New England fall offers much to do
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Welcome to our University, new Brandeisians, and welcome back, everyone else! Whether you are looking forward to starting classes or not, one thing is certain: it’s always great to be back at Brandeis!
Personally, having spent a great summer in New York City, I am looking forward to going into Brandeis’ surrounding towns and cities and enjoying some of the places that make our location special. During my three years here (and my entire life as a native of Massachusetts before that) I have always loved trying new restaurants, theaters and outdoor activities. Before I graduate at the end of the semester, I wanted to share some ideas of fun days or nights out to any first-years and encourage those in their final semesters to visit some old and new favorites.
Hotspot: Moody Street. There are great eats up and down Waltham’s main drag. From Lizzy’s Ice Cream to the always-delicious Little India, there is cuisine suitable to even the pickiest of diners. The street is also home to the Embassy Cinema, which plays first-run movies at a reasonable price—Monday through Thursday, there is a student price of $8 and on Tuesdays, all shows are only $6. Best of all? It’s just a short 25-minute walk or even shorter (five- minute) Branvan ride away from campus.
Hidden Gem: Right behind the Charles River Apartments is Mt. Feake Cemetery. Sounds kind of morbid, but actually, this gorgeous resting place is a park with paths wide enough for walking with friends (Just be sure to follow cemetery rules!). The official cemetery entrance is located on Prospect Street, and offers a great view of our very own stretch of the Charles River. New England is at its most beautiful in autumn, so take advantage of the perfect weather and get outside!
Hotspot: Washington Street. If you have a car, you can take a short drive to the West Newton Cinema, which plays indie films and is also one of the hosts to the Boston Jewish Film Festival (this year from Nov .7 to 19). There are also specialty grocery stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods.
Hidden Gem: Cabot’s Ice Cream is designed in the style of a classic ice cream parlor, with big booths, tables for two and an old-fashioned countertop. They serve up 70 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt and have 35 types of toppings. For those who don’t eat dairy, they have dairy-free frozen yogurt with which they can mix all kinds of extras like fruit, candy and baked goods.
Hotspot: Harvard Square. The Crystal Shuttle takes you right to the gates of historic Harvard University. The cobbled streets offer plenty of shopping, from Gap to Newbury Comics to Urban Outfitters on JFK Street, which features a bargain basement with generous mark-downs that bring some items as low as $5. For food, be sure to check out Wagamama also on JFK Street, a worldwide Japanese chain whose only U.S. locations are in Cambridge and Boston. Across the street from Wagamama is the Boston Tea Stop, which serves up bubble tea of all flavors and mochi ice cream, a dessert made from sticky rice. Mr. Bartley’s burgers is a staple right down Mass Ave. with delicious sweet potato fries and items that were featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Finish off the night at the interestingly-placed Club Passim/Veggie Planet, across from the Harvard Coop, for some tunes and vegetarian pizza. This semester, I am definitely going to buy tickets to an American Repertory Theater show, quite possibly at the Oberon (a nightclub-esque theater venue on Mass Ave., home to The Donkey Show, a disco-themed version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and other equally intriguing performances).
Not-so-hidden gem: No trip to the Square is complete without a browse around the Coop. This three-story bookstore and cafe has all the latest titles and the greatest classics. If you enter on Brattle Street and go up the escalators, you can cross the sky bridge that stretches over a small alleyway.
Hotspot: Davis Square: the hangout for Tufts University students. This nearby hotspot is only one Red Line stop away from Porter Square, where our MBTA commuter rail stops, and two stops away from where the Crystal Shuttle stops at Harvard Square. Lit up with Christmas lights year-round, this area is home to the Somerville Theatre, a venue for old films, new filmsand the occasional live show. Diesel Cafe at 257 Elm Street has an old-school photo booth where you can snap some shots with friends, and Mr. Crepe right outside the Davis Square T-stop can satisfy both a sweet tooth or a craving for savory.
Hidden Gem: Anna’s Taqueria, also on Elm St. Don’t be surprised when your quesadilla comes rolled like a burrito; this Mexican eatery knows what it’s doing. The interior is nothing special, but the dishes sure taste great.
And then there’s the main attraction: Boston. You don’t need me to tell you about the endless things to do in this great city. Go out and explore! Some of my favorites, however, are the vast food court at Fanueil Hall, the window shopping one can do on Newbury St., the Museum of Fine Arts (Brandeis students get free admission), the Museum of Science Mugar Omni theater where you can catch the latest science flicks on a dome-shaped screen, and the House of Blues near the iconic Fenway ballpark. Go on a ghost tour starting in the Back Bay neighborhood or head over to Mike’s Pastry in the North End. Walk the Freedom Trail or attend a film festival (or the Boston Book Festival on Oct. 27).
Do one, two, or all of these things, and I guarantee a fun semester. And, when you’re thanking me later (or if you have something better to suggest) write to us at email@example.com and let us know which places are your Brandeis hotspots!