Cape Town Travel Guide, Part 1

Let me start by saying if Cape Town isn’t on your travel bucket list, it absolutely needs to be. This city is one of the most diverse, multicultural foodie hot spots I’ve ever been to. Given the cultural melting pot that this city has become, the culinary scene is blowing up and only getting better by the minute. Whether you want fresh caught seafood, authentic Italian, burgers & fries, or creative Asian fusion, Cape Town won’t disappoint.

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We had a dining out “wish list” of about 50+ restaurants and tried our best to pick and choose a wide variety so we could taste a bit of everything. Here are some of our favorite places we ate and drank, broken down by neighborhood:

Green Point + City Center

Beluga: Asian inspired, we dined on a variety of sushi, dim sum & noodles. They’ve got a large local wine list – we dined in the wine cellar which was a fun experience.

Kloof Street House: This unique hot spot feels like an outdoor garden party. The place has a whimsical, bohemian feel with a lot of lanterns, chandeliers and plants everywhere. We sat on the glass porch and had a great view of both the interior & exterior. The food was outstanding – I had a delicious local fish (Kingklip, anyone heard of it?) and Terry has Mediterranean style lamb shoulder. We licked our plates clean.

Dear Me: The perfect lunch spot, this organic eco-friendly restaurant is in a cute area surrounded by shopping boutiques and coffee shops. Known for their fresh ingredients, we enjoyed two fresh pressed juices and a couple of bowls – bim bim bap for me and poke for him. We loved it so much that we wanted to come back for lunch the following day.

Savoy Cabbage: We didn’t make it here but heard outstanding reviews and it came highly recommended. This is definitely on my list for the next trip.

Camps Bay

The Codfather: We went to Camps Bay for this place alone. It came recommended by multiple people and I can absolutely see why. Perfect for sunset drinks, this restaurants is located across the street from the beach. The concept here is so cool: they don’t have a set menu; rather, you walk up and view the fresh caught seafood at the counter and you’re charged by the weight. It’s perfect for sharing because they grill all of the fresh seafood and then finish it in a huge pan with rice, veggies, potatoes and served with 4 homemade sauces. It was so fun to try a little bit of everything, including tuna, calamari, butter fish & shrimp. This is probably my top recommended restaurant here. A trip to Cape Town would not be complete without eating dinner at The Codfather!


The Test Kitchen: I wish. TTK is reservation only and they open up their monthly calendar one month in advance. I tried for about 3 months to get a table and it was booked solid…Every. Single. Day. If you’re lucky enough to get in, report back to me and let me know how fabulous it is!

Pot Luck Club: Another uber popular restaurants from the same people as The Test Kitchen, we were lucky enough to get in here (also book way ahead!). The whole Woodstock area is really awesome and these restaurants are built in a n old biscuit mil. The Pot Luck Club is located ion the top floor of the silo with a killer skyline view. It feels very NYC – sultry, hip, dark…and incredible food! It’s small plates with options from every flavor pallet. This restaurant was outstanding and I would highly recommend that you come here!

Burrata: Another option if you can’t get into TTK or PLC…Burrata is an Italian restaurant with classic but tasty staples, including pizza, pasta and a big wine list. It wasn’t my favorite restaurant we went to, but it’s a good back up plan.

Woodstock Brewery: A fun microbrewery down the road, we stopped here for a pre-dinner beer flight. They’ve only got about five main brews but they were great. During the day they do brewery tours so it would be a fun spot to go on a nice day.

Devils Peak Brewery: Another brewery that came recommended, but we didn’t make it here. The bartender at the Woodstock brewery also recommended it so it’s likely worth checking out.

As you can see, Cape Town is full of bars, restaurants, coffee shops & bakeries to keep your tummy happy all day long. It’s one of the better “foodie” cities I’ve been to and I’d say it’s well on par with San Francisco and New York.


Travel Guide: Reykjavik

I think it’s fair to say that most people go to Iceland to experience the outdoor adventures, the incredible excursions and the scenic views. While Reykjavik isn’t a major destination, it is where you’ll likely stay so I think it’s important to know what to expect and how to properly navigate the city.


