Saturday, September 15, 2012

Boston in September

The Fall is always an interesting time in New England, though we are some weeks away from the leaf season.

There seems to be a lot of music around.  At the end of August we tried out the new Legal Seafoods restaurant in South Boston.  It is next to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the Bank of America Pavilion, where we saw Norah Jones give an amazing concert in July.  We went to the restaurant on a Thursday and from our table had a wonderful view of the working harbour as dusk came down and the harbour lights came on.  As usual we enjoyed the food immensely, and the surroundings still more.  We went on Thursday because that is the evening that the ICA is free.  After we had seen the new exhibits we went outside to the concert area where the Berklee Jazz Band gave a free concert and we had the same wonderful view. 

Here in the South End there have been free concerts in Titus Sparrow Park, about half a mile away from here, and this week the concert was just around the corner, the musice was Latin and the concert was just around the corner in Worcester Square.  All we had to do was open the windows to hear it, but it was a beautiful evening and we went out to enjoy the athmosphere.

Tried a couple of new restaurants.  Dympna had a Groupon for The Himalayan Bistro in West Roxbury.  James had tandoori lamb which was smokey and delicious.  Dympna had a curry which was just the right temperature.  Daughter Finola had something so hot that Dympna, after sampling it, spent the next twenty minutes drinking iced water. We had been given due warning about the spiciness of certain dishes, and the service was uniformly courteous and low-key.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tanglewood

Last Sunday a girlfriend and I drove, or rather she drove, to Tanglewood (http://www.bso.org) a two and a half hour drive from Boston.  For those who are not from Massachusetts and don't know what Tanglewood is well it is an estate and music venue in Lenox and Stockbridge, western Massachusetts.  It has been the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home since 1937.  It was an afternoon concert featuring conductor, Kurt Masur, and pianist Gerhard Oppitz.  It was superb.  We sat outside the Shed where we could hear and see everything and at the same time catch some rays.  All I can say is everyone should experience this sort of concert once in their lifetime.

Monday, July 9, 2012

American Independence Day

July 4 fell on a Wednesday this year prompting many people to take the whole week off as vacation.  We poor innkeepers had to work but not so much as to prevent us from enjoying ourselves at the many activities available in the area.  We kicked off the weekend on Friday with a dinner party in our home with a group of very old friends.  This was a great enjoyable success.   On Saturday we went to a Diana Krall concert in Cohassett.  Cohassett is about 30 minutes south of here.  The concert had the feel of an intimate gathering and Diana Krall outdid herself on the piano.  On Sunday we decided to give the restaurant Legal Harbourside a try.  This is a Legal Seafoods restaurant located close to the Institute for Contemporary Art and right on the water beside Fish Pier.  The view is unsurpassed and we were not disappointed with the food.  It was very busy and we couldn't get onto the roof deck where there is a raw bar.  We shall save that for later when the tourist season has dampened down a little.  After dinner we walked next door to the Bank of America Pavilion to hear Norah Jones sing.  She was terrific.  And after that we took ourselves home. 
By the time July 4, Wednesday, arrived we were quite exhausted but not too exhausted to have a bar-b-que with our kids and their and our friends on our roof deck.  Luckily the rain held off until  after the fireworks display on the Esplanade, which we were able to watch on the deck. 
Lets have more 4th of July holidays like this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day

What to give the man who has everything, after all he has me so what more can he want! 
James and I took a dander into town on Sunday.  What beautiful weather.  Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market were buzzing with families and singles just enjoying the many entertainers who were about in abundance.  The female mimes were truly amazing.   We saw the Armenian Genocide Memorial for the first time.  Really beautiful.  It has an intriguing maze around it and there were lots of kids having fun trying to follow it.  We continued on over the Rose Kennedy greenway.  This is a lovely spot to relax in the warm weather and we sat there for a while just watching the world go by.  Then onto the Harbourwalk (at least the North End part of it) which was just a wee bit chilly with a stiff breeze off the water.  There were plenty of sailing and motor boats to be seen and admired.  All the bars and outdoor dining areas were choker-block full and the air was full of the sounds of laughing and glasses tinkling.  We ended up in our favourite seafood restaurant Neptunes Oyster which is on Salem Street in the North End.  We were seated immediately.  The food as always was delicious.  I had the lobster roll which was full of great big chunks of fresh lobster.  James had the cioppino and by all accounts it too was superb.  Ever since James had that bouillabaisse in Albi, France he is obsessed with the fishy stews.  A glass of wine and then home by bus.  All in all a very nice Father's Day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Life is good

On Saturday we sauntered down Massachusetts Avenue to Huntington Avenue and the Huntington Theater.  Noel Coward's play 'Private Lives' is showing.  This has been running for quite a while and despite it being a beautiful Memorial Day weekend the theater was chockerblock full.  The play was superb.  I always enjoy his work I think because he reminds me of the plays of my fellow Irishman Oscar Wilde who is my favourite playwright and poet.  On the way home we stopped off at the Columbus Cafe on Columbus Avenue for a nightcap.  We so enjoy living outdoors and of course having all these wonderful amenities on our doorstep.   

