Monday, December 9, 2013

Rainy day in Boston

Today was the first real winter day of the season, with a smear of snow on the ground and a raw wind, and it raised the age old question of what to do in Boston when the weather is bad. The answer is lots on things, but the particuar thing I did was to go to the Museum of Fine Arts to see a wonderful exibition of watercolours by John Singer Sergeant. For the last 100 years this collection, which he kept for his own enjoyment, has been divided between the MFA and the Brooklyn Museum. He made his fortune painting portraits of the rich in oils and these warercolours are what he did for fun, and it shows. He seems to have done them while on vacation in Switzerland, Venice and the Levant, and they show his friends and his sisters and ordiary poeple at repose. Well worth seeing no matter what the weather is.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

And the festivities continue

Last night saw us, yet again, at Symphony Hall.  This time we listened to 'A Boston Pops Christmas.'  It was splendid.  Five of us sitting at a table two down from the stage and sharing a bottle of wine.  We were treated to a reading of The Night Before Christmas by the Boston Mayor Elect, Marty Walsh.  He did a great job.  Yet again a lovely evening.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas season

The Christmas season is upon us.  Advent officially started last Sunday.  We kicked off the Christmas season with a trip to Symphony Hall to hear Handel Messiah  brought to us by the Handel and Haydn Society .  It was three hours of total enjoyment.  Some traditions such as attending the Messiah are wonderful.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Another new restaurant

We went to a new restaurant last week.  It is not exactly brand new but new enough.  It is called Cinquecento and it took over from Rocca's on Harrison Ave.  It is right in the midst of SOWA .  It is a lovely venu.  The ambiance is wonderful and the service couldn't be better.  Our waiter took the time to explain in great detail any of the dishes we didn't understand.  It is an Italian restaurant  but not your run of the mill Italian.  We loved it and got great food.  Definitely a keeper.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

He did it again

I really fail to understand how David Miller, Director of Zeitgeist Theater, can do it again and again.  But he does.  His latest production, Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, which we saw yesterday is the most heart wrenching and poignant play I have seen in many a long day.   David has produced a raw fast moving play.  I have never before seen people cry at a play and after the Normal Heart many many people were sniffling and dabbing their eyes.  David was able to get across the fear and frustration of the times.  One needs productions like this to waken us up from our complacency and Kudos to David Miller and his wonderful actors, sound men and set designers.  You pulled off a Masterpiece.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Learn something new

One learns something new everyday.  I discovered a new theatre recently.  Of course it is only new to me.  It is the Modern Theatre in downtown Boston and it is part of Suffolk University .  We went to see a one man play of the last words of Marie Antoinette.  It was performed by a very famous French actress.  And it was in French.  Thank goodness there were subtitles and even then I couldn't follow all of it.
Good to know of somewhere else to frequent.

Friday, October 25, 2013


One of the many great things about being a parent is that sometimes the kids do something surprising.  Our youngest son did just that last week.  He gave James and me tickets to the play All the Way with Bryan Cranston .  It was the last show and my was it terrific!  It was just superb.  I do not know how on earth B.  Cranston kept going. It was draining just watching him. The play was an 11 am showing.  I didn't know anyone went to the theater in the morning but you know it was great.  We all ate lunch during the intermission sitting outside in the last of the summer sun.  What a great surprise.  Thanks Eoin!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Great venue

We tried out the restaurant, Clink, for the first time this weekend.  It is the old Charles St. Jail.   It has retained the prison cell facade which gives it a unique appearance.  We loved our food choices and the service was perfect.  The waiter came just at the right time for all the courses.  We shall definitely go back.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Historical! Boston

We all know that Boston is dripping with history so when I say historical Boston I am not referring to Boston.  No, I am referring to the fact that Boston is showing the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Boston may be a small city but what an achievement - to bring the Scrolls to us here.  The Dead Sea Scrolls found in a cave on the banks of the Dead Sea by a goat herd include literary writings of the times and the oldest known texts of the Bible.  It is a truly magnificent exhibit and with the Scrolls is a wonderful collection of artifacts dating back to 1000 B.C.E.   show us details of the culture, rituals, and beliefs of the people

Friday, August 23, 2013

It is that time again

We just cannot get enough of this outdoor living.  The Institute of Contemporary Art is free on Thursday evenings and at the same time the ICA has it' s free harbourwalk sounds where the Berklee School of Music gives a free concert on the waterside patio.  What nicer way to spend one's evening than to saunter through the ICA out onto the patio, then to sit at a table sipping a cool drink and listening to good music.  Such is the life!

