Once visitors recover from their first experience driving around a rotary and the trauma induced by taxi drivers that turn left in front of them at a red light, Boston is one of America's oldest and most charming cities. In summer and fall the sky is brilliant blue and a long, snowy winter season makes spring especially wonderful. A visit to Beantown must include some serious tourist things: The Boston Duck Tour, The Freedom Trail, The Constitution, Faneuil Hall, and the Boston Public Garden Swan Boat adventure.
When the legs are worn out, a different side of this Tea Party city waits. Cold, warm, or rainy weather? Never fear, Crane Beach may be best when there is a menacing forecast-it keeps the crowds away and the four mile stretch of sandy white beach is your own. Carry peanut butter sandwiches and the seagulls will dart around you. The New World Old World separating Atlantic waters may still be cold in summer, but up to the knees is still refreshing during the dog days of summer.
Just around the corner from Crane's, Russell Orchards tempts drivers by to stop for freshly made cider donuts, pies, gorgeous produce and their very own fruit wine in the barn. Pick your own June strawberries, three acres of raspberries in July, August blackberries, blueberries and good old fashioned apple picking in the fall make this is a worthwhile New England excursion.
Lazy weekend mornings earn breakfast by a canoe or kayak at the Concord paddling down the Concord River to the Minuteman National Park. Pack a picnic just perfect picnic spot, I open baskets brimming with bread, jam, juice, bacon, fruit, and a coffee cake or fruit tart. By 11 a.m., the kids are swimming in the river and the parents have time to enjoy another cup of coffee and each other.
Founded in 1630, the When people ask for my recommendation on a place to make a dinner reservation near my stomping ground, I send them where I would go, not where the guidebooks recommend. Boston Chefs are churning out world class meals these days in some of the coolest, architecturally interesting buildings around the city. Our favorite places are mostly small, cramped "charming" restaurants with a limited number of tables. If you book a reservation at B&G Oyster, ask to sit on the patio under the twinkling lights. If you find yourself in Belmont's Sofra--get ready to eat the most delicious Turkish food standing up, or bet yet--get it to go. Cheap eats? Pizzeria Regina in the North End (no other)--you will get your pizza with a Boston accent served on the side (oh what fun!). For breakfast and lunch, head to The Paramount or Figs on Charles Street, stuff yourself and then walk off breakfast through the charming streets of Beacon Hill. A family favorite, the South End's Cinquecento, serves a fennel sausage, basil, cognac cream pasta that last Christmas Eve all seven of us ordered and there wasn't a bite of leftovers (comes with free parking to boot!). For an exquisite, romantic, and once in a lifetime dinner experience, go to O Ya--ask to sit in Michael's section. You will be spoiled and I promise you will never forget the experience. My husband and I have eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world and this tiny place ranks top 10 of our all time best dining experiences.
STIR COOKING CLASSES -- 102 Waltham Street, Boston, MA 02118
NASTURTIUM DISPLAY AT THE ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM -- 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115
STROLLING CHARLES STREET AT NIGHT
GRAYMIST -- 364 Huron Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
NEPTUNE OYSTER--63 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113
HOJOKE--1271 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215
B & G OYSTER (outside under the twinkling lights) -- 550 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
THE BUTCHER SHOP-- 552 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
TORO -- 1704 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118
ISLAND CREEK OYSTER BAR -- 500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
O YA! -- 9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111
CINQUECENTO -- 500 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
BRICCO RISTORANTE -- 241 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113
THE PARAMOUNT (for breakfast) -- 44 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
PARISH CAFE AND BAR (outside lunch) -- 493 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
REGINA PIZZERIA -- 11 1/2 Thatcher Street, Boston, MA 02113
SOFRA -- 1 Belmont Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
OSTRA -- 1 Charles Street S, Boston, MA 02116
MR. BARTLEY'S BURGER COTTAGE -- 1246 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
THE HUNGRY I -- 71 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
DRINK -- 348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110
SPORTELLO -- 348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210
WAYPOINT -- 1030 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
SARMA -- 249 Pearl Street, Somerville, MA 02145
UNI -- In Eliot Hotel at 370 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
ALDEN & HARLOW -- 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
SPOKE WINE BAR -- 89 Holland Street, Somerville, MA 02144
EATALY -- 800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199
THE BALDWIN BAR -- 2 Alfred Street, Woburn, MA 01801
MOODY'S DELICATESSEN -- 500 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
GOOD WILL HUNTING
GONE BABY GONE
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
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