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker.
The Nutcracker will be showing at the Boston Opera house until December 30th with evening shows on most days – for a full schedule and ticket, visit The Boston Ballet Nutcracker Schedule.e Boston ballet  studio is only a short walk from our bed and breakfast. They hold their performances at the Boston opera house in downtown Boston.
If you are lucky enough to be in Boston between now and December 30th, seeing the Nutcracker should definitely be on your list of things to do. This year, which marks the Boston Ballet’s 50th anniversary year, is the first time in 17 years that the Boston Ballet has revamped the show by designing and creating new costumes and choreography. The new costumes and choreography come from choreographer and artistic director Mikko Nissinen and award-winning designer Robert Perdziola.
Although the new choreography, which even includes some new characters, is stunning, the costumes alone are worth the trip to the Boston Opera House. While the previous costumes were set in 1835, the new ones are set in 1820, which means they are slimmer and the colors are lighter. These new costumes are also more bedazzled. In total the costumes contain 200,000 Swarovski crystals – more than 3,600 of them can be attributed to the Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop Fairy costumes.
If however, you are in the mood for a more low-key, modern, or scandalous version of The Nutcracker, Boston has plenty of those to offer as well. As stated by Boston Globe correspondent, Jeffrey Gantz, the productions of the Nutcracker are, “like America itself, a study in diversity” and the multiple productions in Boston alone are no exception. For a list of other Nutcracker productions, visit the Boston Globe’s critic’s picks at: and shake up the tradition with a Boston Nutcracker Alternative.
However you decide to celebrate the holidays you will find a warm and welcoming spirit at our boutique hotel. Our location is convenient for last minute shoppers or those hoping to escape the stresses of family at the top of Boston's best boutique hotel while enjoying our roof top hot tub. Wishing you a happy holiday!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holidays Shopping & Things To Do In Boston

The Monday after Thanksgiving usually is marked by appetites reappearing after the assault of Turkey & acotrement, and by Cyber Monday, the online retailer's less fatal equivlent to Black Friday. At our Boston bed and breakfast, we also notice our inox filling up with holiday party invites, promotions & the beloved Holiday Markets opening around downtown Boston.

The Boston Downtown Crossing Holiday Market is one of the first to appear to . The market opened this past Saturday and will run through the 29th of November. The Market features an array of food & shops and of course Santa Claus photo ops at Macy's Plaza. Convenient located to Boston Common which is featuring one of our favorite seasonal activities this Thursday, The Boston Common Tree Lighting.

Also taking place on November 29th is G2O & Emerge Spas' Spaliday. Boston's best spa kicks off the holiday season with the second Annual Spaliday is hosted from 5-8pm featuring local TV personalities Billy Costa & Jenny Johnson. Guests will receive 25% off  all gift card purchases of $100 or more. Guests will also receive 20% off all retail purchases. The Salon & Spa will feature fabulous gifts with purchase and product demos from their top vendors. It would not be a party without delicious bites from Joe's American Bar & Grill and Treats on Washington. Save room for a festive cocktail or two from Pinnacle Vodka. If you are feeling lucky that night you may win raffle prizes with proceeds benefiting The Home for Little Wanderers. invite all your friends and RSVP today at RSVP here or by calling 617.262.2220. You will not want to miss this event, remember experts say the best gifts to give are experience, so this will be the perfect time to select a spa treatment for a loved one.
SoWa Holiday Market is back December 8th & 9th boasting a new location at 41 Berkeley Street in the spacious and historic Benjamin Franklin Institute, located in the heart of Boston's South End. The location could not be more convenient to our bed and breakfast and admission is only $5. As usual the SoWa Holiday Market will showcase the best of New England's designers & artists. Vendors provide something for everyone, so there is a great chance you will find an original gift for that special person on your list. Past guests have raved about the assortment of handbags, jewelry, letterpress stationery, silk-screened t-shirts & baby clothes. The market is held within walking distance to Boston's best galleries, boutiques and restaurants, so you can focus all your efforts in the South End and avoid the cross town dash.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Boutique Shopping in Boston's South End

Amazing Boston shopping is unique and inspiring in our neighborhood.  On the picturesque and charming South End streets, you'll find fantastic jewelry, one of a kind pet stores, bright and airy baby boutiques, and more inviting storefronts than you could possibly peruse in one day! Take a look at our staff picks and some of the favorites of our Boston bed and breakfast.

Gifted - 2 Dartmouth Street
This adorable gift boutique sits on the corner of Dartmouth and Tremont Streets. They feature a wide array of quality gifts created by local artists, as well as a huge selection of hand-made pottery, glassware, baby clothes, handbags, and jewelry.  The accessories selection is fun and funky, with both handmade pieces and familiar brand names.

