Boston Summer Bucket List

There is certainly no shortage of things to do in Boston, especially during the summertime. It can be hard to choose which patio to visit, which events to prioritize, and which tiki cocktails to drink. Today I’m here to try to help you do just that, and am sharing my Boston Summer Bucket List.

Swizzle Sundays at The Hawthorne

Typically when I’m in Kenmore Square it’s because I’m visiting Eastern Standard, but on many Sunday evenings in the summer you’ll find me next door on The Hawthorne‘s patio, enjoying delicious tiki beverages.

At each Swizzle Sunday, different brands and the bartenders or ambassadors that represent them set up shop with cocktails specially curated for the occasion. Swag is handed out, and good times are had by all.

Jagermeister takeover.

Privateer Rum takeover.

Swizzle Sunday doesn’t take place every single Sunday though, so I recommend liking The Hawthorne’s Facebook page to stay in the loop. As of now the next couple of events are scheduled for 7/23 and 7/30.

Boat Cruises on the Harbor

Both Odyssey Cruises and Mass Bay Lines offer plenty of options when it comes to setting sail (or motor) in the Boston Harbor. If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion with a sit down dinner and plush upper deck chairs, check out the Odyssey. Jeff and I recently were hosted for a Monday evening dinner cruise and had a lovely evening smoking cigars on the deck, sipping cocktails, and taking in the harbor views. The food was also really good; I went with zucchini cakes with tzatziki and orzo for my entree, while Jeff selected short rib.

However if you want to keep things casual, drink things on a boat, and just have a fun night…I recommend one of the many “booze cruises” hosted by boats from Mass Bay Lines. Last month we attended a Yacht Rock Industry Cruise on the Samuel Clemens, complete with a cash bar, hot dogs, and live music. Mass Bay Lines also offers tall ship, sunset, and moonlight cruises.

Basically, find a way to get on a boat out in the Harbor this summer. We live in a coastal city, and should take advantage!

Patio at Pier 6

Speaking of living in a coastal city…Pier 6, a seafood restaurant in Charlestown, has a great patio right on the water, complete with an outdoor bar. While open year round, summer is definitely Pier 6’s peak season. They make a delicious Painkiller, and when my sister came to visit last summer we took her there so she could sample the clam chowder. Some other favorites of mine from their menu include their chopped salads, the calamari, and the burger.

Vodka martini (patio version).

Sis and I waiting on our chowda.

His & hers Painkillers.

Trillium Beer Garden on the Greenway

Until now, it was not possible to taste through multiple Trillium Brewing Company options and buy cans in the same area, as their Fort Point location doesn’t pour. But thanks to the new Trillium Beer Garden on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, it’s possible to sample multiple craft beers and then take the short walk to Congress Street to buy cans of what you liked.

My brother used his visit to the beer garden to determine which cans he’d buy.

For those who don’t drink beer, the Garden also pours local wine from one of my faves, Westport Rivers! And for those who are the opposite and are craft beer aficionados, the lineup of beers being poured changes often. I’ve been a couple of times, and Jeff three times. We both saw almost entirely different options during each visit.

My mom loves IPAs, so I had to take her there when she came to town.

Some other favorites of mine that I don’t have as many photos for, but still love, are:

  • Rooftop at Revere (this usually ends up on Gilt City every season!)
  • Coppersmith in Southie – great food and drink, plus plenty of outdoor space
  • The Automatic‘s patio – it’s dog friendly!
  • Kayaking on the Charles – I did this once for Kaitlin‘s bachelorette and it was a blast!

What are some of your Boston bucket list items?

5 Summer Reading Recs

Wow, I haven’t blogged in a month…my bad. These days I’ve been spending my weekends – the time I’d normally blog – either traveling or taking advantage of my apartment building’s roof deck. Now that it’s finally warm, my favorite way to spend an free afternoon here in Boston is to pack up some rosé and snacks, grab a book, and head up to the deck read…often until the book is completely finished.

Okay, there are sometimes magazines involved too.

Thanks to my recent status as a bookworm, I’ve got a pretty decent list of great books to recommend and figured I’d share them here. We’re only halfway through the summer, so there’s plenty of time to head to your local bookstore or library (I don’t get why more people don’t use the library) and pick them up!

5 Summer Reading Recommendations

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris: The second I finished Chapter 1, I knew I was going to be reading this book from start to finish. It’s a thriller about a husband and wife who seem to have the perfect marriage, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I was rooting for the protagonist (the wife) the entire time, and just had to know how the story ended; the definition of a page turner.

