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4 Halloween Happenings in Boston

If your Halloween is not so happening, spice it up at one of these four events taking place around Boston this Halloween.

  1. Fenway Park Trick-or-TreatingHere’s a win-win: The kids get candy, and you get to walk around the legendary Fenway Park. This Halloween, children and adults alike are invited to go trick-or-treating around the field’s Warning Track, receiving candy from the park’s staff. Wally will make an appearance, as will the Sox’s three World Series trophies. Additional fun includes balloon artists, face painting, caricatures, and stilt walker Big League Brian. But before the big event, there’s a pumpkin contest on Thursday, October 29—enter your carved masterpieces from 5-7:30 p.m. If yours is one of the top three winners, it’ll be on display during the Fenway Park Halloween festivities for all to see. Free, Saturday, October 31, 1-5 p.m., Fenway Park, Gate C, redsox.mlb.com.
  2. No Tricks, Just Treats at Boston Harbor Hotel’s Spooky Tea. The Rowes Wharf Sea Grille invites you and your little ones to put on your BHH_Rowes Wharf Spooky Tea 3costumes and celebrate Halloween in the city. Dip into their Witches’ Brew Apple Cider, don their DIY caps and decorate a few cookies then fill their own trick-or-treat bag with Halloween goodies to take home.  Kids will get a kick out of the Trick-or-Treat Treasure Hunt. while the adults in tow can sip champagne and enjoy a monstrous selection of seasonal treats like scarily delectable tea sandwiches, scones and holiday cookies.   Reservations are required and this party does not come cheap ($45 per adult, $20 for children 12 and under). The festivities take place Friday, October 30, Saturday, October 31 & Sunday, November 1, 2015 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, Inside the Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA, (617) 856-774.
  3. Brick-or-Treat at Legoland Combine two of kids favorite things- Halloween and LEGOS and you’ll be happy to bring your little monsters to Legoland This October for Brick-o-Treat.  The transformation Legoland has taken creates a Halloween LEGO wonderland that will have you just as mesmerized as your kids.  A Monster Mash scavenger hunt will lead your kids through Miniland where you’ll encounter clues to find your treasure. Add a spooky pumpkin trail, and a themed a building challenge and you have the makings of a candy-free Halloween. $14.95-$29.95 (children under 3 free),  Saturday, October 31, Legoland Discovery Center, 598 Assembly Row, Somerville, 866228-6439, legolanddiscoverycenter.com.
  4.  “Heroes & Villains” at Brass Union. If you’re an adult who can sneak away and are looking to party like you did pre-kids then you should headimage006 to “Heroes & Villains” at Brass Union. Head to Brass Union for an adults only comic-themed Halloween bash that will have your kids green with envy. Enjoy the dance party, costume contest, themed libations and candy.   DJ ABD will take to the turntables and spin a variety of genres from hip-hop, funk and soul to ‘80s hits. For good measure, DJ ABD will mix in a dose of Halloween classics so revelers can do their best “Monster Mash.” Brass Union, 70 Union Square, Somerville – 617.623.9211 – www.brassunion.comOctober 31 from 9pm-2am; 21+; complimentary admission.

 -Satisfying your spook this Halloween, Jess

April Vacation: Plans in a Pinch

Make the most of your spring break in Boston, without any advanced planning

April may be the height of spring in other parts of the country, but in the northeast, spring’s  just starting. The weather can be fickle making advance planning a bit of a pain when you’ve got the great outdoors on your mind. But don’t fret because there are plenty of plan in advance free options for the matriarch in a pinch.

Check out the Boston Marathon.

The finish line may be the most rowdy and crowded spot along the route with revelers enjoying the lively bar scene that calls Boylston Street home, but the ‘burbs’ offer excellent options for families to sit back, relax and cheer on those completing the 26.2 miles. Pack a picnic (just in case you can’t get food when the wee ones hunger pains kick in), bring a folding chair and set yourself up in one of the town centers that welcome visitors to take in the excitement of the Boston Marathon. Options include:  Ashland, Natick Town Green, Wellesley, or Newton City Hall.

Get cultured at the MFA.

This may not be an outdoor activity, but trekking the kids to a Boston museum from your parking spot, or on the MBTA in the pouring rain is not exactly exciting. Throughout the week of April 20th, 2015, the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) will welcome early art enthusiasts to explore their inner Picasso with activities that make kids feel welcome and excite them about art. All the while allowing you to enjoy a bit of culture without worrying that their behavior will have you banned for life.

