Summer in the City

Edited by Jolyon Helterman

With all due respect, kicking back come summertime has never been our forte. The instant the sun deigns to show its face, we somehow drop our A-game. We sweat profusely. We pile into crowded landmarks and ersatz eateries like Fodor’s-thumping newbies. To that end, we sleuthed out Boston’s best rooftop pools, festivals, hang-gliding cliffs, pitcher cocktails, mini-golf meccas, urban beaches, outdoor dining rooms, bespoke picnic baskets, and tons more for this, our insider’s guide to falling in love with this town when it’s not cloaked in white. Hey, see that funny bright light streaming down from the sky? You’re just gonna love it.

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Sun-snack in style with a bespoke picnic basket from Central Bottle. (See #2.) / Photograph by Mike Pecci, wardrobe styling by Tesstylist, prop styling by Jennifer Dunlea, hair by Liz Grace/Shag, makeup by Vicky Vasvatekis/Shag.



Because schlepping off to some far-flung plot of coastline is strictly for the landlocked.

Carson Beach

With tons of new sand and brilliant downtown views, Carson Beach (pictured) is arguably both the city-est and the beachiest of Boston’s city beaches. The bathhouse has new showers and changing rooms, and the old-school bocce courts and chess tables bump up the nostalgia quotient. Peckish after a swim? The South Boston location of Tasty Burger makes beach deliveries. | Public toiletslifeguard on dutyfree parkingMBTA accessibilitygood for babe-watchinggood for sandcastle-buildingplenty of shady spots.

Castle Island/Pleasure Bay

Actually part of the mainland, Castle Island is home to Fort Independence, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and to the beloved hot-dog shack Sullivan’s, which ought to be. The grassy park surrounding the fort is one of the city’s best kite-flying and picnicking spots, and adjacent Pleasure Bay Beach boasts clean sand and a calm lagoon. No wonder Whitey Bulger loved hanging out here. | Public toiletslifeguard on dutyfree parkingMBTA accessibilitygood for bird-watching, plenty of shady spotstouristy enough.

The Charles River Esplanade

The erstwhile dirty water off the banks of this riverside park is now swimmable. Well, on special occasions, anyway. On July 12 and July 26, three local organizations will cohost the second annual Charles River Community Swims, allowing 30 people at a time, for 30 minutes at a time, to brave the caramel-hued surf off the dock near the Hatch Shell. | Public toiletslifeguard on duty, MBTA accessibility, good for babe-watching, touristy enough.

Spectacle Island

So what if this 105-acre Boston Harbor Island was once the site of a horse-rendering plant and a city dump? It sure cleaned up nice! Accessible by ferry (from Long Wharf) from May through October, modern-day Spectacle offers 5 miles
of walking trails and two sandy beaches. | Public toiletslifeguard on duty, good for bird-watchingplenty of shady spotstouristy enough.

Yirrell Beach

Per the surfer’s code, we’re not supposed to talk about Winthrop Jetty, the über-secret local surfing spot that produces surprisingly respectable waves, especially during hurricane season. So instead we’ll tell you about the adjacent town beach, which boasts family-friendly shallows for swimming, an annual sandcastle contest, and nail-bitingly close-up views of planes landing at Logan. | Free parkingMBTA accessibility, good for sandcastle-building. —Carmen Nobel

— Key 

Public toilets (the ocean doesn’t count!)
Lifeguard on duty
Free parking
MBTA accessibility
Good for bird-watching
Good for babe-watching
Good for sandcastle-building
Plenty of shady spots
Touristy enough to take out-of-town visitors


Central Bottle Picnic Basket / Photo Provided



Yes, scarfing down Quiznos while squatting in the dirt is, technically speaking, a picnic. Here are three easy upgrades.

Central Bottle

What you get: A wicker basket for two ($75) loaded with saucisson sec, an Iggy’s baguette, cheeses, house-made fig jam, olives, a Mast Brothers chocolate bar, bottled water, and beer or vino.

Thoughtful extras: Cloth napkins, a corkscrew, a cheese knife, a cutting board, wineglasses, plates, and silverware.