You by Caroline Kepnes: Shoutout to my friend Jenna for recommending this to me; it was right up my alley. Stories about crazy stalkers are always interesting, but when a story is narrated from the point of view of said stalker…that’s when things get VERY interesting. Apparently this book is being made into a Lifetime movie starring Penn Badgley of Gossip Girl fame, and after you read it, I think you’ll agree with my opinion that he was a great choice for the role of Joe.

Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes: …is actually the sequel to You, so be sure you read that first. The only thing better than discovering an awesome new book is finding out it has a sequel!

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena: Another “do you ever really know the truth about someone” type of story, but aren’t those the most fun to read? Twists and turns popped up throughout this entire novel and constantly kept me guessing. The writing and way the story was told reminded me a bit of Gone Girl. If you liked that book, I 100% think you’ll love this one.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler: This does not at ALL fit in with the rest of the books I’m recommending, seeing as it’s not about murder, psychopaths, kidnapping, or stalkers. But it is about restaurants – or rather, working in one – so I found it completely fascinating. The main character, Tess, is a young woman who moves to NYC and gets a job as a waitress to make some money. Soon the restaurant and its staff become her family, her life, her entire world. The reader can see her getting in way too deep, but it’s happening to slowly for Tess to notice. If you’re interested in the restaurant industry or just good food and drink (the book made me crave a chilled glass of Sancerre like no other), I’d definitely suggest giving this one a read.

Those are my five favorite books of the summer so far, but I’ve definitely read more, so follow me on Goodreads if you want more book-related updates! Today I’m starting a book called Those Girls…anyone read it?

Have you read any of these books? Do you have some recommendations for me? Comment and let me know!

What I’m Loving Lately #2

The first thing I’m loving lately is the fact that summer is finally here!!! Of course my car and apartment A/C both broke when we entered a legitimate heat wave, but one is fixed and the other is close to being fixed, so I’m staying positive. Mild temps are on the way too, and I’m hoping for another sunny weekend so I can spend as much time as possible outside.

Anyway, let’s get to the rest of what I’m loving lately.

Trillium Beer Garden: I visited with Jeff and my brother the first weekend they opened on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and loved it! I also like that they offer local wine in addition to beer. The food trucks are a huge plus too…I enjoyed a huge burrito after this picture was taken.

Nightshift Brewing Shark Jumper IPA: Speaking of beer, we tried quite a few during my brother’s visit. After the beer garden we went over to Nighshift in Everett, which has been one of my and Jeff’s favorite spots for awhile. I fell in love with their Shark Jumper, an IPA infused with Meyer Lemon. Super refreshing and the perfect summer brew.

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May Recap

May is over and it was a great month. You already know I went to Nantucket, but I’ve also tried some new restaurants, fallen into a good fitness groove, cooked a few dishes, and spent time with Jeff, friends, and family. All of that hasn’t been quite enough to distract me from the fact that summer has taken its time to show up, but it’s come close.

A (rare) warm May day.

I thankfully didn’t have to worry about cooking the night I got back from Nantucket, because I had a dinner invite to Aqua Pazza, a new restaurant in the North End. There my friend Cristen and I enjoyed a fantastic multi-course meal at a spot that I’d call perfect for date night or an evening out with some girlfriends. The Bolognese di Maiale was particularly a dish to write home about.

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5 Must-Visit Spots on Nantucket

I’m going to preface this post by saying that I am a Nantucket tourist. I don’t consider myself a regular visitor, nor do I consider myself to be the island’s number one fan. So to you Nantucket experts, if you finish this post and think that my picks for must-visit spots on the island are obvious and “tourist-y”…you are absolutely correct!

But they are also great picks for someone traveling to the island for an annual trip (hello, me) or a first-time visit. I just got back from my fourth Nantucket Wine Fest weekend and am happy to say that I checked off almost everything on my to-do list! And that left me inspired to write this post, and share some of my favorite places to visit.

1. Cisco Brewers

Here you can find a brewery, distillery, and winery all in one place. There is truly something for everyone at Cisco Brewers. Food trucks are always around in the afternoon, which is a good thing because there is a LOT of booze to try here. The last time I visited, we had lunch at a seafood truck called The Lobster Trap. However I went with the chicken fingers and fries, because I was really craving some old fashioned greasy food. My suggested course of action at Cisco? Have an ice cold tap beer, then head to Triple 8 Distillery for a refreshing cocktail. End at Nantucket Vineyard with a wine flight, and be sure to conclude it with the port…it’s something special. After all that, grab some food and try to stop yourself from impulse-buying Cisco merchandise.

Lunch from the Lobster Trap, paired with an IPA.

Dad and I in the wine tasting room.

2. Cru

This place is a scene, and that is reflected in the prices on the menu. But oh man, is it fun. I allow myself one visit to Cru per trip to Nantucket, and it’s always worth it. Brunch is probably my favorite time to go, but a mid-day snack on the outdoor patio/lounge isn’t bad either. Also, any restaurant that serves sparkling wine in a coupe glass gets my vote.