Head to a zoo before the summer crowds arrive.

Courtesy of Zoo New England
Courtesy of Zoo New England

Boston’s sprawling urban animal kingdom, Franklin Park Zoo hosts a variety of activities beyond their usual round-up.

Celebrate Earth day on April 24 with a Party for the Planet.  Along with exciting activities, you will learn what you can do to keep Earth happy. The party kicks off at 10:00 a.m. and continues until 3:00 p.m.

Enjoy animal exploration. You’ll be privy to a lesson about a specific animal in a fun, kid friendly way.  April 20 and 22 will find visitors engaged by Linne’s Two-toed Sloth at 10:00 a.m. and the Camel at 1:30 p.m. While April 21 and 23  showcases Tigers at 10:15 a.m. and Kea at 11:00 a.m.

Teens can get hands-on with Zoo New England’s ZooTeens where fun and educational activities are taking place daily from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Courtesy of Zoo New England
Courtesy of Zoo New England

Enjoy the Aussie Aviary kicking off its season just in time for April school vacation week. Open weather permitting from 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day this week. Visit with a seedstick in hand (available for purchase); meander through brightly colored budgies in an interactive space and you may just create a landing zone for birds to visit directly with you.

For a mere $5 fee (in addition to zoo admission)  you can head off to Africa, on a motion simulator ride that takes you on a 6D high-speed chase to capture poachers. Making your way amongst wildlife like elephants and wildebeest you’ll work with rangers to return a baby rhino to his mother.

Visit the Stone Zoo April 20 – 24, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and go beyond learning about the animals who live there to meet those who care for them. Zookeepers will be out and about for meet and greets at scheduled times, scavenger hunts will be set-up and other exciting hands-on activities await you like a very special Princess and Frog Day.

If you’re still seeking last minute things to do; check out USA TODAY’s 10best and find fun family friendly attractions for families with kids of all ages.

Encouraging every Amazing Matriarch to turn an ordinary April vacation extraordinary, Jess

Tell us about your April vacation adventures! Find Amazing Matriarch on Facebook: Amazing Matriarch, Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter: @AMatriarch;  #amazingmatriarch. 

St. Patrick’s Day Happenings in Boston

Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was known for bringing Christianity as well as its rich history and culture to Ireland. Observed on the day of his death, March 17thSaint Patrick’s Day is credited as the drunkest holiday. Every March 17th the Irish diaspora celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick and pay homage to “the Apostle of Ireland” and his legacy by wearing green, eating and drinking, and attending parades all over the world.  But you don’t have to be from Irish decent in order to join in on the fun.

Here is what is happening in and around Boston that will bring the Irish out in everyone:

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade South Boston – March 15 

The “Southie” parade as locals know it, is one of the largest St. Patty’s Day parades in the country. Held the Sunday before Saint Patrick’s Day, you can join in the festivities on Sunday, March 15th at 1pm (regardless of the snow banks).

The 2015 parade route has been shortened due to record snow still lingering along Boston’s streets. Starting on West Broadway the parade will end on Farragut Road.

If you plan to attend the parade, plan accordingly; people start lining up as early as 9am to save spots along the route.  If you can’t stay for the duration of the parade, be sure to note that the streets of Southie will close at 11am until the parade has finished; no cars are allowed in or out during that timeframe.

If you are heading in as a family (with children), make your way to the east side of the parade route as it is more family friendly than the west side.  Parking is available along William J Day Boulevard and a short walk brings you to the parade route.

As a former resident of South Boston, and an annual attendee, I can say with expertise that this parade is a must see for kids and adults alike.

Hard Rock Café Boston (22-24 Clinton Street, Boston, www.hardrock.com/cafes/boston) – March 13 – 17

The Hard Rock Cafe Boston will offer St. Paddy’s Day limited-edition Irish inspired fare. This fare includes:

Hard RockPhotos
Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Cafe
  • Irish Mule – made with Jameson whiskey, ginger beer and lime. An Irish twist on an old favorite!
  •   Irish Reuben- this sandwich is filled with slow-cooked, hand-carved corned beef brisket, then topped with crispy sauerkraut, creamy Thousand Island dressing and aged Swiss cheese atop a salt-crusted pretzel roll, served with Hard Rock’s special crispy fries and a side of citrus-spiked coleslaw.

