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!