Head for the …benches, facing the water at Lechmere Canal Park, a six-minute drive from the shop.


Beacon Hill Bistro

What you get: With an hour’s notice, lunch (weekdays) or dinner can be packed into a basket at no extra charge. While the entire menu is your oyster (literally: shucked bivalves are $3 each), items like duck-liver mousse ($8) and crab roll with fries ($15) whisper “al fresco portability” more than French onion soup ($8). But it’s your picnic.

Thoughtful extras: A blanket.

Head for the …willow trees, two blocks away in the Public Garden.


Boston Cheese Cellar

What you get: The Roslindale shop packs a brown paper bag with a traditional ploughman’s lunch, including two cheeses, either local apple chutney or pepper jelly, grapes, a partial baguette, and sweet pickles, all for $6.95.

Thoughtful extras: Lunch. For seven bucks.

Head for the …headstones, at nearby Forest Hills Cemetery, where you can toast the likes of poet e.e. cummings.

617-325-2500,—Raquel Kaplan


Photograph by Toan Trinh



Two editors make dueling cases for the ultimate mini-golf haven: history vs. aesthetics.

Golf on the Village Green

This is mini golf as our founding fathers ­intended it: patriotic and kitschy, with a tinny fife-and-drum soundtrack. Themed holes like “Faneuil Hall” and “Old North Church” don’t just challenge you athletically, they force you to grapple with the same tough choices Revolutionary generals faced (attack from the left? the right? gently up the center?). The militia of replica minutemen standing sentry only adds to the nationalistic splendor. Of course, this Natick institution isn’t perfect; it’s like America, with all its warts. And I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how Revere, Adams, and Washington—by legend, ace mini golfers themselves—would want it.

508-653-4671,—Jason Schwartz

Route 1 Miniature Golf & Batting Cages

New England Journal of Aesthetic Research founder Greg Cook has been critical of the state of public art in Boston. But he is unequivocal about the giant orange dinosaur that menaces the sixth hole at this Saugus landmark (pictured). Looming over a bend in Route 1, the T. rex is a standout on a strip that boasts some of America’s gauchest roadside architecture. And it’s also art—even if not often acknowledged as such. “Boring art-world snobs somehow can’t see giant sculptures if they aren’t ‘officially’ done by MFA-degreed insiders,” Cook says. True dat. Of all the beasts, the green ­diplodocus on four might be the toughest putt. Still, nothing compares to staring down the big orange guy.

781-233-2811,—Carly Carioli

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Painting Photo via Shutterstock


BE A _____ FOR A DAY.

Discover a hidden talent—or rule one out—with a strategically chosen in-town (or close enough) activity.


The Beacon Hill outpost of Savenor’s market offers hands-on butchery classes ($200) with a veritable Noah’s ark of meaty beasts.



Turn their polite chuckles into gut-busting guffaws at ImprovBoston’s beginner-­friendly workshops ($10), held most Sunday ­afternoons.



Put in a solid one-eighth-day’s work at Brigham Hill Community Farm, in North Grafton, where you can reap the ­harvest, help the needy, and still catch the tail end of brunch. Volunteer drop-ins are welcome Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.

774-551-6544, ­

Racecar Driver

Step up your car-pooling game by mastering the high-speed curves at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park’s High Performance Driving School ($1,500), in Thompson, Connecticut. Upon successful completion, advanced students may be invited to tackle the Leverett Circle Connector.


Tango Dancer

The Tango Society of Boston offers free monthly moonlit lessons on the John W. Weeks Bridge spanning the Charles. Rose to clench between teeth sold separately.


Movie Star

Ready for your ­close-up? How about your far-­corner-of-the-frame Person Milling Around cameo? Sign up for Boston Casting’s extras stable and, with any luck, you’ll end up photo-bombing Black Mass, the Whitey Bulger biopic shooting this summer.


Glass Blower

Put the season’s hot air to good use by pursing your lips in pursuit of transparent artistry at a Diablo Glass School workshop, in Mission Hill.



