Mount Auburn Cemetery is located on the outskirts of Cambridge, near the Watertown and Belmont boarders. It’s one of my favorite places to take a stroll, and no, I am not being morbid. The Mount Auburn Cemetery is a sprawling garden that pays tribute to all who are burried there. It has been lauded for it’s landscape architecture. It is a sanctuary just outside of the city, where people can enjoy nature. I like to sit at the banks of the ponds and enjoy the world around me. For a peaceful retreat head to Mount Auburn Cemetery.
To refuel after the walk and reflection, treat yourself to an earthquake cookie at Sofra Bakery and Cafe!
Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas
“Best Posh Retreat For Scholars”
“If you had a decadently wealthy but utterly refined Italian uncle who also taught at Harvard for his own amusement, his house might look something like this 31-room hotel, shoehorned into a tiny lot at the edge of Harvard Square. Rooms are compact but brilliantly designed: intimate rather than cramped.”
This designation is awarded by Yankee‘s editors and contributors, who name select restaurants, lodgings, and attractions in New England to the exclusive list. For 36 years, Yankee Magazine‘s Travel Guide to New England has been the most widely distributed and best-selling guide to the six-state region, providing readers with a comprehensive vacation-planning tool and daily reference.
“This special travel issue highlights ‘The Best of New England’: more sights to see, things to do, places to eat or spend an overnight than most of us could possibly fit into even the most jam-packed vacation,” says Yankee‘s editor Mel Allen. “Wherever you may travel this season in New England, there’s certain to be a Yankee ‘Best’ nearby.”
Yankee Magazine’s May/June 2012 Travel Guide, on newsstands April 24, feature 287 “Best of New England – Editor’s Choice” selections, which include the region’s best dining and lodging venues, attractions, adventures, local secrets, and bargains. This special issue also names 120 top events around New England and shares 15 walks – from strolls on Martha’s Vineyard, an inn-to-inn trek in Vermont, and a cliff walk in Maine. Treat yourself and celebrate with fresh recipes for summer’s first fruit – strawberries. Plus, feast in the best 12 lobster shacks in our six-state region.
April Showers are supposed to bring May flowers, hopefully this year we are going straight to the flowers! We have unseasonably great beach days in Cambridge. Unfortunately, Cambridge doesn’t have many beaches. Boston has some great beaches, like the M Street Beach, that offer a quick trip to sandy shores, but they aren’t as idyllic as the beaches of the north and south shores.
Luckily, the MBTA‘s commuter rail provides regular service to the small town of Manchester-by-the-Sea (what a cute name!). The Newbury/Rockport line runs throughout the day to and from Boston’s North Station. Singing Beach is 1/2 mile walk from the train stop. The fee to walk on the beach is $5. The beach is manned by a lifeguard, has a snack bar, a bathhouse, and parking is mainly limited to residents (meaning it’s a quiet, well cared for beach). To and from the beach you pass Captain Dusty’s Ice Cream shop, which is a charming little shop with creamy, tasty ice cream flavors.
I really recommend a day at Singing Beach! It’s a piece of paradise in Boston! Even the commute is not bad, you can relax on the commuter rail as you commute away from the city.
(P.S. pack sunscreen!)
Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas
We escape to Montreal every so often for a change of scenery and language. With the recent beautiful weather, we felt the City of Saints calling us.
On the way, we stopped at the incredibly charming Every Day Cafe in Contoocook, New Hampshire. I enjoyed the “the Bup” – a roast beef and cheddar sandwich with tomato and horseradish mayo on thick white bread. The cafe also sells many locally-made products including their branded “Tooky NH” items.
Our friends John Delpha and Cailin Bilodeau own the Black Cow Bistro in Essex Junction, Vermont and we’ve been craving John’s cooking since he left Boston after stints at La Campania, Sorellina, Harvest and Mistral. John has won numerous for his culinary talents – especially for his barbeque: 2009 Grand Champion and two-time category champion at the Jack Daniels World Barbeque Championship competition. I started with Smoked Chicken Wings with House Rub and Agave Nectar Glaze and finished with a tasty pork chop which was a special for that night. An amazing dinner and a few celebratory cocktails for Cailin’s birthday made for an exceptional evening.
