My Boston Favorites

I always talk about Boston – I literally never shut up about it.

My soul is full of pride to know that I grew up in this incredible city. And after watching the Marathon from the finish line this weekend, my heart has just burst from happiness, love, and pride. Although it is normal to love the place you grew up, I know that my love and pride surpasses that normal capacity.

And as I am turning 2o this summer, I have put together a list of my all-time favorites within the city of Boston. For the most part, I am a HUGE foodie which is the reason why a lot of my favorites are restaurants. Along with food, I love shopping and large hang-out places which makes my list a combination of hidden places and well-known parts of the city. The way I went about making my list is by creating a quirky, lil’ map through Google to actually pinpoint the places I am talking about AND to make it easier for you all to figure out where they all are if you decide to try them out for yourselves!

 

To go through this map properly, I color-coded all of the places! And to do it in an extremely organized fashion, I will go through each place by the order of colors in the rainbow.

#1. YELLOW – Bova’s Bakery

I have always been a sucker for a good cookie. I grew up with one of the strongest sweet-tooth within my family aside from my dad. Although I have never visited Bova’s until I got to Emerson, I absolutely fell in love with the bakery. The best part about Bova’s is that it is open 24 hours and is family-owned which makes customers feel especially welcomed. My favorite thing from Bova’s would be their chocolate chip cannoli’s. That piece of deliciousness makes me melt and cry every single time!

#2. BROWN – Faneuil Hall Meeting House

It’s a huge tradition at my high school to hold graduation at the Faneuil Hall Meeting House. From the moment I was fourteen years old, some of the most important moments of my teenage life have happened in that historic place. And one of my favorites has to be graduating – I remember walking down the aisle, crossing the stage, and dancing down the stairs with my diploma in hand. Plus, it is a gorgeous location with the painted ceiling, the huge chandelier, and the stage. The meeting house almost represents a second home to me and I love it!

#3. ORANGE – Eataly

Located in the Prudential mall, Eataly is an Italian dining and shopping emporium. Eataly has everything under the sun: pasta, meat, snacks, fruit, cheese, desserts, restaurants, pizza, seafood, literally EVERYTHING. My obsession with Eataly holds no bounds – I love olive oil, I love pasta, I love cheese, I love fruit, I love gelato, I love bread, and I can get the best of ALL of my worlds in that one special Italian marketplace. I wholeheartedly believe that Eataly is an unique dining and shopping opportunity for anyone who wants to try and learn more about Italian cuisine. My favorite thing to get is a Chicken Panini, a.k.a their Rotisserie Chicken sandwich, which is smothered with olive oil in a beautiful piece of bread.

#4. PINK – MUJI

I am obsessed with stationery: pens, notebooks, folders, highlighters, binders, notecards, sticky notes, planners. After learning that MUJI was opening a store in Boston, I almost lost my cool. I remember going there with my sister in NYC and absolutely falling in love with their merchandise. Aside from stationery, they also have simple living essentials ranging from luggage to skincare to furniture. I really love their stationery products and they are incredible! I am never disappointed whenever I go to MUJI.

#5. MAGENTA – Children’s Wharf 

I spent a lot of time at the Children’s Museum when I was younger. And to this day, my favorite part of the museum is definitely the wharf park. I remember spending long summer days running around the boardwalk, begging my mom for ice cream from the Hood booth, and looking over the water at the seagulls. Much like the past, I still feel like a kid whenever I visit the museum and the boardwalk – the feeling will never escape me. If you have the chance to visit the museum and the wharf, I wholeheartedly recommend it! And now, they have 21+ Friday nights!

#6. BLUE – Charles River

Although the Charles is a bit disgusting, I still love it. When you live in a city, you will take a body of water and embrace it. For me, I grew up with the constant sight of the Charles. Whenever my family came into the city, we would drive down Storrow Drive and I would look out the window to see the glistening water of the river. I just think it makes Boston complete – without the Charles, I feel like we would be less of a city or that there would be something missing. Plus, the river runs throughout the state even in the parts of the city I live in!

#7. DARK GREEN – Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop

For me, this bake shop is a hidden gem. They are located near Mass. Ave and they have an incredible orange juice. Although most of their merchandise is dedicated to their baking and cakes, there is something so special about this bake shop. I think it has to do with the fact that they put so much love and passion into everything they make and sell!