On March 17, The Joshua Tree (The nation’s premiere tribute band to U2) will be playing U2 hits live from the Hard Rock Cafe Boston’s cavern club stage on St. Patricks Day from 7pm – 11pm. Tickets available for $10.

Saloon (255 Elm Street, Somerville, www.saloondavis.com) – March 17

The Saloon in Davis Square is serving up a trio of hearty, traditional Irish dishes to complement its extensive Irish whiskey portfolio.

  • Guinness Braised Corned Beef & Cabbage – roasted red potatoes and baby carrots, stone ground mustard – $20
  • Shepherd’s Pie Vol-au-Vents – Yukon Gold whipped potatoes – $18
  • Bangers & Roasted Garlic Mashed – caramelized shallot beef gravy – $12                                      

For entertainment or for anyone that wants to get their jig on, The Saloon is featuring the Dunns River band live from 7:00pm – 11:00pm. From 4:00pm – 7:00pm, Dunns River will play an Irish set at Saloon’s sister restaurant upstairs, Foundry on Elm.

The Independent, Union Square Eatery and Bar (75 Union Square, Somerville, www.theindo.com) – March 17

The Independent will open its doors at 11am to celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick with an Emerald Isle traditional inspired menu and cocktails.  Classic dishes include:

  • Irish Breakfast – two fried eggs, grilled tomato, black and white pudding, Irish sausage, Irish bacon, fried potatoes, Irish baked beans, Irish soda bread – $12
  • Corned Beef Dinner – corned beef, boiled potatoes, cabbage, turnips, carrots and onions – $16
  • Irish Bangers & Mash – Irish pork sausage with mashed potatoes and baked beans – $13
  • Irish Guinness Beef Stew $16
  • Lamb Sandwich – Lamb with Irish cheddar, roasted garlic puree, fries – $14

The special lineup of liquid courage includes:

  • The Brotherhood – Jameson, Benedictine, Grand Marnier, lemon – $11
  • Chicory Stout – whiskey, chicory maple syrup, whiskey bitters, Guinness – $10
  • Ceangoba Toddy – apple-cinnamon infused Jameson, Benedictine, lemon peel, served warm – $9

Puritan & Company (1166 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, www.puritancambridge.com) – March 17

Puritan & Company is offering guests a delicious three-course prix fixe boiled dinner this St. Patrick’s Day for $40.  Dinner begins at 5pm and for an additional price there will be a selection of local craft beers for meal pairing.

Give Amazing Matriarch a shout out on social media by using the #AmazingMatriarch and don’t forget to #GoGreen4PatricksDay with your St. Patty’s Day attire.

Find our Facebook page: Amazing Matriarch; Instagram: amazingamtriarch orTwitter:@AMatriarch

Being Irish is very much a part of who I am.  I take it everywhere with me.” – Colin Farrell

– Just one Irish girl sharing a taste of my traditions, Thia

National Pi Day Specials in Boston Tomorrow

Tomorrow is National Pi Day and Boston area restaurants are serving up pies in all shapes and forms in honor of this smart day.  Put on your smartie pants and take advantage of these delectable specials (3/14/15 only) in and around the area.

Salvatore’s – All Salvatore’s restaurant locations including  Boston’s Seaport & Theater District as well Medford, Andover and Lawrence  will serve up their signature flatbread pizzas for $3.14.  This special offer is only available on March 14th, 2015 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. 

The handcrafted pizzas include Bruschetta with tomato, basil, garlic and red onion, fresh mozzarella and balsamic reduction, Rabe and Bacon with braised broccoli rabe, bacon, pepperoncino and mozzarella, Sweet Orchard with sweet Italian sausage, spinach, caramelized apples and gorgonzola, Salvatore’s take on the traditional Margherita, and Sweet Chili Chicken with roasted chicken, sweet chili sauce and mozzarella.