Flock - 274 Shawmut Avenue
Flock is tucked away in the historical district of Boston's South End. Trendy moms and fashion-forward daughters can shop a mix of laid-back West Coast lines and hard-to-find independent labels. The owners and staff are helpful without being pushy, and offer wonderful insight to their inspiration and vision for this whimsical neighborhood boutique.

Coco Baby - 1636 Washington Avenue

This specialty children's boutique offers a range of baby and toddler products, from furniture and accessories to toys and games. Centrally located on Washington Avenue, Coco Baby is a popular shopping destination for young families in the South End. Familiar and popular baby brands stock the shelves alongside independent and local labels.  They offer gift registry services for parents-to-be, and their retail space also hosts neighborhood play dates and fun children's events year round!

Sault - 577 Tremont Street
Owned and operated by a 10-year South End resident and experienced visual merchandiser, Sault is a welcome addition to the boutique shopping scene in our neighborhood. A beautifully designed space and meticulously detailed displays, the shelves and racks of clothing and gift items offer plenty of new items to peruse each time you visit. With everything from locally-sewn neckties and pocket squares to vintage shaving tools to high-end designer messenger bags, this menswear mecca has something for everyone - even the man who has everything.

Polka Dog - 256 Shawmut Avenue
This wonderful one-stop-shop specializes in homemade treats for canines and kitties, but offers a wide array of toys, food, and general pet care supplies as well.  Owned by dog lovers, the Polka Dog Bakery has everything you need for your loyal best friend, and genuinely cares about the pet-owner relationship as well. With a few shops in and around the greater Boston area, they are committed to giving back to our four-legged community as well.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Play Scientist For A Day at the MIT Museum

As one of the most respected universities on the globe, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also has a world class museum focusing on the sciences that draws crowds year round. Recently at the MIT Museum, guests of our Boston bed and breakfast got to see some really interesting exhibits after learning a bit more about how the MIT Museum grew into what it is today!
The MIT Museum came about in 1971 as a gathering space for all the historica artifacts scattered throughout the MIT community.  Originally called the MIT Historical Collections, it was renamed the MIT Museum in 1980 and began to develop educational programs and exhibitions based on the Museum’s sci-tech focused collections.  Due to the uniqueness of the Museum's collections and exhibits, it was able to attract over 100,000 people in the last year, about 30 percent foreign - a remarkable number when appealing to such a specific demographic of visitors. Most of the exhibits exemplify work done by MIT students, faculty and alumni.  Information and artifcatits portraying MIT’s contribution to revolutionary scientific and technological advances that are a part of our everyday lives were on display in a recent exhibit celebrating MIT's 150th anniversary.
When you're there, check out the Holography exhibit - a darkened room with three dimensional representations of actual people.  Insanely realistic and totally exciting!  In April, the Museum launched the Rivers of Ice exhibit, a really interesting study of the earth's ecology and the role of glaciers, and the effects that climate change is having on our weather and populations.
The Robots and Beyond exhibit shares the Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations taking place over the last few decades at MIT.  A behind-the-scenes look at this inventive concept showcases the great contributions that MIT's AI labs have made in medicine, entertainment, global exploration, and more. You can even see how socially-intelligent robots interact with their environment in eerily human-like ways!
The MIT Museum also offers the opportunity to attend lectures, panel discussions, and performances. The Soap Box is a series of forum-style conversations with newsworthy scientists and engineers about important ideas and issues in science and technology. Sponsored by the museum each spring, the Cambridge Science Festival features hundreds of events, performances, talks, lectures and demonstrations for all ages.  And just for fun, ask about the annual piano drop - it started as a student experiment and evolved into a fun ritual for graduating seniors!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Things To Do In Boston In August

Although summer is winding down, exciting Boston events are in full swing!  Here are a few of our suggestions for the month of August:

North End Feasts
For over a century, Italians have lived in Boston's North End neighborhood, and each year Italian Feasts and Festivals take place throughout the summer.  Each Feast is dedicated to a Saint; an enormous block party celebration with food, music, religious ceremonies, and parades.  Opening ceremonies typically take place on Friday evenings, and festivities will recommence around 1pm on Saturday and Sunday, continuing long into the night. High Mass takes place on Sunday morning. Three of the most famous take place this month:
8/3 - 8/5: St. Agrippina's Feast - 459 Hanover Street.
8/16 - 8/19: 101st Annual Fisherman's Feast of the Madonna - Fleet and North Streets.
8/26 - 8/29: St. Anthony's Feast - The largest Italian religious festival in New England. Endicott, Thatcher, and North Margin Streets

Boston Summer Restaurant Week
Sunday 8/19 - Friday 8/24, and Sunday 8/26 - Friday 8/31
Twice each year, everyone in the city looks forward to the best restaurants in Boston and Cambridge going "on sale".  Sample the affordable "prix fixe" menus offered by the best chefs in the city everywhere from 5-star restaurants to favorite mom-and-pop shops. A two-course lunch runs you $15.12,  and three-course lunch $20.12 (get it?), and a three-course dinner $33.12.  Make reservations as soon as possible to ensure you get a spot at every restaurant you want to try - Tables fill up fast!