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spring is Sprung

Yes, it's true, Spring is definitely sprung in the South End.  And how do I know?  Do you mean apart from the fact that there are wonderful cherry blossoms all over the neighbourhood and apart from the fact that the old allergies are worse than usual the ultimate sign that Spring is indeed upon us is that SOWA Market has reopened.  The market is a wonderful  eclectic collection of farmers selling their produce, artists selling their paintings, their jewellery, their hand-made baby clothes just to mention a few.  And it is only five or so blocks from our home.  We spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon perusing the market and then, just to be decadent, we decided to end our outing in Gaslight.  Gaslight is a lovely French Bistro just down the block from the Market.

And that is how I know the Spring has sprung in our South End neighbourhood.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Checking out the Gardner

No, nothing to do with tilling the soil, Bostonians all know that "The Gardener" means the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, which has always had the charm of being the concrete expression of one woman's taste, from a time when one person could buy such things as a Titian, a Cranach, the Regimental Standard of one of Napoleon's regiments and a freshly excavated Roman sarcophagus.  But we have had to agree with several of our recent visitors that during the last few years there has been a certain staleness about the place, amidst the wonders.  At least part of the cause seems to have been the splendid will of Mrs. Stewart, worthy of Soames Forsyth, which has decreed that there shall be no changes, not even loans.  We have been intrigued to hear how the trustees have addressed the problem: by building an annex, and not changing the original building, so we went along to see. The new space impoves the old by vacating the room that used to be used for recitals, and providing a new box like auditorium,  We were allowed into a rehearsalof a piece of music that wasso   avant gard as to be inaccessable, but the acoustics and visibility were wonderful.  Also wonderful are the new rooms which include something called thr "living room", which is a quiet room with comfortable seating where one can simply rest and contemplate matters, before one resumes the quest. It is going to be fun to have lunch in the new patio area adjacent to the new cafeteria, once we are warmer. The Gardiner has always been one of the places we suggest that visitors to Boston should see, and that is even more the case now.
James

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Enjoying Florida

We are really enjoying the 80-85 degree weather here in Boca Raton.  This week we had lunch with friends in West Palm Beach and then onto an amazing exhibition of art, photography and design from artists from all over the world.  What a great day.

Today we returned from a two day cruise to the Bahamas.  If possible the weather there was even hotter than Florida but we braved the heat!

Finola our daughter and Damon our son-in-law, by all accounts, are doing a great job running the Bed and Breakfast for us. They are born inn-keepers. 

The only negative on this vacation is that we missed Sweet Baby James', our only grandchild, first experience of snow.  Too bad.

Dympna

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hello Winter

Winter has at last arrived in Boston.  We had snow today.  We have kicked off the winter season very nicely with a visit to my club, The College Club (the oldest women's college club in the USA,) where we had the most superb meal prepared by Chef Jessie and we were regaled by Nancy Thayer.  Nancy is a renowned author who lives on Nantucket.  She is a wonderful speaker. 

Tonight we head down to sunny Florida.  We in the hospitality business take our vacation when we can and we usually take ours in the beginning of the year when we are quiet.  Shall keep you posted on our first trip to Florida.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A most magnificent evening

We spent a wonderful evening hosted by Jim at The Gilded Lily with our good friends and fellow innkeepers Reinhold and David from Encore.  We had a delicious homemade dinner in his beautiful bed and breakfast and Jim was a most gracious host.  We even enjoyed the company of his little dog. 

We discussed our successful 2011 season and hope that 2012 will be as memorable. David, who is also the director of the Zeitgeist Stage Company, told us of his upcoming play: Alan Ayckbourn's "Time of My Life."  We can't wait to see it!

It's so nice to have such congenial colleagues.

Dympna

Aura Restaurant

We usually have the benefit of the wonderful selection of restaurants in the South End, but chance intervened last week in the form of a Groupon for a restaurant in the Seaport area called Aura.  It turned out to be part of the Seaport Hotel and, again, it would not be somewhere we would think to go.  The ambiance was neutral to the point of being nondescript, but there was a most interesting menu and the wine list had an excellent selection of wines by the glass, very suitable for a party of two.  I had delicious sirloin roast with vegetables cooked perfectly and in exactly the right quantities.  Dympna had a seafood combination with cream of parsnip, a dish recognizably Italian in its provenance, which she also pronounced delicious.  The service was excellent.  The final word: super meal, venue lacked buzz, and expensive if you don't have a Groupon.

James