With the 4th falling on a Monday (yay 3-day weekends!) and a beautiful weather forecast, all the elements are in place for a great Independence Day! Here are our suggestions for how to enjoy a happy and healthy holiday weekend:
The quintessential Boston 4th of July celebration is the Boston Pops performance and fireworks show on the Esplanade. Visit the official event website for a rundown of the schedule and more event details. CBS Boston has also put together a handy guide with viewing location suggestions and other useful tips.
For fun throughout the weekend, head down to Boston Harborfest . Dedicated to celebrating Boston’s harbor and history, it’s the largest 4th of July festival in the country and features tons of activities, some free and some paid. Here’s the full schedule. Don’t miss the fireworks over the Inner Harbor on Saturday night!
Don’t want to fight the crowds for Boston fireworks on the 2nd or the 4th? Here’s a list of all the fireworks displays planned for this summer in MA. Of particularly local note, Somerville will be having a display on Thursday 6/30 at 9:15pm and Newton and Waltham will also have fireworks displays on Monday 7/4.
Hosting a barbeque? Check out our post from last year about quick summer desserts.
Since lots of sun is in the forecast, don’t forget the American Cancer Society‘s mnemonic device for protecting yourself:
Slip! Slap! Slop!® and Wrap
Slip on a shirt. Slop on sunscreen. Slap on a hat
Wrap on sunglasses to protect your eyes and sensitive skin around them
Have a Happy 4th of July!
Stuck in the city for the summer but wish you could travel? Be transported for an afternoon with a book from our collection!
Here are eleven, arranged by location from nearest to farthest:
Martha’s Vineyard by Ray G. Ellis and Ralph Graves — This one has a lot of pictures; perfect for flipping through on one of the couches by the leisure reading.
Vintage Nantucket by A.B.C. Whipple — Poetic history and lore of one of New England’s most popular vacation spots.
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering American on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson — A journey through American wilderness with prolific travel writer Bill Bryson.
McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy — Rambles through Ireland.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed — An emotional trek down the Pacific Crest Trail.
Oaxaca Journal by Oliver Sacks — Narrative of a trip into Oaxaca by famed physician and writer Oliver Sacks.
My Life in France by Julia Child — Classic memoir of a culinary great.
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle — A columnist and his wife uproot their life and move into a 200-year old farmhouse in France.
Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah MacDonald — A sometimes irreverent, sometimes thoughtful chronicle of two years living in India.
The Island of the Colorblind by Oliver Sacks — An Amazon reviewerdescribes this as “a mini-vacation for the scientifically curious.”
We’ll have them out on display on top of the Leisure Reading shelves on the 4th floor so you can find them easily. Enjoy and Bon Voyage!
The weather is beautiful and finally hot! So that means the last thing we want to do is turn the oven on or spend time laboring over a hot stove. Salads are always a good summer meal option, but why not try a cold soup?
My favorite cold soup is šaltibarščiai, a traditional Lithuanian cold beet soup. It involves a lot of chopping, but overall it’s pretty easy to make. It is also delightful shade of hot pink. I recommend using kefir instead of buttermilk, but you can also omit the eggs and dairy make it vegan-friendly and no less delicious.
Not in the mood to use the stove at all? Martha Stewart’s Avocado, Radish, and Basil Soup is a no-cook recipe–just throw everything in the blender!
There are also cold soups to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try something like this cold berry soup. The ingredients may seem like an odd combination, but they go together surprisingly well.
If you’d prefer solid food, try one of these no-bake desserts.
And for those times when you just can’t beat a craving for a cookie, here are some instructions for making cookies in a pan on your stove. It uses low heat, so shouldn’t warm your kitchen up too much!
We did it! It finally seems safe to say that winter is over and it’s time to enjoy sunshine and warm temperatures. Now that you’ve packed away your sweaters, it’s also time to brush up on sun safety. While sunlight helps us produce much-needed Vitamin D3, sun exposure also increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
Here are three quick and easy ways to refresh your knowledge!
1. The American Cancer Society has a rather onomatopoeic slogan to help you remember four key ways to enjoy the sun safely:
Slip! Slap! Slop!® and Wrap
Slip on a shirt Slop on sunscreen Slap on a hat
Wrap on sunglasses to protect your eyes and sensitive skin around them
2. Not sure what sunscreen to buy? Check out EWG’s 2015 Guide to Sunscreens to learn what to look for in a sunscreen and to see the effectiveness of different brands.