Films at the Gate - Free Chinese Film Festival
This popular end-of-summer event draws crowds to the vacant lot on Hudson St between Beach and Kneeland (8/23-24) and the Chinatown Park Plaza on the Greenway (8/25-26).  Each venue becomes host to a pop-up movie theater featuring Kung-Fu Classics (with English subtitles).   Some seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis - or bring your own folding chairs with carryout from your favorite dim sum spot!

Thursday 8/23 - Master of the Flying Guillotine - A cult classic! (Mandarin)
Friday 8/24 - The Young Master - Starring Jackie Chan in his younger years (Cantonese)
Saturday 8/25 - Shaolin Temple - Jet Li's first movie (Mandarin)
Sunday 8/26 - IP Man 2 - Depicting 1950s Hong Kong (Cantonese

Boston Bed and Breakfast Behind the Scenes of Top Bakery

Breakfast is what many say is the most important meal of the day. We agree. Whether you start your morning with the paper and a cup of coffee or tea and a casual chat, breakfast has something for everyone. At our Back Bay hotel you will find a guilt free breakfast, meaning you can have as much or as little as you like and not have to worry about it. Thanks to one of our favorite vendors, Pain D'Avignon Bakery from Cape Cod, we are stocked with delicious, fresh and beauitful pastries.

Since its inception in 1992, Pain D’Avignon employs old world traditions using the purest baking techniques and recipes, which have scarcely changed for hundreds of years. The cornerstone of this Cape Code Bakery is based on fine breads. Each day in Hyannis, the bakers assemble themselves in addition to the basics to create art through pastry.

Our bed and breakfast prizes Pain D’Avignon for omitting preservatives & artificial ingredients from their delicious products, which is why Pain D’Avignon can be found in Boston’s top restaurants, gourmets shops & hotels. In addtion to being a bakery, Pain D'Avignon also serves up some of the finest food in Cape Cod at Cafe Boulangerie. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner you may have a tough time deciding when is the best time to dine, so try all three.

One of our favorite things to do in Boston is to do a day trip to Cape Cod. Recently on travel to Cape Cod, we stopped by to say "hello" to our friends at Pain D'Avignon. We got a behind the scenes tour of some of the best croissants that they make. The operation was pristine and professional run as you would imagine if you have ever tasted one of these buttery delights. Attention to detail was present throughout the property and the pastries.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Follow The Leader: Exploring Boston's Significant JFK Sites

Visiting Boston this summer? As an immensely significant city in the history of politics, here's a few notable places to see that offer insight into the life of one of our country’s most beloved political figures, American president and Boston native, John F. Kennedy:

JFK's Brookline Birthplace
The birthplace of President John F. Kennedy in Brookline was personally restored by his mother Rose in the late 1960s. Many of the former president's personal belongings from his younger years are viewable in the nursery, including his original christening gown! Now a National Historic Site, there are ranger-led tours of the home during the summer but the property is open to the public year round.

The JFK Library and Museum
While reviewing the life and politics of the President and his family, visitors can view photos, audio and television clips as well as interesting interactive exhibits. The Nation's official memorial to John F. Kennedy offers 25 dramatic exhibits, including three theaters and period settings where visitors are inspired by the stirring eloquence of the President and by the grace and elegance of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The Museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It sits overlooking the water at beautiful Columbia Point and can be reached by using public transportation. For those traveling by automobile, free parking is available.

122 Bowdoin Street
Apartment #36 in this nondescript building located adjacent to the State House served as JFK's registered voting address and headquarters for his congressional campaign.

Union Oyster House near Fanueil Hall
Union Oyster House
Established in 1826, the Union Oyster House is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America. Ask to sit upstairs in the Pine Room, where booth #18 was aptly renamed the Kennedy Booth - the very spot where the future president would sit on Sundays to read the newspapers over lobster chowder. 

Omni Parker House
In 1946, Kennedy, who was already known as a World War II hero, announced his candidacy for Congress, his first public office, at the hotel’s popular Press Room. In 1954, he held his bachelor party in this same Press Room before his marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier.

