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Boston | Local Guides

Where to Find Balance in Boston

We all could benefit from bringing more balance into our lives. Our busy work and social calendars can burn us out and tire us out easily. That’s why we’re bringing you a series of recommendations for the best places to find disconnection and balance.

We still believe leaving the city is the best way to recharge, but that’s not always possible, so it’s important to find sanctuaries even in the middle of our cities.

Here are some of our recommendations for our favorite places to find restoration in Boston.

For Meditation

Meditation

If you’re looking to practice your deep-breathing and meditative skills, sign up for a class at Mindful Boston. The meditation center offers everything from beginner classes to professional training. If you’re new to the practice and just want to try it out, check out their free weekly community nights.

For Greenery

Greenery

We all need to spend time outside. Large parks and gardens are there for when we can’t go all the way to a state park, and the Boston Public Gardens is the perfect spot. Find a moment of solitude by taking a nap under a tree or watching ducks play in the pond.

For Walking

Walk Outside

If you’re looking to take a solo walk, consider taking a trip to the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain. There are miles of trails to follow and plenty of beautiful plants and trees to stop and admire.

For Yoga

Yoga

If you prefer to disconnect through mindful exercise, check out Down Under Yoga. The local studio boasts a large group of skilled yoga teachers and aims to “help people and communities realize the best version of themselves.”

Boston Outpost

These are all great practices to build balance back into your routine. Sometimes, though, nothing beats a quick and simple escape from the city.

Features

Give Back this MLK Day

This long weekend, consider spending doing something for your community. Ever since the 1980s, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been marked a day of service and it now serves as an annual reminder to volunteer in the communities we live and work in.

We’ve picked one volunteer event in New York, DC, and Boston that you can sign up to participate in this Monday.

New York

Public parks are important – they serve as small gateways to the natural world within our cities, and we believe in keeping them clean. Join the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation for one of the cleanup projects happening in Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx.

Help keep the outdoors clean.

Boston

A collection of local volunteer organizations, including The Massachusetts Service Alliance and Mayor Walsh’s Senior Corps, are joining together to create care packages for homeless youth in Boston. Volunteers will work together and learn about youth homelessness.

D.C.

Lend a helping hand at the annual blanket and toiletry drive. Volunteers will help package and deliver 1,200 kits to people in need in DC, Prince George’s County, and Montgomery County. You can also donate blankets, shelf-stable snacks, and hygiene products.

The list doesn’t end there. There are plenty of places that still need volunteers for this Monday and many other ways to support local organizations, national parks, and more. Here at Getaway, we hope everyone has a happy MLK Day.

Features | Local Guides

Celebrating Small Businesses

In honor of Small Business Saturday, we wanted to recognize some of our favorite local business and restaurants around our Outposts.

Small Business Saturday near our NY Outpost

antiques

Homer & Langley’s Mystery Spot Antiques, 72 Main St, Phoenicia, NY 12464

Owner Laura Levine named her Catskills antique staple after the famous Collyer brothers, who were crushed under their joint accumulation of collectables, and her store is packed to the rafters with truly everything. Her “shrine to clutter” is full of quirky and enigmatic objects, from vinyls and fashion pieces to old cameras, dinnerware, radios, and photographs.

Rive Gauche Bistro, 7 2nd St, Athens, NY 12015

Rive Gauche Bistro feels like a little piece of France just off the Hudson River. Chef Joe Landa worked in NY fine dining before opening his restaurants in charming Athens with partner Brooke Lynski, who designed the restaurant. This little French bistro serves wonderful plates, from apps to dessert from brunch ‘til dinner and beyond. Weekend brunches fill up quickly for the coffee and baked goods and, later in the evening, a great wine menu. The French onion soup is, of course, one of the highlights.