Fly with the (legally protected bald) eagles during a hang-gliding tutorial at Morningside flight park, in Charlestown, New Hampshire. Four-hour intro courses start at $175.



Drop down your beats better after the gratis lesson that comes with a studio tour of Mmmmaven’s DJ and music-production school, in Cambridge. These are skills that, given the right dance-floor situation, might just save someone’s life.


Landscape Painter

Grab a palette and join one of the Massachusetts Plein Air Artists’ weekly paint-a-thons, held at local spots so picturesque they make Monet’s beloved Giverny look like a toxic landfill (more or less).—Margaret Heidenry

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Oysters Photo via Shutterstock



Enjoy Friday tours (1 p.m. and 3 p.m., $20) of Island Creek’s oyster beds and sorting facilities aboard a skiff off Duxbury. The excursion culminates in an on-the-half-shell tasting. 781-934-2028,

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Preserves Photo via Shutterstock



The League of Urban Canners will prune and harvest your fruit trees and arbors free of charge and give back 10 percent in the form of yummy preserves. (They keep the rest.)

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Lobster Roll Photo via Shutterstock



If you like…

Handmade baubles and hybrids → Coolidge Corner Arts Festival (Free, 6/7,

Deviled tea eggs and diesel → Somerville Food Truck Festival ($5, 6/7, Assembly Row,

Passed bites and perky patellas → Chefs in Shorts ($80, 6/20, Seaport,

Steel drums and stuffed roti → Boston JerkFest (Starting at $12, 6/28, South End,

Paul Revere and pennywhistles → Boston Harborfest (7/2–7/6,

IPAs and ironic facial hair → WGBH Craft Beer Festival (Starting at $40, 7/12, Brighton,

DIY and dance troupes → Artbeat (7/18–7/19, Davis Square,

Lobsters and “lobsters”* → Boston Seafood Festival (7/27, Seaport,

Cosplay and Captain America → Boston Comic Con (Starting at $20, 8/8–8/10, Seaport,

Dumplings and dancing dragons → August Moon Festival (Free, 8/10, Chinatown,

Eco-friendliness and earnest facial hair → Boston GreenFest (8/15–8/17, City Hall Plaza,

Pepperoni pizza and processionals → Saint Anthony’s Feast (Free, 8/29–8/31, North End, —Abby Ringiewicz

*Humans dressed up to look like lobsters; non-edible.

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The Sinclair, in Harvard Square, is just one place to sip and dine al fresco this summer. (See #9.) / Photograph by Mike Pecci, wardrobe styling by Tesstylist, prop styling by Jennifer Dunlea, hair by Yojanse Jimenez/Team, makeup by Vicky Maryelle O’Rourke/Team.



Stow the beer goggles and view the world (including your prospects) through rosé-colored glasses, easily the season’s most refreshing accessory. As U.S. quaffers learn the joys of post–white zin pink, Old World producers have grudgingly stopped withholding their blushing best—and local sommeliers have been hoarding the good stuff (meaning, they’d appreciate the help).



Our deliberately abridged (and blatantly borrowed) guide to where our al fresco dining tastes fall this summer, from waffle fries in paradise to foie gras in an alley—and every permutation in between. —Jolyon Helterman and Leah Mennies


Click to view larger. / Photographs by Toan Trinh

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Book Photo via Shutterstock



We asked local luminaries to help us compile the perfect summer reading list.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Historian
King and Maxwell, by David Baldacci

“In the last few years I have fallen in love with mysteries,” says the Pulitzer-winning biographer.

Tom Perrotta, Novelist
The Black-Eyed Blonde, by Benjamin Black

“I’m usually against this sort of homage,” Perrotta says about this revival of Raymond Chandler’s famous private eye, Philip Marlowe. “But I’m a longtime fan of Chandler, and Black is my current favorite crime writer, so I’m willing to make an exception.”

Mary Fuller, Professor
The Chanur Series, by C. J. Cherryh

The head of MIT’s literature department says her favorite summer books are in the realm of science fiction. “I like serial fiction by authors who build interesting, complex worlds,” she says. “I love almost everything by C. J. Cherryh.”