The Wharf District Park in the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
 Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
Gardens, fountains, farmer's markets and outdoor cafes have healed the ugly scar left behind after the burial of the elevated highway that for decades separated downtown Boston from the waterfront. The lively and beautiful parks, plazas, and tree-lined promenades were named in honor of JFK's mother and were dedicated in the fall of 2008. 

From his childhood home, to a restaurant booth, to his campaign headquarters, Boston is home to a variety of sites that offer a chance to find out more about JFK during your relaxing vacation. Let the staff at Clarendon Square Inn help you plan your tour during your stay in a Boston bed and breakfast luxury suite fit for the President himself!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Favorite Boston South End Restaurant is Growing!

The South End Buttery will be expanding its Union Park café and opening a second nearby location late this summer.  This cozy nook of a South End restaurant is the definition of a neighborhood hangout: dimly-lit rooms, the best brunch around, prices low enough for impromptu weeknight dinners, and well-executed but familiar fare. Chef Joseph Brenner introduces their motto of a "better alternative to cooking at home" for delicious but inventive comfort foods such as a lobster, shrimp, and corn pot pie, or sinful desserts like chocolate-espresso torte with coffee ice cream.

After establishing his café as a local institution over the past seven years, owner Richard Gordon is dramatically expanding his business.  In addition to doubling the original location at 312 Shawmut Avenue by adjoining it with neighboring 314 Shawmut, Gordon is in the process of opening a second location near the corner of Clarendon and Appleton Streets.  The new space will will be an extension of the existing Buttery and will carry many of the same details such as the tin ceiling and bead board.  Infamous for their baked goods and sandwiches, the Buttery's Clarendon Street location will be serving the same delicious breakfast and lunch items along with coffees and teas.  In addition to café items, this space will also serve as a small market, with upscale grocery items available for purchase.

According to neighborhood guests, this expansion is coming just in time - the bustling Buttery was beginning to become a victim of its own success, with crowds  and congestion sending hungry diners elsewhere for treats.  Developments on Shawmut will allow the Buttery to grow its existing presence.  Local customers seem confident that an increase in quantity will not equal a decrease in quality, and that the Buttery will maintain its authenticity.

The South End Buttery is one of Clarendon Square's favorite local lunch spots. We are excited to see they are doing so well in the same neighborhood as our Boston bed and breakfast!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Inside the New Wing at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

The Calderwood Performance Hall
In January of this year, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s new wing opened to the public. Celebrated architect Renzo Piano designed the brilliant spaces which give contemporary form to Gardner’s legacy. The Gardner museum in the Fenway neighborhood is one of the most enviable collections of art in the world. It’s affectionately called “the Palace,” and Piano's addition to this aesthetic kingdom is set 50-feet back, is larger in square footage, but smaller in height.  The addition serves as the new entrance, providing a smooth transition from the city streets to the serene oasis of the museum.

Passing through the entrance into the Palace is a corridor lined with trees, guiding guests directly to the museum's big "wow" factor: the impressive and newly restored Courtyard. The Tapestry Room, formerly used as a displaced music hall, was also restored for it's original purpose. The Calderwood Performance Hall now occupies a perfect cube-shaped space in the new wing - sixty front-row seats, on three balconies, on all four sides of a ground floor stage.
The Gardner Museum's new Special Exhibition Gallery

The new Special Exhibition Gallery is four times the size of the old, and features a new installation by Victoria Morton of Glasgow, a 2009 artist-in-residence. Gardner’s Artist-in-Residence program commemorates its 20th anniversary this year, and a special exhibition will celebrate through the display of selected works by past participants. Complimenting this idea, works by artists who had personal ties to the Museum, such as John Singer Sargent, whom Isabella Gardner invited to paint in the museum in the winter of 1903, will also be exhibited.  Another inaugural exhibition will present the extensive photographic work of Luisa Lambri, an Artist-in-Residence in 2008, who will return to photograph the new wing.

The Living Room
In addition to upcoming exhibitions and installations, the Gardner's new educational programs, a Landscape Residency fellowship, enlightening lecture series, and a multipurpose Living Room orientation space in the new wing have brought visitors from all over to explore and discover the rejuvinated Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  Our Boston bed and breakfast in the South End is just a 15 minute walk from this artistic masterpiece.  Our contemporary decor, warm colors, and vibrant artwork encourage a relaxing stay, so leave every detail to us.  The staff at Clarendon Square would love to hear about your experience at the Gardner museum!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Things To Do In Boston In July

As one of the oldest and most historic cities in the United States, Independence Day celebrations in Boston are enormously popular.  There's plenty to do in Boston in July! Here are a few suggestions for our most patriotic Boston bed and breakfast guests this month: 

Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra
Independence Day in Boston!
Boston is home to the biggest Independence Day celebration in the country, and it's the quintessential summer experience in our city.  On July 3rd and 4th, the Boston Pops plays inspiring patriotic tunes complete with an authentic cannon fire, followed by the annual fireworks display over the Charles River.  National media coverage, much less our enthusiastic description, can do this exciting event the justice it is due.  A must-see for American and International visitors alike this Fourth of July, make sure to experience the show at the Charles River Esplanade, just a ten minute walk from our Boston boutique hotel in the South End.

