The Sol Compass

by Caitlin Hummer


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Tuesday Ten: Holiday Date Ideas

 

Hello everyone, welcome back!  I mentioned in my Gift Guide that I would love to spend time doing something with all of the people I love this December, so today I wanted to share a list of my favorite activities – perfect for a date, girls’ night, or family outing!  A few of them are New England specific if you’re in the area!

  1. Pop-up Winter Market.  There are tons of Christmas markets popping up this month.  In Boston, it’s SoWa and City Hall Plaza, but a quick Google search with your city should turn up some near you!
  2. Build a Gingerbread house.  An annual tradition at my family’s Thanksgiving is to kick off Christmas by building Gingerbread houses, and now I can hardly imagine a holiday season without them!
  3. Go Ice Skating.  As cliched as it may be, I love ice skating.  B and I went well after Christmas last year, though there is something magical about going during December.
  4. Visit Winter Reimagined at Tower Hill Botanical Garden (or your local light display!).  Tower Hill is one of my favorite places in the world, and every year they put on the most spectacular winter lights display.  Every area usually has a well known lights display, so bundle up and reserve your tickets!
  5. Build a fort for movie night.  Everyone’s calendars are so full during December, I love the idea of finding a night you both have free and staying in for a cozy Elf screening (or your favorite movie, but it’s probably Elf).  This date is best enjoyed with homemade cookies!
  6. See the Newport Mansions decked out in their Holiday Best.  Two years ago I went with my sister and best friend and they were absolutely stunning.  Newport native Jess wrote a full blog post about other holiday activities to do in Newport here – it’s an amazing resource and I can’t wait to go try all of the things she recommended!
  7. Get tickets for a holiday classic.  Whether it’s Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker or the Boston Pops, I love seeing the Christmas magic come to life.  If you’re looking for an option that’s more budget friendly, you’d be surprised how fantastic a lot of local high school’s Christmas concerts are!
  8. See a holiday comedy show.  If Christmas music isn’t your jam, most comedy clubs have holiday specials during the month of December.  I’m a fan of ImprovAsylum in Boston!
  9. ZooLights.  Most zoos have great light displays for the holidays.  In Boston, it’s Stone Zoo.
  10. Take a cheese board making class to prepare for all of your party contributions!  I mentioned this in my gift guide, but for my birthday B got us tickets to a cheese board making class with Formaggio.  It was so much fun and we left armed with the knowledge to create some killer cheese boards for our holiday parties (PLUS we found some of our new favorite cheeses!)


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Tuesday Ten: Fall Activities That Don’t Involve Apples Or Pumpkins

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Today’s Tuesday Ten is pretty straightforward.  If you’re looking to get in the fall spirit but don’t want to hit up a crowded apple orchard (I don’t blame you – Sunday was insane), then look no further.  I have ten fantastic ideas for you to embrace and celebrate autumn’s arrival!

  1. Get outside.  Whether you’re going on a hike or just taking a stroll, fall is such a beautiful time of year to enjoy nature.  On my list for Massachusetts is Walden Pond for a flat stroll and Mount Greylock for a hike (which I somehow have never been to!)
  2. Bake.  Whether your baking involves apples or not, fall is the perfect time to fire up the oven again (does anyone else hate how hot the kitchen gets when you use the oven in the summer?!)  Personally I’m a fan of some warm cookies outside in the cool fall air, but whatever floats your boat.
  3. Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Rocky Horror is the only cult film I really follow along with, and I was absolutely devastated when Midnight Madness in Harvard Square came to an end (it’s just not the same Downtown!)  Last year Jenn and I saw it in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse (100% recommend checking this theatre out, read my post here for more info!) and the year before it we went to The Strand, a historic theatre out in Clinton, MA.  Short story long, I definitely recommend trying to find a theatre with a shadow cast near you!
  4. Go antiquing.  Last weekend was the first weekend in a while that B and I didn’t have a single plan.  We took this opportunity to drive with the windows down and stop at each antique store along the way.  We met so many kind people and found items with incredible history and character.  You really just never know what you might find at an antique shop!
  5. Light a candle and read a book.  After an active and busy summer, some down time is exactly what I need during September and October.  My reading list has gotten out of hand, so I’m looking to put a dent in it finally.  Whether your candle is fall scented or otherwise, it really puts me in the right mood to immerse myself in my book.
  6. Have a bonfire and outdoor movie night.  Bonfires are one of my favorite things, and I don’t have them nearly as much as I wish I did.  I want to get some friends together for one last round of s’mores and fire up the projector with a classic film!
  7. Food Festivals.  There are so many awesome food festivals this fall that don’t even involve apples or pumpkins!  This weekend there’s Fluff Fest in Somerville and Dumpling Fest in Cambridge!  A quick Google search will give you a better idea of what’s going on in your area, but fall seems to always have a good number of food truck festivals at the very least!
  8. Get Lost In A Corn Maze.  Something about corn mazes has always excited me.  Maybe it’s because I love puzzles, but if you can find a corn maze near you I promise they aren’t just for kids!
  9. Make chili.  While the days are still warm and sunny, New England nights have slowly but surely started to embrace sweater weather.  I’ve been craving some homemade chili for most of September, and can’t wait to enjoy some curled up under a blanket!
  10. Stargaze.  Whether you go to an observatory or your backyard, the fall sky is absolutely breathtaking.

