Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Safari #93: Plant Nite

Are you ready to add a little sunshine to your apartment?  With Spring, Mother's Day, and graduation season right around the corner, the newest craze from the makers of Paint Nite might just be perfect for you - or any other plant lover in your life.

A few weeks ago, I tried a new variation on Paint Nite called Plant Nite, and yes, it does have something to do with plants.

Plant Nite allows you to create your own terrarium using a variety of low care plants (read: hard to kill).  Similar to Paint Nite, you'll have an engaging host who totally loves plants, access to a bar, snacks, and fun tunes.

During my visit, we created a terrarium using succulents (my favorite!), however, there are other nights that incorporate different types of plants and arrangements.  Let your creative spirit guide your choice!

My Tips

  • Go with Friends!  You know we've all been hiding indoors since December.  Invite your pals out, catch up, and create something that will make you smile.
  • Nothing Too Nice.  Aprons will be provided but won't necessarily save you from the dirt.
  • Check the Calendar.  There are events all over town, so choose the one that is best for you.

**First photo kindly borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/plantnite/photos_stream

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Safari #92: Back Bay's Ayer Mansion

Happy New Year fellow travelers!  I know, it 's been awhile.  What's my excuse?  Well, I got engaged and am now planning my wedding.  More about that some other time ;)

I haven't forgotten about you, so here's a new great spot to check out the next time you're up for an adventure - Ayer Mansion in Boston's Back Bay Neighborhood.

If you enjoy early Tiffany works, then the Ayer Mansion is an absolute must see.  Located at 395 Commonwealth Avenue, it's one of the few remaining homes that Tiffany designed, so it's a rare treat to be able to visit.  You will easily be able to appreciate works of stained glass as well as mosaics.  Be sure to spend time in the foyer to view the stairway, stair risers, and spectacular light fixtures.

My tips:

  • Make reservations ASAP.  Tours are limited and are only available two times per month.  A $10 donation is recommended at the time of your visit.
  • Take the T.  The house is almost equidistant between Kenmore and Hynes.  Metered parking is available but limited.
  • Be sure to view the exterior of the home.  You can see Tiffany stained glass from the outside as well.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Safari #91: The Paint Bar on Newbury Street

Paint night has been a popular activity for the past few years in Boston - one that  I participated in not too long ago.  However, a new venue has opened in Boston's Back Bay, and if you haven't done a paint night yet, now it's time to go.

The paint night idea is simple: you learn how to paint and get to enjoy an adult beverage of your choice.  But the Paint Bar on Newbury Street takes it to another level; the small, intimate space (much unlike other paint night events) allows you to interact more with each other and the instructor; ours spent time teaching about basic art concepts as well as different painting techniques.  It was a great way to learn, explore, and have fun all at the same time.
Our finished painting!

The space is also available for private functions, which definitely got me thinking about future events.  Conveniently located in Boston's Back Bay, Paint Bar is easily accessible from the Green Line.  Metered parking is available on Newbury Street.

My Tips:
  • Don't dress too nicely.  Even though you get to wear an apron, don't risk spilling paint on your favorite shirt.
  • Eat locally.  Newbury is filled with different restaurants.  Make a night of the experience and enjoy a meal nearby.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Safari #90: Boston Public Garden Swan Boats

In the seven years I've been a Bostonian, I have never taken a Swan Boat ride in the Public Garden (smh, and you're probably shaking yours too). 

Now I can say I have, and I can also say that it was really enjoyable.  I should have done it a long time ago.  The weather was perfect and the ducks and nesting swans were enjoying the lagoon just as much as we were.

The Boston Swan boats have been continuously running and operated by the Paget family since 1877; the boats are a uniquely Boston experience, and for $3 per person ($1.50 for children), it's accessible to anyone who wishes to partake.  It's an easy activity for families, seniors, and visiting guests.

My Tips
  • Visit the Gibson House First.  Back Bay residents from the 1860's did not have sprawling back yards for a reason - the Public Garden was created for strolling and time spent outdoors.  The Gibson House will give you a great look into the lives of wealthy Boston residents through architecture, decoration, and daily living.  When you're done touring the house, visit the Public Garden and take a Swan Boat ride to do exactly as they did.
  • Don't Let Waiting in Line Make Your Decision. Waiting in line for a swan boat ride is fairly common and may turn those away who think they'll be waiting a long time.  On the day of my ride, there were close to 30 people in front of me, but it only took 15 minutes or so to get onto a boat.
  • Pack a Picnic.  If the weather is nice and you're able to plan ahead, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the Public Garden like a Bostonian does.  On the day of my ride, it was awesome to see so many people out enjoying the garden.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Safari #89: Gibson House Museum

Boston's Back Bay neighborhood is filled with historic homes, and after recently moving there in September, my fascination with them has continued to grow.  My little apartment hardly resembles what was once a true Back Bay gem.  The sealed fireplace, crown molding, and empty chandelier medallions allude to a time that once was; a time that the majority of Back Bay residents haven't known. Until now.