The annual HarborFest celebrations grow in popularity each year, packing over 200 events into a week-long festival of Independence and the arrival of warm weather in the Fanueil Hall, Beacon Hill, and Waterfront neighborhoods.  Perhaps the most exciting event this month, or even this year, is the bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812, bringing the arrival of military ships and tall ships from all over the world.  Coinciding with HarborFest, daily tours will be offered of these magnificent vessels. On Sunday July 1st, ChowderFest might be the most popular event of the entire week - try the best of the city in a cup, crock, or even a breadbowl, and top it off with a trip to one of Bostons best seafood restaurants!

"Sea" a Different Side of the City
As a waterfront metropolis, Boston offers an abundance of access to water activities for visitors of all ages.  For a fun day trip, renting or chartering a sailboat is an adventurous way to tour the nearby rivers or Boston Harbor.  You could also jump on the ferry to check out the beaches, hiking, and wildlife on one of the nearby Boston Harbor Islands.  Getting a quick sailing lesson is a breeze as well - arrangements can be made easily and inexpensively, just ask the staff at Clarendon Square, we're
happy to help you find your sea legs!  If you're more of a sand lover, there are plenty of beaches within a short drive of the city.  Whale watching cruises, ferries to the outer Cape Cod area, and many other water activities are a great way to enjoy the summer in Boston!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Visit Walden Pond This Summer From our Bed and Breakfast

Are you looking for things to do in Boston this summer? Try some of the 62 acres of Walden Pond, open year-round to visitors, have risen to true celebrity status and are protected within the boundaries of a State Reservation in Concord, MA. Concord native Henry David Thoreau is responsible for turning the pretty pond into a “literary icon”. For 26 months between 1845 and 1847, Thoreau secluded himself in a pond side cabin he built for less than $30 and wrote the acclaimed book, Walden. This book, inspired by his immersion in nature and lessons in self-sufficiency, is credited with raising awareness for the environment and sparking the American conservation movement. Through Thoreau's legacy, Walden Pond has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Walden Pond State Reservation encompasses 335 acres of protected open space. To protect the natural resources of the area, no more than 1,000 people are permitted on the reservation at once. This peaceful restriction allows visitors to appreciate the serenity of the wildlife in its natural habitat. In warm summer months, the pond is a popular swimming destination. In spring and fall, visitors from all over come to hike the trails that surround the pond and visit the replica of Thoreau's one-room cabin. Interpretive programs and guided walks are offered all year, and a gift shop, bookstore, and the Tsongas art gallery is open to the public.
Walden Pond and the surrounding reservations are about a 40 minute drive from our downtown Boston bed and breakfast.  Our luxurious, peaceful, historic atmosphere perfectly complements a leisurely day in this inspiring park. The staff Clarendon Square Bed and Breakfast is happy to provide guidance and recommendations for a day trip to Walden Pond!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Art and Architecture Tour at Boston Public Library

At the Central branch in Copley Square, the Boston Public Library offers free tours highlighting the architecture of Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson, as well as the many works of famed sculptors and painters. The McKim Building of the BPL, just a ten minute walk from our Boston bed and breakfast, is a strikingly memorable structure. Classic facade, a grand Entrance Hall, and a modest elegance contribute to its charm and serenity.  The interior details give the building a constant flow of surprise and aesthetic exploration.
Bates Hall
Upon entering the vestibule, you face a unique trio of 1500 pound bronze doors, created by Daniel Chester French. The broad entrance hall boasts vaulted ceilings covered in a marble mosaic. The great twin lions, crouched on pedestals at the turn of the grand staircase, are the work of Louis Saint-Gaudens, memorials to the Massachusetts Civil War infantry regiments - the 2nd and the 15th.  A gallery of the French artist Puvis de Chavannes's murals inhabit the second floor corridor, heading into Bates Hall. A series of richly colored murals entitled The Quest of the Holy Grail cover the walls in the Abbey Room, on the south end of the Chavannes Gallery, a favorite of many visitors. The lobbies at either end of the Chavannes Gallery are richly decorated with elements reminiscent of Pompeii at the south end and Venice on the north.  Boston artist John Elliott claims the namesake to the Elliott Room neighboring the study hall through the Venetian Lobby, due to his decor on the ceiling, entitled The Triumph of Time.  The magnificent Bates Hall occupies the entire front of the building with enormous arched windows and a barrel vaulted ceiling.  The great American painter John Singer Sargent spent years decorating the long, high walls of the Sargent Gallery with his Triumph of Religion mural. The absence of windows brings a somber tone to the powerful artwork.  Through the south end of the Sargent Gallery is the Wiggin Gallery, originally devoted to the donation of a special print and drawing collection of the Boston-born New York financier Albert H. Wiggin in 1941.  Since his donation, additional works of American and European artists of the 19th and 20th centuries call the Wiggin Gallery home.
Boston Public Library Courtyard
The McKim Building's deep interior courtyard is a haven of peace in a busy city. An arcaded promenade rounds three of the outdoor walls, identical to the cancelleria Palace in Rome. A bronze cast fountain statue entitled Bacchante and Infant Faun lends a bit of whimsy in this picturesque outdoor space.