Salvatore’s will also offer specialty cocktails to pair with the many flatbreads including:

  • Basil Berry Martini ($11) with New Amsterdam vodka, St. Germaine, lime juice, and fresh strawberries.
  • Boston Sunset ($9) with New Amsterdam red berry and orange vodkas, Bacardi dragon berry rum, peach schnapps, orange juice and a splash of grenadine.
Brass Union - Apple Pies resized
Photo courtesy of Brass Union

Brass Union is serving up some special all american apple pie : three mini apple pies, burnt sugar, ice cream, cinnamon, apple compote for the low price of $6. Brass Union is located at 70 Union Square, Somerville – 617.623.9211 – www.brassunion.com

Photo courtesy of Cask ‘n Flagon
Photo courtesy of Cask ‘n Flagon

Head on over to Fenway for one last pre-season look at this soon to be bustling area, and bite into a slice of Oreo Cookie Pie at Cask ‘n Flagon; this cake batter ice cream and Oreo cookies creations adds special touches like raspberry swirls and chocolate fudge for 62 Brookline Avenue, Boston – 617.536.4840 – www.casknflagon.com.

Photo courtesy of The Tip Tap Room
Photo courtesy of The Tip Tap Room

The Tip Tap Room at 138 Cambridge Street, Boston, has a very special sweet treat Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie on the menu in honor of Pi DayChef Poe’s family recipe, this $8 delight is the ideal end to a fulfilling meal.  857.350.3344 – www.thetiptaproom.com

Photo courtesy of Legal Seafoods
Photo courtesy of Legal Seafoods

All of Legal Sea Foods locations  will be serving up an area classic, Boston Cream Pie. Making it a little extra special they’ll be incorporating a chocolate sauce, rum caramel sauce, and toffee almond crunch  into this $7.95 must try dessert. 

Photo courtesy of Legal Sea Foods
Photo courtesy of Legal Sea Foods

They’ll also transport you to the tropics with the sweet/tart combo of their Key Lime Pie. Served with a side of lime cream, and pomegranate sauce for $7.95 this is one dessert you won’t want to skip. www.legalseafoods.com

Give Amazing Matriarch a shout out on social media by using the #AmazingMatriarch with your best pics on this or any National Pi Day Adventure.

Find our Facebook page: Amazing Matriarch; Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter:@AMatriarch

Pi Day at the Charles Hotel – Enjoy 31.4% off Room Rates – Sale Starts 3/13

Enjoy 3.14159 Day on 3/14/15 with 31.4% at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. March 14th is Pi Day, a time for math lovers, and those who like any excuse for a party, to celebrate. 

Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Get in on the Pi Day action by taking advantage of a great hotel deal.

In recognition of Pi Day, The Charles on Harvard Square is holding a one of a kind FLASH SALE.  The sale takes place on Friday March 13th from 9am-5pm. What a better way to celebrate 3/14 than to be in Harvard Square with scholars and intellectuals alike at the Charles Hotel; the ‘smart’ place to stay.  Not available to spend Pi Day at the Charles Hotel, no problem!  This offer is available for travel dates:  March 14th – May 11th ensuring you get your stay at Pi Day prices.

To add a bit of fun trivia, 3/14 was also the day Albert Einstein was born.

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”  – Albert Einstein

Experience the Charles and follow the pattern; make a smart decision to book a stay at this smart hotel!

Boston Heats Up for National Margarita Day

Saturday February 22nd is National Margarita Day.  Head out for a night (or day) on the town and follow this special Boston margarita crawl to pay homage to this sacred cocktail of tequila, triple sec and lime.  For some extra fun, slip into character by wearing your best sombrero and poncho.

Legal Harborside in the seaport district is featuring 2 extra special margarita’s:

  • Top Shelf Margarita – Patrón Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, lime cordial, lemon juice ($13; available on the first floor)
  • Top Deck Margarita – LSF barrel-selected Corazon Anejo Tequila, triple sec, lime (single – $10; small – $28 large – $55; available on the rooftop)

One of each, please!

Mango MargaritaWalk across the street to Legal Test Kitchen (LTK) and try the Mango Margarita.  For $10 you can wet your pallet with Pueblo Viejo Blanco Tequila, Bols Triple Sec, mango nectar, lime, agave.  This delicious mango concoction will be also be featured at all Legal Sea Food locations.

A little taste of the tropics in the middle of winter.

Green Tea MargaritaGrab a ride across town to Haru at the Prudential.  Sip on the Green Tea Margarita ($13) consisting of Patrón Silver Tequila, Cointreau, sweet green tea powder and sour mix.

Indulge in this delightfully different drink on National Margarita Day.

Cranberry Jalapeno MargaritaFinsh the day with a quick walk over to Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake on Boylston Street.  Sip on their spicy winter spin on the day’s drink of honor- a Cranberry Jalapeno Margarita for $12 which consists of Patrón Añejo, muddled jalapeños & cranberries, Drambuie, Rattlesnake margarita mix.