Monday, August 5, 2013

LIterary Boston

Walking through Boston Common last week we happened upon Shakespeare on the Common.  The Company was performing The Two Gentlemen of Verona.  I had never seen this before so this was quite a treat for me.  Yet another reason to live in our fair city.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vive La France

I am sure I have already mentioned our wonderful Museum of Fine Arts but bear with me while I again commend said institution.  The MFA hosted the French Film Festival this last two weeks and what a production.  The selection of films was terrific.  My favourite was The Dandelions, a sweet poignant movie centered around a shy little nine year old girl.  And did I say how comfortable the seats are!  After the movie we couldn't leave without popping into the exhibition called Hippie Chic.  Nothing unusual, perhaps because it is of my generation that it seemed so ordinary.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 4th

That all American holiday.  We do so enjoy it.  This year we spent the evening at our friends condo on the Esplanade.  We ate dinner on their roof deck as we watched the fireworks on the water.  What a great place to view the action from.  We avoided all the security precautions put in place by the city.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Colum McCann

Colum McCann, the Irish author, had his latest book, TransAtlantic, reviewed in the New York Times this Sunday.  And tonight we were fortunate to attend a reading of his in Cambridge.  He did his reading in the Brattle Theater over in Cambridge and then we all adjourned to the Grafton Street Pub.  Great evening - enough to make one feel proud to be Irish.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Newport, Rhode Island

My niece, a student in Dublin, Ireland, is staying in Newport for the summer trying to make money working as a waitress.  She has a job in the New York Yacht Club.  We went to visit her today.  What a lovely town, full of people.  The weather was superb.  Of course we had to see the Mansions.  My choice Rosecliff (where the Great Gatsby was filmed) was closed today because the Newport Flower Show is being held there tomorrow.  We went, instead, to the Marble House built by the Vanderbilts   
Newport is only one hour fifteen minutes from Boston so we shall be visiting it again soon and this time we shall see Rosecliff.
After the mansion tour we had lunch in The Deck.  A great end to our day.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Soul Food

We tried out a new (to us anyway) restaurant.  It is called Darryl's Corner Bar and Kitchen and serves soul food.  It used to be Bob the Chef's where we have had many a great Sunday Jazz Brunch.  One of the owners of Bob's opened up the Beehive on Tremont St. where you will get good food and music but it is more upmarket than Darryl's and Bob's.  We went with another couple and we all loved it.  The food, ribs, shrimp etouffee, fried chicken on a waffle and jambalaya was outstanding and the accompanying live jazz was just great.  We shall definitely be back.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Boston Pops

We got really clobbered with the tail end of Hurricane Andrea last night.  Buckets of rain fell but did we mind?  No, not at all!  We spent a lovely evening with friends at the Boston PopsJohn Williams was conducting and the theme was orchestral contribution to film.  It was truly great.  My favourite was, of course, the music from Far and Away.  Mind I clearly state the music only, I am not a great fan of the movie itself. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We miss Turkey

Last night we tried out a new (for us) restaurant.  It is called Brookline Family Restaurant.  It is a Turkish restaurant.  We spent November of last year touring around Turkey and we miss the food and the people.  Well, this restaurant was just what we needed.  The food was great but more important the waitress who is from Istanbul couldn't have been kinder and sweeter.  We will definitely return. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Museum of Fine Arts

We are just back from a visit to the MFA.  Such a beautiful day we were able to walk to the museum.  This weekend admission was free - the MFA's way of helping the city heal from the disastrous events at the Boston Marathon.  The line into the museum was at least three blocks BUT as we are members we were able to cut straight to the front of the line and walk straight in.  One of the perks of membership!  We viewed the Michelangelo drawings; the Blue and White ceramics and the Ridley Howard exhibition.  We spent a really pleasant afternoon there and on our way home we stopped off in Parrish Cafe for a bite to eat.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Punk Rock

Our friend, David Miller director of Zeitgeist Theater, has done it again only better if that is possible.  His latest play, Punk Rock, nspired by the awful events at Columbine High School in 1999 and analyses the root cause of such mindless violence.  This play really couldn't have been better times what with the tragedies in Newtown, CT and the bombing here in Boston at the Marathon.  The play is so well directed by David and the actors are all superb.  Kudos to you David!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Free Thursday

The museums in Boston have a really great deal and it is this- every Thursday evening on can visit them for free.  So on Thursday we visited the Institute of Contemporary Art. There were two terrific exhibitions showing, Barry McGee a graffiti artist from CA,  and Jeffrey Gibson a native American artist.  These two are well worth a visit and then after you have visited with them you can sit in the window and look out over Boston Harbour.  Does it get any better than this!

Monday, May 6, 2013

SOWA in the Spring

We, and our various guests, have been super lucky for most of last week, since the marathon massacre. All the rather unremarkable looking trees that line our streets have literally blossomed.  The magnolias were first, then the cherries and dogwoods, and of course on the ground the spring bulbs are rampant.  All of this has been almost like an explosion, as it always is, in contrast to the gradual European springs that we grew up with.  This year the whole process has been still more spectacular because of beautiful weather, bright sunshine and unseasonable warmth most of the time.