Gracie’s, 969 Main St, Leeds, NY 12451

Sitting on a hill overlooking a creek and the Catskills, Gracie’s Luncheonette serves hot comfort food for not only lunch, but well into dinner and beyond. Culinary Institute of America graduates Allyson Merritt and Andrew Speilberg opened the space in 2015 as a commissary kitchen for their food truck, and it quickly became well-known for its American signatures. Meals are leisurely and delicious, and the plates that standout are the fresh donuts, homemade Italian sodas and ketchup, waffles and fried chicken with maple syrup, and their assortment of pies.

Small Business Saturday near our DC Outpost

beer brewery

Bald Top Brewing Co., 1830 Thrift Rd, Madison, VA 22727

Scottish immigrant and land owner John Henry Price began building the Manor House and Stone Kitchen that would become Bald Top Brewing Co. in 1805. He didn’t live to see its completion in 1814, and the 53-acre farming property changed hands five times before it was acquired by Dave Fulton and Julie Haines in 2012. The couple transformed the farm into a family brewery. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Bald Top Brewing Co. serves a diverse assemblage of ales and beers and live music on the weekends.

Bizou, 119 West Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Chefs and co-owners Vincent Derquenne and Timothy Burgess opened Bizou in 1996 with a commitment to local and sustainable food sourcing to cook up their classic VA creations prepared with French culinary techniques. Visitors can dine outside on the patio and people watch or inside in the restaurant’s vintage dining room that, complete with jukeboxes, old film posters, and classic booths, oozes an old-timey character and ambiance in this lively college town.

Bluegrass Grill & Bakery, 313 2nd St SE, Charlottesville, VA 22902

This brunch-obsessed restaurant opened its doors in 2001 and rolled out its American, Southern-style breakfast and brunch plates. All bread, biscuits, and pastries are homemade and the menu is vegetarian friendly, even though the owners admit to their obsession with bacon on everything. UVA students cite Bluegrass as a “before you graduate” staple, and the banana and red velvet pancakes will make you wish you lived closer to Charlottesville so you could eat here every weekend. Heads up: they are cash only, so come prepared.

Small Business Saturday near our Boston Outpost

crepe

The Little Crêperie, 138 N Main St, Concord, NH 03301

This adorable cafe opened in 2016 to serve breakfasts and lunches of sweet and savory crepes and waffles. Owners Melina Ambargis and Cristina Hoppe began The Little Crêperie together when they struggled to find good places to grab lunch while working office jobs. Their restaurant offers unique yet familiar tastes to Concord, such as the classic Nutella-banana crepe or a macaroni-and-cheese waffle. Alongside lemonade, cold brew, mimosas, coffee, and tea, fresh ingredients fill each pastry with plenty of vegan options. You can even create a custom crepe to try something different with every visit.

The Farmer’s Kitchen, 444 NH-11, Farmington, NH 03835

The Farmer’s Kitchen is the definition of a mom-and-pop eatery. Owner Duane White began cooking at age 4, and he returned to New Hampshire after restauranteering in the Midwest to open a cozy eatery, complete with a 1910 cook stove. It’s a must-stop for breakfast and lunch, serving up great food and big portions at a good price. Everything down to the coffee is delicious, and the gluten-free and vegetarian options are no exception. Approaching 10 years in operation, this restaurant treats everyone like family and is loved by locals and visitors alike.

Sweet Baby Vineyard, 260 Stage Rd, Hampstead, NH 03841

Lewis and Stacey Eaton began making wine in 2008 as a hobby, and it quickly grew into a family business. Growing up in New Hampshire instilled in them a love of fresh produce from the local orchards and farms, and the family decided to incorporate these tastes into their wines. Their 8-acre location in Hampstead hosts year-round tastings of their award-winning bouquets, reds, whites, and fruit wines.

Local Guides | Nature

Explore Our Favorite Hikes

Falling on November 17 this year, National Take a Hike Day is all about exploring the over 60,000 miles of trails throughout the United States. We’re sharing our favorite paths from each of our Outposts. Wear some sturdy shoes, pack extra water and snacks, and bring along a friend to celebrate with us.

