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Day 52: The art of spontaneity, part 3.

Posted by Adam Sell  August 21, 2008 05:27 PM

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boston60_logo.jpgI'm Adam Sell and I have two months left before I leave Boston. My challenge? Do something in the city every day. Have ideas for my adventure? Send me an email.

I do hope it doesn't count as cheating on this project that I lived not far from my third rambling destination. For six months, a friend and I had an apartment in West Roxbury, probably about a mile from Centre St. But in that time, I didn't do exploration of the area - I knew there were some decent Chinese food takeout places along the way, but I was content to just run up the street to the Burger King for food more often than not. So for the last of my "don't pick a place out ahead of time" entries, I wanted to go check out what I missed in those six months.

And I was certainly right about one thing: there are plenty of places to get food along Centre St. I wish I hadn't made the major tactical error of eating before I left, because I was intrigued by the Himalayan Bistro as soon as I got out of my car. That would have been a good hit. But I didn't blow it completely on the food front: my sweet tooth ached with joy as I walked past the Sugar Bakery, and I generally obey my teeth. They convinced me, even if I wasn't hungry right then, I certainly would be in a little while, so why not grab some cupcakes for the road? And I can say now, having eaten both of them, that they give Kickass Cupcakes a run for their money. We are so spoiled here in Boston when it comes to baked goods.

But I spent more time in one little shop than in any other, by far. I am a total sucker when it comes to bookstores - if I walk into one with my arms empty, I won't be walking out that way. Even if I didn't go in with a plan (the art of spontaneity, bookstore edition?), I've got to at least check it out. So when I stepped inside Pazzo Books, my eyes lit up. I mean, it was like a cartoon, my eyes went all big and popped out of my head. Okay, maybe not that much. But Pazzo, a rare and used-book seller, had some of the most fascinating books and displays.

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I immediately decided how my next apartment will be decorated - in literary prints and old maps. (Yeah, I'm a nerd, but that's okay, the first step is admitting it, right?) In addition to the illustration of the Walrus and the Carpenter poem, I found a book with several images of old engravings of the city of Boston. I'm going to tear the best ones out and frame them. If I gotta leave my city, I'm taking some of it with me.

I also stumbled upon a trading post, a block off the main strip. The Reliable Trading Post doesn't have a website, and that's by design. They say on their fliers (which they hand you upon entering the store) that they don't carry anything that didn't exist in the 1800s. And the stuff was everywhere - it was an old house that was repurposed for use as a trading post, and there was wall-to-wall tchotchke. With my arms already laden in books and cupcakes, I didn't stay as long as I would have liked. I wanted to check out the adjacent barn where bands and artists are able to exhibit or perform, but I was afraid my cupcakes would melt, and I began the trek home.

I picked these three neighborhoods because they're places I never thought to investigate. I never thought the spaces in between the squares of Cambridge would have much worth checking out, and I was wrong. I never thought the C and B trains led anywhere good (E train for the win!), and I was wrong. And West Roxbury isn't easy to get to, with a lengthy train ride followed by a lengthy bus ride, but it's totally worth it. Very suburban feel, in the city proper. I'm sure there are little areas I didn't think of that were more than deserving of a "what's going on here" day, too.

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Contributors

Stephanie Callahan is a native Bostonian who loves cooking, traveling, spa treatments, and being on the ocean.

Meghan Colloton is a Bostonian who loves traveling, channeling her inner Julia Child, and trying weird things -- from food to bungee jumping.

Milva DiDomizio is a New England native who's fond of cooking, singing, and Boston's arts and culture scene.

Rachel Raczka is a Bostonian who enjoys buttercream frosting, gin cocktails, and conquering cobblestone streets in high heels.

Emily Sweeney is a Boston native who goes out all over, from Irish pubs in Southie to the roller rink in Dorchester.

Emily Wright is a native Cape Codder who enjoys exercising, baking, and the occasional guilty pleasure action movie.

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