A new addition to the Boston Public Library was opened in December 1971.   Philip Johnson observed two specific requests in his design of the new building - to mind the existing roofline, and to use complimentary material to the exterior of the McKim Building.  the McKim and Johnson Buildings are connected on three of the Johnson Building's ten levels to provide access to the resources and public services of the library.  Unique structural and mechanical systems were developed in order to contain nine floors and a mezzanine level within the high limitations of the neighboring McKim Building.

Trying to think of things to do in Boston and want to experience the beauty and grandeur of the Boston Public Library for yourself?  The volunteer staff at the BPL offeres free one-hour guided tours every day - but times vary each day, and space is limited. You can find more information on the Boston Public Library website.  The historic experience at the Boston Public Library is seamlessly complimented by a stay at the Clarendon Square Inn.  Our Boston boutique hotel in the South End neighborhood is in a carefully restored 19th century brownstone rowhouse with luxury accomodations offering unparalleled attention to detail.  Let the team at Clarendon Square guide you in a discovery of Boston's most hip and historic neighborhood!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Take a Cruise Over to the Boston Harbor Islands

Map of Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area
The Boston Harbor Islands consist of 2 coastal peninsulas and 32 small islands, ranging in size from less than an acre to over 200 acres.   Hopping a ferry to the Harbor Islands is a fun way to spend an afternoon exploring some of our city's unsung scenery.  Ferries depart from the Long Wharf on the Boston Harborwalk, which is just a ten minute drive from our boutique bed and breakfast.

Spectacle Island

 Boston Harbor Islands ferries make their first stop at Spectacle Island, which opened to the public in 2006 and quickly became a daytime destination.  Jump off the ferry and explore the new Visitors Center, relax on the family-friendly beach, or trek through 5 miles of hiking trails up to the island's highest point and check out amazing views of the Boston skyline and waterfront.
Fort Warren on Georges Island
The Long Wharf ferries then continue on to Georges Island, home to Fort Warren.  Used as a prison during the American Civil War, Fort Warren is best known for it's ghost legend of the "Lady in Black". Park Rangers offer free guided tours, with tons of information about the infamous ghost and other free activities on the island.  Catch a play, historic show, musical performance, or even a vintage baseball game!

If you're looking for more information on the Boston Harbor Islands ferries and how to make the most of your time in the city, Clarendon Square is happy to help.  From our Boston South End location, guests have access to all the popular tourist attractions, and some of the city's best kept secrets!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Trying Small Plates and Tapas in downtown Boston

With so many diverse dining options right in our city, we often find ourselves enticed by one too many dishes on one too many menus - and we want to try them all!  When dining at a restaurant that offers a variety of sharing-sized small plates and appetizers, everyones taste buds can be tickled.  Clarendon Square Boston Bed and Breakfast in the South End neighborhood is very close to a few of our flavorful favorites, and public transportation or a taxi can take you to the others!

 Toro: South End
A short walk from our bed and breakfast, Chef Ken Oringer wins the praise of Bostonian foodies for his thoughtful ingredients and expert preparation.  The dim lighting, bold furnishings, and traditional decor in this Barcelona-esque "taberna" is both complimented and juxtaposed by a wonderful variety of dishes from mouth-watering steaks to lighter vegetarian fare.  Reservations aren't an option, but the buzz is nearly deafening for this perpetual Best of Boston winner, so our recommendation is to go for lunch, or get there early to try it on a weeknight. The best surprise of all: the all-Spanish wine list is very reasonably priced.