Best Hike around DC

Hike

Hightop Mountain, around Mile 68 of Skyline Drive, VA

Hightop Mountain is a pleasant 3.2 mile round trip hike that offers a 180-degree southwest view of Shenandoah National Park. Follow the Appalachian Trail for a slow and steady climb with switchbacks that build anticipation until the end. Even in cloudy conditions, the view at the peak reveals layers of the Blue Ridge mountains extending into the distance. Especially beautiful during steamy sunrises or during autumn months, Hightop Mountain is one of those hikes that even the most experienced climbers return to over the years.

Best Hike around NY

Overlook Mountain hike

Overlook Mountain, 335 Meads Mountain Road, Woodstock, NY 12498

After a gradual 2.5-mile uphill trek, the skeletal ruins of an 1920s-era hotel await hikers before they continue towards the summit of Overlook Mountain. Breathtaking views of the Hudson River Valley and infinite swaths of foliage await. If you’ve got the energy and your quads aren’t burning too badly, climb the stairs to the top of the old fire tower for an unobstructed 360-degree perspective of the surrounding scenery.

Best Hike around Boston

Bear Brook hike

Bear Brook State Park, 61 Deerfield Road, Allenstown, NH 03275

As one of the largest developed parks in New Hampshire, Bear Brook State Park’s 10,000 acres contain over 40 miles of trails at varying difficulties for every kind of hiker. Many lead to quiet summits, marshes, bogs, and ponds, where you can fish, swim, or boat. Mountain bikers and equestrians are also welcome to practice their sport. Our favorite path is Catamount Trail, about 2.2 miles roundtrip. It’s a difficult uphill climb along a rocky and steep trail. However, after winding through a red pine forest, the reward is one of the best lookouts in the entire park.

Backpack packed and boots laced? Book a cabin and explore these local hikes.

Boston | Local Guides | Nature

Best Places to Take Your Dog Outside of Boston

We sent guest writer Laurence Holyoak on a mission, along with her pup, to discover the best places to bring your dog outside of Boston. Take some time and enjoy her report on her adventures.

Rounding up a list of the best places to bring your dog outside of Boston has been my pup’s favorite assignment of the year. We tested many areas, hiked trails, swam in ponds and mucked through swamps to bring you a list of the most beautiful parks to explore with your pooch. With foliage season around the corner, this list will not disappoint.

Callahan State Park, Framingham
~39 minute drive from Boston

This park is hands-down the most dog friendly place I have ever visited. Dogs can run off-leash to their heart’s content and they have an entire group of people working to keep it that way. The Callahan Dog Owners Group, who’s board is appropriately made up of all dogs, has made it their mission to make Callahan State Park the best multi-use park in the Massachusetts State Park System. They strive to keep a safe, clean environment for all who use it.

Callahan ticks all of my boxes for a good place to bring your dog- there is nearly 100 acres of open fields to romp, two rivers to dip into, a giant network of trails to hike and a nice pond for swimming. With over 800 acres to cover, your dog will never get bored.

There are three parking areas to enter Callahan State Park, but for the dog park, you want to use the south entrance located at 311 Millwood Street. Once you cross the field, you will see Packard Pond. Grab a trail map, because the trails are not very well marked. Over 85% of the park’s visitors will have off-leash dogs, which is something to keep in mind if your dog is not very dog-friendly.  

Great Brook Farm State Park, Carlisle
~36 minute drive from Boston

This was my favorite of all of the parks I visited. Great Brook Farm is such a perfectly serene area.. There is a main trail that leads around a large pond called the Pine Point Loop. No getting lost, no maps needed, just one big circle. There are many offshoots of this main trail, so you can explore more as you get to know the area. My dog loved running off leash and since we were off the beaten track, we had the place almost all to ourselves. A place to swim is a must for my island dog and he loved being able to take a dip whenever he wanted. I loved the diversity of walking from a pine forest, through a swamp, to a meadow, ending up at another pond. Bring a towel for your pooch, because he will come out dirty on the other end.

To find the trailhead, follow North Road once you enter the park. Bypass the main parking area a quarter-mile and look for a small parking lot on your right hand side. This is also a canoe launch. You can pick up the trail system here. The cherry on top is that there is an ice cream stand on the property.

Noanet Woodlands, Dover
~34 minute drive from Boston

The Noanet Woodlands is owned by the Trustees of the Reservation, which means there is a $5 fee for a day pass. I would recommend parking at Powisset Street and walking the Peabody Loop (blue blaze) which takes about 45 minutes. This will lead you through some beautiful wooded trails passing three ponds along the way. Be sure to detour up Noanet Peak (yellow blaze), to get a beautiful view of the Boston skyline. The trails are very well marked, but grab a trail map so you don’t get turned around. There are over 17 miles of trails to explore here, allowing you to visit again and again. I was there in the late afternoon and heard a barred owl warming up his vocal cords for that night’s performance. It is amazing to be so lost in nature when you are just outside of a major city. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

Rocky Woods, Medfield
~38 minute drive from Boston

This is another Trustees of the Reservation property, which means that same $5 parking fee apply. This park is a part of the Green Dogs Program, which is an innovative approach to meeting dogs desire to have time off-leash, while sharing the space with other park users in the community. This means that there are designated trails for off-leash romping, which are usually located on the outskirts. You dog is welcome on the other trails, but must be on leash. The rules of each trail are well-marked so there is no confusion. As a person who once walked a caution dog, I can appreciate having a bit of both.

We chose to do the 1.5 mile yellow loop trail and loved crossing the narrow footbridge that cuts through Echo Pond. As my dog ran along the water’s edge, he caused a chain reaction of giant bullfrogs to jump off the bank back to the safety of the water. He thought it was the best game ever.

Sabine Woods, Groton
~54 minute drive from Boston

In Groton, MA you can find a beautiful wildlife sanctuary called Sabine Woods. After you cross the bridge, your dog can be off leash. I usually bear to the right, cross the field and walk until I reach the river. There is a trail that runs along the bank of the Nashua River. I love how the trees lean over the water, each leaf straining to get a piece of sunlight. In the spring, tree frogs will serenade you from the vernal pools just within the forest.

Throughout the sanctuary, you will find some neat statues and monuments. The park is well maintained like a nature reserve. The public access trail will eventually end at the Groton Boat House where you will have to turn back and retrace your steps. On a hot day, your dog will love running down to the banks of the river to get a drink or cool off.

Remember to be respectful and clean up after your dog. Have fun exploring.

 

Laurence Holyoak is a writer for Journeys and Jaunts which gives weekly inspiration for traveling with kids and dogs. She lives with her three children, two rescued dogs and two cats. Her mission is to show her kids, including her dogs, the world.

For more inspiration for traveling with your dog, visit Journeys and Jaunts here.

Boston | Local Guides | New York City

From NYC to New Hampshire: The Perfect Road Trip

Here’s to taking the long way: from New York City to New Hampshire. 

If you live in New York, we recommend taking a road less traveled and visiting our larger Boston Outpost, nestled away in the woods of New Hampshire – the six-hour drive makes a meandering summer road trip. Here’s a preview of the scenic route, with a few stops along to the way.

Estimated Time: 6 hours
Miles: 289

Hartford, CT
For history lovers, stop by the capital of Connecticut. It’s home to attractions like the Mark Twain House and Museum, a beautiful 1827 mansion that includes the desk at which the author wrote his most well-known works.

Sherwood Island State Park, CT
Just an hour outside of Manhattan, check out Connecticut’s first state park, swim in the Long Island Sound, and relax on the sandy beaches.

Wadsworth Falls State Park, CT
Just over two hours outside of Manhattan, this quaint spot has hikes and waterfalls—perfect for taking a quick dip or enjoying a snack.

The Green Bean, Northampton MA
If you get hungry, coast into the historic town of Northampton and check out The Green Bean, featuring a healthy and delicious breakfast menu served all day.

Chesterfield Gorge, NH
Stretch your legs and treat your eyes to this scenic, peaceful 0.7-mile loop hike with serene waterfall views. Plus, it’s dog-friendly.

Epsom, NH
When you get to Epsom, you can kick up your feet, relax, and just do nothing. There’ll be a cozy cabin and a soft bed waiting for you to relax and recharge in a different neck of the woods. Book your trip to Boston before our summer is a distant memory.

Want to know more about Getaway Boston? Check out our guide to all the information you’ll need to know about parking, hikes, grocerty stores and more around our Boston Outpost.

Boston | Local Guides | Nature

Public Parks in Boston

Need to add some quality time in nature to your life? Boston makes it easy with an abundance of options, whether you want to stroll within steps of downtown, sit on the edge of the water, stop and smell the flowers, or hike through the wilderness.

 

Boston Common/Boston Public Garden
Right in the heart of downtown Boston is an oasis of nature.

The Boston Common is America’s oldest park and has been a gathering place for Colonial militia to present day political rallies. With a gazebo, a fountain, baseball fields, and the Frog Pond – where you can ice skate in the winter – it provides a common ground for everyone in Boston to play.

Just across Charles Street from the Common is the Boston Public Garden which has a decidedly different vibe. Created 200 years after the Common as the first botanical garden in the US, the Public Garden places an emphasis on flowers in Victorian style. It is home to a lagoon where you can lounge on the banks while getting your daily dose of nature and watching the Swan Boats and actual swans glide by.

 

Rose Kennedy Greenway
Then end result of the 25-year “Big Dig” construction project, Rose Kennedy Greenway is a park system that stretches a mile and a half from Chinatown to the North End above Interstate 93.

The Greenway is filled with plants, from magnolias to milkweed, birches to bamboo. Many different soothing fountains are interspersed among the foliage, including a labyrinth and a stream. It’s also the perfect place for a lunch break downtown, so get your cannoli, dumplings or food truck fare to go and eat al fresco.

 

Charles River Esplanade
When a little water therapy is what you need, spend some time along the banks of the Charles River on the Esplanade.

Stretching 3 miles from the Museum of Science to the BU Bridge, the Esplanade provides 64 acres of green space separated from the city by Storrow Drive. After crossing one of eight pedestrian footbridges to enter the park, you can meander by the river, check out the Hatch Shell, hang out on the docks, bike down the path, or even head out onto the water in a kayak.

 

Back Bay Fens
Originally designed by the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the Fens has undergone many changes since his original design, including the addition of the English-style Kelleher Rose Garden, and it continues to be a beautiful green space that is part of the Emerald Necklace (which also includes the Boston Common/Public Garden & Arnold Arboretum).

Part of the Fens, the Fenway Victory Gardens are the only remaining, continuously operating World War II Victory Gardens in the United States. Consisting of 500 plots over 7 acres, the Victory Gardens are maintained by individuals and organizations and is a wonderful place to appreciate the variety of plants that bring the community together.

 

Arnold Arboretum
Curated by Harvard University on land leased from the City of Boston, Arnold Arboretum is a gem in the Emerald Necklace. Frederick Olmsted designed the layout of the paths and roadways, and the Arboretum still mostly maintains the style of planting that he and Charles Sprague Sargent created in the garden.

Located in Jamaica Plain, the Arboretum consists of 281 acres of plant life, from conifers to crabapples. The trails in the Arboretum provide plenty of easy hikes and are open from sunrise to sunset every day.

One of the best times to visit Arnold Arboretum is in spring when the lilacs are blooming. There is even a special Lilac Sunday each May to celebrate these fragrant flowers.

 

Fresh Pond
Located across the Charles River from Boston in Cambridge, Fresh Pond Reservation is another open space influenced by Olmsted. Consisting of 162 acres of land including meadows, forests, and wetlands surrounding Fresh Pond Reservoir, this is a lovely park to explore for awhile.

A 2.25 mile trail circumnavigates the Reservoir, providing plenty of opportunity for walking, running or biking along the water. Fresh Pond is also a great place for bird watching.

 

Middlesex Fells
Just north of Boston proper, you can easily escape to nature in Middlesex Fells. The Fells comprise 2,200 acres of wilderness, with hiking trails ranging from the easy 1 mile Spot Pond Brook Historic Trail to the 3.7 mile loop Rock Circuit Trail to the 6.9 mile loop Skyline Trail.

You can hop on your mountain bike or find rock climbing areas in the Fells as well. Dogs are also welcome to join you on your adventures, and Sheepfold Meadow is an off-leash area.

 

Blue Hills Reservation
On the southern end of the city is the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton. With 125 miles of trails on 7,000 acres, you can immerse yourself in nature in no time.

Explore Houghton’s Pond on an easy hike or challenge yourself on the 3.5 mile hike up to the summit of Buck Hill for a beautiful view of the reservation.

The Blue Hills also offers mountain biking trails and cross-country skiing trails in the winter.

 

Interested in getting out of Boston? Check out our cabins in Epsom, New Hampshire for a nature escape.

Boston

What to do around Getaway Boston

Your Getaway is about finding time to disconnect in order to reconnect—whether with family, friends, or nature. After a restful break at one of our cabins, there’s plenty to do on your way home to explore. From art museums to state parks, each of our Outposts is surrounded by plenty of relaxing and fun activities, whatever may pique your interest.

Here’s our Boston Outpost guide to nearby attractions and things to do along the way:

Exploring Nearby
Spend your day further afield and come back to your cabin to relax after your adventures.

Pawtuckaway State Park
With a lake for swimming, a marsh that’s home to a variety of wildlife, miles upon miles of hiking trails, and even boulders for climbing, you could easily spend the whole day roaming around Pawtuckaway State Park, and it’s only about a 30-minute drive from your cabin.

Lake Winnipesaukee
The largest lake in the state of New Hampshire offers plenty of activities in any season. About an hour away from your tiny home, you can swim, boat and fish when it’s warm, or bundle up and ski or ice fish in the snowy months.

Gilmanton Winery & Vineyard
If the weather doesn’t cooperate or you just are in search of a more relaxing day, you can head about 30 miles north to Gilmanton Winery. Enjoy a lovely view of the vineyard while sampling a flight of the wines. Follow your tasting with a delicious dinner or visit on Sunday for brunch. And if you explore the grounds, you just might find a couple of barnyard animals who call the place home, including Olive, a juliana pig that loves to be pet.

Northwood Lake
If you don’t want to venture far, drive just 15 minutes to nearby Northwood Lake, a beautiful and popular fishing destination. US Route 222 runs along the lake’s northern bank and is dotted with shops and restaurants, such as Northwood Old Books and Northwood Diner.

Walks in the Woods

Take a trip down one of these nearby hiking trails in your Getaway cabin backyard.

Oak Hill Trails
Distance: 5.8 miles, about 2-3 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Dogs allowed on-leash
For a long but not difficult hike, try the trail leading to the old fire tower. Climbing the fire tower will provide you with a lovely panoramic view of the area.

Road Trip Curiosities
Start to disconnect from your daily life and explore something new before you even reach your tiny home by visiting these destinations along the way.

Robie’s Country Store
9 Riverside St, Hooksett, NH 03106
Much more than just a simple country store, Robie’s is a historic spot that is well worth the visit – and many politicians agree, as a huge part of its history is campaign stops by presidential candidates over the years. The current building has been standing since 1887, so you can peruse history, get a delicious meal at Roots Cafe, and pick up local New Hampshire products to take back to your cabin, just twenty minutes away.

On the Local Menu

Blasty Bough Brewery
3 Griffin Rd, Epsom, NH 03234
Within walking distance from your cabin, this hidden gem serves up local flavors rooted in tradition. Dogs are welcome, and you can even get a discount on tasters if you let them know it’s your first Getaway.

Ready for a Boston adventure? Book your Getaway now.