Are you a fixture on the T? Or are you lost without your car?
Americans are riding public transit in record numbers, according to this Associated Press report. Americans made nearly 10.7 billion public transit trips in 2013 -- the highest transit ridership since 1956, according to information released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association.
We want to know how you get around.
FlightCar, said to be the world’s first peer-to-peer car-sharing company to run at airports, launched a new business-traveler service, which began in Boston Feb. 4. The new option gives business travelers who typically expense their parking to pay $15 a day for airport parking, while earning up to 50 cents per mile when their car is rented. Company officials said this builds on the success of offering travelers a free airport parking option near Logan International and in San Francisco and Los Angeles that pays 20 cents a mile.
“While many of our car-sharing customers love the option of free airport parking, we’ve had a lot of requests from members who are business travelers for an additional option to get cheap parking rates yet a higher mileage reimbursement,” said Rujul Zaparde, FlightCar CEO and founder. “We’re answering the demand and giving frequent business travelers who treat their parking as a business expense an opportunity to turn their unused vehicle parked at the airport into a personal revenue generator.”
FlightCar introduced its car-sharing service a year ago and now has more than 13,000 members, nearly half of which have parked at lots in the three cities it services. FlightCar also offers free GPS, car seats and liability insurance up to $1 million. The service drops off and picks up car sharers and renters free of charge at terminals. Free parking and a car wash are offered even when a car sharer’s vehicle isn’t rented. Officials said with users averaging around 60 miles a day, the business traveler service can make frequent travelers who use it about $120 a week.
For full info, visit www.flightcar.com
In the dead of winter, take small comfort in knowing that two of New England's capital cities, Boston and Providence, have made the “Coziest Cities List,” sponsored by the new line of Honeywell Infrared Heaters, with Boston topping the list and Providence coming in at number eight. The awards were evaluated by scientists at the environmental consulting firm of Needham-based Environmental Health & Engineering, and determined based on criteria used to judge overall comfort, ambiance and accessibility.
"Defining coziness is a relatively abstract task, but we were up for the challenge,” said Dr. Ted Myatt of the consulting company in a press release released Jan. 6. “We synthesized a variety of city data across major metropolitan areas in the United States to calculate an overall coziness score.”
Myatt said they looked at criteria ranging from fireplace and portable heater usage, access to parks and overall walkability to restaurants and coffee shops per capita, stressful lifestyle scores and historical ambiance.
Coming in second was San Francisco, followed by Santa Fe, Washington, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Baltimore, Providence, New Orleans and Savannah, Georgia.
Fairmont Battery Wharf on Boston’s waterfront celebrates its fifth anniversary with a package that includes an overnight stay and $55 food and beverage or spa credit. The package’s starting rate is $255, available through March 31. Guests can upgrade to a suite for per-night rates from $355 for a one-bedroom suite or from $555 for a harbor suite. Winter attractions at the hotel include toasting s’mores or having a drink at the fire pits outside, afternoon tea, live entertainment and treatments at its Exhale Spa. For information, visit www.fairmont.com/battery-wharf-boston
It's great to get far away in the middle of winter, but sometimes sticking close to home has its benefits, chief among them saving money. The Inn on Scituate Harbor, for example, is running a mid-winter deal from January through March, offering a rate of $99 per night for stays Sunday through Thursday. A great place to stay warm there is by the fire in The Dogwatch, the inn's bar where they have regular live music, trivia contests, psychic readings and all manner of other diversionary activities to take your mind off the cold outside. Or you can brave it and walk around the harbor, one of the prettiest on Boston's South Shore - then come back for a warm drink. Check it out at www.innatscituate.com
The reading and birthday party are free and open to the public. In lieu of gifts, guests are encouraged to bring towels, blankets, or toys for donation to the Animal Rescue League Boston Shelter. The event takes place at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, 138 St. James Ave., Boston.
The Frog Pond isn't the only skating show in town: in Cambridge celebrates its annual opening of The Rink at The Charles Hotel Dec. 15, offering free ice skating and skate rentals from noon to 6 p.m., with performances by the Harvard Figure Skating Club and free hot chocolate. Children can hit the activities room for cookie decorating from noon to 3 p.m. Adults are welcome to check out a new specialty, “Apres Skate” cocktails in the Noir lounge nightly from 4 p.m. To 2 a.m., created by the lounge's general manager, Archie Almodovar.
