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Women Tell Other Women About Boston

 

12 plus solo-friendly activities...

Her foodie's walking tour
In the North End Italian neighbourhood there is a terrific culinary walking tour given by Michele Topor. This savvy woman takes a group around the neighborhood, fills you in on the history of this colorful part of town, you visit produce markets, the local fishmonger, bakery, etc. Of course, everybody gets the opportunity to sample goodies as they move from place to place. Highly recommended.
Debbie, Corte Madera, Europe

Ed. note: We've heard about Michele, as well -- she just happens to be part of our Journeywoman Network. You can e-mail her directly at: mtopor@aol.com Be sure to tell her that you are a Journeywoman, too.

She walks the Esplanade
If you're going to Boston I want to recommend a section of the Back Bay area that is truly beautiful.. Just two blocks from Newbury Street (the main shopping avenue) is Marlborough Street, the prettiest residential street in the city. Walk across Dartmouth Street to Marlborough, turn left and stroll two blocks down to Fairfield - then, turn right and walk across Beacon St. to the bridge leading to the lagoons on the Charles River. This is the Esplanade, a huge stretch of green next to the river, where people picnic and sun and stroll. You'll see the skyline of Cambridge, too. This lovely park is one of the great features in Boston. (I've been in California for two and a half years, and still miss the warm sun's glow on the brick townhouses and the lovely trees on Marlborough where I lived for thirteen years.) Then back across the bridge, across Fairfield to Newbury to resume your shopping and dining.
Bonnie Bell, Irvine, California

She tours the library
Also nice (and free) is the Saturday morning tour of the Boston Public Library. The interior murals and sculpture are fabulous, and the ongoing restorations make everything shine. The volunteer docents are usually very enthusiastic about their subject and have wonderful anecdotes to share.
Erika, Somerville (across the river from Boston), USA

Her picnic in the park
My recommendation is to walk beside the Charles river in the morning when the university crew teams are practicing their sculling. Then, for lunch with a difference, pick up a mini bottle of red wine, brie cheese, and a bit of fruit and sit by the pond in 'the commons' (the central park of Boston). This is quite nice and relaxing whether you are travelling solo or with a buddy.
Robin, Boston, USA

Ed. note: Journeywoman hates to be a spoil sport however we'd suggest if you are picnicking in the park solo that you avoid the wine (as lovely as it sounds). Alcohol relaxes and before you know it you are no longer practicing big city attitudes. We'd say a cafe latte would be great in this situation and you'll still have your wits about you if the situation warrants it. Then you can enjoy your wine at dinner in one of the restaurants listed on the previous page.

She shops, shops, shops
One of the reasons I go to Boston is to visit Filene's Basement. It is the best shopping in North America - best prices, best products - think Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue at 90% off, and an incredible selection of clothing, shoes, fur coats, etc. Located right in downtown Boston at 426 Washington Street - make sure you go to the basement level - upstairs has a high end department store ring to it. But do not be fooled - the basement is the place to be! Happy shopping.
Sylvia, Toronto, Canada

She visits the museum
I recently moved to Israel from Boston after living in the area for many years. Whenever friends from abroad came to visit, I always had a few places that I considered a 'must see'. One spot I always suggest is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This former home was built as an Italian style palace specifically to house Mrs. Gardner's extensive art collection. Site of the largest art theft in history (in March of 1990) the museum is brimming with Renaissance art and has an exquisite indoor garden. Special Recommendation: Concerts in the music room on Sundays (when available).Worth noting: The Gardner is in walking distance from the MFA (Boston's Museum of Fine Art)
Yael, Ramat Gan Israel

Added note from another Journeywoman:
Y
ou must check out the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and take a tour with a docent who will tell you about her history. Isabella was quite the character and world traveler. She built her "Italian villa" on the Fens because she was angry with the Boston bluebloods. She was influential enough that when she moved from Beacon St. she forced the city of Boston to permanently remove her street number, so there is now a gap in numbers on that block. Her house was left as a museum with an endowment to care for it, with the stipulation that the collection would be left just as she had arranged it. The juxtapositions are wild!
Erika, Somerville (across the river from Boston), USA

She's an art lover
B
erenberg Gallery at 4 Clarendon Street is a small, interesting gallery of "outsider" art in a new upcoming area of Boston. It's near other small shops and boutiques, in an area that is very strollable. I walked there easily from the Westin Hotel. For further info, call: 617-536-0800
Karen Frerichs, San Francisco, USA

She meets and mingles
Museum of Fine Arts on Friday nights offers a social atmosphere for the after-work single crowd. I love this city!
Tracy, Marlborough, USA (25 minutes west of Boston)

Ed. note: This is what the museum's website says about 'MFA Fridays.' 'First Fridays' began in 1996 as a once-a-month gathering featuring refreshments, live music and galleries open for viewing. Now expanded to take place weekly, 'MFA Fridays' are open to the public and have become one of Boston's hottest Friday-night tickets, drawing capacity crowds of up to 1,000 people. Tickets are available at the door for $10, with complimentary admission for MFA members.

Her beads and baubles
For a hands-on project, Beadworks (23 Church Street, Cambridge) is a great bead store with helpful people to serve you.
Jenny, Miami, USA

She gets physical
I
f you are interested in working out, Patricia Walden is a wonderful yoga teacher who runs the Iyengar Center in Somerville about one block from the T stop (Red line).
Susan, Los Angeles, USA


Our readers are writers too...

Journeywoman Laura Purdom is a freelance writer living in Northampton, MA. Her most recent book, Secret Boston: A Unique Guidebook to Boston's Hidden Sites, Sounds and Tastes, will appear in bookshops April 2002 from ECW Press. We thought it would be fun to include two of Laura's tips in this article. She writes...

L.A. Burdick
It was clever marketing to set up a chocolate shop in the heart of Radcliffe campus, the Ivy League women's college. Isn't it a scientifically proven fact that women need chocolate to live? The stylish cafe/shop, L.A. Burdick (52 Brattle Street, Cambridge, 617-491-4340) serves hot chocolate -- sumptuous, rich, intense, thick -- as well as pastries and handmade chocolates. The mostly-female patrons at this den of chocolate iniquity sit at tiny tables sipping from white bowls and nibbling on tarts, heedless of the clanging that emanates from the kitchen. Burdick's candies sell for $12 a pound. Choose a solid ingot or an assortment of bonbons, such as a boxed set of the company's adorable chocolate mice.

Qingping Gallery Teahouse
A
rt and the art of tea blend seamlessly at Qingping Gallery Teahouse (231 Shawmut Avenue, 617-482-9988). This art gallery/teahouse is tucked away on a quiet street between the South End and Chinatown. Shows feature contemporary, cutting edge Chinese artists, while the tea service grounds the experience in tradition. Listen to the strains of Chinese opera or perhaps a jazz riff on the stereo while you sip your tea and nibble an almond cookie in the sunny front area, by the bubbling aquarium in the rear -- or tip toe up to the loft for some quiet reflection. Evening discussion groups on books and films are scheduled regularly, and the gallery puts on frequent acoustic evenings.


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