Jasper White, Chef
The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine, by Rudolph Chelminski

“The story does give great insight into the incredible pressure of being a chef on the big stage—what makes many of us tick,” says the chef-owner of Summer Shack.

Jack Williams, News Anchor
Goodbye to a River, by John Graves

“Written more than 50 years ago, it remains one of the most beautiful books on preserving what we have before it is gone forever.”

Jim Braude, Radio/TV Personality
How About Never—Is Never Good for You? My Life in Cartoons, by Bob Mankoff

“As weird as it feels, there’s nothing quite like being alone and laughing out loud,” Braude says of this retrospective of New Yorker cartoons. “Decades of one-panels can do it for you.”

Amy Ryan, Powerhouse Librarian
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

“I am drawn to coming-of-age stories, and this one is as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird,” says the president of the Boston Public Library. —Samantha Pickette

red sox

Photo Provided



Four pretty-solid-if-you-think-about-it fresh-air alternatives for the sun-seeking sports spectator.

Charlie’s Kitchen

Ever watch a hockey game with a budding hipster? Exactly. Even when this Harvard Square hangout gets crowded, not everyone’s massed around the TVs in the open-air garden, meaning plenty of prime space for you and your brew. Which is actually one perk of hanging with this particular crowd: They drink better beer.


Legal Sea Foods, Harvard Square

Stationed in the courtyard of the Charles Hotel, this outdoor bar—complete with a full ring of flat-screens—offers some of the best people-watching in the Square. So even if the game’s a blowout, at least you can look away. See that dude on the make at that corner table? Yup, he’s not scoring either.


The Baseball Tavern

Is it counterintuitive to hit a bar in the belly of the beast? Absolutely. But therein lies the beauty: If everybody’s inside the stadium, there’ll be room for you on this roof deck overlooking Fenway Park. Bonus: You can hear the roar of the crowd while you watch on the tube.


Pier 6

Formerly Tavern on the Water, this Charlestown venue is famous for its skyline views—but come on, you know what Boston looks like. Focus instead on the two monster flat-screens with surround sound flanking the granite-topped bar.

617-337-0054, —Jason Schwartz

southwest corridor

South End Neighborhood Pictures 2005 – 03 by Robert Blackie on Flickr / Creative Commons



A 183-word valentine to Southwest Corridor Park.

It seems impossible that a 4.7-mile-long, 52-acre green space coursing through the heart of Boston could be a hidden gem, and yet Southwest Corridor Park remains one of the city’s great unheralded treasures. There’s nothing like riding your bike through the havoc of the city’s streets, making that hard turn onto the corridor, and suddenly finding yourself alone, riding down a pleasant, tree-lined path without any fear of getting maimed or run over: If urban Zen exists in Boston, this is it. Built along the Orange Line on land once intended for a highway, the corridor starts beside Back Bay station with a series of picture-perfect garden spaces. From there, it continues as a path—opening up into a full park at every T stop—all the way down to Forest Hills. It’s a bit like New York’s famed High Line, except, you know, actually useful. (For that, you can thank the seven basketball courts, five tennis courts, two street-hockey rinks, two amphitheaters, and, yes, 11 tot lots.) So let the tourists have the Freedom Trail; this is the only path we need. —Jason Schwartz

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If you like plush cabanas and mind-blowing Back Bay views, the Revere’s new rooftop pool bar has you covered. / Photograph by Mike Pecci, wardrobe styling by Tesstylist, prop styling by Jennifer Dunlea, hair by Liz Grace/Shag, makeup by Vicky Vasvatekis/Shag.



A splash-by-splash guide to urban swimming holes.

Rooftop at Revere

Seven stories above the Theater District, an international crowd mixes with locals unwinding in chaise lounges and ogling the skyline. Minor quibble: Technically speaking, the pool is indoors. But an adjoining 16,000-square-foot terrace makes this al fresco “rooftop” a worthy place to swim, sun, and sip—and jiggle: See the menu of “Classy Jello Shots.”

Tips: A $20 fee applies to non–hotel guests Monday to Friday ($30 on weekends), but anyone over 21 is welcome free of charge after 5 p.m.


