there are no words to express the extraordinary strength and character of this breed of people we call american. they are the kind of men and women tom paine had in mind when he wrote, during the darkest days of the american revolution, we have it in our power to begin the world over again.
— ronald reagan —
happy birthday america!! in your honor i am leaving europe in the dust and writing this to celebrate the revolutionary rebel city of boston. don’t get me wrong, i love traveling abroad, but i am an american first and foremost, and most importantly, politics aside, i am very proud of where i come from. so for those who have not yet been to boston, or for those wanting to return, here is everything i know and love about my adopted city.
i have lived in boston for almost 13 years. i moved here in 2005 from new york city and have never looked back. to say that i love boston is an understatement. this city is amazing: lobster, oysters, sail boats, ocean views, tons of local beer, history, amazing restaurants, and can i just briefly mention, we have won nine sports championships since 2001 (two of which i was physically at, lucky me). i mean, seriously, is there a better place to live in the united states?? i don’t think so.
and now, for your viewing pleasure, i give you boston…
because i live directly in the city (formerly of the north end, currently of fort point), food is a big, delicious part of my life. some of these places i have been going to since i moved here, others are new finds (many of which came to me from my awesome friend mary who is always in the know), but you shouldn’t just take my word for it, come check them out for yourself.
select oyster : how can you go wrong with oysters, shrimp and a cold glass of white wine? and if you go for lunch they make an outstanding lobster sandwich. it’s aaaaamazing!!!
bar mezzana : a great coastal italian restaurant in the south end’s ink block. i recommend the crudo tasting to start. light and delicious is always a good start to any meal.
ostra : i have been to this restaurant no less than 10 times and every single time i order the salt crusted branzino. it’s heavenly and is always one of the best meals i’ve ever had, every time. they also have a really awesome bar and lounge area, with live music, that is perfect for a quick drink before dinner.
grill 23 : the best steakhouse in boston, hands down. i have been going here for 13 years and have never had a bad meal. they also have the most amazing master sommelier who always has the best wine recommendations, and somehow always remembers what your favorites are even when you don’t. oh and they have an outstanding selection of whiskey, scotch and cognac, so drink up.
oak & rowan : one of my favorite buildings in boston. it’s modern, industrial and super chic. they have awesome caviar, pol roger by the glass, handcrafted table side cocktails and instagram-worthy food.
kava : i love greek food and this place in the south end is outstanding. it’s small and they don’t take reservations but it is totally worth a visit, or 12. it reminds me of being in greece without the mediterranean view. make sure to try the greek beer (the crazy donkey is my favorite) and white wine from santorini, both are phenomenal.
row 34 : this is one of the places i take everyone who visits me in boston to. i forced tim to eat oysters here back in march and he’s still alive so that’s sayin’ something. oysters aside, they also have an amazing beer list. they have one of my favorite german beers on tap, tannenzäpfle, so you really can’t go wrong here.
lucca north end : my favorite place in the north end. don’t let its location on busy and touristy hanover street turn you away, the food is fantastic and so is the wine list. i have spent many-a night here and use to live right around the corner for 12 years. they also have another location in back bay but when you can just stumble home from hanover street why bother taking a taxi?
lolita fort point : they did such a great job with the design of this place, you have to see it for yourself. i don’t want to spoil it, but mexican chic sums it up nicely. the food is wonderful and so are the cocktails. oh and order the cotton candy with pop rocks for dessert. it’s so weirdly good.
deuxave : i have had one of the best chickens ever in my life here. it was a whole chicken for two with truffles stuffed under it’s perfectly cooked skin. it was the stuff chicken lovers dream of. food aside, the wine list and decor here are both fantastic and a table by the window to street and people watch is always recommended.
oishii : craving sushi? this is one of my favorite restaurants, sushi aside, in boston. order the wagyu beef ishiyaki appetizer that you get to cook at your table on a hot rock. it’s pretty awesome. and speaking of awesome, order the salmon on fire. trust me.