The Gibson House Museum, located at 137 Beacon Street, highlights Back Bay life from 1860 to the mid 1950's.  The house is frozen in time still bearing many of it's original decorations, artwork, room arrangements, and technology (such as the central heating system).
Central Heating Chamber

Tours are guided and take place on the hour at 1, 2 and 3pm Wednesday through Sunday.  The tour takes less than an hour and admission is $9 for adults and $3 for children under 12.  Please visit the website for more information about tours and pricing.

My Tips
  • Have Family Visiting From Out of Town?  Take them to the Gibson House Museum and then on a short stroll to the Boston Public Garden.  Depending on the weather, take a Swan Boat ride too.  It's the perfect way to showcase Boston's most popular neighborhoods.
  • Dress Wisely.  The Gibson House was designed as a winter home as the Gibson family spent most of its time in Nahant during the summer.  If you are visiting in the summer (like I did), be sure to wear cool clothing as the house is not air conditioned.

Calling Bells - Similar to Downton Abbey!

**Gibson House Museum image kindly borrowed from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibson_House_Museum.  All other images are my own.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Safari #88: Boston Urban Adventure Quest

I run around Boston daily - but it's not every day that I get to do it with a team on a quest.

This past Saturday, a group of friends and I played Urban Adventure Quest, a quiz-based game that will take you around the city of your choice to answer trivia questions and solve puzzles.  Using your smart phone, you can use the web interface to answer questions and move through the tour.  The challenges brought us to different sites across town, each emphasizing pieces of Boston's history and culture.  Even though I've been living in Boston for 7 years now, I still learned a great deal. 

At a certain point, we began to wonder if anyone else was playing, and then we saw 3 other teams making their way around town as well.  It was awesome to feel the excitement of racing to the finish. 

Many thanks to Anshul, Jen, Supreet, and Jeff for a great afternoon!

My Tips
  • Friends or Family Coming to Visit?  This is the PERFECT way to take out of town guests around major Boston sites in a completely different way.  The next time my brother comes to town, we are doing this!
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes.  The tour roughly involves 2 to 2.5 miles of walking.  Be prepared!  Depending on the weather, you may wish to bring a backpack with water and other refreshments.
  • Rules.  Teams can range from 2 to 5 players.  Visit the Urban Adventure Quest website for more information on how to join a tour.
  • Need a Bathroom Break?  One of sites on the tour is Faneuil Hall.  Don't forget, bathrooms are located towards the center of the building, so take a break if you need one!

**Image kindly borrowed from http://www.getyourguide.com/boston-l260/urban-adventure-quest-in-boston-t18975/

Monday, March 24, 2014

Safari #87: Creating Art at the ICA's Art Lab

A few weeks ago, I dropped into the ICA's Art Lab - a space that allows you to explore your creative side using a current gallery piece or artist as inspiration.  With a moderator available to assist you, you can choose your inspiration, grab an activity bag full of supplies, and create something of your very own.

My inspiration came from artist Phillp Taaffe.  Using perspective and a sample within the gallery, I was able to try my hand at creating a perspective of my own.

As you are reading this post, you might be wondering - is this geared more towards kids? Heck no!  During my visit, there were people of all ages tapping into their own creativity.  I encourage you to tap into yours and visit as soon as you can.

My Tips
  • Go Now!  The Art Lab now features work by Nick Cave. If you haven't seen this new exhibit yet, be sure to visit and then head to the Art Lab to try your hand.
  • Be Flexible. The Art Lab is open Thursdays from 5pm to 9pm, and 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sundays.  Free with museum admission. And of course, if you visit on Thursday, it's free.
  • Make a day of it.  With great spots nearby in Fort Point (Drink, Tavern Road, Row 34, and Blue Dragon to name a few), why not stay in the area?
Many thanks for Anshul and Jen for joining me!

 **Art Lab image kindly borrowed from http://www.icaboston.org/programs/drop-in/nick-cave_body-work/