The next morning, we drove to Montreal and heading straight for Rue Laurier Ouest, the perfect street for meandering, dining, and shopping. Michel Brisson is a little clothing shop which lured us in with its sleek design and window displays. I purchased a great cotton summer jacket from wings + horns, a Canadian company which draws design influence from Japan. We stepped into L’Emouleur to look over their stunning selection of Japanese cutlery and into La Maison d’Émilie, a shop which sells intriguing and interesting culinary items and gifts.
After a quick “welcome to Montreal” cocktail (or two) at Rotisserie Laurier, we made the tragic mistake of going to a different restaurant for lunch. I won’t provide the name of the restaurant, but we waited 53 minutes for our meals – afterwhich the server said we should have told him that we were in a hurry.
The Jean-Talon Market was definitely worth seeing with stall after stall of produce, seafood, meats, and flowers. We’re accustomed to paying high prices in Boston and Cambridge for fresh produce – and wish we could have filled the car with these delectables, but the U.S. customs officers wouldn’t have been so pleased.
We then checked into one of my favorite hotels, The Gault. This hotel has almost the exact opposite design asthetic of our little hotel in Harvard Square, Hotel Veritas. While our rooms are small with detailed woodwork, rich textiles and iridescent wall coverings, the rooms at The Gault are large and loft style with concrete floors and smooth lines. The concierges and servers are extremely friendly and charming. We’ve tried a few hotels over the years in Montreal, but now we stay nowhere else but The Gault. A few cocktails in the lounge with our friends led to us missing our afternoon nap – which we’re so accustomed to when traveling. We pushed through somehow.
The friendly bar at L’Assommoir Bernard was great for our pre-dinner cocktails. When we walked into the Le Comptoir, I was certain our friends had selected the right place for dinner. The neighborhood restaurant was intimate and lively – and with the restaurant descriptive of “charcuteries et vin,” we had high expectations of the meal to come. We weren’t disappointed. After the house-made charcuterie plate, we enjoyed the roasted beet salad with celery “à la grecque”, goat cheese, watercress, and argon oil – then the braised beef short ribs, potatoes angnoletti, celeriac purée, and red wine glazed onion. There was much sharing of food amongst our friends – and the wine flowed well.
For some, that would be the end of the culinary night – but not for our friends. L’Express Restaurant was the final stop of the night and Dan and I sipped on pear martinis and vodka on the rocks – while our friends had their mid-night snack of steak frites.
We collapsed into our bed at The Gault quite sated.
Monday morning brought about our stroll around Chinatown and dim sum at Ruby Rouge. Although Boston has an vibrant Chinatown, Dan and I tend to go more often for the pho than dim sum. We picked up some shwarmas from Marchés Adonis for the road trip home.
All in all: a great few days of eating, drinking, and laughing with friends.
Posted by Benson Willis, General Manager of Hotel Veritas
I have seen the movie ‘Once‘ too many times, and I cannot wait to see it again. ‘Once’ is independent film that in 2007 spread like wild fire through word-of-mouth acclaim. The movie was made with a very low budget, $160,000! The movie was written and directed by Irishman John Carney. The movie stars Glen Hansard (‘guy’) and Markéta Irglová (‘girl’), chronicling their lives for about a week; from their first meet on Grafton Street (not to be confused with the gastropub around the corner from us), to the recording of an album. As the Broadway Website perfectly proclaims “His music needed one thing – her.”
Last year, The American Repertory Theater’s fantastic venue Club Oberon hosted a pre-Broadway workshop of ‘Once’. The theater is intimate, allowing for a very raw, personal experiences between the actors and the theater goers. It was probably my favorite theater experience ever.
There is nothing I welcome more eagerly and excitedly than warm weather. It is just that-warm. As in not cold. I hate the cold. I’m from Georgia, can you blame me? I was sun bathing in February two years ago. But I love my transplant city, and here are just a few things I enjoy most!