3. For more sun safety tips, you can also check out our infographic-filled post from last year.
I recently convinced myself that August is National Tomato Month. Possibly because I have spent the last several weeks gorging on the beautiful New England tomatoes making their way to the Boston farmers’ markets and local farm stands.
Imagine my dismay when I discovered that August celebrates many foodstuffs, including sandwiches, catfish, and peaches, but according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, National Fresh Tomato Day falls on April 6th.
Now, if you dragged yourself through many, many miserably damp days in March and April of 2014, you know for a fact that there was not a local, sun-ripened, fresh tomato to be found in Boston on April 6th. And I’m not the only person who thinks August is the time to celebrate the glorious tomato. Consider the world-famous, tomato-centric celebration known as La Tomatina in Buñol, a small Spanish town in Valencia that attracts over 30,000 people every August.
This is the perfect time to enjoy beautiful ripe tomatoes of all varieties. They are also a superfood, rich in Vitamin C and fiber, as well as beta-carotene and lycopene. Read more about the health benefits of eating tomatoes in the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
If you’re looking for new ways to enjoy tomatoes, here are a few of my favorite recipes:
- Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen
- Roasted Tomato Soup from 101 Cookbooks
- Heirloom Tomato Tart from Joy the Baker
And of course, you can always just eat a perfectly ripe tomato all on its own, preferably over the kitchen sink.
Did you know that according to a study by research group, Bundle, Massachusetts was the 4th largest consumer of ice cream in 2012?
The dog days of summer are upon us, so now is the perfect time to curate the habit for this beloved and delicious dessert. Especially considering that some ice creameries are only open for the season, here are some tasty places in the greater Boston area you can get your fix this summer:
- Picco (South End): House-made and perfect. Including the “Adult” Ice Cream Soda (raspberry Belgian lambic + vanilla ice cream) and a stout milkshake!
- Fomu (Jamaica Plain, Allston/Brighton): Vegan, made from scratch and local ingredients with flavors such as Avocado, Cardamom Pistachio, Mango Habanero and Sweet Lavender.
- White Mountain Creamery (Boston College, Chestnut Hill): Vermont Maple Walnut, Peanut Butter Banana, Kahlua Brownie and it goes on. They even have sugar free ice cream if that’s your jam!
- Toscanini’s (Cambridge): Some of the best in ice cream since 1981. Too many amazing flavors to choose from, so check it out yourself already!
- Churn2 (Cambridge): Do you like your liquid nitrogen-based ice cream served from a shipping container turned micro-food unit? Then this is your place!
- Christina’s Ice Cream (Cambridge): Over 50 flavors, so there’s bound to be at least one that speaks to your soul. There’s also the adjoining spice store next door.
- Batch (Ice Cream Truck): Batch’s Ice Cream Truck operates only from April to October and can be found Sundays at SoWa Market, otherwise you can always pick up a pint of Brown Sugar Bourbon and Pecan at your local grocer.
- J.P. Licks (all over Greater Boston): While they are open all year round, the flavors in the summer get down right fresh. We’re talking about flavors like Peach, Cucumber, and Mojito Sorbet. Kosher and made in Jamaica Plain with dairy free options abound, including hemp ice cream.
Do you have any other favorites? We would love to hear about them!
Ahh, summer! When the misery of winter is but a distant memory, and we are all baking in the heat collectively! Other than no need to justify ice cream, one of the best things about summer are all the free events you can take advantage of. Summer is the perfect time to discover Boston with some of the free events highlighted below:
- Free Fun Fridays! by the Highland Street Foundation runs from June 27th to August 29th this year, and offers free entrance to 67 museums and cultural venues around and within Boston, including free Boston Harbor Island Ferry Rides on August 8th.
- Outdoor movie events all around the city, including the DCR Hatch Shell, Christopher Columbus Park, and the Prudential Center.
- Shakespeare in the Common (July 23rd to August 10th). This year is the magnificent comedy Twelfth Night.
- Neighborhood Nights at Isabella Stewart Gardner (July 10 &, August 7th)
- Berklee Summer in the City Concerts
- Boston Public Library Concerts in the Courtyard
- Boston Harbor Hotel Summer in the City events include live music and classic movies
- Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Harborwalk Sounds (July 10th to August 28th)
Lastly, a great resource to search for free or low cost events in Boston all year round is the Boston Calendar.
Enjoy summer while it lasts!
It is finally summer and I am convinced the weather will get hot at some point. However, we all need to make sure that we, and our loved-ones, know the dangers of UV radiation and play it smart when we are enjoying being outside all summer and fall. You can use the following infographics to teach your friends and family to be safe in the sun!
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