Lilly is key Cru attire.

3. The Nautilus

I could probably spend a decent part of my day sitting at The Nautilus‘ bar, chatting with the friendly bartenders and watching them make drinks. The cocktails incorporate freshly-squeezed fruit juices (right in front of you, squeezed to order) and you can even get one in a porron if you’re feeling aggressive. I would say that, in terms of hospitality and quality of drinks, Nautilus is the bar in Nantucket that most reminds me of my favorite bar in Boston, Eastern Standard. If I lived on the island, I could see myself becoming a regular there.

From @nautilusnantucket on Instagram.

4. Boarding House

Espresso. Martinis. Okay, that’s not the only reason why I’m recommending Boarding House, but it’s up there. I’ve never actually eaten at this bar, but it’s fun enough on its own as a place to go out. During Wine Fest weekend it is absolutely packed most of the time, but the bartenders are seasoned pros and still serve drinks efficiently. Like I said, the espresso martinis are amazing. But the fact that Modelo is on the beer list is pretty great too.

5. Nantucket Prime

This is a great restaurant for both a special meal and a casual gathering with friends. In fact, I did both at Nantucket Prime this past weekend; I took my parents there for a special dinner, and enjoyed some drinks outside on the outdoor patio the night prior. I also tried both burgers on the dinner menu, including the Big mACK, an amped-up version of a Big Mac. If you want to splurge, you can go for the filet and some family-style sides. The wine list is also very impressive, and includes a Pinot Noir from Nantucket Vineyard, which is what my parents and I chose to have with dinner.

The Big mACK! Source

So there you have it, my five favorite spots on Nantucket. I’m sure there are more that I haven’t even discovered yet, and that’s why I’ll be going bACK (I know, eye roll) as soon as possible!

Have you been to Nantucket? What are some of your favorite spots?

How I Stopped Late Cancelling Classes

As of yesterday I’ve completed my second full month of using FitReserve since leaving ClassPass, and recently realized that I have not late cancelled a class once. I’m not saying I’m perfect and that I’ll never late cancel a class again, but still, I feel proud of this accomplishment. That’s because when I was using ClassPass, I was cancelling classes after the twelve hour window at least two or three times per month. At $15 per late cancellation, that amounts to $45 in extra fees! So you can imagine why I’m glad that I haven’t late cancelled yet since starting FitReserve, especially since the membership fee is more than what I was paying with ClassPass.

But why haven’t I late cancelled in the last couple of months? It’s not because I’m working out less (or more…I’m still working out about the same amount). I did some thinking and think I can attribute it to a few factors. And I figured some of you may be interested in knowing what they are, and learning from my experience.

1. I switched up my routine.

It’s amazing how much more I look forward to a workout that I haven’t been doing for months now. B/SPOKE Studios may be a cycling class (something I’ve been taking for awhile), but I’m at a new studio, with new teachers, and a new style of spin and music. EverybodyFights‘ new FiDi location means I can try workouts that challenge me yet fly by, like my recent discovery of TRAINxCARDIO. I still take classes that I regularly attended on ClassPass (and miss some that aren’t on FitReserve), but I love looking forward to a greater percentages of classes I take…and late cancelling less classes as a result. And now that I’ve learned this, when I start feeling a slump I can switch it up to other classes and studios to fight boredom.

2. I’m paying more money.

Obviously I’m not suggesting that you go out and spend a fortune on a studio membership to stay motivated, because that’s certainly not possible for everyone. But there is something to be said for money being a motivator. At $185/month, if I take all twenty classes that come with my FitReserve membership, I’m spending just a little over $9/class. If you think about how much a single class at a lot of these studios goes for ($36 at EverybodyFights, $28 at B/SPOKE), that’s an amazing deal! So getting to as many of the twenty classes I can each month makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. And if I late cancel a class, that’s another $15 on top of the $185 I’m already paying…and that class isn’t one I made it to, making my per class cost for the month that much higher.

3. FitReserve’s late cancellation policy definitely helps.

As I mentioned in my FitReserve vs ClassPass post, FitReserve’s cancellation policy is true to each studio. That means studios with a six hour cancellation window for members also have a six hour window on FitReserve. With ClassPass, every studio has a twelve hour window no matter what. I have definitely taken advantage of this several times; there have been a couple of Fridays when I had signed up for an EverybodyFights class after work and cancelled it – without being penalized – when I woke up…simply because I didn’t want to work out on a Friday. Which brings me to my last, and most important, point.

