Friday, June 28, 2013

Boston to Host Its First Free Arts Festival!

While staying at your favorite Boston bed and breakfast in the South End neighborhood, you can enjoy some of the city's most unique galleries and artist studios. Painters, photographers, carpenters and craftsmen litter the cobblestone sidewalks with their one of a kind pieces and fascinating stories. The city of Boston is finally catching on to the phenomenon: Outside the Box.

Outside the Box will be held in public spaces such as the Boston Commons and the Government Center square July 13-21. Over 200 performers will entertain and educate Boston on their unique style and history. Dance groups like the Boston Ballet, Nazar Interactive Bollywood Performers and Armenian dancers Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston will all take the stage among many others. Celebrity chefs including Todd English, Ming Tsai and Lydia Shire will be signing books and cooking up a storm during select performances. There will be plenty of options for families as well! The physical comedians of Jest In Time Circus will be performing in their own tent! All Hands Drumming is an interactive jam session where kids learn different styles of drumming like Brazilian rhythms, Afro-Cuban techniques and West African patterns. Some of the more unique performers include Australia's Strange Fruit: a performance atop 5 meter flexible poles! For the brave, there will be a clown show by Strong Coffee Stage and the festival will end with a Carnivale Parade! Of course, no arts festival would be complete without music. There will be over 70 musical groups and soloists at Outside the Box! Classical, country, rap, rock, you name it! The most unique aspect of this festival is its cost: there is none! Visitors and locals a like can come and go as they please, see as many performances as they wish and not worry about expensive tickets or cover charges.

After a day of music, theater performances and delicious food, head back to the quiet South End and relax the rest of the night in our boutique bed and breakfast. Sip a glass of wine on the roof with your sweet heart or enjoy a glass of iced tea with other guests in the dining room while swapping stories. Outside the Box is the perfect way to enjoy your Boston holiday with us!

Friday, June 21, 2013

3 Free Outdoor Activites in Boston This Summer!

Summer time in Boston can be a magical experience. The gardens are in bloom, restaurants re-open their patios and everyone has lost their winter blues! With the majority of student population gone for their school break, it's a great time to get out and explore our normally crowded city! Whether it's enjoying a lobster roll at B&G Oysters for lunch or chatting with vendors at the SOWA Open Market, there are plenty of fun activities to do outside. Even better are things to do outside for free! Here are some of our favorites!

The historic Boston Hatch Shell is best known for the city's annual Fourth of July performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture by the Boston Pops, a tradition held for 40 years! If the 4th of July crowds are too much, then you should definitely check out the free movie screenings on Friday nights! The Free Friday Flicks begin tonight, June 21, at sundown with Hotel Transylvania. Other films scheduled are Wreck it Ralph, Rise of the Guardians and Oz: The Great and Powerful. Bring your friends, your favorite snacks and the largest blanket you own!

If the banks of the Charles River and views of Cambridge do not appeal to you, perhaps a concert series inside the Boston Public Library's courtyard is more your style! Come sit outside at lunchtime every Friday for free musical performances by artists from all over the world. Performers include Kenyan vocalist Wambura Mitaru, jazz improviser Lance Houston and members of the Boston Lyric Opera. The Boston Lyric Opera is New England's largest opera company and will have selections including pieces from Mozart's The Magic Flute and Verdi's Rigoletto.

While sitting under the stars watching a movie and relaxing in the courtyard while reading and listening to music is nice, sometimes you just want to be a kid again! Head over to the Boston Commons and dip your feet in the famous Frog Pond! Hot summer can be brutal in this town, cool off under the 30 foot spray plume and have a bite to eat at the Frog Pond Café! Across Charles Street, in the Boston Public Gardens, visitors and locals alike can also ride the Swan Boats for $3.00 (adults) and children ages 2-15 for $1.50! They have been operated by the same family for the last five generations.

With so many great things to do in Boston this summer, don't forget our favorite South End neighborhood! Walking through the quiet, tree lined streets admiring gardens, public parks and unique boutiques is also free! Once you head back to your room here at the bed and breakfast, sipping wine on our roof deck might be the best way to end your fun filled day!

Monday, June 10, 2013

5 Great Boston Tasting Menus!

Boston's food scene is growing at a rapid pace. The new location de jour is Fort Point, home to restaurants brought to you by Ming Tsai, Barbara Lynch and a soon to be property from Mario Batali. The shadow cast by NYC is great and vast, but Boston is quickly catching up and becoming a food destination of its own! Tasting menus are popping up all over the city and expose Bostonians to some of the best food around.

