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Posts tagged “Harvard Square

Take a step back to the forbidden

There’s a lovely little tobacco shop Leavitt & Peirce in Harvard that makes you feel like you’re stepping back in time to a forbidden part of history.  It reminds me of an old speakeasy, and considering the place has been around since 1883, it probably served as one at some point.  I love places that feel like they are stuck in time, yet at the same time have  modern conveniences (i.e. they accept credit card and you don’t have to tie your horse up outside, though you are more likely to find a spot for your horse than an available parking spot.)

Now before you quit reading this because you don’t smoke, let me assure you this shop has much more to offer than simply nice tobacco blends, of which there are plenty.   This place takes on the feel of European and old world stores and is much like the tobacco shops that once were, providing all sorts of amenities such as shaving tools, games, candies, knick knacks etc.   In Spain, the tobacco stores continue to sell stamps.

Surprisingly, I’ve been to this shop quite of number of times the past few months.  I don’t often find myself in need of this type of shop, however, I’ve found that cigars make lovely stocking stuffers and baby shower favors for the men who are forced to attend and aren’t really excited by the notion of baggies of lotion and candles.   For those who are like me and can’t tell which end of the cigar you actually light, the employees here are very friendly and eager to help you pick out the right cigar.  Actually, it was my delight with the staff that prompted me to blog about the store.  Knowledgeable, helpful, listen well, and don’t mind if you haven’t the slightest clue as to what you’re doing.  Answer a few simple questions and they’ll have the right cigar or tobacco picked out for you.

Not in need of tobacco products?  Check them out for barber style shaving tools and quality razors or some classic board and childrens’ games (marbles anyone?).  Or possibly you need to pick up some souvenirs from your visit here or maybe some knick knacks for stockings.  It’s a great place to check out, if anything to see a place as historic as the city itself.

Leavitt & Peirce, 1316 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
Directions to Leavitt & Pierce from Hotel Veritas (0.2 miles)

Posted by Annie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


Wocka Wocka– The Muppets are Spending a Weekend in Harvard Square

Need one more reason to book a lovely spring weekend in Harvard Square? The Muppets are coming!!!! The Brattle Theatre is hosting a Muppet Madness Weekend!

Time to plan ahead! Seating is limited so book your tickets now for Muppet Madness Weekend. Part of the theater’s repertory series, Muppett Maddness spans four day April 20-23rd.  The classic “Muppet Movie” from 1978 encourages the audience to sing along out loud (for the April 20th performance!) The latest movie, “The Muppets,” will be featured two of the nights. “The Great Muppet Caper,” and “Muppets Take Manhattan,” are some of the other muppet adventures will be shown as well.

When the muppet films complete their run, the creepier Jim Henson flicks will hit the stage:  ’80s  cult classics “The Labyrinth” and “The Dark Crystal.” Who can resist the eerie spectacle of David Bowie portraying the Goblin King on the big screen?

The Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square is an attraction in itself. It’s been an institution in Cambridge since the Civil War, long before the event of motion pictures. Nowadays it’s a single-screen cinema showcasing marvelous films of years past, documentaries of today, and award-winning foreign films. Needless to say, The Brattle Theater is a unique venue with unique films. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the Muppets and a Cambridge Brewing Company beer!



P.S. Wouldn’t it be great if “The Muppets” star and “Hasty Pudding Man of the YearJason Segel came to Harvard Square

Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas

The Fifth Annual Bookish Ball and Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration

The Harvard Square Business Association, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, the Cambridge Public Library, and Revels proudly present a day-long event celebrating Harvard Square book stores, the birth of the Bard and the return of an icon!

On April 28th, please join the Harvard Square Business Association, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, the Cambridge Public Library, Revels, Zumix and all of Harvard Square’s book stores for the Fifth Annual Bookish Ball and Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration. This free, family friendly festival will feature book store strolls, live music, dancing, performances, birthday cake and a sidewalk procession led by Curious George!

The festivities begin at 11:00am, in the Whale Room at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, where children of all ages are encouraged to make unique and colorful banners, signs and hats to be carried during our festive sidewalk procession through the streets of Cambridge.