Outdoor Farmer’s Markets! Making their return come May! Sure, every city has them these days, but I’m in awe of how many Boston has and how accessible they are! Every neighborhood has one or more, including the downtown areas, and there is at least one market every single day. Talk about convenient! I simply adore delicious, home grown produce as opposed to petri dish tomatoes, and love the community feel of being at the market and talking with all the vendors and neighbors! There’s even a market in Harvard Square walking distance from our hotel. Check out the link for all the dates and times. http://www.massfarmersmarkets.org/
Lobstah Rolls! Seriously, who doesn’t love these! Lobster meat, hot dog roll, done. My best kept local’s secret is Belle Isle Seafood. It’s a bit inconvenient to get to, impossible without a car, but it is the best. It’s $20 (same as Legal Seafood) for a pound of meat. Meat, not a one pound lobster, but one pound of meat. That’s like six lobsters, or something. Last time I was eating there, so was Mayor Menino!
New England Aquarium! You’re supposed to go outside when it’s warm, but I can’t think of anything more fitting than marine wildlife and water for a summer outing! And when you’re done admiring the tanks of exotic fishies, or the hands on Shark and Sting Ray Touch Tank, you can always head outside for the Seal Show! It’s also really convenient to get to with public transportation and very kid friendly-duh. I recently got some tickets for the aquarium and cannot wait to use them!
Dining Al Fresco! Ohmygoodness there are so many options! Everybody tries to accommodate outdoor diners in the summer, so take your pick! A couple of the more popular ones are Stephanie’s on Newbury (massively popular, difficult to get a table), Legal Seafood Harborside, Daedalus (roof deck seating!), Cafe Pamplona. Just to name a few!
Sailing! Ok, let me be honest. I get incredibly sea sick and am terrified of water (don’t ask how number 6 below is a favorite of mine.) In the two years I’ve lived here, I’ve had a membership at Community Boating on the Charles River. I’ve gotten on a sailboat there once. And I didn’t even leave the dock. I rigged the boat, got a high five for passing my “rigging” test, and then left. So perhaps I’m more in love with the IDEA of sailing. It seems so elegant and relaxing and exhilarating. Free on the open water. Ok, it sounds more like terrifying, but for those who don’t have a irrational fear of sea monsters (how much do we really know about what lives in the water?), it’s a wonderful way to spend the afternoon! There are tons of places you can set up a charter or rent a boat and lots of places to sail-maybe a trip to the Harbor Islands? Just ask one of us concierges to help you out!
The Beach! Who doesn’t love the New England coast in the summer? It’s perfection! I feel like when I’m at a New England beach, I’m living in a picture. My favorite? Wingaersheek Beach. It’s on Cape Ann, across from the more widely known Good Harbor Beach, which in my opinion doesn’t even compare. Wingaersheek is less populated, and when it is crowded, it is more locals than tourists gathering there, and has a wonderfully clean and pristine coastline and beaching area. The best part? The amazing rock formations that are a BLAST to climb and jump on at high tide. It’s a built in water park, courtesy of, nature. (The pets in the photo are not mine, but the beach is pet friendly only at certain times, such as early in the season or after dusk.)
Last week we had “unheard of” warm weather in Boston. It really felt like a tropical climate transplanted itself here for a week. Most days were in the 70s, and the temperature reached into the 80s once or twice. For me, this was heaven because I love the warm weather and almost everything associated with it. Even though I have always lived in New England, if I could eradicate the cold weather I would do so in a heartbeat (sans any catastrophic earth/environment implications, of course.)
I was able to leave work a bit early on Wednesday afternoon, and raced home to my apartment in South Boston. I immediately changed into flip flops and shorts – grabbed my iPod, headphones, and “up for anything” terrier, and together we walked 8 minutes to Carson Beach. I wouldn’t consider this a “destination beach,” but it’s so close. I think Rory and I were grinning the entire time. Couples, joggers, families, walkers, dog owners – everyone seemed to be taking advantage of the weather.
