Throughout the summer, we’ve gone back and forth on travel and where to go on the few days off that we have. We want to visit so many places in New England – Block Island, Portland, Ogunquit, and Martha’s Vineyard – and we want to visit the North Fork of Long Island again. At the end of the day, since we do have a Sonoma and Napa trip coming up, we decided to do lots of little staycations in the Boston area. Boston is so beautiful in the summer, and there’s SO much to do in and around the city and within less than an hour’s drive. My family visited recently, and we packed a long weekend full of fun activities. If you are visiting Boston and need some ideas for Boston area day trips, I hope you’ll consider the below!

Assembly Row

Assembly Row – This new outlet shopping area is so much more than a place to pick up new clothes. It’s an ever-growing complex of shops and restaurants, with an arts market, a music series, movie series, and more. We visited Assembly Row to check out Legoland Discovery Center, which is a hit with kids and adults. Unfortunately, adults can’t visit without kids, except for during special nights, so grab a niece or nephew or friend’s kid if you don’t have one of your own! It’s a pricy attraction, but it is a bright, colorful, interactive spot. The area along the river next to Assembly Row is surprisingly peaceful, considering how busy the outlet area is, and it makes for a nice long walk or spot to enjoy a coffee or ice cream from the outlets’ many food establishments.

 

Davis Family Farm

Davis Family Farm

 

Davis Family Farm

Davis Family Farmland – This is another one for the kids, but as an adult, I have to say I am a huge fan. The farm is full of baby animals that guests can play with, feed, and brush. Pony rides are available, along with a play area with fake storefronts, a “fishing” area, and an entire spray park. Our nieces and nephews love Davis Family Farmland, and at just about an hour’s drive from Boston, it is really a great way to spend a Boston staycation.

Boston Harbor Cruises Whale Watch

whale watching in Boston

Whale watching out of Boston Harbor with Boston Harbor Cruises – While my family was visiting, I decided last minute to take an additional day off to go whale watching out of Boston with them. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The weather was perfect, and we saw over 15 whales, who kept dancing and jumping around for us. Seeing my niece and nephew light up with each whale sighting was magical. Whale watching is something all ages can enjoy; it is an awesome way to be out on the water and experience the wonder of the nature that surrounds us.

Hull Harbor Illumination

 

Hull, Mass

Hull Harbor Illumination and Hull in general – Hull is a beautiful little coastal town with some fun restaurants, beautiful, clean beaches, and friendly people. It’s an easy spot to fit in your beach time without sitting in Cape traffic. Hingham is a great stop along the way where you can find some fancier restaurants like Tosca for a post-beach date. We love spending time in Hull and Hingham, and if you love the coast and don’t feel like traveling far, these towns make a great day trip from Boston.

And while I am on the topic of Boston travel, I will give a quick shout out to the beautiful hotel I work at! The Royal Sonesta Boston has some great packages, including a Summer Fest package which features free yoga, boat rides, and bikes. If you need a hotel in Boston or Cambridge, check it out!

We love to travel near and far, and we have definitely enjoyed the above trips over the past few weeks!

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Tags: Boston area, Boston staycation, family travel, Massachusetts, Massachusetts travel, things to do in Boston, Travel, travel blog, travel ideas, Travel Tuesday, vacation

Let me start off by admitting I went to the new Legal Oysteria twice in two days. It’s that good, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty close to my office.  I didn’t spend much time at Olives, the restaurant previously in its space, except for the epic reopening party, where it seems Todd English spent all of his money on a seven hour open bar. . .

But I loved the space and location, and well, while Todd doesn’t seem to have a love for Boston, Legal does, and I had a feeling they would get it just right.

Legal Oysteria maintains that same bright, open layout and design that Olives had, with a beautiful white marble bar and a variety of types of seating, including a dining area, bar, and high tops.