The 2,900-square-foot rink is open through March 16. For regular rates and packages, visit www.charleshotel.com
Photo from The Charles Hotel
By Alexa Dibenedetto
A 14-foot Gingerbread Macaron Nutcracker will soon welcome guests to the lobby of the Ritz Carlton on Boston Common. The festive, giant holiday decoration is the creation of executive chef Andrew Yeo and his pastry team. It’s flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, clove and almond, and is covered in more than 2,000 macarons.
So what does it take to build a 14-foot edible decoration?
- 20 pounds of almond flower
- 100 pounds of powdered sugar
- 20 pounds of granulated sugar
- 5 pounds of water
- 4,106 egg whites
Visit the Ritz-Carlton Boston Common at 10 Avery Street to pose for a picture with this the towering dessert and try your best not to take a bite.
Getting to Logan Airport is rarely fun and seldom easy. But before heading off on a trip to the Caribbean in early November, we found a little bit of both, and got a great meal in the bargain at a new, old restaurant.
Facing a ridiculously early flight, we opted to stay the night before at the Hyatt Place on Forbes Road in Braintree, a relatively new hotel opening in a complex of upscale places, including Joseph A. Bank and Starbucks. For less than $130, we got a decent room in the shiny new hotel, ample space with a king bed, giant HD TV, glassed-in shower, higher-end digs for a reasonable price. From there, we'd drive a quarter mile to Logan Express, to catch the 3:30 a.m. bus.
We walked over to the Legal Seafood in the same building as the Hyatt, and found out it had just opened four days earlier, the latest branch of the Boston-bred restaurant empire that started in 1968. It will replace the older Legal next door, which is still in use through the holidays, slated to close Jan. 31.
The new Legal is a smashing place, long, wide open, bright and airy, with huge rectangular stainless steel bar mercifully fronted with leather armrests so your forearms aren't assaulted by cold steel. There is also an oyster bar, and food bar, along the exposed kitchen. In summer, giant sliders will open to allow deck dining. In all, the place seats 220.
The staff was first rate, start to finish, and when our wait staffer, Erica, wasn't at our table tending to our needs, other servers stepped in. Legal Seafood fare is always good, and I was very pleased to find out, very friendly to people like me with celiac disease, with a pretty extensive gluten-free menu. Restaurant manager Emily Duranleau told me Legal was on the cutting edge of offering gluten-free options long before many other places were.
It is rare for a restaurant to offer gluten-free fried food, e.g. clams, chicken, fish, but here they do courtesy of using brown rice flour and cornmeal. Also rare is getting gluten-free bread in restaurants, but here they have pretty good dinner rolls, flavored by garlic and onion, that rival regular bread anywhere else. We didn't eat heavy, going with a chicken caesar salad, and the “vegetarian box,” with sesame soy stir-fried veggies, Thai red coconut curry sauce, cashews and shrimp. Dessert was a chocolate mouse, rich and grainy, with velvety chocolate at its core, which we feared would keep us up past our 2:30 a.m. wake-up call. Luckily, it did not.
So far, so good, and it got better. The Logan Express trip has gotten cheaper in recent years, including chopping the daily parking rate to $7 from $11, and offering a 10-pack of commuter tickets for $75, saving $35 off the regular price, a boon to frequent fliers like myself. At 3:30, the bus was jammed with mostly airport workers, looking like they'd rather be anywhere else. We tourists stuck out, by our casual attire and the smiles on our faces, heading into a day that would bring snow to Boston but us to a sunny place in the Caribbean.
Trips to the airport are rarely fun and seldom easy, but combining a stay at the Hyatt, dinner at the new Legal Seafood and a seamless ride on Logan Express, it sure came close.
By Alexa Dibenedetto, Globe Correspondent
Planning on grabbing some drinks after the festivities on Saturday, when the Red Sox celebrate their 2013 World Series title? Here’s a list of bars to visit in the Boylston area.