A few hours later I met a friend for dinner at Stella, one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the South End. They have a great cocktail list, good service, and unique décor for Boston (lots of white and stainless steel, similar to a place you would expect to see in Miami. The trendy lounge music adds to this idea). All of the food is quite good, but there are three absolutely delicious items I keep going back to: For an antipasto: Spicy Safron Mussels (pre-shelled, served with roasted red peppers and a toasted brioche on the side). For grilled pizze: Quattro Funghi (with truffle oil and fresh arugula). For le paste: the tagliatelle Bolognese. My friend and I were able to dine alfresco. Try a glass of Italian white wine with these items, or a basil-lime gimlet. I’m already ready to go back.
Posted by Jack, Concierge at Hotel Veritas
Yesterday morning my friends called at 8am to tell me they were unexpectedly in Boston for the day and hoped to meet up. I love when friends spontaneously come to town and want to tour Boston and catch up. Whenever I stroll the Freedom Trail, my recollection of past guided Freedom Trail Tours come to mind. I love walking around the Freedom Trail and having a wealth of knowledge and pride flood my mind. I love being able to tell the story of the hanging tree, why we’ve maintained the old buildings instead of building new, and who’s physique is really on the Samuel Adams advertisement.
This time around, I joined my friends as they had finished touring the U.S.S. Constitution, Paul Revere’s House, Faneuil Hall and Old South Meeting House. They were ready to get off the beaten tourist path, so I took them to some of my favorite trails in Beacon Hill. They’re mouths were gaping as we traipsed down Charles Street, a street I regularly find every excuse to walk down. We headed up the incline towards Louisburg Square. When you walk to Louisburg Square you feel as though you are visiting Boston of yesteryear, with lavish townhouses and a park that will soon turn green. I kept my eyes open for the chance sighting of possibly the square’s most famous resident: John Kerry. We then navigated our way to charming, picturesque Acorn Street. Acorn Street always makes me smile, it’s so simple, so beautiful, so Boston.
While visiting Beacon Hill, we knew we were off the beaten tourist-track as we all needed to pay more attention to watch where we walked. Cobblestones are not friendly no matter what foot wear you wear!
To rest and refresh we enjoyed refreshing ice teas while people watching at Cafe Vanille.
It is no nice to pass time in a neighborhood seemingly unfazed by the changing times. Plan a leisurely jaunt through Beacon Hill next time you’re in the neighborhood!
Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas
An hour-and-a half-drive from Cambridge can take you to Woods Hole, MA. From there, one can catch a Steamship Authority ferry to Martha’s Vineyard town: Vineyard Haven, MA. The ferry ride takes forty-five minutes and costs $8 each way! In a day when high gas prices are affecting travel by land and air, the apparent fix is to travel by sea!
If you drive to Woods Hole you may park your car for $8 a calendar day, there is a shuttle from the parking lot to the boat that shuttles between them several times an hour. You can bring your car on boat, but book as in advance as possible as there is limited space for vehicles and space fills up very fast! A one-way trip for a car costs anywhere from $44.50 to $77.50 depending on the length of the car and time of year. Decide not to take the car? There are public buses available, I recommend familiarizing yourself with the routes before you decide a bus is right for you. Just visiting for a day or two? Rent a bike! Martha’s Bike Rentals is right by the Vineyard Haven Ferry dock! Thinking about catching a cab upon arrival? Be prepared to pay a premium price for a taxi ride, as the eighty-seven square-mile allows taxi companies to command high fares.
There are so many things to do in Vineyard! The rural Island is made up of five towns with their own uniqueness. So use the web and mapping devices and plan visits to Edgartown, the Gay Head Cliffs of clay in Aquinna, Chocolates in Chilmark, Wooden flying horse carousel in Oak Bluffs, and The Black Dog Tavern in Vineyard Haven.
We’re interested to know: any Hotel Veritas fans have an inn they love in Martha’s Vineyard? Let us know!
Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas