10 things I love about Boston
By Robin Abrahams
Number four in the series:
Yes, one does love the history here, no? The Freedom Trail, the recreation of Paul Revere's ride--no, actually, I don't mean that history. I mean History, the vintage boutique on historic Massachusetts Avenue between Harvard and Porter Squares.
History is run by Rachel Hirsch, a former history teacher most recently from the Cambridge School of Weston. Rachel's warm and lively presence is nicely seasoned by that of Johnny Cash. No, not that Johnny Cash, either. Rachel's Johnny, who can often be seen napping in the window display, is a small black and tan terrier mix who looks sort of like Eddie's evil twin. Like his namesake, he has charisma, a thousand-yard stare, and a gruff demeanor hiding a heart of gold. Johnny's the best, but Rachel will lock him behind the counter if you're afraid of dogs.
Most vintage stores have a cluttered, grandma's-attic kind of feel to them, but Rachel keeps her store stripped down and clean, with a sort of late-50s aesthetic that complements her ponytail, bangs, and hipster glasses. You don't have to paw through rack after rack of bowling shirts to get to the good stuff at History. The selection is eclectic and thorough, but not at all haphazard--the clothes are categorized by gender and era and every piece is high quality in appearance and construction. Rachel plays good music, has an excellent bookshelf of history and fiction to browse while your shopping companion tries on clothes, and can make entertaining conversation on any topic from New England Transcendentalism to Harry Potter to recipes. And there's one of those nifty, ridiculously inexpensive Tibetan boutiques right next door, where you can buy an elaborate embroidered headwrap or chandelier earrings to mod-up your cinch-waist New Look cocktail dress.
Stop by History. Dish with Rachel and give Johnny Cash a scratch behind the ears, if he's in a mood to let you touch him that day. And will someone please, please buy that gold filigree party dress? Because I don't need it. I really don't. I have more party dresses than I get party invitations. So deliver me from temptation, someone. Please.