Gold Star Pool

Cambridge’s only city-owned outdoor pool may lack swank, but you’ll forget all about creature comforts after a few cannonballs in the deep (9-foot) end. Families and progressive urbanites gather to escape summer’s swelter in the unheated municipal waters and bask in the price of admission (75 cents).

Tips: BYO lounge chair, drinks, and snacks. The pool stays open past 5 p.m., so aim for the end of the day for a revitalizing, whine-free dip after the kiddies have toddled home.


The Colonnade

At 11 breezy stories high, this is Boston’s only open-to-the-public rooftop pool (pictured below)—or RTP, in the parlance of those who say “SoWa” unironically. The daytime mellow of lounging hotel guests and professionals playing hooky gives way to a lively après-work-cocktail crowd. The scene-y oasis debuts a sophisticated redesign this summer.

Tips: The pool stays open until midnight Friday through Monday. Skip the daily $40 entrance fee for non-guests and kick back gratis on weekdays, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

617-425-3408, —Margaret Heidenry

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Photograph Provided


Photograph Provided



Not to knock those chintzy webbed-polypropylene numbers, which make excellent post-snowstorm place savers for certain adult vandals. But if it’s your posterior you’re looking to park—at an outdoor concert in Lenox, say, or some pyrotechnic celebration—this slick folding chair by Flux ($149) lets lawn loungers (weighing 350 pounds or less) take a load off in sweet, minimalist style.

617-942-7425, —Jolyon Helterman

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Fireworks Photo via Shutterstock



Three Fourth-tide viewing spots for the crowd-averse.

Down Under

When it comes to negotiating the traffic, kayaks may be your best bet. So skip the riverbank for the river itself. Charles River Canoe & Kayak leases boats from outposts in Allston/Brighton, Kendall, Newton, and Waltham.


On Campus

The lawn outside Building 10 provides terrific views of MIT’s famed Great Dome, and odds are you’ll end up standing next to someone who can explain how fireworks, well, work. Better yet, befriend a student or professor with rooftop access.

In the Park

See skyrockets in flight from hilltop parks in several close-in suburbs. The edge goes to Arlington’s Robbins Farm Park for its 50-foot slides, glorious city-skyline views, and giant-screen Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular simulcast. —Carmen Nobel

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Ping Pong Photo via Shutterstock



To recap: We’re thrilled that Fenway has a shiny new Ping-Pong mecca in the form of Blazing Paddles, with its dozen tables arranged around a bar meant for quenching the kind of thirst that comes only from whacking a tiny plastic ball. It’ll be fantastic…in about five months. Until Snowpocalypse 2014 becomes but a distant memory, however, we’d suggest getting your volleys al fresco at Cambridgeport’s Old Morse Park, where two massive Henge tables—forged from 2,600 pounds of sculptural concrete apiece—await those in pursuit of that healthy backhand tan. Serious about your topspin? The bounce of the table adheres to International Table Tennis Federation regulations. —Margaret Heidenry

mai tai

Photo Provided



The legendary chef likes to go big when it comes to entertaining friends in her Weston backyard—libations included. This classic tiki drink is her summertime go-to, made all the more luxurious by calling for 10 limes.

— Mai Tais for a Crowd —

Serves 20
20 oz. amber rum (Shire recommends Mount Gay)
20 oz. dark rum (such as Myers’s)
20 oz. light rum (such as Bacardi Light)
7 ½ cups pineapple juice
1 ½ cups orange juice
¼ cup Cointreau
½ cup orgeat syrup
Juice of 10 limes​

Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher or punch bowl, then sample. Trust your taste buds, Shire says, and “keep adding whatever makes sense. More orgeat if it needs to be sweeter, more rum if it’s too sweet.” (Shire always errs on the more-booze side.) Serve over ice in rocks glasses.

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Photograph by Mike Pecci, wardrobe styling by Tesstylist, prop styling by Jennifer Dunlea, hair by Heather Cohen/Team, makeup by Dianna Quagenti/Team.



