18 Mar

Check out the SOWA Open Market every Sunday

SOWA Open Market is located in Boston’s South End which is walking distance or a short cab from most of the conference hotels.  SOWA stands for “South of Washington” Street.  At the Market you can sample the regions’ best collection of local artisans, farmers, and specialty vendors and best of all it is free to enter!


They have over 75 talented, carefully selected artisans selling an array of quality hand-made goods. Products include jewelry, art work, clothing, home goods, photography, ceramics and much more.  There is also a Farmers Market where you can buy amazing produce and a Specialty Market where you can try/ buy many different pastries, cheeses, jams, syrups, and more.


Lastly over 20 of Boston’s best food trucks park at 560 Harrison Ave just next door to the Market!  If you are a foodie you MUST come here! Some of my favorite trucks are Bon Me, The Cookie Monstah, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Clover, The Chicken and Rice Guys, and so many more.


The Market is open every Sunday from 10 am – 4 pm,  if you are free on a Sunday in Boston this must be on your to do list!!


Below is a map showing where SOWA is located in Boston.



21 Sep

A day in Boston’s Back Bay

Boston is divided up into many small neighborhoods.  The hotels for the conference will all be located in Back Bay so I decided to spend a day walking around my favorite spots in the area.  Yes, you can walk the whole city so bring comfortable shoes!!
boston neighborhoods

I recommend starting your day at either Thinking Cup on Newbury St. in Back Bay or Tatte Bakery on Charles St. in Beacon Hill.   Both are brewing Sumptown Coffee and make excellent Almond Milk Hazelnut Lattes which is my personal favorite.

At Tatte I like to order the Muesli Cup or the Shakshuka.  The Muesli includes Greek yogurt topped with pears, apples, blackberries, black sesame seeds, honey, and their famous muesli.  The Shakshuka  is eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, peppers, and onions.  It is sprinkled with feta cheese and served with bread for dipping (see photo below).  They also have a wide range of breakfast sandwiches and pastries which are all delicious.  In a recent article titled “50 things to eat in Boston before you Die”  Tatte’s Nut Box was rated #1!! So I highly recommend this place!!


Thinking Cup also has many breakfast sandwiches and pastries.  My favorite things to order are the quiche with side salad and a few macaroons to go.  They have every flavor macaroon you could want and they wrap them up in very cute to go packages.   In the same 50 things article they rated coffee at Thinking Cup #32 out of 50 things to eat in Boston.

thinking cup







If you are starting your day in Beacon Hill:  I recommend spending some time wandering around the neighborhood.  It has beautiful row houses with brick sidewalks and narrow gas-lit streets.  It is one of Boston’s most expensive neighborhoods and people like John Kerry own a house in Louisburg Square.

beacon hill 6
Acorn Street
beacon hill 2
ouisburg Square
Cheers Bar- located on the border of Beacon Hill and the Boston Public Garden.  Is very touristy but it is fun to stop in for a beer and a quick photo.

Next I would recommend going to the Boston Public Garden.  It is a very quick 5 minute walk from Beacon Hill.

If you are starting your day at Thinking Cup I would recommend going to the Public Garden right after coffee because it is only a 1-2 minute walk down Newbury Street.  The garden is filled with beautiful statues and flowers.  You can also ride a swan boat where a tour guide will pedal you around the small lake.  2 swans are currently located in the garden named Romeo and Juliette.

eorge Washington Statue

Romeo and Juliette

Make Way for Ducklings Statue


If you would like to walk the Freedom Trail the starting point is located at the Visitor Center in the Boston Common which is right next to the Boston Public Garden.  The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walk that takes you to 16 historically significant sites like the State House, burial grounds, churches, the site of the Boston Massacre, and many more.  You can pay for a walking tour with guides wearing 18th-century costumes for $12 or you can walk it on your own following the red brick line seen in the photo below.   See the website for more details.  www.thefreedomtrail.org.

freedom trail 5
The start of the Freedom Trail
freedom trail 3
Guide wearing 18th-century costume
visitor center
Boston Common Visitors Center
state house
he State House


If you choose not to do the Freedom Trail and are feeling hungry I recommend stopping for lunch at Parish Cafe or The Courtyard Restaurant at the Boston Public Library.