L'Espalier was voted Boston's Best Tasting menu of 2012 by Boston Magazine. It is no great shock considering the reputation the restaurant carries. L'Espalier has been awarded fifteen consecutive AAA Five Diamond ratings, fifteen consecutive Forbes Four Star ratings, and a host of Best of Boston awards. Chef Frank McClelland was also named a James Beard Best Chef in the Northeast region of the US. The acclaimed restaurant features two tasting menu options: the Chef's Tasting Journey and the Seasonal Degustation. The Chef's Tasting Journey is a multiple course menu uniquely designed to incorporate flavors, colors and scents of the different seasons here in New England. The Seasonal Degustation menu is a similar seasonal concept, but smaller in size and price. The two menus are priced at $200 and $110 respectively. Wine pairings are available as well, of course.

 A Boston tasting menu piece would not be credible without the mention of Menton: Boston's only Forbes Five Star  and  is a Relais and Chateaux property. Menton also holds a AAA Five Diamond Rating and was a finalist in the James Beard Foundations Best New Restaurant list of 2010. If Barbara Lynch and all her success hasn't piqued your interest, perhaps the newly appointed Chef De Cuisine will. You may recognize her from Bravo's hit show, Top Chef. Kristen Kish was the second woman to ever be named Top Chef on the final episode of season 10 in Seattle. Tasting menus feature over ten courses and are priced at $155 per person. Wine pairings available as well.

If a tasting menu that is uniquely Bostonian, look no further than Craigie on Main. This restaurant lives and breathes farm to table cooking. They believe that menu construction should center around what's fresh and seasonal on that day. Menu's change daily and feature products from local farmers from around Massachusetts and New England. This does not stop at produce, meats, and cheeses. Beer, wine, liquor, and all components of a dish are sourced locally and organically as much as possible. This is not to say that the menus are limited and flat! Menu items have included veal sweetbreads, spice crusted venison leg and Maine mussels. Eight course tasting menus are priced at $118 and six course menus at $98. Fabulous, one of a kind cocktails along with complex wines and crisp beers also available.

Do you ever wonder how we can make New Yorker's even more envious of Bostonians? Just tell them you can have a tasting menu at Market by Jean-Georges Vongerichten for under $65. You read that correctly: a five course tasting menu by Jean-Georges for $62 and an optional wine pairing for another $45. For any diner, foodie or humble home cook, this is a great opportunity for delicious, meticulously prepared food, for an excellent price. Jean-Georges has opened several James Beard "Best of" restaurants, published award winning cookbooks and continues to change and redefine fine dining all over the world.

A similar cooking and dining style present at Craigie on Main is that of Ten Tables. Krista Kranyak began her career at the tender age of 12 working on a farm in nearby Connecticut. From there, she developed a love for fresh food right from the ground. She opened Ten Tables in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood in 2002 and hasn't stopped there. She now has three Ten Table locations in JP, Cambridge and Provincetown on Cape Cod. She also has a bar in JP as well as another neighborhood joint called Grassfed. Kranyak believes in "European shopping": close to home and in nearby communities. Her food is deliciously prepared and showcases the food like none other. Her tasting menus are affordable priced at $42 and $32 for vegetarian versions.

All of these options will surely leave you satisfied. It might be a good idea to walk off your delicious meals in our charming South End neighborhood complimented by unique shops, boutiques and art galleries. If walking is too much, our hot tub is most definitely the perfect substitute!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

South End Garden Tour Stops By Boutique Hotel!

Spring time in Boston's South End has some of the most beautiful sites in all the city. While the Boston Public Gardens have the fame and history, the small public and private gardens in our neighborhood explode with character, individuality and ingenuity. June 15th marks the 20th Annual South End Garden Tour and is an event not to be missed!

The self guided tour will kick off from the South End branch of the Boston Public Library where attendees will recieve information about the different stops as well as maps. The tour will feature public parks, community gardens, private gardens and even root top terraces! The tour changes every year with new participating homes and different garden set ups. Even if you have gone in previous years, it is not the same tour! Our own bed and breakfast in on the list this year. Come and join us on our back patio and see what an oasis we have created. Also this year, artists will be creating beautiful pieces inspired by the gardens around them. The artwork will be up for sale immediately following the tour at the reception to be held at the City Year Headquarters on Columbus Avenue.

While exploring the neighborhood, take note of places you wish to revisit! Whether it be a garden or just a boutique you passed on the way. There are many restaurants, cafes and watering holes in the neighborhood perfect for ending a wonderful day on a tasty note. If you fall in love with the area so much, consider spending a night with us! Take in as much greenery as you can from our own roof top!