The funny whimsical statues of the mother duck and her ducklings in Boston’s Public Gardens
After having several fun weekends in Boston during the New England winter, it is amazing to see the city transform into a much gentler softer palette of colors as springtime transforms this fabulous historical city.
We’ve been going back and forth to Boston much more often than is typical so seeing the city transform has been such a pleasure to witness. Boston isn’t a city the really grabbed my enthusiastic attention when we moved to the northeast three and a half years ago. It seemed each time we initially visited the city we didn’t have luck with the weather. It was either beastly hot or frigidly cold. However, that first perception is changing for sure as we move through the different neighborhoods and explore the many character filled areas that make up the rich tapestry of Boston. Springtime emerging in the city is truly something to experience. It’s like the entire city went to a spa and came out transformed and beautiful and ready for a grand ball.
Making life easier in the country after returning from the hubbub of the city…this Lemon Cumin rubbed Chicken over a bed of colorful spinach, dried cherries, toasted walnuts was a flavorful fresh and healthy meal for our weekend projects.
Boston’s Public Gardens…awash with soft pinks and pearly whites of the blossoms on all of the cherry trees
The reason for the many upcoming back and forth trips to Boston is that a job situation has offered us the opportunity to live in the city part of the week and then return to our beloved New Hampshire the rest of the week and weekend. There isn’t a rush to make living arrangements so we decided to try out the various neighborhoods, explore the characteristics of them, and see which area might fit us the best.
Bathroom redo and first Baltimore Oriole sighting!
On top of apartment hunting in Boston and exploring various parts of the city we decided to add to the tumult by throwing in more renovation house projects to keep weekends lively. The upstairs bath mostly used by guests was in sore need of a makeover from top to bottom. We have been tearing out the ceiling to expose the pretty wooden beams that had been dry walled over, adding a touch of William Morris wallpaper (because I am in love with their pattens and cannot resist), changing out the damaged tile flooring. A beautiful claw foot tub was already in the space and we’ll keep that along with a fabulous marble antique sink and old silver faucet that adds great character to the room.
Strolling around the Boston Commons and Boston’s Public Gardens
It seems no matter where we stay in Boston, walking to the Boston Commons and the adjacent Public Gardens is an easy walk away whether coming from the North End, Chinatown, the Financial District, Beacon Hill, or Back Bay neighborhoods. What a completely different scene it is to be in the park in the winter time compared to the spring time. Both seasons display beautiful landscapes from snowy dreamy scapes to ones filled with fairy tale displays of tulips and cherry blossom trees … the difference is so remarkable!
So to make this back and forth lifestyle between city and country work easily, we’ve discovered this fabulous company out of Concord, New Hampshire that organizes healthy meal options in coordination with local producers in New Hampshire, selects and packages all of the ingredients in their correct portion sizes, and delivers it right to our local coffee shop, Schoodacs, which is 3 minutes from our farmhouse.
The company is called Local Baskit and we have been smitten with their recipe quality, ingredient selections, and use of local farmers to ensure that we are shopping more locally than ever.
The Public Gardens in Boston on the brink of springtime bloom
Our first Sonders Apartment rental in the Theatre District of Boston. The apartment was fabulous, looked over the Orpheum Theatre and had everything offered by a hotel
In order to make settling into Boston for a partial week as smooth as possible, we’ve discovered a company called Sonder. Sonder has fully furnished and equipped kitchens in locations all over Boston. Their apartments are placed strategically to be nearby to T stops as well as tourist attractions.
Our first Sonder rental was in the Downtown Crossings neighborhood. This is probably the most tourist oriented area of Boston off the northeaster portion of the Boston Commons. The historical walks, Faneuil Hall, Theatre and Boston Ballet District, and Boston Public Market are all within walking distance.