I think that it is because of all this botanical beauty, and the good weather, that everybody seems to be in such a good mood.  At least that seemed to be the case when we strolled forth yesterday to the SOWA studio tour.  SOWA stands for South of Washington Street, and is a area of old industrial buildings few blocks from here, which have been adapted to house studios for more than 100 artists.  On the first Friday of each month the studios are open to visitors who can enjoy viewing the various works, and buy if something takes their fancy.  For some reason the studios were also open yesterday, despite the fact the it was Sunday. There are several regular galleries in the area and they too were open as was the regular Sunday market which is very popular with our visitors.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What a shocking tragedy

Yesterday started off with such great expectations.  The runners staying with us had an early breakfast and left to walk to the bus pickup point on Boston Common.  Little did we know what was in store for the Marathon.  Fortunately our two runners were safe but three innocent people lost their lives yesterday in those senseless explosions.  We offer our sincerest condolences to all affected.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Now I know why I do what I do!

I just love this job of inn-keeping.  We have just said goodbye to a French family and are at present hosting a guest from Beijing.  Does it get any better or more interesting than that!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I think Spring has at last sprung

I have just seen the new little shoots in the garden.  This can only mean that the daffodils are ready to erupt.  And thank goodness for that.  This has been such a long dreary winter.  We have been laid low with colds and flu despite having gotten the flu shot.  There is a noticeable stretch in the evenings and people are venturing out without all those layers of coats, scarves, hats and gloves.  So lets hear it for Spring the best time of the year.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Another great weekend

Does it get any better than this?  Last weekend was just another great weekend.  On Saturday we took an Art and Architecture tour of the Boston Public Library.  This was organised by NABB an organisation in the Back Bay area of Boston to which we belong.  The tour was free and the guide was just great.  She obviously loves the library and was very knowledgeable.  The murals, one by John Singer Sargent and the other by a Frenchman called Purvis de Chavannes were breathtaking.  Boston Public Library is the only place in the USA where Chavannes murals are exhibited.
And on Sunday despite bitterly cold weather and a few snow flurries we went to a fund raiser held in Haley House, which is a soup kitchen and food pantry.  We each paid a sum of money and got a hand thrown bowl.  We then did a tour of the kitchen where there were various people with steaming vats of homemade soup and ladles at the ready.  We tasted about 12 different soups and could hardly move they were so filling.  An excellent way to raise some money for a very good cause.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Will it ever end.

Despite a temperature of 40 F yesterday we still have mountains of snow everywhere AND another foot forecasted for Saturday night and Sunday.  I could do with some nice Florida vacation right around now.  In an effort to dispel the winter blues we ploughed our way through a blizzard to a great jazz brunch on Sunday.  It was held in Dympna's club, The College Club of Boston.  This is the oldest womens club in the country and it is beautiful.  Neither snow nor rain etc will keep us away from a good jazz brunch.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Zeitgeist does it again

We are so fortunate to live within walking distance of so many wonderful museums, theaters and restaurants.  And on Wednesday we walked to the Zeitgeist theater to see the Life of Riley by Alan Ayckbourn.  Director David Miller is a genius.  We never miss his plays and we are never disappointed.  And afterwards, as we always do, we joined David and Reinhold in Tremont 647 for a drink and postmortem of the play.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

The weather men are getting more and more accurate with their weather forecasts- worse luck.  They forecasted 2 -3 feet of snow and guess what?  We got 2 feet of snow where we live.  We shoveled a lot on Friday and for most of Saturday.  We now ache in muscles we did not know we had.  Bur we were more fortunate than many in that we did not lose power.  To make us feel better after all our shoveling we treated ourselves to dinner out on Saturday.  Toro is an excellent restaurant around the corner from us but one usually has to wait for at least half an hour to get a table.  We walked in and got a table immediately.  The menu was somewhat limited because of the storm and the shortage of fresh produce.  It still was a terrific meal.  To top of our winter storm today we took the SL5 bus to downtown to see the movie Side Effects.  We highly recommend it.  It is a great mystery movie.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What an exhibition

If you had told me that photographs were art I would have laughed at you BUT yesterday James, Eoin and I went to the Museum of Fine Art to view the Mario Testino in your face Exhibition.  What can I say it is stunning.  Such vibrancy!   Today is the last day of this exhibition.  We felt very special to be able to attend this first such American showing of the photographs of who over the years  has often contributed to Vogue and Vanity Fair.  The show was chocker-bloc full.  Just another advantage of living in this wonderful city.