What’s on your bucket list for fall?  Let me know in the comments!  Have a great day!

xo, C


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My Seaport

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Welcome back everyone!  Today I’m kicking off the first official segment of my My Boston series by sharing some of my favorite Seaport and Fort Point haunts.  My goal with these neighborhood guides is to facilitate any travels you may have in Boston.  Want to go to the ICA?  Now you’ll know where to grab dim sum after.  Interested in checking out Harpoon Brewery?  I can suggest the perfect place to walk off those IPAs.  The best part about this new neighborhood is its newness.  Everything is just being built and new places are still opening, so I always find something new here.

Where To Stay.

The Envoy Hotel.  There are plenty of options in the Seaport District (such as the aptly named Seaport Hotel), but my only recommendation is Marriott’s Autograph Collection.  It’s bold and yet easy going.  Rooted in the sea yet lifted up by urban development.  Outlook Kitchen and Bar provides modern food in a fun atmosphere with a world class waitstaff, and Lookout Rooftop Bar has some of the best views of the city.  Staying in the winter doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your view, though, as Lookout just recently put in these awesome igloos to keep you toasty and warm as you sip on your cocktails and admire the views.

Things To Do.

Craft beer fans rejoice as the Seaport was pretty much made for you.  Since Sam Adams was kicked out of the craft beer category, Harpoon has taken over as the biggest craft brewery in New England.  The Boston outpost (there’s also one in Vermont) is located right on the water at the far end of the Seaport.  They’re best known locally for their big outdoor festivals for Oktoberfest, Saint Patrick’s Day, and Harpoonfest.  If you aren’t traveling around those times, you can settle for an impressive brewery tour or drafts and pretzels in their big German-style beer hall and take in some impressive views.


Trillium is Harpoon’s cooler younger sibling in the Seaport.  Named #3 on the World’s Top 100 Breweries, this family owned brewery is increasingly harder to find in your local packie these days, which means it is definitely worth a stop at their Fort Point Retail Shop.

If art OR architecture is your jam, you can’t miss the Institute of Contemporary Art.  It’s arguably more famous for its sharp glass theater that hangs over the harbor than its art, but we love going for First Fridays, 21+ themed parties that happen on the First Friday of the month (don’t forget to purchase tickets ahead of time!).


Harborwalk travels along the length of the Boston Harbor, passing by many of the big attractions.  You can hop on and off the walk as you please and stop in some of the main attractions in the Seaport, including the ICA and Boston Children’s Museum.

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If you are a fan of comedy, you should definitely check out Laugh Boston, the comedy club at the Westin.  Music fans should check out Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, an outdoor amphitheater on the water.

Places To Eat.

There is no shortage of places to eat in the Seaport.  There’s even two outposts of Legal Sea Food for crying out loud (Legal Harborside and Legal Test Kitchen).  The flagship location is by far my favorite if you’re looking for a chain, but the LTK is a great option if you’re a fan of the brand looking to expand your options.  I have three celiac family members and my mom doesn’t eat seafood while my dad exclusively eats seafood, but we can all eat pleasantly (dare I say enjoyably) at Legal, so it is definitely worth noting if you have a family with a wide variety of dietary restrictions!  The flagship location has outdoor seating and a killer rooftop bar.

Flour, a local chain with a few locations throughout the city, Flour is best known for their fresh pastries and delicious sandwiches.  They also have a good amount of gluten free options!

Blue Dragon.  Ming Tsai, of Blue Ginger fame, recently opened this Asian gastropub on A Street.  It’s much more affordable than its sister restaurant, and great for snacks or Dim Sum.  The only problem is their weekend hours are frustrating at best, so make sure to check their hours before you head over!

Row 34.  More than just a raw bar (although the raw menu certainly doesn’t disappoint), Row 34 expands into burgers, pancakes, and more in this always bustling location.  The interior is charming, and the patio is well shaded during the hot summer months.  As you can see from the pictures below, I thoroughly enjoy the mini lobster tacos.

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Committee.  Possibly my number one choice for dining in the Seaport, Committee has a trendy and global vibe to their Mediterranean Meze serving hotspot.  It’s nearly always busy by 5:30 when the bustling young professionals have broken free of the air-conditioned cubicles, and B and I absolutely love it here.  The meze style menu allows us to share many small plates, and thus get to experience more of the delicious flavors.  If you are looking for a hotspot vibe, stay inside and hover around the bar (assuming you can get close enough to it).  If you’re looking for a quieter more conversational atmosphere, take it out to the patio!

For healthy chains in the Seaport, you have byChloe and sweetgreen, for anyone seeking comfort food there is also a Shake Shack and a Ben & Jerry’s.  Pictured below is byChloe!