The Mendon Twin got a new lease on life in March when Dave, Dan, and Michael Andelman (of Phantom Gourmet fame) purchased the beloved drive-in from its retiring owners. Expect heaping portions of first-run, family-friendly action flicks and gobs of ooey-gooey romantic comedies, all for $25 per car.

508-473-4958, —Jolyon Helterman

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Photograph by Toan Trinh



Heard of the MFA? Right, and so has the mob scene of looky-loos invading the city just about…now. Foil the throngs in alt-art style.

Beacon Hill’s Boston Athenaeum served as the city’s art museum until it loaned parts of its collection to the MFA in the 1870s. But the landmark retained enough superb works to while away a golden afternoon ($5). Giovanni Paolo Panini’s Interior of St. Peter’s, Rome (1756–1757) is nearly as breathtaking as the real thing, and Roxbury’s never looked so idyllic as in John Rubens Smith’s 1828 watercolor.


Real estate developer Norman Leventhal’s impressive collection of rare maps covering the Magellan Gallery in Boston Harbor Hotel’s lobby traces our region’s history from the first map to name New England, drawn by John Smith in 1614, through cartographical works of art of the Dutch Golden Age, to modern navigational charts of Boston Harbor—all conveniently accessible from the HarborWalk.


Scattered around MIT’s campus (pictured) are dozens of contemporary paintings and sculptures. Sol LeWitt’s Bars of Color Within Squares (2007) blankets one entire floor—literally—of the physics building with bright geometric patterns. Meanwhile, Alexander Calder’s La Grande Voile (1965) weighs in at 33 tons but seems light enough to float away. Use the List Visual Arts Center’s handy interactive art map as your guide.

617-253-4680, —Michael Blanding

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Photograph by Toan Trinh



Clip and save this short-list of aggressively air-conditioned respites for whenever that hot, sticky, miserably sultry day shows up (like it always does) in late July or August.

Ben & Jerry’s, Newbury Street
Thermostat set at: 55–60 degrees

Because the best way to beat the heat (short of plunging into the Charles, four blocks north) is downing a pint of icy Chunky Monkey in an ambient temperature fit for a fine Bordeaux.


Frost Ice Bar
Thermostat set at: 21 degrees (yup, Fahrenheit)

Flirt with frostbite at this glorified-igloo watering hole in Faneuil Hall, where you can take advantage of the gloves and insulated capes that come with the price of admission (starting at $12), or not.


Uni Sashimi Bar
Thermostat set at: 65 degrees

When the crisp climes of the Eliot Hotel lobby meet the cool, velvety swaths of delicately primped hamachi at this Back Bay jewel, the combo cuts the internal body temp like, um, a fresh-steeled sushi knife.


Regal Fenway stadium 13 & RPX
Thermostat set at: 69–73 degrees

Sometimes it’s less about the extremeness of the temperature than the length of time (roughly 90 to 100 minutes) you can linger before looking suspicious.

617-424-6111, —Samantha Pickette

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Hyannis Photo via Shutterstock



You missed the ferry, and it was totally his/her/your/its fault. No question about it! As you wait for the next one, parse out relative culpability in a setting worthy of the brinksmanship.

Pain D’Avignon

If this bakery-cum-bistro ever opens up shop in Boston, it will give the city’s best bakeries and bistros serious competition. The menu runs the gamut, from almond croissants and open-faced croque-madames to hamachi crudo, dry-aged sirloin tartare, coq au vin, and house-made ricotta cavatelli with braised lamb shank. Flawlessly brewed espresso and a fine selection of French wines will help ratchet up the blame game to a fever pitch.


Woods Hole
Quicks Hole

This year, the team behind the beloved Quicks Hole taco stand transformed the tired Leeside Restaurant into a new tavern specializing in cocktails strong enough to make you forget the ferry altogether (or further fuel the debate). You’ll also find a roster of inventive comfort food, including quahog chowder, an entire “gourmet grilled cheese” section (one with dill havarti, Jonah crab, and roasted-red-pepper aioli), and roasted chicken confit.