4. I have learned – and now accept – my workout habits and schedule.

I think this is the most important factor on this list because it shows steps forward in beating exercise guilt…which is something I still struggle with. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I used to (and still do at times) pour over class schedules, signing up for Friday post-work workouts (which I usually hate unless they’re a social thing), early morning pre-work workouts (I will never be that person), and weekend classes that took place the morning after a night that I knew could end up going late.

And what did I do when I signed up for those classes? I late cancelled them, because in the end, working out when I was exhausted or hungover or just wanted to get my Friday night started was not really me. It was not what I truly wanted to be doing. And I shouldn’t feel guilty about that! It’s okay to not be a pre-work workout person. It’s okay to decide not to work out on a weekend and have a lazy Sunday, even if technically I have all the time in the world to make it to a class. It’s okay to not sign up for a class on Friday because I know my coworkers will probably want to get drinks after work. Fitness does not have to come before everything, and it’s okay if that’s how my priorities are laid out.

Did I miss any tips you have for making sure you make it to a class without paying a fee? Can you relate to any of these?

Signature Crafted Fun at McDonald’s

I received compensation from McDonald’s in exchange for writing this review. Although this is a sponsored post, all opinions my own.

There was a time when I took pride in saying I never ate fast food. I’ll be honest, I looked down on people who did eat it. But over the years as I have worked on bettering my relationship with food, my opinions have definitely changed. I don’t eat fast food every day, but when I do, I enjoy and savor every single bite. I’m all about treating myself to a Big Mac or those signature golden McDonald’s fries when I’m craving them. So when I found out that the closest location to my apartment, the newly renovated two-story McDonald’s in Everett, wanted to host me and a group of bloggers to try their new Signature Crafted sandwiches…I was 100% in!

The McDonald’s in Everett is one of 11 new “smart” locations that now feature ordering kiosks and table-side service – a “Just For You” experience. Though the classic cashier option remains, those who prefer a digital experience can order from easy to use stations that accept credit card payments.

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Brunch at Plan B Glastonbury

I received the food and drink in this post free of charge. However (and longtime readers already know this), I’ve been a fan and paying customer of Plan B for a very long time! They even named a burger after me back in the day.

I went home to Connecticut this past weekend to celebrate my dad’s retirement, but made sure to spend time with old friends as well. On Sunday morning, Jeff and I had the chance to enjoy Plan B Glastonbury‘s brunch with Kat and Plan B’s marketing director, Shannon. We arrived at 10:30am on the dot, which brings me to my first positive note about the brunch…it starts at 10am. Jeff and I are huge fans of early brunch, because sometimes you just get up and can’t wait until noon.

(Not) fun fact about Boston: there are no bottomless beverages and no happy hours. So when I saw that Plan B offered bottomless bourbon sours at their brunch – and for $15 no less – I had to jump on that deal. When in Rome, right?!

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Rocking the Guac (Judging) at Painted Burro

Every now and then I take a look at my schedule and notice just how many of the awesome plans on my calendar are a result of this blog. It leads me to have what some may call a “pinch me” moment. Never when I started Cait Plus Ate did I imagine it would give me the opportunities it has, from awesome events to sneak previews of restaurants to fantastic vacations and staycations. Today I wanted to share one of those pinch-me moments with you all: the chance to be a judge in a guacamole competition!

This past Sunday was Painted Burro‘s 5th annual guacamole making contest, and I was asked to be one of the four judges. Proceeds from ticket sales benefited No Kid Hungry, and attendees were able to taste all ten guacamole recipes. We four judges determined the grand prize winner, and the audience voted on a People’s Choice winner as well. The prizes were pretty awesome: $400 to the restaurant, the winning guacamole featured on the menu for a week, and the best prize (to me)…anytime reservations for a year.

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Weekly Wins #2

I really enjoyed writing my last Weekly Wins post, so I’m back with another one, because it’s honestly an easy way to share what I’ve been up to lately…and that’s a whole lot. Without further ado, here are some wins from this past week.

Workout Win

It’s been awhile since I set a mini fitness-related goal for myself, but last week I came up with a new one when I took Reid Eichelberger‘s TRAINxCARDIO class at Everybody Fights‘ Financial District location. What a tough workout! The routine featured moves I never do without an instructor asking me to, like jump squats and lunges, rope swings, and suspension training mountain climbers. And we all know that the workouts we hate most are usually those that are best for us. So I’ve decided to strive to sign up for one TRAINxCARDIO class per week. I think adding those kind of explosive HIIT moves to my routine will only make me stronger and, more importantly, will make me feel great.

Recipe Win

Last week I made a fantastic new recipe, Skinnytaste’s Cheeseburger Casserole. Jeff called it a “next-level American Chop-Suey”. This tasted incredible, especially leftover, and was so easy to throw together! I definitely will be making this again.

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