Cherry Blossoms in full bloom in Boston’s Public Gardens
Our first Sonder apartment rental overlooked the Orpheum Theatre and is in the heart of the Theatre District of Boston
Beautiful, sensual, artistic Yvonne’s restaurant in the heart of the Theatre District
The absolutely gorgeous restaurant, Yvonne’s, captured our hearts and palette. This restaurant was a few blocks away from the Sonder apartment rental we chose and is the perfect before or after theatre choice for an intimate, 1920’s vibe that is both intimate and artistically decorated. We loved everything we ate at Yvonne’s and have this restaurant on our list to return to again.
Where can you find French macarons in Boston? Inside the Boston Public Market there is a little place called Finesse Pastries
Back in New Hampshire over the weekend, French macarons from Finesse Pastries in the Boston Public Market made for a sweet weekend ending to a fun filled week in Boston
The North End Italian neighborhood is only a 10-15 minute walk from our centrally located Sonder apartment. This cozy neighborhood stuffed with one Italian eatery after another also makes for a perfect before or after theatre dining option. I was pulled into Modern Pastry right on Hanover Street (which is the main street going through the Italian district) to ogle at these divine looking pastries.
(above) Limoncello was a very fun restaurant filled with diners and wonderful murals painted on their walls. The entire wall abutting the side walk opened up and dining spilled onto the sidewalk
While roaming around the pastry shops and fabulous Italian restaurants in The North End, it’s really easy to stop in the Paul Revere House and take a little tour. The cost is only $5/person.
So after apartment hunting and neighborhood exploring, we returned to New Hampshire for much needed garden tending, recipe sampling of Local Baskit meal kit deliveries, total bathroom renovation work. Because we’re taking the city in sections as we get to know Boston better, I thought I would list below what I had fun visiting in this particular Theatre District/Downtown Crossing area of the city.
Yvonne’s restaurant in the Theatre District
Sonder fully furnished apartment rentals
North End Italian neighborhood
Finesse Pastries (for French macarons and located in the Boston Public Market)
Modern Pastry (located in The North End Italian district)
Limoncello (fun lively Italian restaurant a little tucked off of the main Hanover Street of The North End)
Local Baskit – New Hampshire’s own locally sourced meal delivery kits based out of Concord, NH
Schoodacs Coffee & Tea – one of the pick up locations for meal deliveries to our area.
- 1 cup heard wheat berries
- ½ cup walnuts
- 6 TBS dried cherries
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 lemons
- 2 celery stalks
- fresh parsley
- handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 scallion
- 4 chicken breasts
- Place wheat berries in a medium saucepan and add water to cover the wheat berries by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour until tender. Add additional water if necessary during cooking time to be sure pan does not become dry. When wheat berries are tender, drain and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients. Coarsely chop the walnuts. Heat a small, dry skillet over medium high heat until hot, then add chopped walnuts and toast until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning. Transfer to a medium bowl. Rinse and trim the celery, then chop it into small dice. Coarsely chop the parsley. Halve the lemons and juice them. Trim the scallions and thinly slice the white and light green parts. Add the chopped celery, parsley, scallion slices, and dried cherries to the bowl with the toasted walnuts. Add 1 TBS plus 1 tsp lemon juice and 2 TBS olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
- Place the chicken breasts on a piece of waxed paper on a work surface. Cover with another piece of waxed paper and use mallet or the flat side of a heavy skillet to pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness. In a small bowl, season the ground cumin with salt and pepper and mix together. Drizzle the chicken breasts with olive oil and rub the cumin mixture all over both sides of the chicken breasts. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat and oil it. Add the chicken breasts and grill until golden brown with grill marks on both sides and cook through. Use an instant read thermometer set to 160˚F. Remove chicken and the internal temperature will rise a bit while resting. Rest for 5 minutes and slice thinly.
- Add the cooked drained wheat berries to the bowl with the celery/walnut mixture and toss to combine. Divide the baby spinach between serving plates and top with some of the wheat berry mixture. Top with the chicken slices and drizzle with remaining lemon juice. Serve!