Tuesday, December 6, 2011

December in Cambridge

While I may not be able to predict the weather around here, I can tell you that no matter the temperature, Cambridge will be filled with the holiday spirit this December.  Harvard Square and Central Square have been festooned and the twinkle of Sparklefest greets you at every corner.  There is something for everyone this time of the year.
On December 17th, enjoy “Everyone Loves Latkes” and on December 18th have Breakfast with Santa. For those looking to burn off breakfast, the Cambridge 5K-Yulefest is also on December 18th. The skating rink at the Charles Hotel will be opening on December 11th, and if you still need to pick up more gifts (or get something for yourself, we don’t judge) check out the Harvard Square Holiday Craft Fair at the First Parish Unitarian Church.  
Now that winter has finally chosen to show up, you may prefer to take in a show. There are several theatrical holiday events occurring. While the Boston Ballet performs perhaps the most famous version of the Nutcracker, the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre provides a much more intimate setting in which to enjoy this classic holiday story. Also the Christmas Revels at the Sanders Theater is a lively and timeless tradition that people have returned to see year after year.
For details about these and other holiday activities in the area visit www.harvardsquare.com .  
And, of course, as the year winds down, don’t forgot the party Boston throws on New Year’s Eve. For 35 years First Night Boston has been offering a family friendly, entertainment laden celebration of the New Year. We are hoping it will be cold enough for keep the world famous ice sculptures from melting too quickly. Then again, we don’t want it too cold as we welcome in 2012 with the traditional fireworks display over Boston Harbor.
Visit www.firstnight.org for additional information about First Night Boston activities.
No matter how you celebrate the Holiday Season and welcome in the New Year, we at Harding House wish you good health and happiness in 2012!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cozy up in November

What is there to say about November in Cambridge? It's cold, it's wet, it's cloudy...all the pretty leaves have fallen to the ground and either been swept away or ground into a sticky, muddy paste that will stick relentlessly to shoes and the bottom cuffs of pants.

Traditionally we experience our first taste of the coming winter in early November when the first freeze hits the city.  Yes, this means bundling up, but it also means the return all of those winter activities we love so much. November is the perfect month for ice skating on the Frog Pond (usually open by mid-November) or at Community Skating in Kendall Square. The air cold and crisp, but not bitter and the ground is usually clear of snow.

Ah, snow. It's usually in November that we see the first flakes. What is it about that first sight of snow falling that brings out the child in all of us? You will see grow adults race to the window at the first call of "It's snowing!" Of course in a few weeks we will be calling out "enough with the snow", but I believe that even the most jaded New Englander’s eyes light up at the sight of the first flakes falling. And so begins the season of cozy evenings with warm cups of coca and Norman Rockwell-esque rosy cheeks.

So also begins the season of food. Long before it was a national holiday, Thanksgiving was a regional tradition in New England. And yet even as each region of the nation has developed its own thanksgiving traditions, the template for all of these traditions remains the New England Thanksgiving.  We at Harding House are always so happy  to see people gathering for Thanksgiving.  It makes us feel like we are a part of so many families and we are thankful to everyone who has made Harding House a part of their Thanksgiving tradition.

There is one other big November tradition: After the last of the turkey has been eaten and  you have caught up on your sleep, it's time to shop. I have never successfully rousted myself for the early morning sales on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but I have enjoyed many a good holiday sale in Harvard Square. And, of course a good old fashion tree lighting is the perfect way to ignite your holiday spirit and wrap up a day of shopping . This year the annual Tree lighting in front of the Charles Hotel will be Saturday, November 26th.

Enjoy November and remember that along with the cold temperatures in December, also comes warm gatherings and holiday cheer with Latkes and Santa. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

October is nearly here!

