Sunday, September 25, 2011

Safari #37: What the Fluff?

Marshmallow fluff is the Nutella of New England.  As an Ohio-raised transport to Boston, my first thought upon encountering fluff was, "You're supposed to eat that with peanut butter?"

If you're looking for a venue to help assist you in dismissing your predisposition to fluff, head to the annual Somerville Fluff Festival in Union Square and sample the traditional fluffernutter (a sandwich with peanut butter and fluff) or a multitude of fluff-inspired confections like whoopie pies, smores, and beer - yes, beer.  The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project (Somerville, MA) served it's flagship brew this year with a topping of malted fluff and called it the Fluffelmouse.

Even if you're not open to sampling fluff, the festival is a great place for people watching and reveling in good, old-fashioned Americana.  Costume and food contests, live bands, and children's activities keep Union Square abuzz for hours.


  • Just Do It.  A fluffernutter is $2, so there's no harm is taking a little bite.  
  • Take public transport.  With the road closures and increased traffic, your best bet (where possible) is to let the MBTA buses transport you there.
  • Bring your camera.  With all of the excitement and costumes, this is a great place to people watch.  I really enjoyed the vintage T-shirts pulled out just for this occasion.
*Images graciously borrowed from

Monday, September 5, 2011

Safari #36: What Speaks to You?

I have always believed that “things” can speak to us – a beautiful song, an interesting image, an object with a history. I’ve found many objects full of history recently at the SOWA Vintage Market (560 Harrison Avenue, South End). I'm making this special entry to tell you about it.

I was sorting through a pile of $5 rings, and one in particular stood out to me.  The design, patina, materials (copper lined in sterling silver), and a marking (“Orb Handwrought”), led me to believe that there was something special about it.

Upon initial research, I learned that Otto Robert Bade (the O-R-B), a Pennsylvania coppersmith, created my ring. Bade later moved to New York City and worked in the Rebajes Studio. Francisco Rebajes, a silversmith originally from the Dominican Republic, founded the Studio in the 1950’s.  Over the years, Francisco and Otto, working in their respective materials, created many wonderful pieces of modernist jewelry that still survive today.

It’s hard to believe that from a random pile of rings, I found this one.  My heritage is Dominican, so learning that the ring was made in a modern jewelry studio founded by a Dominican is truly inspiring. Second, given the age of the ring, I never thought that Mr. Bade would still be alive today; he is (aged 88) and lives with his wife at the relocated studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania. 

After finding the ring Mr. Bade made so long ago, part of me wants to contact him to tell him about my find and to thank him. I may just do that.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Safari #35: The Mapparium at the Christian Science Center

Many Bostonians are familiar with Christian Science Park - the lovely fountains and large reflecting pool are a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the working day.  Few actually enter the adjacent Mary Baker Eddy Library to to visit a little known wonder - the Mapparium - a three-story painted glass globe located within the library.

With construction completed in 1935, the Mapparium's view of the world is frozen in time - and reminds viewers of how much the world has changed for the better.  I was in awe from the moment I entered.

Tips for your visit:

  • Admission is only $6.  Guided tours are 20 minutes and also include a multimedia presentation.
  • Whisper Away.  Go with a partner and test the Mapparium's acoustics.  Occupants can communicate with each other by standing at opposite ends of the room and whispering.  The acoustics will carry your conversation - privately - across the room.  Stand in the center,whisper, and hear yourself speak in surround sound.  
  • Learn More About Mary Baker Eddy.  While I do not follow the beliefs of Christian Science, I did find the history of Mary Baker Eddy's life, the philosophy's founder, very interesting.  The self-guided Quest Tour on the second floor of the library will offer you a great introduction.

Images kindly borrowed from and