At approximately 11:55am, Toni Bee, Poet Populist of Cambridge, will engage the crowd at the library with a reading of one of her poems. Immediately following, at approximately 12:05pm,  the group will “parade” from the library through the streets of Harvard Square led by the man of the hour, Curious George, the Man in the Yellow Hat portrayed by Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s very own Allyn Burrows, and our special guest, Dr. Nick Walton from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

At approximately 12:30pm, the procession will arrive in Harvard Square and gather at 1 JFK Street, where dignitaries, members of the Cambridge community, and lovers of an inquisitive monkey named George will gather for the ribbon cutting and grand opening of The World’s Only Curious George Store – Harvard Square.  The new store, under the ownership of two local entrepreneurs, Jamie and Adam Hirsch, offers an extensive selection of children’s books in a creative space along with uniquely designed merchandise available only through the store and its website.

Immediately following the festivities at The World’s Only Curious George Store – Harvard Square, everyone is encouraged to visit Palmer Street where the party continues!  AfroBrazil Boloco will energize the crowd with their distinctive, infectious beats, artists will be on hand creating remarkable chalk drawings, and cake and ice cream will be served in honor of William Shakespeare, who turns 448 in 2012! In addition, there will be performances by Charlestown Working Theatre, FuFu and Oreos, face painting, balloon artists, toasts, reading and more.

Schedule of Events:

  • 10:30am – Chalk artists begin drawing on Palmer Street
  • 11:00am – Banner and hat craft activity – Whale Room at the Cambridge Public Library
  • 11:55am – Reading by Toni Bee, Poet Populist of Cambridge at the Cambridge Public Library
  • 12:05pm – Sidewalk Procession departs the Cambridge Public Library; AfroBrazil Boloco and activities on Palmer Street including face painting, balloon artists, and  Open Air Circus Workshop
  • 12:30pm – Sidewalk Procession arrives in Harvard Square and assembles for the ribbon cutting at The World’s Only Curious George Store Harvard Square, 1 JFK Street
  • 12:45pm – Toasts, Common Text Reading, performances and cake and ice cream on Palmer Street
  • 1:00pm – Performance by Zumix on Palmer Street
  • 1:15pm – Performance by AfroBrazil Boloco on Palmer Street
  • 2:00pm – Shakespeare Pub Talk – moderated by Dr. Nick Walton

Harvard Square is proud to be the home of over a dozen book and printed word shops. Many will be holding events, book readings and promotions to celebrate the Bookish Ball. Details will be forthcoming.

The following book stores are offering promotions and events in conjunction with the Bookish Ball and Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration:

Grolier Poetry Book Shop6 Plympton Street, (617) 547-4648

Grolier Poetry Book Shop will be offering 20% off their tote bags.

Harvard Book Store1256 Massachusetts Avenue, (617) 661-1515

Harvard Book Store holds a Shakespeare Sale, in honor of Shakespeare’s birthday and the Bookish Ball. On April 28th, all books by or about Shakespeare will be 20% off.

The Harvard Coop 1400 Massachusetts Avenue, (617) 499-2000

April is National Poetry Month – Check our web site & facebook page for information on the COOP’S ANNUAL Poetry contest for children Grades K-8
2 pm, Saturday, April 28th, 2012
Save 20% on ALL Kid’s Poetry Books & come join us for the Harvard Coop Annual Poetry “Open Mic Day” for all kids, grades K-8!  We will host an open mic for all Kids Poetry Participants who want to share their poetry!!!

We will then announce the WINNERS of the contest. In appreciation of everyone’s efforts, a complete anthology of entries will go on exhibit in the Children’s Book Department.

Schoenhof’s Foreign Books 76A Mount Auburn Street, (617) 547-8855

In celebration of the annual Bookish Ball, Schoenhof’s Foreign Books is offering a 20% discount on its rich selection of foreign language children’s books.

There will be a reading in French from 3PM to 4PM from the enduring masterpiece, “Fables” of Jean de La Fontaine. Some of the fables that will ntertain the public are:  “La Cigale et la Fourmi” (The Grasshopper and the Ant), “Le Corbeau et le Renard” (The Raven and the Fox), “La Grenouille qui veut se faire aussi grosse que le Boeuf” (The Frog that Wished to be as Big as the Ox) to name a few. Light refreshments will be served.after the reading. In addition, Schoenhof’s Foreign Books will be hosting a reading by internationally acclaimed Cuban poet in exile, Juana Rosa Pita on Saturday the 28th of April from 4:30-6:00PM. Dr. Pita will read from her bilingual Spanish/English work “Manual de Magia/Manual of Magic”.  Free refreshments will be served.