I hope this helps on your Seaport adventures!  Let me know what your favorite stops are in the comments below!

xo, C
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Boston Summer Bucket List

 

After seeing two of my favorite bloggers (Grace and Kendall) write activity based posts, I felt inspired to write my own!  Today I’m going to be sharing my five bucket list items to check off in Boston this summer!  Whether you’re a Boston native or are considering a trip this summer, check out this list to see if any of them spark your interest!

 

  1. Boston Harbor Islands.  I went to the Harbor Islands a few years ago, but I am dying to go back (and go to more of them!) especially now that Barbara Lynch has taken over the concessions!
  2. Sunset Sail around Boston Harbor.  After seeing the Tall Ships at Sail Boston this week, B and I decided we absolutely have to take a sail around the harbor with my best friend and her boyfriend.  Due to work schedules and busy summer weekends, we will end up taking a sunset sail, but they offer daytime and even Sunday Brunch sails as well!  We have already started the planning process for this one and are so excited about it!
  3. Visit Fenway Park.  This one is cheating a little bit since I’ve already gone to Fenway twice this season, but I will gladly go again anytime someone asks me.  Fenway is one of those quintessential Boston experiences that everyone I know loves.  Whether you go for Mookie Betts, the wave, or just the Fenway Franks; Fenway has something for everyone!
  4. Catch an outdoor movie.  There are screenings all summer long at the Lawn On D, Hatch Shell, Boston Harbor Hotel, and more!  There’s a full list of outdoor movie screenings here.
  5. Visit a rooftop pool.  The Colonnade and Revere hotels both have rooftop pools, which I have promised to go to for the last four summers and failed each time.  Hopefully this is the summer I finally visit one of Boston’s rooftop pools!

What are your favorite activities to do in Boston for the summer?  Is there anything special on your bucket list this year?  Sound off in the comments!

Have a great weekend!

xo, C


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Providence

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Hey guys!  Welcome back.  Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite things in Providence, Rhode Island.  I had been going to Providence my whole childhood (let’s just say my mother gave the Roger Williams Park Zoo more than her fair share of dollars over the years ;)). but it’s always so refreshing to go back to a place you loved as a child as an adult.  From reminiscing about my days of running carefree in Roger Williams Park, to finding a newfound dorky adult appreciation to the architecture and history, New England cities always know just how to tug on my heartstrings.

 

Where to stay: The Dean Hotel.  This charming hotel had me from the moment I saw its marquee sign.  Then they added a coffee shop in lieu of a traditional lobby and a charming red elevator complete with a mini chandelier for good measure.  Add in all the quirk and character you could imagine and a prime downtown location, and there really is no comparable option for something unique during your Providence stay.

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Where to eat: The Salted Slate.  We went here for brunch and it was absolutely perfect.  From the cheddar & chive biscuits and warm donuts to the homemade granola; everything we ate was a somehow fresh take on breakfast classics.  The Salted Slate also crushed it by featuring pretty much all of my favorite interior design aspects (plants, long wooden shelves, lots of natural light, and an exposed brick wall) in just one restaurant.

Milk Money.  Milk Money was our second brunch choice for the weekend, and you can bet that pretty much anywhere that has challah french toast and cheddar grits on the menu will be a home run in my book.  And if not, there’s always a quinoa bowl for when I entertain the idea of healthy eating!  Interior design aspects captured my heart again, with more exposed brick and long wooden benches, combined with artful culinary displays on gorgeous wooden cutting boards and a basket of beignets!

Los Andes.  Recommended by a friend for our last visit, Los Andes definitely did not disappoint.  It’s Peruvian and Bolivian cuisine in a low-key environment with five star service.  The prices and atmosphere may be affordable, but the staff goes above and beyond to give you an enjoyable dining experience.  They have really cool dishes with great flavor, but make sure to make a reservation as they are seemingly always busy!

Also check out: Capriccio, Fellini, Al Forno, Massimo.

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What to do: WaterFire.  Providence’s signature event has created quite the name for itself in recent years.  The best way I can describe WaterFire is nearly 100 fires burning in the middle of the river, accompanied with Epcot-approved music and lots of street vendors.  It was a perfect activity for a slightly chilly fall evening but I imagine it would be just as breathtaking during the summer.  It’s a truly amazing experience, only enhanced by the fact that it is free.

Roger Williams Park + Zoo.  The Roger Williams Park can aptly be described as ‘elaborate’.  Well over 400 acres, the park contains everything from lakes and a boathouse to a carousel and zoo.  The landscaping is divine throughout the entire park and the zoo is sure to delight kids of all ages.  One of my favorite features as the aforementioned nerdy adult is the botanical center, but others may delight in the casino or planetarium!

Walking and Exploring.  One of the best ways to experience any city in my book is just to get out and explore it by foot.  Appreciating the architecture and people of a city can be more telling than spending your days in and out of one museum and the next.  In Providence it’s pretty hard to walk around the city and not find different buildings and historical sites and learn something while you’re there!  Check out some popular ways to walk and tour the city!

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Thanks for stopping by!  See you all tomorrow!

xo, C