Parish Cafe is located on Boylston Street about one block from the Public Garden.  The menu is made of of gourmet sandwiches created by a local famous chefs such as Barbara Lynch, who you have maybe seen on the Food Network.   My favorite sandwich is the Zuni Roll which is  smoked turkey breast, crisp bacon, chopped scallions, dill Havarti cheese, and cranberry chipotle sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla and served warm with a side of cranberry chipotle sauce and sour cream with scallions.

Parish Cafe outdoor patio

The Courtyard Restaurant at Boston Public Library overlooks the beautiful Italianate courtyard and serves New American cuisine.  Make sure to watch the clock because they are only open a few hours each weekday but they do take reservations.
Lunch:  Monday- Friday, 11:30 am -2:30 pm
Tea with finger sandwiches and small desserts:  Wednesday- Friday, 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm and Saturday’s 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
courtyard restaurant
talianate Courtyard

Now that you have eaten I would recommend seeing a few more sights or shopping.  

If you would like to go shopping Back Bay has some of the best around!   Newbury Street runs from Massachusetts ave all the way to the Public Garden and is lined with shops and restaurants.  There is a mix of affordable and high end stores.   The Shops at the Prudential Center is another great spot to shop in the area.   This is an indoor mall with mostly high end stores like Luis Vuitton, Dior, and so on.  

If you would like to go back to sightseeing I would recommend either taking a Duck Tour or heading towards Copley Square to see the Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, John Hancock Tower, and the Prudential tower.

A Duck Tour is a 80 minute tour that takes place on a “DUCK” W.W.II style vehicle.  The tours leave from 3 different location in Boston but I recommend leaving from the Prudential Building which is within walking distance from the conference hotels.  The tours are lead by fantastic guides that are funny and very knowledgeable about Boston History.  The tour will drive by many historic spots in Boston like, The State House, Bunker Hill, TD Garden, Boston Common, Quincy Market, and many more.  Lastly the vehicle will drive right into the Charles River where you can see Cambridge and Boston skylines.  Don’t worry you will not get wet!  The cost is 35$ per adult.  See the website www.bostonducktours.com to purchase tickets or for more information.
duck boat
Duck tour pickup location outside Star Market by Prudential Building

Copley Square
is a public square in Back Bay.  On one side of the square is Trinity Church and the John Hancock Building and on the other is the Boston Public Library.  Trinity Church was built in 1872-1877 and designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson.  The style he popularized is named for him: Richardsonian Romanesque.  “The Hancock”  formerly known as The Hancock Tower is a 60 story tower built in 1976. Unfortunately their observation deck was closed after 9/11.  You will have to visit the Prudential Tower for a bird’s eye view of the city.
trinity church
View of Copley Square with Trinity Church
john hancock
The Hancock
boston public library
oston Public Library 

The Prudential Tower aka “The Pru” is the second tallest building in Boston after The Hancock and is made up of 52 floors.  The 50th-floor observation deck, called the Skywalk Observatory, is currently the highest observation deck in New England open to the public.   The Skywalk cost $17 for adults therefor I do not recommend doing this because it is a waste of money.  I recommend going to Top of the Hub which is a restaurant/bar on the 52nd floor.  You can sit at the bar for a drink and then walk around, take pictures, and listen to live jazz music.  They do serve dinner but is is pricey and not as good as many other places in the area.  You can stop here for dessert only.  They have a warm cookie plate that is amazing.
Bar at Top of the Hub
Views from Top of the Hub


Now that you have finished a long day of sight seeing I would recommend going out for a nice dinner and a cocktail.  See my Where to Eat page at the top right corner of this blog for all my restaurant recommendations.