The Bookstores and Printed Word Shops of Harvard Square – 2012

Harvard Coop est. 1882
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
est. 1927
Harvard Book Store
est. 1932
Schoenhof’s Foreign Books
est. 1856
Bentley Publishers
est. 1950
Out of Town News
est. 1955
The Crimson Corner
est. 1962
Million Year Picnic
est. 1974
Newbury Comics
est. 1978
Revolution Bookstore
New England Comics
James and Devon Gray Books
The World’s Only Curious George Store Harvard Square
 est. 2012
Raven Used Books
est. 2005

The Bookish Ball and the Bard’s Birthday celebration, presented by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project, coincides with the many celebrations happening around the world in conjunction with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon- Avon, England.

This event has been made possible by the generosity of Bank of America.

For more information about these and other events in Harvard Square, please visit www.harvardsquare.com

JP Licks Scoops Up Gluten-Free, Vegan Varieties!

It’s amazing how innovative our local chefs are with food. It’s also amazing how many options there are in Cambridge for people with food allergies, sensitivities and taste predilections.

JP Licks has been understanding of people’s  dietary preferences already; they’ve been offering lactose-free ice cream and dairy-free sorbet. This year, they made their cold treats even more accessible by unveiling a line of Vegan, Gluten-Free Ice Cream. This March they unveiled coconut-milk based ice creams, on April 20th they will unveil Hemp-based ice cream, and soy ice cream in May. The vegans are happy because dairy-free sorbet is restrictive to fruity flavors, and lactose-free is made from dairy. Those with Gluten sensitivities can enjoy these icy delights, giving no worry to the possible inclusion of wheat in the Coconut Almond Lace Ice Cream.

Given this beautiful weather, my colleague Nicole and I headed over to JP Licks to test out the new coconut ice creams. We found them unbelievably creamy and delectable. We both tried the Chocolate Coconut and the Coconut Almond Lace. The Coconut Almond Lace stole the show- with the crisp crunch of  the lace mixed with the creamy ice cream it was so indulgent! I think this si the beginning of a very frequent summertime habit.

For an informative article on innovative ice creams, read this article on Boston.com.



Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas

Clothing and Footwear: Style, Comfort, and Elegance

If you are looking for comfortable yet stylish athletic apparel, look no further than Concepts in Harvard Square to seal the deal!!!

Established in 1996, Concepts is one of the few retail stores in the state of Massachusetts where you can buy custom clothing and apparel at such high level of quality. Starting off as a retail store aimed directly toward skate and street culture, Concepts has morphed into the most diverse retail store in Harvard Square.

During the past few months I have frequented this store and have made three purchases which each one of them leaving me speechless!! Like most of the products that Concepts carry, the color schemes and overall comfort make the items unique and totally above any other store that is similar to this concept (no pun intended)!!! Prices do tend to run a little higher than your average retail apparel store, but the quality and comfort make it well worth the extra bucks. Men and women are both able to shop here with most styles being available to both. The one unfortunate thing that I found is that there are no items available for children as of yet, but a store employee informed me that it was something that was in the works.

Be sure to check out Concepts when you are in the Harvard Square area even if you do not intend to make a purchase right away. It is truly a breath of fresh air and a hidden gem in Harvard Square.

Concepts. 37 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA  02138   617.868.2001
Hours of Operation: Monday – Sunday 10:00am – 7:0pm

Distance from Hotel Veritas:  0.4 miles
Directions to Concepts from Hotel Veritas

Posted by Brandon, Concierge at Hotel Veritas


A few authors I’ve met at the Harvard Book Store

This past Christmas I gave my dad a first-edition, signed copy of The Greater Journey by David McCullough. Without a doubt, it was best gift I have given him since the hand-made gifts I brought home from elementary school. I couldn’t believe his delight, and in turn I was delighted by his appreciation! I had picked up the copy of the book months earlier at Harvard Book Store – at 20% off the cover price! (I really regret not picking up more copies!

One day, I was walking by Harvard Bookstore when I heard David Sedaris reading Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. I immediately text all my friends gloating that I was walking down Mass Ave and saw David Sedaris!