I know it is hard to believe that those carefully packed sweaters will soon be needed but, it is during this time of the cooler temperatures, as winter approaches, that we are blessed to be guests at Mother Nature's art exhibition. With so many things to do this time of the year it is easy to forget to take a moment to admire the last breathtaking notes Mother Nature has chosen to place near the end of her yearly symphony. Whether you are coming to visit a student or cheer on the rowers during the Head of the Charles Regatta, remember to take a few pictures of the colors exploding along the riverbank.
It is easy to see why October is the busy month for hotels in the greater Boston area. Several colleges host parent weekends this month in addition to the 300,000+ people flocking to witness the largest annual rowing event in the world (Head of the Charles Regatta), and then add fact that October is now the most popular month of the year for weddings it is no wonder that available hotel rooms can be as rare around here as a parking space in Harvard Square.
I do feel that this time of the year should come with a warning--the Canada Geese are out in full force.  And, yes, Canada geese is becoming the preferred term. Apparently, because they cross international lines and they don't carry passports, they are not technically Canadian Geese after all, but dual citizenship geese.
As  they are moving south over the city, these large birds can be awe inspiring. The V formation crossing a flawless blue sky is one of those iconic imagines of in New England. However, when they are on the ground, I believe that these particular visitors should have to wear a warning label.  While enjoying a breathtakingly beautiful Fall day on Boston Common last year, I had a particularly large goose attempt to climb on my lap and take a sandwich right out of  my hand!  Lesson learned: guard your picnics carefully this time of year.
My advice for visitors to Cambridge in October: beware of hungry geese and random bouquet tosses. And, bring a jacket, it's starting to get chilly at night.
Assistant Manager

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Visiting In September?

Labor Day weekend is the only weekend of the year that I wish I owned a U-haul franchise. During this early part of the fall an estimated 250,000 college students invade the greater Boston area. Yes, that is about 100,000 more than the total combined Allied forces that landed in Normandy on D-Day. It seems you can't walk a block without having to dodge someone moving in or out.  The best advice I've heard for handling this time is to plan ahead, be patient and don't expect things to go smoothly. Do plan to be stressed and tired after a day of moving. For your comfort, I recommend planning to give yourself time to rest and recover, perhaps in our side garden with a nice glass of wine.

Students need a surprising number of supplies. Making a list of the things your student will need and where to purchase these items is a good start. Mapping out store locations and grouping purchases by location can save many hours of running around outfitting your students and allow you more time to explore the city.  At Harding House, we will be happy to send you off with directions, maps and a water bottle to help you get through you day with the least amount of frustration. Speaking of frustrating, I personally can always tell when students have returned because the freezer section in my local grocery store has been cleaned out of ice cream, so please remember to leave some for others (especially Hood's Red Sox Comeback Caramel), thank you!

Remember that early fall in Boston can still be quiet warm, if not hot. However, the weather can change suddenly and you may wish to pack a sweater or light jacket for cool evenings. I also personally recommend bringing a sturdy pair of closed-toe rubber soled shoes if you plan to move or help someone move; unless stubbed toes and crushed feet are your thing, save the sandals and flip-flops for Boston Common. Also, if you are planning to walk the Freedom Trail or other explore other parts of our (somewhat less than car friendly) city, a good pair of sneakers is always your best bet.

As we move past the "move-in" season and later into September, those of you visiting for non-student related things, please remember to pack your patience. As the population of the area greatly increases during the academic year, so increases the wait times at restaurants and coffee shops. Also, the sidewalks and subway become more crowed. Keep your eyes out for wayward bicycles and protruding backpacks.

If you are coming to stay with us in September, feel free to drop us a line with any questions and we will do our best to help you out.

Sneak peek of October's post: October is the busiest month for hotels in the greater Boston area. I will outline the reasons why next month. Hint: it has something to do with leaves and weddings.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Our Favorite Places Around Cambridge....

I'd like to start with a little summary about what this Blog is all about. Harding House is a 14 room Bed & Breakfast in Mid Cambridge. In a big old renovated Victorian house we host guests from all over the world looking to find out for themselves what Cambridge is all about. Some people come for business, some for pleasure. We accommodate solo travelers as well as large families. One thing is for sure travelers from all over the world return to stay at Harding House.
I wanted to start this Blog to let people know where WE like to eat, play, shop, walk and museum explore.  I hope it will be a team effort for all the staff to contribute. It will not be reviews or negative, just letting you know, as locals, what we like most about our city. Boston is only 2 subway stops away so you may also find that some of our favorites are just across the river.
Enjoy reading and please come explore Cambridge and Boston soon! Whether you have stayed before or  never been we welcome you to our collective home.