The cocktail menu offers many aperitif and digestif type drinks; a number of them have bitter elements like Amaro. I started with a Prosecco Cocktail, a refreshing and too-easy-to-drink blend of Prosecco, Aperol, Aperitivo Rosa, Citrus, and Soda. The paper straw it came with was cute, but it disintegrated pretty quickly.

prosecco cocktail

Legal Oysteria is the perfect place to dine with friends who are up for trying lots of bites. Every single one was delicious, and we filled up before we had the chance tp even look at the entrée menu!

calamari

{Crispy Fried Calamari, Salsa Rossa}

Tender, salty, perfectly crisp, the calamari was a surprise. I often try calamari that I don’t love, but this one really was perfect.

caponata

{Eggplant Caponata with Grilled Focaccia}

I love eggplant, but I love it even more when someone else cooks it for me. This caponata was dotted with sweet raisins to provide a flavor contrast, and the bread was fluffy and buttery,

grilled oysters with fennel butter

{Grilled Oysters with Fennel Butter}

This is possibly the most heavenly and decadent way to eat oysters ever. Warm fennel butter mixed with plump grilled oysters was a combination new to me, but it is something I want to eat again and again.

 

ricotta fritters with spiced honey

{Ricotta Fritters with Spiced Honey}

These little fritters reminded me of donuts. They were awesome, but I think they might belong on the dessert menu.

shrimp and chickpea fritters

{Chickpea and Shrimp Fritters}

I had these both nights at Legal Oysteria. I loved the mix of shrimp and chickpeas in a piping hot fritter, and the spicy aioli was a perfect addition.

clam pizza

{Roasted Clam Pizza, Garlic, Oregano, Mozzarella, Pecorino}

The roasted clam pizza was our main course, and it was delightfully crispy and garlicky, the perfect end to the meal and the bite that put me over the “too full” edge.

Legal Oysteria is an excellent addition to the Boston dining scene, and I am certain it will become an after work favorite for me and my colleagues.

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Tags: Boston, Charlestown, cocktails, Dining out, Food, oyster bar, oysters, Restaurants, seafood, summer

I don’t even want to think about the fact that this is my last CSA Friday in July. That thought literally makes me want to cry, to feel a little panicked. I noticed one night this week that I needed to turn a light on earlier. I am trying to savor each moment of this magical season without thinking of the inevitable hell that is some of fall, all of winter, and much of spring, but it’s hard not to.

At any rate, our CSA share is showing its own love for summer in the bounty we have been provided. The past couple of weeks have introduced tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, lots of squash, and fields full of cucumbers in addition to various herbs and lettuces.

Red Fire Farm CSA

The new potatoes in our CSA last week were some of the most delicious potatoes I have ever tasted. Tender and buttery, they were perfect boiled up, then smashed with sautéed CSA onions, garlic, parsley, and butter. I let them sit until browned in the butter, and we ate them with a big salad. Simple, fresh, and local, this was one of my favorite dinners of the summer so far.

smashed potatoes

The arrival of heartier vegetables like carrots was more than welcome; these keep for longer than a few days and can still be eaten, lessening the frenzy to eat allthevegetables in one day.

local carrots

Simple weeknight meals have included CSA carrots and squash mixed in with jarred sauce. I love this Golden Gravy, picked up at Fruit Center Marketplace in Milton. You can read about their amazing wine dinners here.  This butternut squash based gravy helped to turn our field veggies almost into a stew. It was perfect for some cooler nights.

Valicenti Golden Gravy

A crazy abundance of cucumbers resulted in easy pickles. I simply cut the cukes into chips and set them aside while I boiled white vinegar, onion, garlic, sugar, and crushed red pepper. Once cool, I poured the vinegar mix over the cucumber chips and refrigerated. The end result was perfectly crisp, tangy pickle chips. The garlic from our CSA is something else. It is sweet and mild and easy to eat all on its own. It lends beautiful depth of flavor to dishes.

cucumbers

Finally, the last few weeks we have been devouring blueberries from our CSA. I planned rustic pies, but these are best eaten by the fist full. Sometimes they don’t even make it home. . .

local blueberries

My husband points out almost daily how my soul shines in the summer, and I am feeling it fully, from the tips of my sunbleached hair down to my bare toes. It’s been amazing to enjoy our CSA and the fruits of local farmers’ labor this year, summer coming inside our kitchen and staying, at least for now!

 

What summer foods have you been loving lately?

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Tags: CSA, farm to table, farms, healthy eating, local food, recipes, Red Fire Farm, summer food, vegetables

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