Where to Stay

There are countless hotels here, most on or around Lavagulaur Street. After much consideration, we opted to stay at the CenterHotel Midguardar which is one of the many hotels by the CenterHotel group. The hotel was affordable, centrally located & came recommended. It was the perfect choice for us, as it has 24-hour service, easy check-in and breakfast included (which was actually good – it was a typical American meets European spread with eggs, bacon & sausage, Skyr yogurt with fruit, breads with jam and various meats & cheeses).

We also had some friends stay at the Raddison Blue 1919, which was conveniently located in the downtown area (on the other side of Lavagulaur Street). The lobby was beautiful & it is near a lot of the top notch restaurants, so this is another solid choice.

There are also an abundance of “guest houses” where all of the tours will pick up from, so really the options are endless. You can find these on AirBnB or via many third party website (ex. Priceline, Expedia).

As you can see, there are a plethora of choices for accommodations in Reykjavik. It just depends how much you want to spend and what location you want to be in!

hotel lobby

The hotel lobby of the CenterHotel Midguardar


Typical Icelandic breakfast, served in our hotel’s restaurant

Where to Eat:

The Fish Market: We tried to walk in but that was obviously a rooky mistake. Apparently, Fish Market books up weeks ahead of time due to their fresh food and popular tasting menu. We heard rave reviews all week so be sure to make a reservation if you’re planning a trip to Reykjavik anytime soon.

Grill Market: Another highly recommended gourmet spot in town. Our friend ate here and raved about the food, drink & ambiance. They didn’t have room to squeeze us in either, but it’s on our list for next time.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur: Now I know y’all have heard of this place. It’s the world famou hot dog stand in downtown Reykjavik and hands down the cheapest meal you can find in Iceland. I don’t eat hot dogs but everyone who had them said they’re the best. Terry loved his so much that he went back for a second. A must try!

Nonnabiti: If you’re headed on a full day excursion (like Southern Iceland or The Golden Circle) this is an ideal spot for you to stop before you board. They’ve got great sandwiches to go. It’s basically a sub shop but the bread is soft & its all very fresh. I had a turkey sandwich with all of the veggie toppings and it hit the spot.

Noodle Station: This place was located practically next door to our hotel and full all the time, all day long. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to try it but I’ve heard rave reviews. Given that it’s cold & dreary in Iceland, I can see why noodle bowls are popular!

Glo: Another restaurant that was one my list but we didn’t make it to. Known for their organic, vegetarian style food, it’s one of the healthier spots in town. And their presentation is practically made for Instagram.

hot dog stand

World Famous Hot Dog Stand!


Pizza was all that was open when we landed at 1am

What To Do:

I’m guessing you’ve likely seen a picture similar to this before:

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Well, it’s taken at the Hallgrímskirkja church in downtown Reykjavik where you u take elevator to top of church tower. It’s a beautiful 360-degree view of the city, the mountains & the sea. A must-see if you’re in the city.

Truth be told, we spent most of our time outside Reykjavik, apart from dinner & drinks at night. The town itself if very cute, charming & walkable. The buildings are colorful and there is art everywhere. It’s definitely worth wandering around.


Some other activities that we didn’t have time to do, but were on our list were horseback riding, whale watching, and exploring the local markets.


Free Summer Fun in Boston

I’m changing things up a bit today and making this more of a local post. After a very long winter and a barely there spring, we are officially in summer here in Boston! The city really comes alive this time of year and being outside is just fabulous. Whether you prefer outdoor concerts, patio drinking, Esplanade running or just strolling through the Boston Commons, this list covers it all. I’ve put together a HUGE roundup of free summer things that you can enjoy here in Boston. If you live in the city, be sure to take advantage of all Boston has to offer! And if you’re not from here, I’d recommend adding our beautiful city to your travel list and spend a weekend here!

boston common flowers

Without further ado…


From spin to boot camps to yoga, the Greenway Fitness Program Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts annually offers FREE fitness classes in the Greenway. See the schedule here.

The Esplanade is one of my favorite places to work out. You get the killer river views and the cool breeze that comes with it. With Zumba, running, sunset yoga & boot camps (I’ve done them, they’re great!), the opportunities are endless. Read details here.

