COVID has dashed a lot of plans. It’s been a wedding crasher, family reunion ruiner, and vacation crusher. And while we can’t really change the circumstances at hand, this forced proximity does have a silver lining. With the option of traveling by plane a less viable option, now is a great time to explore cities & sites a little closer to home.
I’ll start this series as close as it possibly gets for me—Boston. My current home, it’s safe to say I know Boston pretty well. Although I wouldn’t claim it has the largest sustainable community, there are some great gems in a few different neighborhoods as well as closeby parks & nature reserves you can spend a whole day exploring. So, without further ado, here’s sustainable Boston.
Boston has some great little neighborhoods in it—North End, South End, Jamaica Plain. But if you ask me, it’s just north of the city where you can find a cute & comfy New England experience. As a to-be resident, I’m certainly partial but nonetheless recommend the Cambridge & Somerville areas. Both can be reached by buses as well as the red & orange lines of the city’s subway (the T), making it a convenient location if you’re not traveling by car. If you are, just make sure to book spots on Spot Hero ahead of time—Somerville & Cambridge are not known for their visitor-friendly parking options. I recommend staying two to three days/nights in order to see all parts of the city and some of the surrounding areas.
MY AIRBNB PICKS
Need to stretch your legs? Take a virtual yoga class at And Yoga, run for free along the Esplanade, or take a spin on Blue Bikes. If you’re really feeling ambitious, Goat Yoga is an experience I 10/10 recommend!
After a few years of searching, I’ve found some small business gems. Cambridge Naturals, Cleenland, and Boston General Store offer everything under the sustainable sun. Loose leaf tea and CBD oil. Refillable household cleaners, floss, and toothpaste. Beeswax wrap and bar shampoo. Pick up something to bring home or an eco-friendly gift for friends & family.
As for cute boutiques, well, Boston is crawling with them! If plants are more your speed, check out Niche—an aesthetically pleasing shop filled with greenery & gardening supplies. Find a card to send home or sassy tote at Olives & Grace and some handmade goodies & snacks at Bow Market. Swing by The Urban Grape for a classy bottle of wine to drink romantically on the side of Charles (no partner required!). For you book worms, don’t miss Frugal Bookstore, Brookline Booksmith, and Harvard Book Store.
And no weekend getaway would be complete without at least one thrift store! If you’re able to get outside the city, Savers in Framingham is a gold mine for great jackets, housewares, and dresses. If you’re looking to stay closer by, Goodwill near BU is pretty well-stocked with good brands. There’s also Boomerangs in the South End, a great place for higher-end brands (all proceeds go to HIV/AIDs causes).
Where do I even start? I could eat my way through Boston, but for brevity’s sake, here are just a few spots you cannot miss. Health-food enthusiasts and vegans must try Life Alive Cafe (located near BU and in Central Square). For a little taste of everything local, try Boston Public Market and find your perfect wine pairing at Taste Wine Bar. For something international, Tasca has cheap and delicious tapas. Moroccan Hospitality is everything the names suggests and more. And Lucy Ethiopian Cafe is a delicious stop for comforting lunch and dinnertime eats.
Outdoor enthusiasts, Boston even has something for you. If the Public Gardens aren’t enough, get up early and wander out to Walden Pond for a dip and walk around Thoreau’s old stomping grounds. Break a sweat at Blue Hills Reservation or take some cute IG shots at Harvard Arboretum.
Have your own sustainable Boston hotspots? Want me to review the sustainable & local highlights of another New England city? Leave your two cents in the comments.