Roxbury Highlands Tour – August 30 at 2 PM

Join me and several other talented Boston By Foot walking tour guides as we lead a special Tour of the Month of Roxbury Highlands.  The tour begins at 2 pm on Sunday, August 30 at Roxbury Crossing station on the MBTA Orange Line.

Practical vinyl siding side-by-side with full-on restoration to Victorian era.

We start in the Stony Brook valley and work our way uphill and through history to the top of Fort Hill, passing through Roxbury’s colonial town center at Eliot Square along the way.  Learn how Roxbury went from early colonial settlement to strategic military location to bucolic suburb to immigration destination to one of Boston’s densest neighborhoods.  See Roxbury Highlands continue to transform with ongoing restoration and new construction.

Photo of Alvah Kittredge house from 2007, you won’t believe what it looks like now!

The full description of the tour is on the Boston By Foot website where you can also pre-order tickets!

The Roxbury Highlands tour explores a remarkable neighborhood. Our tour travels through the center of colonial Roxbury:  Eliot Square, where the First Church proudly stands as the oldest wooden church in Boston. The Highlands flourished in the mid-19th century as a garden suburb with many pear and apple orchards.  There was even an apple named after the area – the Roxbury Russet.  We will see wonderful Greek Revival and Victorian houses along our route and discuss some of the amazing individuals who called this area home including Edward Everett Hale – author of The Man Without a Country, and Louis Prang – who printed the first Christmas cards in America.   Finally, we finish on top of the hill at the Roxbury Standpipe, in a lovely park which occupies the location of the Roxbury High Fort. Come explore with us!

More photos from the 2007 tour to whet your whistle for Sunday.

Song of the Week: “Sapokanikan” by Joanna Newsom

I embrace my inner hipster and declare that I have a mad crush on Joanna Newsom.  Her latest track “Sapokanikan” relates a hidden history of New York City.  I mean, it’s certainly the best song I’ve ever heard that invokes Tammany Hall.  Read more about why we love this song at NPR Music.

Beer Review: Cambridge Brewing Bo-Steam-Ian Lager

Beer: Bo-Steam-ian Lager
Brewer: Cambridge Brewing Company
Source: Draft
Rating: *** (7.6 of 10)
Comments: An interesting blend of beers bringing together the Czech pilsner with the California-style steam beer.  The beer has a rich golden color with a bit of haziness, but not much head. The aroma is an earthy bread crust.  The taste is reminiscent of sweet pasty but with a spicy, fruity tang. There’s just enough hops bitterness for balance, but not enough to overwhelm the beer. The beer has a medium mouthfeel and leaves behind a light lacing.  This is a well-crafted and tasty experiment.

Beer Review: Berkshire Hoosac Tunnel Amber

Beer: Hoosac Tunnel Amber
Brewer: Berkshire Brewing Company
Source: Draft
Rating: *** (7.1 of 10)
Comments:

This amber ale is a comforting cloudy copper brown. The aromas include a biscuit scent with hints of fruit.  The taste is bready with a peppery finish and a sweet caramel aftertaste.  It’s a well-balanced brew that fills the mouth with flavor.  My kind of beer.

Beer Review: Night Shift Belafonte

Beer: Belafonte
BrewerNight Shift Brewing
Source: Draft
Rating: *** (7 of 10)
Comments: A hazy orange beer, with very little head.  The aroma is citrus fruit with a bit of earthy yeast.  The taste is tangy with spiciness and pepper flavor, balanced with sweet toffee.  The mouthfeel is light.  Overall this beer has a nice farmhouse aura to it.

Movie Review: Cars 2 (2011)

Title: Cars 2
Release Date: 2011
Director:  John Lasseter, Brad Lewis
Production Co:  Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Animation | Family | Comedy
Rating: 5 of 10

I had low expectations for this movie since Cars is my least favorite of the Pixar films and the premise for this one sounded, well, …. dumb.  But my daughter wanted to watch it and even after she fell asleep in my lap, I kept watching.  Lightning McQueen, the main character  (car-actor?) of the first movie is barely in a supporting role this time as his friend Mater the Tow Truck takes the central role.  Mater feels out-of-place on a world tour of grand prix races and finds himself caught up in international espionage.  It’s basically a remake of Bill Murray’s The Man Who Knew Too Little, with an unsophisticated character stumbling around and successfully outwitting the baddies.  And it’s funny and it’s got heart and it’s got some clever bits.  I don’t know if kids actually get all the machinations of the complex plot, but hey, if they get a good nap out of it and Dad still finds it watchable, that’s not a bad thing.

Book Review: First Family by Joseph Ellis

Author: Joseph J. Ellis
Title:  First Family
Narrator: Kimberly Farr
Publication Info: Random House Audio (2010), Edition: Unabridged
Previously Read by Same Author: American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams, and Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation
Summary/Review:

Historian Joseph Ellis explores the relationship of Abigail and John Adams, and how it was effected by the Revolutionary Era, not to mention the effect they had on fomenting revolution.  The main source for this history is their voluminous correspondence which shows that they saw one another as intellectual equals discussing the issues of the day, but also demonstrated a romantic attachment.  While Abigail is the more grounded of the two balancing John’s fiery personality, there are instances where Abigail seems more extreme, such as her support of going to war with France during John’s presidency or her approval of the Alien & Sedition Acts.  Since the book relies so heavily on correspondence, there is more material for the times that they were apart than when they were together and obviously not writing one another.  For the later years after John’s presidency, Ellis relies on the pair’s correspondence with other individuals (including the famed letters to and from Thomas Jefferson), but it loses the intimacy of the earlier parts of the book.  Ellis may have done better to pare the book down just to the years where correspondence between Abigail and John exists rather than attempt the story of their entire lives, but that’s a minor quibble.  This book paints a human portrait of the “venerable” couple from the time of the nation’s birth.
Recommended books: John Adams by David McCullough and Revolutionaries by Jack Rakove.
Rating: ***1/2

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,369 other followers

%d bloggers like this: