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Boston's Museum of Fine Arts Wants Your Help

MFABostons Museum of Fine Arts is a world-class museum sometimes overlooked as a destination by locals. Housing over 450,000 works and located conveniently in the Fenway, the Museums treasures range from Egyptian artifacts to contemporary works, and every style in between. Originally opened at its current location in 1909, the museum is constantly evolving, with its most recent major addition, the Art of the Americas Wing opening in 2010. Throughout the month of January the MFA is offering you the chance to help select the pieces that will be displayed in a new exhibition of Impressionist painters. Entitled Boston Loves Impressionism, the exhibition will run from February 14 through May 26, 2014 and will feature thirty pieces of art from the Museums Impressionist collection. Over the course of the month voters will vote weekly on works grouped by theme: Week one is themed On the Water, and will be followed by From the Land, and finally Of the People. From January 27-29 the top ten vote getters will be whittled down to a top three which will be highlighted at the exhibitions entrance. Artists with works to be considered include Monet, Cezanne, Renoir and Van Gogh.

Aside from working on your curating skills, the Museum is offering an added incentive to lend your opinion. Voters will receive a voucher for two (2) one time admissions to the Museum of Fine Arts, valid for entry for the opening weekend of the exhibition, February 14-February 16, 2014. Sounds like the start of a perfect Valentines weekend to us. For more information and details, please check out the MFAs website, www.mfa.org.

The current main exhibit running through January 20, 2014 is John Singer Sargent Watercolors, an exhibit co-organized with the Brooklyn Museum which features over 90 of the artists works. The Museum of Fine Arts is located at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. It is open 7 days a week (holidays excluded - 617-267-9300).

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Thirsty History Buffs Wanted

126491719 FREEDOM TRAILThe Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile route that traces some of the most significant spots of the American Revolution. The Trail came about in the 1950s when a concerted effort was made to preserve some of the locations important to both Boston and the countrys history. Comprised of 16 locations linked by either a brick path or red line, the trail includes Boston Common, the State House, Faneuil Hall, the Granary Burying Ground, Paul Reveres House and the Bunker Hill Monument among others. If you are new to the area, the trail offers some unique views and perspectives of locations probably only previously read about in history books. For those of us that grew up in the area, a school field trip to walk along the Freedom Trail might be a distant memory, but why not refresh that memory (and your palate) with an updated twist. Offered Tuesdays through February 28th is The Freedom Trail Foundations Historic Pub Crawl. A costumed tour guide will lead you to four Boston Taverns along the Freedom Trail (Union Oyster House, the Point, the Green Dragon, and Bell in Hand ) for a sampling of traditional Boston food and a sample sized beer at each stop. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance, and you must be 21 years of age.

To keep the holiday spirit just a little bit longer, consider the Historic Holiday Stroll. This 90 minute seasonal tour led by a guide dressed in 19th century finery includes holiday treats and complimentary hot chocolate, tea, wine and Boston Cream Pie at the historic Omni Parker House Hotel.(Reservations are required)

For those with kids in tow, or if you are looking for a more traditional Freedom Trail tour, the Walk Into History Tour is offered. It departs from the Boston Common Visitors Center daily and features a tour guide dressed in 18th Century attire. For more information on all the tours, check out www.TheFreedomTrail.org or call the Freedom Trail Foundation at (617)357-8300.

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Frozen Frog Pond

SKATE

With winter in full swing, there are loads of great activities in Downtown Boston. Now that the holidays are over maybe exercise was one of your New Years resolutions? Exercise doesnt need to be exercise for exercise sake. Have some fun while you are at it, and get yourself limbered up just in time for the Olympics. A great opportunity to get some fresh air and get the muscles moving is going for a skate at the Frog Pond on Boston Common. A wading pool in the warmer months, The Frog Pond is transformed from mid-November to mid-March each year into a skating rink. Youll find every level of skater here, so dont feel self- conscious if you are a beginner. You may even like it so much that youll sign up for skating lessons from the Skating Club of Boston which runs the rink in co-operation with the Boston Parks Department. Located right between Beacon Hill and the Back Bay, the open air rink is open from 10am daily (closing times vary). If you are coming by car, parking in the Boston Common Garage right under the Common is a good option. By T, take the Green Line to Park Street Station and by the Red Line exit at either Park Street or Boylston Street. Adult admission is only $5, and kids under age 13 skate for free. Locker and skate rentals are available, and if you come with your own skates, sharpening is available for $8. The Frog Pond Caf is right on site and offers a heated area for you to relax post-skate and enjoy a hot chocolate or one of their other treats including Belgian waffles. Admittedly you may be keeping one resolution (exercise), while breaking another (diet), but least youll be getting some fresh air! For more information, daily hours and inclement weather notices please see www.bostonfrogpond.com or call (617)635-2120.

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Red Sky at Night, Sailors Delight

BOATS NANTUCKET 2012

From February 22-March 2, 2014 the Progressive Insurance New England Boat Show returns to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The show has become the largest boat show in New England, filling 300,000 square feet of space and features hundreds of boats and marine accessories offering something for beginning boaters to expert sailors. If you are new to the water and are looking for some good advice on how to get into boating, be sure to check out the Welcome to the Water booth. Experts will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice on how to boat on a budget. For those already on the water, the show features a jam-packed seminar schedule for the DIY boater. Seminars cover a range of topics regarding general boat and motor maintenance and include question and answer sessions as well as demonstrations. Sessions run daily in Booth 2048. In addition to the DIY sessions, be sure to check out the Seminar Series presented by Boatwise Marine Training. These seminars take place throughout the hall and cover a wide range of topics. Some of the seminars are what you would expect to find at a boat show (Moving Up to a Larger Sailboat, How to Qualify for Your Coast Guard Captains License, Understanding the Nautical Chart, etc..). But there are also some that may be of interest to the more casual boat fan, or anyone that likes a good story. Author and sailor Judith Silva will be speaking about her sailing adventures in presentations entitled The Voyage of the Yankee Lady, Circumnavigating New England on a Sailboat and Voyage of the Albatross - Journey to the Bahamas. Blogger and cruiser Tig will also be speaking. Not to be left out are those of us that like to keep our feet on dry land but enjoy the drama of a good reality series. Captain Dave Carraro of the FV-Tuna.com which is featured on National Geographic Channels hit show Wicked Tuna will also be making appearances at the show. Be sure to check the show website for seminar and appearance schedules as well as additional information and a list of presenters. The convention runs from February 22-March 2, 2014, and the hours vary by day.

Admission is $15 for adults, children under 15 free, and tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door. The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center is located at 415 Summer St., Boston, MA 02210.

Website: http://www.newenglandboatshow.com/

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Boston Celebrates National Historic Preservation Month

131627802 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

May is a month where our weather really starts to warm up and our thoughts turn toward summer. In the spirit of looking forward, while at the same time looking back, May is also National Historic Preservation Month. In order to celebrate and promote Bostons rich history, architecture and historic neighborhoods, Mayor Walsh recently released a schedule of events taking place in May, across the city. Some of the highlights for the coming month include the following:

14 | WED | 6:00 PM | GALA AND SILENT AUCTION Boston Preservation Alliance Gala and Silent Auction The Alliance's annual Spring Auction is being held at the Liberty Hotel. The hotel is one of Boston's most unique historic spaces previous being the Charles Street Jail. Bid on our silent auction items and support the ongoing work of Boston's leading advocate for historic preservation. The Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles St. $150 per ticket, $75 for young professionals under 40. Presented by: Boston Preservation Alliance | www.bostonpreservation.org Contact: Alison Frazee | afrazee@bostonpreservation.org | (617) 367-2458

15 | THURS | 6:00 PM | FUNDRAISER Taste of West Roxbury Annual fundraiser for West Roxbury Main Streets featuring tasty treats from local businesses. The Irish Social Club, 119 Park Street, West Roxbury. $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Presented by: West Roxbury Main Streets | www.wrms.org Contact: Michael Iceland | events@wrms.org | (617) 325-6400

If you are looking for some exercise, consider a walking tour. Whether you have lived in Boston for all of your life, or you are new to the area, a walking tour is a great way to appreciate some of the great history all around us.

Affordably priced, there many tours offered all over the city. On Thursday, May 15 at 4:00pm the Boston Landmarks Commission presents a walking tour entitled, The Christian Science Church Complex: In and Out of the City. Designated a City of Boston Landmark in 2010, the Christian Science Church campus in Bostons Back Bay features an amazingly sprawling group of plazas and buildings. According to the Commission, this walking tour will look at the development of the campus, its buildings and open spaces as they relate to each other and to the city at large. The tour will be led by Boston Landmarks Commission staff architect, Elizabeth Stifel.

Meeting place confirmed at time of reservation. Free and open to the public. As space is limited, pre-registration is required. Presented by: Boston Landmarks Commission | www.cityofboston.gov/landmarks

Also offering several different walking tours is the non-profit, Boston By Foot. Tour titles include The Heart of the Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, The North End: Gateway to Boston, Road to Revolution Walking Tour, and the Victorian Back Bay. One of this weeks tours is of the Flat of Beacon Hill. Offered Thursday, May 15 from 5:00-6:30pm, the description states:

The Flat of Beacon Hill is built on 19th century made-land along the Charles River. This intimate patch of real estate soon acquired carriage houses and horse stables owned by the wealthy families living on Beacon Hill. Today, many of these edifices have been converted into charming residences and seamlessly blend among the notable landmarks such as the Charles Street Meeting House, the Church of the Advent, and the Sunflower Castle. Meet your guide outside the entrance to the Charles/MGH MBTA station on the Red Line. $15 per person, $5 for Boston By Foot members.

For information about this or any of their other walking tours, contact Boston By Foot at info@bostonbyfoot.org, (617) 367-2345 or at www.bostonbyfoot.org.

For the full calendar of events celebrating National Historic Preservation Month please see www.cityofboston.gov.

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Get the Most Out of Your Trip to Bostons Farmer's Markets

FARMERS MARKET BERRIES

This time of year is about warm weather, vacations and relaxing afternoons. It also heralds the return of farmers markets. A trip to the market is a great opportunity to indulge in fresh, healthy produce and to expand your horizons by trying new items or preparing them in different ways. Fortunately, Boston has a number of farmers markets spread across the city in virtually all of its neighborhoods. Downtown, the Boston Public Market on the Greenway (previously on City Hall Plaza), is located in the plaza in front of 136 Blackstone Street. The Boston Public Market at Dewey Square is located at 600 Atlantic Avenue on the Greenway across from South Station, and the Copley Square Farmers Market is located in Copley Square at the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston Street.

Here are seven tips to make the most of your visit to the local farmers market:

Note the hours and dates of your local market on your calendar. Set reminders on your smartphone that will alert you when favorite items such as tomatoes, peas, beans and strawberries come into season.

Prepare your refrigerator and kitchen for the season's harvest. Clean out your fridge's produce drawer, and stock up on items that complement fresh produce, such as salad dressings and seasonings that can be used to turn basic veggies into delicious meals.

While farmers market vendors will almost certainly have plastic bags on hand, take your own reusable bags or baskets to carry your purchase - they're better for Mother Nature. If you'll be buying perishable items, consider packing a cooler as well. Remember to place heavier items (like melons) on the bottom of the bag and lighter ones (such as berries) on top.

You'll find the freshest produce and best selection early in the day. Setting your alarm to wake you a bit early could ensure you get the pick of the day's produce.

Leave the $20 and $50 bills at home. Smaller bills will provide you with greater buying flexibility, and vendors will appreciate the change.

Scope out the entire market before you begin making purchases. Certain popular items, such as tomatoes, cantaloupe, melons, peas and potatoes will be available from multiple vendors. Strolling through the market first will allow you to compare prices and taste samples to ensure you're picking the best and most delicious buys for your family.

Unpack bags as soon as you're home and store each item appropriately. Create a menu plan for the week that incorporates everything you've purchased to help ensure nothing goes to waste. Don't forget to incorporate snacks into your meal plan.

Last but not least, the seasons for fresh produce in New England are short, so enjoy it while you can!

For more information about farmers markets across Boston including lists of vendors, times and locations, please visit the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness Boston Farmers Market website at http://bostonfarmersmarkets.org/.

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Bostons Holiday Tree Lightings

christmas-17844_1280

The holiday look will officially be upon us starting December 1 with the lighting of the white lights along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The lighting season begins in earnest however, with celebrations in Copley Square on December 2, and on the Common on December 4. All information courtesy of the Boston Discovery Guide (http://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/):

Copley Square Tree Lighting - Tuesday, December 2, 5:00pm-6:00pm - Wreaths with red bows decorate the square and the Old South Church bell tolls when the lights go on - look for appearances by Santa, the Boston Pops, and Rudolph! The Boston Public Library and Catered Affair host a story time and candy cane tea at the Fairmont Copley Plaza from 3:30-5pm (tea is free but you must make reservations - call 617-859-2282). More family fun begins at about 4:30pm with Jugglers, stilt walkers, and holiday music provided by Magic 106.7.

Boston Common Holiday Tree Lighting - Thursday, December 4, 2014 from 4pm-8pm (lights go on at about 7:55pm), with games, prizes, and more at the Frog Pond Skating Rink. This exciting event takes place near the Visitors Information Center on Tremont St and stars the special tree sent as a gift from Nova Scotia and 80+ other lighted trees throughout the Common and Boston Garden. When the Mayor turns on the lights, the Boston holiday season officially begins!

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