Cheers!

Give Amazing Matriarch a shout out on social media by using the #AmazingMatriarch with your best pics on this or any National Margarita Day margarita crawl (or margarita) you create. 

Find our Facebook page: Amazing Matriarch; Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Jess on Twitter: @10bestjess

“I drink to make other people more interesting.”   – Ernest Hemingway

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Rock Hard at Boston’s Hard Rock Cafe This Valentine’s Day

It’s getting closer… Valentine’s Day 2015. And for those who prefer music to fine dining, you’ll find Boston’s Hard Rock Cafe has just the thing for you.

If you prefer fun to fancy, make your way to Boston’s Hard Rock Cafe where for $87.50 per person their “Rock of Love” package gets you dinner : an appetizer, entree of choice, dessert and bottle of wine of champagne. It may sound similar to most  Valentine’s Day deals but here’s the kicker, the “Rock of Love” package adds 2 tickets to the Love the 80’s Valentine’s Day Ball featuring the ultimate 80’s cover band, RUBIX KUBE with the opportunity to meet the band before the show. Tickets are still available but are going fast, get yours today by using Ticketweb because after all, Valentine’s Day is only a few days away.

-Setting out to expose Boston’s unique Valentine’s Day dates before it’s too late, Jess

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Winter Attire Tip: Layer Up & Embrace the Cold

IMG_3766
Bundled up to brave the elements

I was once winter phobic, self diagnosing myself with “seasonal affective disorder” the second I heard it was a thing, and hibernating until the last bit of snow had melted. I was mostly miserable from November until April, and really unsure of why I lived in Boston (in truth, I like to be able to see my family, and that’s the reason I never left). Fast-forward to my mid-thirties, 2 kids and a job that has me traveling to check out winter activities, and my outlook has totally changed; I’ve learned to embrace winter and it’s made me a better person.

Bundled up, in every warm layer I own, with a value pack of hand and foot warmers in my bag for “just in case”, I have fun, outdoors, all winter long.

My new found love affair with winter started when my son began ice skating and my husband built him an ice rink in our back yard (a city kid myself, I still think this is the most amazing thing I’d ever seen). I wanted to be out there so badly that I’d toss my figure skates and ski pants with a cute little hat and fashionable wool coat to take a few twirls before finding myself frozen and begging my then two year old to come in.

Mommy & Marcus hockey in our yard
Mommy & Marcus hockey in our yard

I was so disappointed, I turned to my winter expert, my husband (who has not bought himself an article of clothing since before we met, and has me choose his suit daily)  for winter fashion tips. And although I really did not like what I heard, I slowly succumbed to his suggestions, and as much as I hate to admit it; his tips are 100% responsible for making me a winter warrior.

He taught me how to dress for warmth (rather than style), and layer myself into a nice cocoon of warmth that can get me through a few slope-side hours in the (sunny, windless) single digits. I replaced my Ugg boots with REI recommended warm, waterproof  Vasque  boots, traded my dress socks for Smartwool socks (snag for less at Nordstrom Rack where they’re often only $10/pair) and layered the crap out of my clothes. I’ve been known to pile 5 (thin) layers beneath my coat and three beneath my snow pants (Under Armour & The North Face are my favorite layering brands). I bought thick, insulated, waterproof, $70 winter gloves (because I lost one of mine enroute to Stowe last weekend) and a hat I hate being seen in, but love on my head on a cold winter day. And when the cold takes my breath away I turn to Turtle Fur to protect my neck and face.

And I’m warm.

Skiing at Stowe this past weekend, the weather was frigid, the staff of locals at the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa, where I was staying, made it clear they would not be visiting the mountain that day, the room on the shuttle, short lift lines, and crowd in the lodge confirmed it was a crazy cold day. But we were determined to brave it.

Snow Shoeing home from Thia's
Snow Shoeing home from Thia’s

Truth is, dressed for the weather, we hardly noticed the sub-zero temps, making my first time on skis in five years, the best ski day skiing I’ve ever had.

Not only was I toasty warm, but I got to enjoy my daughter’s first day skiing, my son’s first time on the chairlift and my husband’s ability to make even the coldest outing fun.

So, I’ll keep the layers on, forget how silly I look, skate, ski, snowshoe, build snowmen all winter long, and enjoy every moment of fun that winter has to offer- with or without my kids by my side.

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.Anton Chekhov

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