now that dinner’s sorted, fancy some drinks? in the summer stop by trillium beer garden off atlantic avenue or grab some rosé on the riverside outdoor patio of the intercontinental hotel across the street. shitty weather? enjoy one of 100 beers at city tap in fort point, or an individually crafted cocktail at drink. thirsting for more? how about cocktails or wine at trade, a bellini at neptune oyster, a sam adams at the beantown pub (across the street from the granary burying ground, the final resting place of paul revere, samuel adams and john hancock – have a sam adams while you look at sam adams’ tombstone), or wine at haley.henry. honestly, boston has it all and so much more.
want something on the go while you’re walking the freedom trail? monica’s mercato for italian sandwiches, galleria umberto for the best sicilian pizza this side of the atlantic, sweetgreen for quick made to order salads, saus for poutine, bon me for asian deliciousness, zo for gyros and greek goodness, james hook for a lobster roll, or stop by one of the dozens of food trucks that congregate on the greenway during lunchtime.
full yet? how about some dessert? head to the north end for cannolis at modern pastry and cupcakes and homemade ice cream from lulu’s, or better yet, go over to the omni parker house for a boston cream pie, where it was invented. other options include, a baked alaska at oceanaire, pumpkin souffle at deuxave, chocolate chip cookies at grill 23, the big cookie at blue dragon, butterscotch pudding at sweet cheeks, apple pie at eastern standard, and i’ve already mentioned the cotton candy at lolita. all mouthwateringly good.
food aside, a few other things i have enjoyed over the years has been early morning walks through the north end. probably the most touristy neighborhood in boston, it’s best seen in the morning before the hoards of people arrive. visit the statue of paul revere in the smarty named paul revere mall, the paul revere house and the old north church all within blocks of eachother. the north end is also on the water and seeing a sunrise from the harborwalk is wicked awesome, as the locals say.
and speaking of water, taking the water taxi around the harbor is definitely a must-do, even if you’d rather walk. i like to take it from the intercontinental hotel to the north end for the best views (fun fact, you can also take it to the airport). i mean seriously, i took the pictures below on the boat as we cruised past sailboats and the skyline on two separate trips. definitely beats sitting in traffic in a taxi with honking angry massholes around you.
now, if you’re feeling antsy or are a yankees fan and have had enough of boston, a quick car ride (or train, which leaves from north station) up to maine is worth a trip to new england in and of itself. i have been lucky enough to have been visiting kennebunkport, maine for the past 12 years and if you want to see quintessential new england, look no further. traditional wood shingled houses, boats moored in the harbor, thick new england accents and lobsters by the thousands, it’s americana at its best.
kennebunkport, home to former president george h.w. bush, is still one of my favorite places in the world. it’s beautiful and charming, year-round. we have beaches for the summer (goose rocks beach is my favorite), skiing in the winter, apple picking and jaw-droppingly gorgeous foliage in fall, and in spring, everything is blooming, just waiting to come to life again. i have spent so many thanksgivings and christmases in maine that it really feels like home. you know what? forget boston, just go to maine instead. 😝. below are the many seasons of kennebunkport, i told you it’s awesome year-round!!
SPRING HAS SPRUNG!!
THAT FALL FEELING..
natural beauty aside, if you couldn’t tell by my boston suggestions, i love food. it makes me happy and i love trying new things. here are some of my favorite places in kennebunkport and kennebunk.
the ramp : one of my favorite places in kennebunkport (well, technically it’s in cape porpoise, but what can you do?). they have everything from mussels (try the portuguese style with chorizo, so good!!) and lobster rolls to greek salads and spaghetti and meatballs. you should also order the onion rings which are cut as thin as paper. they are my equivalent of crack. food aside, the view over the lobster boats in the harbor and the historical decor make this place truly special. i should also mention, they have an upstairs restaurant, pier 77, that has the same menu, just not as casual and nostalgic as the ramp, but equally impressive.
alisson’s : this pub in dock square is always crowded and does not take reservations so do yourself a favor and download the app no wait and put yourself on the waiting list virtually. when you’re there, the best place to sit is at the bar (say hi to rich, he’s been there forever) or at the tables in the bar area. order the lobster roll, clam chowder or my favorite, the buffalo shrimp. their buffalo sauce is the best i have ever had.