I hope that you found these places interesting! I love everything having to do with the city of Boston and can only imagine what this list will be a couple of years from now!

An Evening With ‘Our Revolution’

On March 31st, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) took the city of Boston by storm when they spoke at the Our Revolution rally at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre. Given the impending Nor’Easter, the crowd at the event was tremendous. Most of the seats in the theater were filled by rally-goers. The orchestra was filled to the brim, and the second-level of the theater was at least ¾ of the way full. Overall, the event boasted an impressive turnout, despite the weather. Online, about three-thousand people RSVP’d—less than the number of people who actually turned out for it, but 3,000+ people would have been far too many people for this rally anyways.

For the people who were there, it probably seemed like a peaceful, easy event to attend. Unlike the rallies I saw during this past election cycle, attendees were able to sit comfortably in the theater and listen to the speakers onstage. Concessions were on sale in the lobby, like you would expect from a space like this. The line to get inside became more chaotic as the night moved closer to the event’s start time, but I’m doubtful anyone was turned away at the door. Anybody who wanted to see Bernie, Elizabeth and the other speakers that preceded them onstage were more than welcome to enter the theater and take a seat.

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A Newbie’s Guide to Subletting

For those of us who come from anywhere outside of New England, you understand the added stress of figuring out where the hell were going to go during the four month break we call summer. Do we go home and sit around with our high school friends, work at our old jobs and get antsy as we mark the days on the calendar till we can come back to school? Or, do we stay in Boston work our jobs here, take summer classes or try to even get an internship?

For those of you who prefer to stay in Boston there comes the added stress (and fun) of looking for a place to stay. Some may be lucky enough to have a friend’s guest room they could crash in over the summer. But if you are like me and don’t have that luck, you are forced to sublet. For those who don’t know what a sublet is, it is basically taking over the leaser’s rent for the months you need to stay in it. The time and price depends on what you coordinate with the owner.

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Commuting From Home

After going through a life-long search to find the perfect house for my family, I knew that there was no way in hell I would be able to live in apartment that I could pay for myself until I was a functioning adult. Most of this sentiment comes in part by the reality of getting zero assistance from my parents to pay for an apartment and the other fees that come with this responsibility. And since the cheapest apartment I have ever come across that is close by to campus costs $900 a month, I have decided to live at home for my junior year of college. I know, I know, I think I might have lost my mind but at the same time, I have no problem being a scammer.

For the most part, I am a home-body. I like the comfort of having a home or at least little pieces of comfort that remind me of home. And I have made myself quite the home here at Emerson but I am looking forward to having real food, free laundry, and a couch that I can lay on without disrupting someone else’s personal space. If it was up to me, I would gladly live on campus next year but that’s not possible as the junior lottery is a fake scam in itself and there’s not enough space for everyone.

What I noticed the most about making the decision to live at home is that I get a plethora of reactions from those I mention it to or those who ask about my living situation for next year. Overall, people tend to respect my decision but I have gotten a lot of confused facial expressions, some form of amusement, and a lot of questions. And for the purpose of this post, I have decided to share these quirky questions and give you my equally quirky but honest answers.

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Elizabeth Warren is the Politician We Need

Permanent Massachusetts resident or not, it’s likely that you know Elizabeth Warren’s name by now. She’s currently the senior US senator from Massachusetts and is a very prominent figure in the Democratic Party. There’s even talk that she might put in a bid for the presidency in 2020. And for many Emerson students who lean to the political left, the possibility of Elizabeth Warren becoming president in four years is the hope they need right now.

Having grown up in Massachusetts, I have watched Warren rise from a Senate hopeful to a leading voice among the country’s Democrats. Though I might be biased given my political party of choice (hint: I love the color blue), Warren’s journey has undoubtedly been an incredible one. I’m glad to have witnessed it firsthand as a Massachusetts resident.

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Winter Wonderland: My Adventure to City Hall Plaza’s ‘Boston Winter’

  Before arriving at Emerson I had lived in Sarasota, Florida for practically my whole life, and while I wouldn’t change that for the world and will always be a beach babe at heart the idea of a true winter is still so exciting to me! Snow replacing sand and a sled replacing Santa’s surfboard (which I’ll never understand, there’s no surf off of any of Florida’s coasts) is what’s getting me through the end of this long semester, even after a second year, which was why I was so excited to visit the “Boston Winter” at City Hall Plaza!

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Brunch: A Learning Experience

For me, breakfast has always been my favorite meal.