Bar Lola: Back Bay
If you are shopping on Newbury Street, Bar Lola has answered the call for a just-off-Newbury retreat to rehydrate and refuel with this Back Bay gem. It's chic, cavey, dimly lit interior plays popular electronic and European sounds, and the patio boasts lively evening scene along the Commonwealth Ave streetside. Mediterranean treats abound on the tapas menu, and their signature cocktails are equally exciting: an edible orchid floats atop the Lolita martini, and the house sangria recipe is the best we've found.

Chinese barbecue pork buns at Myers+Chang
Myers + Chang: South End
The East-meets-1950's dining room is jam-packed nightly, and their popular Tuesday night "date night" menu has the midweek diners out in droves. But their small plates and dim sum offerings are the not-so-secret gems: the Chinese barbecue pork buns and lemony shrimp potstickers are just a few of our favorites. This foodie favorite is just a few blocks away from our Boston boutique hotel.

Cuchi Cuchi: Cambridge
Unlike the popular Spanish-influenced tapas joints, this one in the Kendall Square neighborhood offers small plates from around the globe. Their eclectic decor reminds us of vintage Hollywood glamour and the delicious dishes are equally as memorable. The staff is as wonderful as the extravagant furs and flapper dresses they wear, and whether you come with a group of friends or a romantic date, Cuchi Cuchi will provide an evening you wont soon forget.
Oleana: Cambridge
The sumptuous North African and Mediterranean-inspired small plates like tuna & black olive deviled eggs, or Armenian bean-and-walnut pâté are out of this world, and the entrees are equally tempting. The warm, carefully decorated dining room transports you to the streets of Bodhur and Marrakesh. Visually magnificent, their patio is also wonderful for summertime alfresco dining.  The garden is put to good use, too - Oleana's kitchen staff often harvest herbs, fresh tomatoes and garlic, and a thriving fig tree.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Our Bed & Breakfast's Favorite Way to Chill Out This Summer

As the weather heats up, those visiting Boston - and locals too - need a little something to help cool down. Ice cream, gelato, and frozen yogurt are America's favorite summer time treats. With so many flavorful options and unique places to try near our bed and breakfast, adults and kids can satisfy their sweet tooth and sample something new without breaking the bank.  While exploring the neighborhoods of our city, chill out at a few of Clarendon Square's favorite spots.

Gigi Gelateria - North End
This Best of Boston winner on Hanover Street offers fresh gelato in fifty flavors each day, ranging from the typical tiramisu to melon or mint. You can order from the street window, or go inside to hear Italian pop music and experience the changing wall colors and mini flat-screen TVs

Toscanini - Cambridge
Made in-house with fresh ingrdients and rich flavors, this place is sure to please the most particular ice cream aficionados. Famous for their burnt caramel flavor, we also enjoy their sorbet - strawberry honey is our favorite scoop. Yet with Toscanini's ever-rotating inventory (french press coffee, gingersnap molasses, and lemon vanilla, to name a few), you'll find your favorite in no time.

Christina's - Cambridge
This home-grown ice cream shop has an endless selection of unique and original ice cream flavors. Lavender honey, Kaffir lime, and cinnamon-spiced Mexican chocolate are just taste of the countless offerings made right on-site. Christina's sister spice shop next door supplies fresh ingredients daily, and for those with simpler tastes, even the cookie dough ice cream is full of flavor.

J.P. Licks - Beacon Hill
This Boston staple has some of the most exotic flavors we've seen, like chocolate ice cream with cayenne pepper and cinnamon, dubbed El Diablo; or the wasabi-flavored Turning Japanese.  J.P. Licks experiments with unusual blends and always yields interesting results. For milder tasts, they offer typical ice cream flavors and some cooler, sweeter flavors like melon, sweet cream, or cucumber.

BerryLine - Newbury Street
Just a few blocks away in the Back Bay, you can swap your ice cream craving for it's cold creamy cousin frozen yogurt. BerryLine's serve-yourself froyo and toppings mimic the setup of the popular west coast Pinkberry chain, but with one major difference - fresh New England taste. A proud Boston original, customer feedback is appreciated and even encouraged. Suggest a seasonal topping or a new flavor, and you may see it on their menu soon after!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Visit Some of the Boston Historic Homes

Our city has one of the richest cultural histories in the United States. Countless influential personalities have called Boston home over the centuries. Many of these historic sites are a short distance of our Boston bed and breakfast. The staff at the Clarendon Square recommends putting aside a few hours to visit at least one or two of these captivating monuments to the past. Experience a trip back in American history by touring any of these Boston homes this summer!