hurricane : also located in dock square, this restaurant has traditional new england fare, a view of the river and really shows off the charm of the town. i have taken everyone in my family here when they have come to visit and i think they have all walked away debating who had the better meal.
earth : one of the coolest places in kennebunkport. they have an amazing bar, a real tree with lights in their restaurant, and fires burning both inside and out. it’s only open seasonally but is worth making the effort to go when you’re visiting. you can also book a room in one of their cozy, perfectly decorated cottages. it’s picture perfect.
the tides : i took the millennials here when they came to visit. marissa and i had oysters and seafood, while the other two had something anti-fish, so clearly they have something for everyone. it’s also located across the street from goose rocks beach where you can take some selfies on selfies before or after dinner if you so desire.
white barn inn : if you’re feeling fancy fancy, this is the place to go in kennebunkport. jacket and tie are required, but it’s beyond worth it. housed in restored barns from the 1800’s this five star restaurant is truly a hidden gem in new england. i really enjoy coming here around christmas time when everything has that extra christmas sparkle. as you would assume, they have outstanding food and an amazing wine list.
on the marsh : charming new england at its finest. a great menu with a scenic location complete with a sailboat on the marshland. this is one of my favorite places in the area, and a short drive up the main road to kennebunk.
pedro’s : an awesome mexican restaurant in kennebunk that has a great outdoor patio and a lively bar inside. they have a great selection of mexican beer and also make a mean margarita. the enchiladas are my favorite, along with their homemade guacamole. olé!
50 local : located in downtown kennebunk, this restaurant uses local ingredients and has a menu that changes daily. i’ve had some really amazing meals here and am always looking forward to going back. if you want something that is sourced from local farmers and fishermen, then this is the place to go. if they have the halibut when you’re there, order it. it’s always delicious regardless of preparation.
interested in some shopping? head down to dock square and a few places beyond to visit some of my favorite maine shops, including the candy store smartly named candy man.
daytrip society : i absolutely love this shop. they have the cutest candles, cards, games, jewelry, books, and a bit of everything else. if you are looking for something for a gift for someone, or yourself, stop in and you’ll definitely find it here. they have a ton of maine-specific things here so it’s a great place to get a frame-worth card to remember your trip.
daytrip jr.. : this is the kids store to the one above. the best place for a baby or children’s gift. they have clothing, books, toys and so much more. i don’t even have any children and i stop in every time i am in dock square just to look because it’s just so darn cute.
scalawags : if you love your pets and like spending money on them, you will absolutely love this store. they have everything from treats and toys to leashes, jackets, bowls and a connection to get a portrait of your pet painted by an artist. dogs are welcome (except for mine who would be ransacking the place, so she stays home) so bring your pooch in when you stop by.
landmark gallery : looking for some artwork? stop by landmark gallery to have a look at paintings by the owner and other local area artists. i bought this painting several years back and i am still as obsessed with it now as i was then. (the scene is from gloucester, massachusetts incase you were wondering).
farm + table : located in a red barn with an iconic vintage red pickup truck in the front, this is one of the best shops for everything you need for entertaining. they have a ton of items handcrafted by local artisans to spruce up your home, kitchen and pet. they also have little snacks and candies for purchase, i personally can recommend the sea salt caramels. they are deliciously addictive.
snug harbor farm : an absolute must-see place in kennebunk. i have bought about a million dollars worth of succulents from here but they also have the cutest shop inside with everything from jewelry and planters to candles and air plants. and don’t miss the live animals out back, including a sassy peacock.
and there you have it. a trip to boston and maine planned out just for you. i’m sure i have forgotten a million things so feel free to send me a message if you need anymore suggestions, or even hotel recommendations. you want ‘um and i got ‘um….. and on that note, happy 242nd birthday america, i love ya and boston will be setting off fireworks just for you tonight.
p.s. in keeping with the travel and all things america theme, i have been to 45/50 states in the united states so if anyone wants to visit north dakota with me, holla. (others include: alabama, alaska, louisiana, and mississippi)
keep reading, keep checking in… i promise it gets better.
UP NEXT: a norwegian spring, skipping off to skopje, and loving ljubljana.