508-495-0048, —Michael Blanding


Fenway Park Tickets Photo by Marcio Jose Bastos Silva /



Time was, you needed about six months of advance planning—plus an insider connection—to score tickets to Red Sox games. These days, the team may still be defending champs, but the demand is soft. Last-minute buyers can hit the official team-sanctioned “No Scalp Zone” to score seats at face value or better, but the truly savvy know how to play StubHub, the giant ticket reseller website. For home games, the StubHub market closes two hours before game time, so log in just before the cutoff and watch panicked ticket sellers—fearful they’ll get nothing at all for seats they’re trying to unload—lower their the prices as you refresh and refresh again. Then make like Big Papi and strike at the last possible moment. —Jason Schwartz

martha's vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard Photo via Shutterstock



You’ve been rocking the urban-warrior cape all season, but that doesn’t mean you have to sound clueless during Hub-side conversations with the bridge-and-ferry set—or daresay, you trip the Sagamore fantastic yourself. A crash course on the new and noteworthy.

— The Cape —

White Lion Baking Co.

Basics: Gluten-free, grain-free, chemical-free (but thankfully not flavor-free) baked goods for the celiac, Paleo, and naturalist crowd—and those who love them.

Talking point: “No, believe it or not, I did remember your diet. This Paleo-approved crust I picked up is made of cashew flour…and magic.”

Mashpee, 774-228-2946,

The Knack

Basics: Slated to open in July, a casual restaurant serving hand-cut fries, made-from-scratch soft-serve, cans of craft beer, and locally sourced seafood, beef, and produce.

Talking point: “I hear the owners are the family heirs to the Kreme N’ Cone and Cooke’s Seafood dynasty.”


Chequessett Chocolate

Basics: Cute small-batch chocolate shop offering handcrafted truffles, bars studded with foraged local cranberries, flights of Mexican drinking chocolate, and ample sampling.

Talking point: “Not only do they roast their own beans, but the bourbon-caramel bonbons are addictive.”

North Truro, 774-538-6249,


Basics: The scrappy major airline launches direct flights to the Cape from New York’s JFK, June to December.

Talking point: “Seriously? If I see another Yankees cap in Chatham I swear I will stab myself in the eye.”

Hyannis, 774-538-6249,

— Nantucket —

The Nautilus

Basics: Opened this spring, this eatery serves elevated street food with fusion flavors, specializing small plates, craft cocktails, and family-style “feasts” for small groups.

Talking point: “I hear the chef worked at Clio, Uni, and Toro, so why don’t we go with a few bites from the Asian-tapas section?”


The Nantucket Summer Music Festival

Basics: The two-day event takes place at Tom Nevers Field, with stunning ocean views and headliners like Bruce Hornsby, Guster, Steel Pulse, and Wrentham’s own Ayla Brown.

Talking point: “Boston Calling will be an absolute zoo this year, but they’re limiting this one to 4,000 tickets.”

$280, 8/2–8/3, 508-228-0400,

21 Broad Hotel

Basics: A one-minute walk from the ferry, this dramatic renovation of the island’s oldest (1876) inn boasts 27 boutique rooms, vitamin C showers, a juice bar, and white-on-white interiors designed by Rachel Reider.

Talking point: “Sort of the White Baby Elephant, no?”


B-ACK Yard Barbecue

Basics: A new BBQ joint at Straight Wharf serving up heritage pork, Wagyu beef, hand-cut fries, and bourbon-centric cocktails.

Talking point: “The guy manning the meat is the former executive chef of the Brant Point Grill.”


— Martha’s Vineyard —


Basics: Opened in May, the third outpost of this popular coffeehouse/retail concept serves breakfast pastries and housewares by day, craft cocktails and eclectic small plates by night.

Talking point: “Yup, the old Oak Bluffs A&P—all told, it was a $2.4 million renovation.”


Farm Field Sea

Basics: An impresario of culinary outings with island purveyors, including dinner and lodging at the Beach Plum Inn, as well as private excursions.

Talking point: “Let’s just say I’m 100 percent sure it’s local.”

774-538-6249, —Janelle Nanos

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