A few other free fitness classes that I learned about via Secret Boston are:

Mondays: Salsa dancing at the South End’s Blackstone Square (6 p.m.)

Tuesdays: Yoga at the South End’s Franklin Square (6 p.m.)

Wednesdays: HIIT in Brighton Square (6:30 p.m.)

Thursdays: Yoga at the Boston Common’s Frog Pond (6 p.m.)

Fridays: Bootcamp at Christopher Columbus Park (6:30 a.m.)


The Urban Grape (303 Columbus Ave in South End) is offering free sine tastings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 5-8pm. View their offerings here.

Wine Bottega (341 Hanover St in North End) has free wine tasting every Friday from 5:00-8:00. This is the perfect thing to do before grabbing a fresh oysters & raw bar at one of my favorite restaurants, Mare.

BRIX (1284 Washington St in South End) also has free wine tastings on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm-8pm. You can get more details here.


The Boston Public Library has their annual Concerts in the Courtyard, which are free on Wednesdays and Fridays. Concerts are held at the Central Library on Boylston Street which is too cute – grab lunch and head here for some mid-week relaxation.

With too many to list, The Berklee Summer in the City Concert Series presents more than 400 free performances throughout Greater Boston from May through September.

There are seven concerts by Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. Grab a friend (or date), a picnic basket & a blanket. Perfect evening!


Shakespeare on the Common is a free show by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at Parkman Bandstand on Boston Common. The 2017 show is Romeo & Juliet. I’ve done this in the past and can’t wait to do it again. Such a fun weeknight event!

Head to the beach and check out some giant sand art at the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival, which includes live music, food trucks, and Saturday fireworks.

For a totally different kind of Friday evening, head to the  Museum of Science and check out their free Astronomy After Hours program, where you can view stars, planets, the Moon, and other astronomical phenomena.


Boston Harbor Hotel screens free movies every Friday night. Schedule here.

The MFA is offering a more adult-friendly outdoor movie screenings, with wine & beer available for purchase. View their movie list here.

For the 32nd year in a row (amazing, right?!) the Hatch Shell is offering free Friday night movies.  I heard it gets really crowded, so get there early. Schedule here.



One of my favorite summer activities is the SoWa market in South End! The SoWa Open Market is open every Saturday and Sunday, April 29-October 29, from 10am-4pm.

While you’re there, check out the SoWa vintage market which is open every Saturday between April 29-October 29, from 11am-4pm, rain or shine. Read more here.

Greenway Open Market: Held on Saturdays and every 1st and 3rd Sunday, May through October along the Wharf District Parks of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Details here.


As you can see, Boston has SO much to offer. I need to start checking these off my list!

Whats your favorite free summer activity!?


48 hours in Montreal

After spending three days/two nights in Montreal, I really feel like I got a grasp on the city. It definitely has a European feel all around- small cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes, cute coffee shops all around, everyone speaking French…maybe that’s one of the reasons I loved this city so much? It takes me back to Europe and even though you’re a mere 60 miles across the border, you may as well be 6000 miles away.fullsizerender-9

{Notre Dame of Montreal}


We stayed at Le Westin Hotel in Old Montreal & I can’t recommend this hotel enough- it’s perfect location for walking around the city, the rooms are huge & comfortable and the staff is awesome. We brought the pup and they showed up with this adorable dog bed & food/water bowls so she would feel at home. How adorable is that?!

{Mela loved Montreal, both in the Westin & in the park!}

We started Friday evening with a pre-dinner drink and appetizer from Tiradito. We stumbled across this place by chance and I’m glad we did. Recently open, this bar-only seating restaurant had a very NYC vibe. It was a dim, sultry, swanky, funky spot. It’s a self-proclaimed Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant. For drinks, I had a pisco sour (typical South American cocktail) and it was amazing! He had a bourbon based cocktail, also creative & delicious. For our app, we had halibut ceviche- so fresh & delicious. I would love to go back and dine at this place.

{Notkins menu – Tiradito drinks – Notkins oysters}

For dinner, we hopped across the street to Notkins– an oyster bar that came recommended by a friend. Fun fact: the owner (I believe) holds the record for most shucked & cleaned oysters in an hour. It was over 8,000- can you even imagine!? After we heard that story, we knew we were in good hands. The place has a sophisticated, yet casual vibe. They’ve got a big raw bar, an even bigger wine list, and a live DJ spinning slow jam lounge music. It was a fun date night spot! We splurged on oysters, halibut fish tacos, cold lobster tail & frites. The service was excellent, and although it was a bit pricey, we both felt as though it was money well spent.


We started off our next morning the way every day in Montreal should start- with a jog around the Mount Royal park (gorgeous park with tons of hiking trails, grassy areas, picnic tables & killer views), followed by some St Viateur bagels. I gotta say, I didn’t realize how doughy & fresh & light bagels could (should?) taste, until I had these. Words can’t describe how awesome they are- we sampled whole wheat, everything & rosemary. Surprisingly, the rosemary was my favorite. The flavors were baked into the dough & every bite was so delicious…

{Watching the guys make bagels in the huge oven}

After spending the next few hours walking around town, exploring local shops, park & stores and checking out the Montreal Olympics site, we decided to pop into Les 3 Brasseurs & chill for a bit. We shared a flight and, of course, poutine! (This is obviously a *must do* when in Montreal. There are countless places that claim to be “Montreal’s best poutine” so why not try a few?! I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong!)

{Exploring cute streets & buildings around Old Town Montreal}

{Run in the park + poutine = balance}

Based on the suggestion of a stranger (thanks, Chris!), we went to dinner at  L’usine de Spaghetti. Holy deliciousness! I’m not sure if it was the two glasses of house red I had, or the warm, quaint, European feeling vibe this place gave off, but the lobster linguini that I had was the best meal of my trip! The bf got grilled lamb chops over pesto spaghetti and he didn’t seem to complain either-we both happily licked our plates clean & then polished off a piece of tiramisu. Vacation for the win 🙂


{Our awesome table in front of the impressive wine cellar}

On Sunday morning, we wanted to grab a quick, healthy meal before hitting the road. Thanks to Instagram, I found Olive & Gourmando: an adorable coffee shop on old street in Old Town with awesome home goods shops, restaurants & clothing stores. It’s got a very local, funky vibe with organic & healthy feel. I got a cha-cha-chia bowl: cute jar with layered chia pudding, coconut flakes, fresh banana & apple slices, quinoa, granola & cranberries. After my decadent Italian dinner the night before, this was exactly what I needed. If you like healthy, cute coffee shops (who doesn’t?), this is your spot.

{O&G’s interior – cute Halloween decor – world’s best chia bowl}

One thing I loved about Montreal (similar to Europe) is that while the food can be rich & decadent, the portions are small. Given that we chose to split most of our “splurge” dishes and that we walked all over the city (15K steps both days, woo hoo!), I didn’t leave feeling “gross” or “blah”. I felt like I experienced the culture, I tasted a few local treats, and I had an overall balanced trip.

Montreal, you’re adorable. I can’t wait to be back!

Weekends in Vermont

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I spend quite a bit of my winter time up in Vermont. We’ve got a ski house in Warren, VT which is about 20 minutes outside of Sugarbush Mountain.


{the adorable winter ski house we participate in}

I really enjoy the area because it’s snow bunny resort meets charming small town. When you’re on Sugarbush resort, you’ve got access to mountain lodging, resort condos, fitness center, fireside dining & casual bars & restaurants. One of my favorite things to do after a long day of snowboarding is to sit in the Castlerock pub with an ice cold local brew & listen to the live music. It’s just the best ending to a fun, tiring day!



{image via}


The town of Warren is small & adorable. There are plenty of cute shops, local stores, breweries & restaurants. If you’re in the area, make sure to pop into the Warren General Store for a yummy sandwich & homemade treats! You can sit at the community picnic tables, next to the coal burning fireplace, and enjoy the local company. It’s my favorite local spot, for sure! p.s. the apple cider is amazing!

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While you’re in the area, be sure to drive to Waterbury to the Ben & Jerry’s factory! Here you can tour the factory, learn the history of B&J and, of course, sample some ice cream! After all, who doesn’t love their flavors? #chocolatechipcookiedoughforlife

Also in Waterbury are two of my favorite spots. Be sure to dine at The Prohibition Pig– this local BBQ spot is the BEST spot in town! The drinks (local beer you must try: Heady Topper), the food (pickled veggies app, collards & bbq chicken are all to die for!), and the company. We always like to sit at the bar and chat with the locals.

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Once you’re done with that delicious dinner, head across the street to the Black Back Pub. It’s a small, cozy bar with TVs and the best spot in town to watch NFL & March Madness! Grab a local brew & a spot at the bar.


{image via}

So if you live within 3 hours of Sugarbush, I highly recommend going for a weekend visit. As you can see, there’s so much to do, even if skiing isn’t your thing. Explore the local area, embrace the Vermont lifestyle & make some friends. You won’t regret it.

Sicily Part 2: Exploration

As I mentioned in Sicily Part 1, I was a “plus one” on a work trip, so we were fortunate enough to have about 5-7 excursions to pick from (we got to choose 3). I chose (1) spa day…obviously, (2) biking & cooking lesson on the winery and (3) guided tour through local town of Agrigento. (I think the other options were history tour, deep sea fishing, golf lessons, for example)

What amazing choices these ended up being.


I spoke about the spa in part 1. I’m not sure about you, but to me one of the best parts of being at a nice, tropical resort is relaxing at the spa- using the steam room, taking a yoga class, enjoying a massage, etc. Nothing like a spa day to rejuvenate me, both physically & mentally.


We were pleasantly surprised at the tour of Agrigento. Usually, I’m not one to take guided tours (blame it on my short attention span/intense desire to wander off) but the guide made this. I remember Lorenzo like it was yesterday- his energy, his enthusiasm, his love for life! He was a true gem and made the trip. He showed us the beautiful history of the town- from old ruins to the restored opera house to the hole-in-the-wall bakery.


{the temple of Juno, Agrigento}

We then enjoyed an outstanding lunch at a local restaurant. It was your typical, delicious Italian meal- bread with olive oil, huge green olives, arancini balls & homemade pasta. One thing that surprised me was the method in which they cooked this pasta- they actually put the noodles, sauces & cheese into foil and baked it. The taste was amazing! Have you ever had pasta this way? (read more about it here)

PicMonkey Collage

What blew me away most about the excursions was the bike tour. We rode a bus (led by the wonderful Lorenzo!) to the local winery, where we were outfitted for our bikes. Let me tell you, as a person who goes to spin at least twice a week…this ride was no joke! It was through gravel roads int he country, through dirt paths across the winery & up hill after hill to reach the top. What a view:

Sciacca is a beautiful and historical town in province of Agrigento, known for cercamics, the port, the wonderful beaches, the beautiful hisotrical center, the carnival

{The Port of Sciacca in Agrigento}

sicily alexis on bike

{I didn’t get the memo to wear workout clothes}

top of mtn

{I made it to the top via bike!}

Arriving back to the winery home after our 2 hour ride (we stopped along the way to take pics, etc), we arrived to the most spectacular view & meal of the week.


Ahhh, this must be Heaven on earth.

We were wined & dined. Literally. The 4 course meal (this was lunch!) started with amazing eggplant caprese (layered baked eggplant/tomatoes/mozzarella) and a local wine. Then we had 3-4 homemade pastas, family style, that just melted in my mouth. Followed by a delicious baked fish & vegetable selection. Both were accompanied by more wine, of course. Even though I was stuffed at this point, I made room for the homemade desserts (and limoncello!) that were presented at the end. I wish so badly I had pictures of this, but I don’t 😦

I can assure you that this experience was a once-in-a-lifetime one that I will not forget. The people, the scenery, the food, the company- a true Italian experience that I am forever grateful for and will never forget.


Have you ever been to Sicily?!

48 Hours in Boston

I get asked all the time about my favorite Boston spots- restaurants, bars, attractions, neighborhoods, etc. Boston is such a unique city because while it is a major, Metropolitan city, it really has a neighborhood-y feel. Maybe this will help break ti down: “Greater Boston” (read: suburbs) is home to 4.5 million, while the actual city of Boston, where I live & play is only around 650,000.

This is what I love most about Boston! It’s truly the perfect combination of big city meets small town feel- I’ve never gotten that overwhelming feeling that I get in New York, or that too-small feel I get in Charleston, i.e. (although a FAB city!)


Without so much to see and do, here’s my suggestion for a fun 48 hours in Boston. Assuming it’s summer, of course 😉


You’ve just arrived & unloaded your bags. Perhaps you’re staying in the Back Bay rooftop pool-clad hotel, The Colonnade. Or the Beacon Hill jail-turned-hotel, The Liberty (a Starwood property for all you cardholders). Or maybe you are feeling the urge to splurge on Copley Square’s The Fairmont (if you stay here, I highly recommend a happy hour drink at the attached Oak Room- such a great people watching spot!)

PicMonkey Collage


First stop? Seaport! You’ll want to snag a spot on a roof-deck for happy hour and watch the sun go down! Legal Harborside, Sam at Louis, and The Envoy Hotel are all solid options. From here,  you can grab dinner as well! The options around Atlantic Ave are endless, but a few of my favorites are Row 34 (seafood), Del Frisco’s (steakhouse), Empire (sushi) & Trade (great cocktails & apps to share!)



If you’ve got a little steam left in you, opt for a little dancing & drinking to some live music! While finding live music in Boston isn’t as easy as I’d always like, The Fenway bars, House of Blues & Wally’s never disappoint.


Ahh, Saturday. A day of relaxing. Well, no sleeping in here, because we’ve got places to see! As touristy as it is, I always recommend a Duck Tour to my visitors (I even join them!) It’s a fun, easy, inexpensive way to see the city. You really get a feel for the history of Boston and the different neighborhoods.

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{Back Bay/Beacon Hill/South End}

Wherever you are, it’s a good idea to stay fueled- try any of these spots & you’ve hit the jackpot:

Sam LaGrassa’s for their famous deli sandwiches

James Hook‘s famous lobster rolls (another incredible option is Neptune Oyster, if you can beat the wait!)

Island Creek Oyster for the amazing raw bar

Want pizza? Try Regina’s Pizzeria (try the Mediterranean), or Area Four, or Picco, or Salty Pig, or Coppa…the list goes on!

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{Reginas/Area 4/Picco/Salty Pig/Coppa}

Any given Saturday, there are many events going on in Boston. I recommend checking out the calendar to see what’s happening: you could attend a Red Sox game at Fenway Park (an amazing experience!), or head on over to a tour of Harpoon Brewery (be sure to get a beer flight & a pretzel!), or walk around the shops of Newbury St, tour the Boston Public Library, and take a stroll through the Boston Commons & Boston Public Garden. Don’t forget about Quincy Market & Faneuil Hall– always an entertaining site.




**Did I mention that you will be walking all over town? Bring comfy shoes- we are a true walking city!**

For the evening, I recommend the North End. It’s the authentic Italian area of town & it’s so charming. The tiny streets are lined with amazing restaurants, bakeries, shops & bars. You really can’t go wrong here, but everyone seems to have their favorite. A few of mine include Strega, Bricco, Giacomo’s & Antico Forno.



Finally, you MUST try a cannoli! The never ending battle is Mike’s vs. Modern. Try one of each & you decide!


It’s your last day here, but don’t be sad because it’s Sunday Funday! Let’s get some exercise in this morning, shall we? You could do a spin class at Equinox, a yoga class at Back Bay Yoga, drop in for Pure Barre, or take a 3 mile jog around the Charles River…obviously, this is the best option.


From here, it’s time to brunch! Some amazing local spots are The Beehive’s jazz brunch, Lincoln Tavern sports bar/restaurant in Southie, Myers + Chang for dumplings, or Mike’s City Diner for good ole’ bacon & eggs.

After brunch, take a stroll down to the SoWa market- an outdoor marketplace full of food trucks, local farm stands, vintage clothes/goods, and a plethora of art galleries. It’s always a fun event & worth checking out! Plus, you’re only about 15 minutes away from the airport 😦



{all of the fresh veggies @ SoWa!}

As you can see, Boston is a city full of food, history, water & walking! I cannot recommend coming to visit enough. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.