However, I never wake up early enough to enjoy a plate full of fresh pancakes, steaming scrambled eggs with a dash of pepper, and deliciously greasy bacon.

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As I wander through my days in my sophomore year of college, I have realized that my brunch-obsessed friends Arlene Gambino and Monique Smallman will go out for brunch on ANY day of the week. And as someone who has never been an early riser, I wanted to know more about this weird hybrid meal that could fulfill my breakfast dreams; so I did some research and went out for brunch myself. 

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Instagram Worthy Summer Adventures

Summer is almost halfway through and thus you may be thinking “what have I even done so far?” Between working or summer classes, it is easy to feel as if you are not making the most of  your “summer fun.” This is especially the case when social media tends to make your friends’ lives seem so exciting. If you feel as if you are wasting away your chance at some summer adventures, here are some ideas to help you make the best of your summer.

Day Trips

Juggling a summer job or internship while trying to still have a social life is not an easy task. One of the best ways to make the most of your limited time of is by going on day trips. Anything less than a two hour drive is a good option. Public transportation is also a great option. Going somewhere you’ve never been before even if it’s not a major tourist spot can still make you feel like you’re doing something. It’s always fun to explore a new town or city, try new restaurants, and experience the culture. You never know what you may discover.

Even if you’ve been somewhere before, there is almost always something new to do or see. You never know what you may discover.  You can always try searching Pinterest or even googling for ideas. Viewing your area from the eyes of someone else can remind you of places you’ve always wanted to go or never even knew existed.

Explore the Arts

Most cities, towns or neighboring areas have some sort of local arts scene. Don’t be afraid to check out a local gallery, nearby concert or theater production. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of the artists or bands. In fact, that’s probably better as it will make the experience more of an adventure. Opening yourself up to new art is always a valuable experience. Local arts scenes also tend to be close knit, so it’s likely you’ll learn about other events while you are there.

Also consider checking out some local museums. Most museums are free or low cost and many even offer student discounts. Museums are a great way to learn something new and get inspired. Even your local town history museum is worth checking out. Typically, the people who work in museums are genuinely interested in starting conversations and sharing their knowledge, so be sure to ask questions and gain as much as possible from the experience.

Explore the Outdoors

Camping is a great way to travel on a budget. Most areas have nearby state parks with tent sites or low cost campgrounds. There is so much to see outdoors, and there are so many adventures to be had. Depending on where you live, there are likely different kinds of hiking trails to explore. If you’re a beginner start out with easy trails and see how you like it. There are also so many other options for exploring nature. Everything from riding your bike to spending a day at the beach can be a great summer adventure. If you don’t have a full day to spend outside, consider going on a picnic. Simply getting out in the fresh air can remind you of the joy of summer.

Record these adventures in photos and journals. You can post about it on social media if you wish, but don’t feel obligated to blog every minute. Remember, this adventure is something for you, not something to use just to show off. Make memories that are powerful and fulfilling without worrying about what your Instagram caption will be.

Bleeding Blue in Beantown

When I was younger I told my mother I would never live in Boston. It wasn’t because it was a city. It wasn’t because it was far away from home. No, it was because Boston is where the Boston Red Sox play, and as a stubborn Yankees fan, I wasn’t about to subject myself to that city.

Fast forward and I’m visiting Emerson College with my mom and my aunt. I’m wearing my Yankees sweatshirt and the T worker glares at me as he tries to explain to us how the T works. My mom claims that more people were receptive to us when we asked them for directions when I took off my sweatshirt, but I wasn’t about to relent.

Most people would probably pack up all of their New York Yankees gear when traveling to Boston, but I saw it as a sign of pride. I’m proud of my team and I’m a constant upholder of the rivalry. I’m not afraid to joke around with classmates and friends about their Red Sox gear because I know I can trust them and it’s not going to get too serious.

Here’s the thing about any rivalry: it’s all in good fun. I wear my Yankees hat because I like baseball and they’re my favorite team. And sure, I almost killed my friend the time she was staying at my house in New York and she told me she was a Red Sox fan, but at the end of the day, I know how to respect people. I’m not going to shame people for their interests, and I also know that I’m in the minority in Boston and sometimes need to keep my mouth shut.