Last year, I had the chance to meet Ron Suskind, who was signing copies at Harvard Book Store of his latest, Confidence MenI had read a biography he wrote, A Hope in the Unseenyears earlier. Actually, several friends and members of my family had read A Hope in the Unseen! It was great to meet Mr. Suskind, because he told me of all the wonderful accomplishments the book’s main character had achieved– which I shared with my family and friends!

I am more than happy to recount these tales, because they are all memorable, noteworthy experiences in my life! Authors write books that take us someplace away from the ordinary, they introduce us to another way of thinking. Their works are treasure! So, every month I peruse the events page for Harvard Book Store– you never know who is going to come!

Checking out this month I see Rachel Maddow, Joyce Carol Oats, (childhood favorite) R.L. Stein, David Wolman, and Trita Parsi are just some of the authors heading to Cambridge this March! I encourage you all to follow your interests and enjoy a nice night out at the bookshop!

May I suggest dinner at Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage?



Posted by Laurie, Concierge at Hotel Veritas

Signed First Edition of the Month Club at the Harvard Book Store

Harvard Square is renowned for its bookstores and the Harvard Book Store is the grande dame. Since 1932, the independently owned book store has been attracting writers from around the world for readings and signings. Each month, a tome is selected for both its literary merit and potential collectibility – and is signed by the author.

Hotel Veritas offers a room package which includes a night at the hotel, as well as the monthly selection from Harvard Book Store and a glass of wine. The Simple Truth Lounge is the perfect quiet place to relax, sip the wine, and being the first chapter.

Due to popularity, the signed first edition is subject to availability.

To reserve the Hotel Veritas Harvard Book Store package, click here or call 617.520.5000. To sign up for the Harvard Book Store Signed First Edition of the Month Club to have copies mailed to you, click here.

Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 617.661.1515

A Renewed Appreciation for Harvard Square

As someone who’s been living, working, and playing in Harvard Square for the better part of a year, it didn’t occur to me that my one week vacation would be anything more than a brief reprieve from outerwear and email. But a funny thing happened to me when I emerged from the depths of the Harvard Square T-stop yesterday. Having come straight from the airport, and before, straight from the beach, I was hit by an unexpected wave of… was it nostalgia? Déjà vu? At any rate, I was struck by the crisp air, the sunlit architecture, and the buzzing energy of the square.  I felt like Owen Wilson’s charactar in Midnight in Paris (which Woody Allen took home and Oscar for last night!), transported somewhere wonderful, somewhere that is both familiar and new.

I couldn’t help but appreciate how lucky I was – most people are not so giddy upon returning from a winter getaway. But it also occurred to me that I was seeing Harvard Square through fresh eyes, and feeling the way many of our guests must feel upon arrival. It was a unique shift in perspective, and one I will try to remember.

I celebrated my return with a dark hot chocolate at L.A. Burdick and decided I barely missed the beach.

Posted by Nicole, Sales Manager at Hotel Veritas

Bar Hopping in Harvard Square

I tend to bar hop a bit, and Harvard Square is ideal for this little hobby. This past Friday was a beautiful (and not too chilly) night to wander around the Square. We started early at the Russell House Tavern, one of our favorite local spots. Chef Michael Scelfo not only knows how to butcher a pig, but he’s kind enough to share pictures while he’s doing it. I recommend following his tweets. RHT serves Jack D’Or from Pretty Things, so I’m always happy there.

Next, we swung by the newly opened First Printer, on Dunster Street. New, as in a week old. The bartender was very nice and clearly excited to have the bar full. Enjoyed a bowl of Guinness Beef Stew. Of course, I’ll never judge a restaurant on one visit, especially during opening week – so I’ll definitely go back.

Thought we’d go visit our great friends at Upstairs on the Square, but they were closing early for a private event for Hasty Pudding. We could only enjoy one quick cocktail. They recently renovated and added a new bar and pizza oven and we’ll head over again soon to try those out.

Rialto was our next sipping spot. We love the bar here because the service is always wonderful and the cocktails tasty. Jody Adams is one of the nicest chefs we know and always incredibly generous. The patrons are quite interesting and you’ll never know which Nobel winner you’ll be sitting beside.

Last stop was Charlies Kitchen because I had a hankering for a double cheeseburger.

Posted by Benson Willis, General Manager of Hotel Veritas