Paul Revere Statue in the North End
Paul Revere House
This North Square townhouse is downtown Boston's oldest building, and ninety percent of the structure of this historic home is original. Built around 1680, the home was purchased by Paul Revere just five years before his famous ride. Repurchased by a descendant of Paul Revere in 1902 after changing hands of ownership for many years, the property has since been restored to accurately resemble its original appearance.

Longfellow House
Originally built in 1759, this historic Cambridge home served as George Washington's personal headquarters during the siege of Boston in the Revolutionary War. In 1843, this historic home was bought by the father-in-law of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as a wedding gift for Longfellow and his new bride. The home and its possessions were carefully preserved by Longfellow's descendants over the years, and guided tours of this historic home are available in the summer.

John F. Kennedy House
The birthplace of President John F. Kennedy in Brookline was personally restored by his mother Rose in the late 1960s. Many of the former president's personal belongings from his younger years are viewable in the nursery, including his original christening gown!  Now a National Historic Site, there are ranger-led tours of the home during the summer but the property is open to the public year round.

Nichols House
The Nichols house is one of the oldest structures on Beacon Hill. Constructed in 1804, the house has been adapted into a museum depicting the domestic life of a typical Beacon Hill family during the early 1800s. Those with artistic interests will love the beautiful antiques and rare possessions such as Flemish tapestries and ancestral portraits filling the rooms of this historic home.

Gibson House
The Gibson House of Boston's Back Bay was built in 1859-1860, and declared a National Historic Site in 2001. The Gibson family's original furniture and personal possessions allow visitors to get a true insight of the life and times of a wealthy Boston family during the late 1800s. Located on Beacon Street, the Gibson House is open year-round for guided tours.

Old Manse
Old Manse
Located in Concord, about 30 minutes outside of Boston, this historic home stood witness to the beginnings of the American Revolution and has influenced the lives of many writers. Originally built in 1770 by Reverend William Emerson, the grandfather of the writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, the home is now a museum that can be toured by the public. Ralph Waldo Emerson was not the only writer to have occupied this historic home. In the mid 1800s, Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife rented the home for three years. During that time, Henry David Thoreau sowed a vegetable garden at the Old Manse as a wedding gift to the Hawthornes. A recreation of that garden exists in the same location.
Orchard House
Orchard House, also in Concord, is the birthplace of author Louisa May Alcott. Built in the early 1700s, The Orchard House serves as the setting for her celebrated novel Little Women. No major structural changes have been made since the Alcott residency, and nearly three quarters of the current furnishings are original family-owned pieces.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our Favorite Things To Do In Boston in June

June is a lovely month for exploring our city.  There is never a shortage of things to do in Boston, rich with Americana and bursting with historical sites.  We have selected a few of our favorite happenings for suggestions for our  guests this month:

North End Wine TourEach Saturday this month, City Wine tours presents Boston's North End! Learn about grapes, food pairings, and North End history while sampling some of the finest Italian wines. If you love wine and have a passion for history, this walking tour promises to entertain and inspire for just $56 per person.  Explore the wines of Tuscany, Piedmont, Abruzzo and more through a top-tier collection of North End establishments. Our wine ambassadors bring a wealth of knowledge to each tour, every Saturday from 3-5 PM this month at the Fairmont Battery Wharf. Call (855) 455-8747 for tickets.

Bunker Hill Day Parade: Join the festivities at the Bunker Hill Monument in Monument Square in Charlestown at 12:30 PM on June 10th to commemorate the 237th Anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill.  Members of the Charlestown Militia dressed in Colonial attire perform shooting exercises, play fifes and drums, and offer musket salutes as part of a wreath laying ceremony.  Other marching groups from around the country also participate in the parade to honor those who fought the British on nearby Breed's Hill. After the parade, explore the new Bunker Hill Museum (free admission!) across from the monument, or follow the red stripe of the Freedom Trail down to the Navy Yard for a free tour on the USS Constitution.

The South End Garden Tour never gets boring because it features gardens in a different area of this large neighborhood every year. This year's tour will be within the area bounded by Tremont Street, Berkeley Street, Albany Street, and East/West Newton Street, surrounding our Boston bed and breakfast. This self-guided tour meets on June 16th from 10 AM to 4 PM starting at the Boston Center for the Arts, and tickets are available for $20-$25, with all proceeds benefiting the South End/Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust. Our neighborhood is known for its beautiful of urban gardens.  Select South End artists will be in the tour gardens creating works of art - which you can buy at a reception immediately after the tour. Be sure to save time for lunch or an early dinner at one of the many terrific South End restaurants.

There is so much to do in our beautiful city in the summer, and the team at Clarendon Square is happy to assist you in planning an adventurous, unforgettable visit to Boston!