So if you’re a Yankees fan in Boston, or a sports fan of any kind in the minority, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Be Proud. (But Not Too Proud)

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I’m still waiting for the day the Yankees win the world series while I’m in Boston, so I can run around and gloat, but I also know that if that happens I probably won’t do that too publicly. It’s one thing if I text a friend about it but it’s another thing if I run through the streets of Boston and yell that the Red Sox stink. That would probably get me arrested. I am usually pretty safe wearing all Yankees gear at Emerson because I’ve actually become friends with more Yankees fans than Red Sox fans at college. This is because everyone is from different states.

Be Respectful, It’s a Game

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This really goes for any sort of interest. It’s best to just be the bigger person sometimes and just let it go. I never really tease anyone about the Red Sox unless I know them or they start it first, and it’s usually in good fun. I’ve heard stories about fans taking things too far and I never want to be that kind of fan.

Never Give In

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I had so many friends and family members talk about how I was going to become a Red Sox fan when I went away to college, but I laughed at all of them and told them that wasn’t true. I’m loyal and stubborn. (After all, I am writing an article about being a Yankees fan in Boston. I’m kind of taking a risk here.) I will be a Yankees fan as long as I live and I respect Red Sox fans for liking their team, even if the Yankees are better.

Images: Giphy (3)

Where to Study When You’re Sick of the Library

The time to spend hours studying for finals is quickly approaching. Most students hunker down at their desk or at the library for hours every day. But in your room it’s so easy to get distracted by all the other more enjoyable things you could be doing, or your roommates coming in and out. And it can get really monotonous to spend hours in the same boring library surrounded by a hundred other stressed out college students and the smell of procrastinated essays. Sometimes, especially when it’s getting warmer out, it can be really refreshing to get a little change in scenery while you do your work. So here’s a list of some places in the Boston area that will add something new and different to your studying routine.

The Boston Common/Public Garden or the Charles River Esplanade

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If you’re an Emerson student the Common and Gardens are hardly more of a treck than the library. And when it finally gets warm they, especially the gardens, are a beautiful place to sit on the grass and read, or even bring your computer because they have “Wicked Free” WiFi. The Esplanade is more of an adventure, but the view of the Charles is absolutely worth it, and the calming sound of the river is the perfect background noise for studying.

The Boston Public Library (BPL)

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(Photo by Deirdre Murray)

Yes, it’s still a library. But it’s a big, beautiful library. And in addition to the rooms full of tables it has a little courtyard. So if you’re in it for the long hall, you can spend a few hours inside and a few hours outside to change things up and make you feel less like you’re dying inside. The BPL is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is right across from the Copley T Station on the Green Line.

George Washington’s Tree

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So maybe it wasn’t actually George Washington’s tree, but he did supposedly start the continental army under it. Now if that doesn’t inspire you to study some American History, I don’t know what will. This tree is in Harvard Square/Cambridge Common, and you’ll be able to find it by looking for the large, stone plaque next to it. It’s the perfect place to sit and contemplate how much history we are surrounded by everyday while you hit the books. And when you get an “A,” you can thank our founding fathers for your college success (and your freedom.)

Secret Garden on Top of a Parking Garage

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Having a fun adventure like traveling to a secret garden will take your mind right off how exhausted you are. This garden is on top of 4 Cambridge Center Parking garage in Kendall Square. It is very close to the Kendall T stop, and it says Kendall Garden Rooftop Garden on the outside. It is a beautiful, little garden with lots of benches and picnic tables. It ‘s the perfect secluded place to have a study date with a friend and look out over Cambridge.

Coffee Shops, Ice Cream Shops, or Restaurants

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(Photo courtesy of www.dgrubs.com)

Coffee shops are essentially another version of a library. They are a great place to go when the sterile quietness of the library starts to freak you out and there are a few great ones nearby like such as the Thinking Cup and Boston Common Coffee Co. which have great coffee, but unfortunately no wifi. However, Jaho Coffee and Tea and Caffe Nero both have free wifi! The Thinking Cup and Caffe Nero are both pretty small and can get crowded so you might have trouble getting a nice spot, but Jaho and BoCoCo are both very spacious and not nearly as crowded. And if you want to try a little something different, JP Licks has free wifi and incredible ice cream. Just be careful about the temptation to stress eat. Trident Booksellers and Cafe is a great bookstore with a large restaurant attached if you need actual sustenance while you study and they also have free wifi.

All of these lovely locations are great places to grab a coffee or pack a picnic lunch. You may even have such a nice day that you almost forget you’re studying!