How does an orchestra honor medical personnel, first responders, and essential workers in the middle of a pandemic? It puts together an astonishing eight-minute YouTube performance of composer John Williams’s Summon the Heroes, that’s how. With 86 musicians’ audio and video feeds edited and synched together by Boston Symphony Orchestra engineers—not to mention an introduction by conductor Keith Lockhart and Williams himself—this virtual performance was moving, mesmerizing, and surprisingly educational—ah, that’s where the bassoons come in! bso.org.
Ah, to kick back with a strawberry-infused water in the Mandarin’s lounge again. After months of quarantine cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling, the Himalayan-salt-stone massages and hydrating body wraps at this 16,000-square-foot temple to relaxation promise to be even more restorative—especially if they’re in one of three new treatment rooms the hotel is unveiling as part of its multimillion-dollar renovation. 776 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199, mandarinoriental.com/boston.
Sure, it’s dominated by rowdy little ones most days, but keep an eye out for nights when the place rebrands as the “Grown-Ups Museum” and the spiked slushies start flowing. bostonchildrensmuseum.org/.
Home-improvement vet Ryaan Tuttle runs the finest mister-fixit operation in town, tackling jobs from furniture assembly to gutter repair with nary a loose screw in sight. 68 Saint Andrew Rd., East Boston, MA besthandymanboston.com.
Boston is touted as a top arts town, and it lives up to that ideal when its institutions are constantly refreshing their canons. Well, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project has been doing just that since 1996: Its adventurous approach to contemporary classical music includes works by locals such as John Harbison and world premieres by international artists such as this year’s season finale of contemporary Chinese composers. MA bmop.org.
April Gabriel opened the permanent location of Boston General Store three years ago with the goal of bringing back the type of shop she remembers from her childhood: one that sells simple items made to last. In today’s ever-cheaper, disposable retail landscape, Gabriel’s old-fashioned vision is a welcome change. Pass along the nostalgia with high-quality, well-made gifts crafted by artisans both near and far—think pocket knives from Japan, a wool picnic blanket from the U.K., and shave oil made just down the street. 305 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02446, bostongeneralstore.com.
Why choose a theme for your child's birthday party when she can have it all? Bashes at the Boston Children's Museum come with daylong admission, so guests can have a ball in the art studio, the land of the dinosaurs, and everywhere in between. 308 Congress St., Boston, MA 02210, bostonchildrensmuseum.org.
With a growing list of celebrity attendees and a painstakingly selected roster of movies each year, IFFBoston is your best chance, and sometimes your only chance, to see rare indie movies at theaters across the city. Sometimes it’s a big name trying something new; other times it’s a breakout film from a new director. Either way, it’s comforting to know that big screens aren’t just for Avengers movies. iffboston.org.
Finding the right nanny to care for your precious peanut only adds to a new parent’s stress. But with an extensive application and screening process, Boston Nanny Centre makes the job a little easier. They make sure that all of their nannies are citizens or legal residents, over 21, have experience in childcare, are certified in good health by their physician, and are recommended by at least five references. All the while, staffers are accessible via phone and email, and are more than willing to do a little psychological handholding. 135 Selwyn Rd., Newton, MA 2461, bostonnanny.com.
Anatomy of a Winner: Imagine raiding the closet of a well-dressed uncle, whose discarded college wardrobe has only grown more stylish with age. That, in essence, is what it's like to shop at Bobby from Boston, where owner Bobby Garnett offers an endless collection of smart articles. 1. Garnett bought several of these circa-late-'70s-to-early-'80s bow ties new from a factory. 2. Old briefcases and luggage are sourced from flea markets and antiques shows near and far. Some are for sale, while others are repurposed as display cases. 3. When Garnett moved into his South End space, the floors were painted blue. Sanding and cleaning revealed the beautiful hardwood beneath. 4. Like most of his merchandise, Garnett's shirt selection is a mix of used, vintage acquisitions and "dead stock"—pieces he bought from other stores or factories when they didn't sell. He'll even get the occasional Christmas present, left sitting in its box for years. 5. Display cases around the store house smaller items, like wallets, cigar boxes, handkerchiefs, and tie pins. This case dates to the 1920s. 19 Thayer St., Boston, MA .
Whether you're shopping for a special occasion or just looking to jazz up your business attire, there's no place better than this South End vintage shop, where owner Bobby Garnett has used his keen eye to amass a collection of timeless adornments—vintage skinny ties, worn pocket watches, old-school tie tacks. The boutique is a cross between a Salvation Army and a high-end haberdashery, meaning customers get the best of both worlds: distinctive used items that are much hipper than anything you could buy new. Boston, MA 2118,
For anyone who didn't have a crazy great-aunt who spent like a fiend, wore things once, and saved it all, owner Bobby Garnett has an unreal stockpile of immaculately kept vintage apparel and accessories. On a recent trip to the Oak Room-esque space, we found: train cases, military-issue messenger totes, college letter sweaters, marching band uniforms, '60s and '70s cocktail dresses, croc handbags, racks of denim jackets, and endless shelves of stadium hats—all at below-market prices. If by chance you don't find that thing you never knew you were looking for, Garnett also takes private appointments at his 5,000-square-foot storage warehouse in Lynn. 19 Thayer St., Boston, MA 2118, .
Cigar Masters might seem like your average smoke shop. It's not. Sure, it's got the requisite walk-in humidor brimming with expensive stogies, but there's also a low-lit bar and acres of leather couches. Smoking aficionados can even track their investments on monitors that flicker through a haze of blue smoke. 745 Boylston St., Boston, MA cigarmasters.com/.