Planning a “staycation” this summer? Have I got a great idea for you! Head on up (or N,S or E) to Boston & Cambridge for a Green weekend! Jim and I did just that a few weeks ago and had a fabulous time.
**”Locals and visitors alike can explore Boston in a whole new way with the debut of BeanTown is GreenTownSM, which highlights Boston and Cambridge as a “green” destination.
Boasting an exclusive collection of eco-friendly businesses, such as The Lenox Hotel, the shop Envi on Newbury Street, Boston Pedicab tours, the Cambridge inn Irving House and restaurants Garden at the Cellar and Taranta, BeanTown is GreenTown itineraries pack a variety of earth-friendly things to do into a weekend or a week.“
Saturday: After checking in to the Irving House, and pinching ourselves that it would be just the two of us for the weekend, we headed out for our first green adventure: a Pedicab tour of Boston! What a treat it was: our Pedicab driver Kyle gave us a 75-minute all-encompassing tour of Boston’s Hot spots and historical destinations. Jim and I are no strangers to the city, but this Pedicab tour gave us a unique view of the city you cannot get from riding in a car.
Our driver Kyle, was an Emerson College alum and since I attended the school as well, he made sure to point out all of the changes the school has been going through over the years. For example: almost all of the buildings used in my time, such as the theatre building and my old dorm, have been sold and are now fancy condos! The young kids attending the school now have moved up the Common a bit and live in and attend classes in more modern, cutting edge structures.
He told us that the facades of many of the old buildings are being saved and new structures will be built behind them. We saw many familiar sights. Back in the day, this was The Blue Diner, open all night!
The Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, part of The Big Dig Project in Boston, is the widest cable-stayed bridge in the world. The Bridge serves as the northern entrance to and exit from Boston. The Bridge is named after civil rights activist Lenny Zakim and the American colonists who fought the British in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Being on the bike you really get to see the cool shapes of the city.
City sidewalks, pretty sidewalks…..
We started off with local-handmade Burrata cheese drizzled with olive oil and topped with roasted grapes that had been coated with a heavenly mixture of Middle Eastern spices. Burrata cheese looks at first glance like fresh mozzarella, but wait, when you cut into the center it oozes with a tangy core of cream. In this case, mascarpone!!
Next up were Island Creek Oysters topped with a warm mignonette (sauce) and placed on individual beds of sea salt. We then moved on to Watermelon Gazpacho with Lillet, local tomatoes and red shiso. The gazpacho was so smooth and creamy(although no cream was added)! With a divine mellow flavor offset beautifully with the tender shiso.
Just when I thought the dinner couldn’t get any better we moved on to our main courses:
Roasted mushroom flatbread with thyme and herbed ricotta. The mushrooms were so pleasantly hearty, they reminded Jim of the mushroom hunt we took while on our honeymoon in France, oh so many years ago.
Skillet of striped bass with summer beans, baby onions, basil, wine braised fennel, and brown butter. This dish was so scrumptious I hardly wanted to share! The crispy skin on the fish reminded me of summers with my Mom and Dad at our favorite campground. My Dad and I would take the rowboat out and fish, and then my Mom would fry up our catch in the cast-iron skillet for breakfast! Yum
Garden at The Cellar does not serve dessert. However, we did leave with a copy of Edible Boston and 2 single origin, 59% dark chocolate coins from Columbia. The night was still young so Chef Will sent us to one of his top three favorite drinking holes in Boston and Cambridge: Green Street Grill(how appropriate!). We asked for his favorite bartender, Misty K. and she made the most divine drink for me:
The Summer of Sureau
Misty had received very high marks with it at a recent St. Germain mixology competition in NYC. She was happy to share the recipe with me and my readers!
1 1/2oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2oz Batavia Arrack
1/2oz lemon juice
1/4oz pineapple syrup
3 dashes Bittermans Boston Summer Bittahs
Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. *Pineapple syrup: pass fresh pineapple juice through a fine strainer lined with a cone filter (a coffee filter would work, too). Then take the pineapple water and make a syrup that’s two parts pineapple water, one part sugar. Recipe: Misty Kalkofen via drinkboston.com. **Sorry there are no pictures of our drinks. It was very dark in the bar area!
With very full bellies and tired legs we were so happy to finally rest our heads at the Irving House at Harvard. This lovely hybrid hotel allows guests to experience the vibe of a historic college neighborhood, while providing a charming and cozy alternative to a typical hotel stay. Visitors are encouraged to participate in recycling an composting initiatives. In addition to using local products (so many yummy breakfast choices!) and amenities, reducing waste, conserving energy and promoting public transportation, Irving House is pleased to support Renewable Choice, the leader in providing clean energy to organizations and individuals across the country. Irving House has been repeatedly bestowed with the EPA’s Energy Star Award.
I so thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Irving House I wished I could have stayed one more night!
After window shopping for a little bit and visiting a favorite shop of mine: Kitchen Arts, we arrived at our final BeanTown is GreenTown destination: ENVI. Driven by a passion for Green fashion, Callie Smith and Ursula Stahl opened Envi about a year ago to much acclaim. This cool boutique offers an exclusive selection of style-conscious clothing by designers like, Covet, Kelly B and the very popular Linda Loudermilk. Items are made with vintage fabrics, hemp, organic cotton bamboo and vegetable tanned leather. With its pro-environment construction, store design and use of recycled products in daily business practices, Envi’s planet-positive concept goes deeper than it’s clothing, shoes and jewelry. Stephanie was a very helpful saleswoman giving us a tour of the store and mentioning green fashion tidbits here and there.
***(Jim took some fabulous photos of Envi, but my computer is not letting me download them right now. Will try again tomorrow.)
After picking up some cupcakes at Sweet, for my sister in law (she babysat!), my niece and the girls, (Ok, not very green: pink actually!) we hopped on the turnpike and headed home.
For more information on how you can have your own BeanTown is GreenTown weekend, please contact Civetta Comunicazioni at 617-577-8098 or visit them online at: http://www.civettacom.com
**I would like to thank Colleen Oteri and Nancy Civetta of Civetta Comunicazioni, for setting up this spectacular “staycation“. Irving House GM Rachel Solem, Kyle with Boston Pedicab, Stephanie of Envi and Chef Will Gilson of Garden at the Cellar for their fabulous food and terrific hospitality!!