755 Boylston St.
955 Boylston St.
911 Boylston St.
885 Boylston St.
903 Boylston St.
Solas Irish Pub
710 Boylston St.
240 Newbury St.
M Bar and Lounge
776 Boylston St.
Never been on a Boston Duck Tour because of the cost? Friday could be your best opportunity, as the amphibious touring boats will be showing off the sites of Boston free of charge.
The promotion is thanks to Sovereign Bank re-branding as “Santander,” and the entire fleet will be available to tour Boston all day. The deal is, however, first-come, first-served, and no reservations will be allowed.
Tickets may only be obtained in person at any Boston Duck Tour ticket booth location - the Museum of Science, Prudential Center or New England Aquarium. Booths will be open at 8:30 a.m., and tours will begin at 9 a.m., every half-hour, and run until an hour before sunset. There is a maximum of six tickets per customer.
For more information, call 617-450-0068, or visit www.bostonducktours.com/santander.aspx
Drinks International, a cocktail industry publication, has released its annual list of the 50 best bars in the world, and a Boston locale has made the list.
Barbara Lynch’s Drink Boston was ranked the 46th-best bar in the world, thanks to the restauranteur’s unique concept, which the publication called” a modern bar with a serious commitment to serious cocktails complete with neighbourhood bar vibe.”
That’s a pretty apt description, but the list still seems a bit odd. While a number of New York City bars made the list, the exclusion of Rattle and Hum is glaring. San Francisco’s Tommy’s makes the list, but City Beer Store would have also been a worthy selection.
Any other Boston bars that should have made the list? Mind you, Sullivan’s Tap was obviously robbed.
Here’s the entire list.
1. Artesian (London)
2. The Nightjar (London)
3. High Five Tokyo (Tokyo)
4. The Connaught (London)
5. The Dead Rabbit (NYC)
6. Happiness Forgets (London)
7. The Black Pearl (Melbourne)
8. The Baxter Inn (Sydney)
9. Taqueria Candelaria (Paris)
10. 28 Hong Kong Street (Singapore)
11. Callooh Callay (London)
12. Employees Only (NYC)
13. PDT (NYC)
14. Dry Martini (Barcelona)
15. Door 74 (Amsterdam)
16. Le Lion Bar (Hamburg)
17. Buck & Breck (Berlin)
18. The Parlour (Frankfurt)
19. The Jerry Thomas Project (Rome)
20. The American Bar (London)
21. Death & CO. (NYC)
22. Ruby (Copenhagen)
23. Schumanns Bar (Munich)
24. The Everleigh Bar (Melbourne)
25. Eau De Vie Bar (Sydney)
26. Bulletin Place (Sydney)
27. 69 Colebrooke Row (London)
28. Chainaya Tea & Cocktails (Moscow)
29. Mutis (Barcelona)
30. Smugglers Cove (San Francisco)
31. Clover Club (NYC)
32. Bramble Bar (Edinburgh, Scotland)
33. Le Forum (Paris)
34. Zetter Townhouse (London)
35. Floreria Atlantico (Buenos Aires)
36. Lebensstern (Berlin)
37. La Capilla (Mexico)
38. Quinary (Hong Kong)
39. Little Red Door (Paris)
40. Bar Le Coq (Paris)
41. Shady Pines (Darlinghurst, Australia)
42. Attaboy (NYC)
43. Sherry Butt (Paris)
44. Pouring Ribbons (NYC)
45. Tippling Club (Singapore)
46. Drink Boston (Boston)
47. Tommy's (San Francisco)
48. Baba Au Rum (Athens)
49. Nottingham Forest (Milan)
50. Delicatessen (Moscow)
Taking the family to Fenway on Saturday for game 1 of the American League Championship Series? (Boy, that feels good to say again, doesn’t it?) You won’t be alone, obviously, and if you’re unsure of the situation unfolding in front of you, here are a few suggestions:
1. Where is the least-expensive and most convenient place to park?
Look, we’re no longer in the glorious days of being able to park at St. Mary’s T stop in Brookline and pay for two hours of parking until the meters expire at 6 p.m. If you’re not going to take the T to Kenmore Square (which you should), Landmark Center, only blocks from the ballpark, provides some of the safest, most economical parking in the Fens. Easy in. Easy out, especially for those heading down Beacon Street after the game. Call for rates though, as they may change for playoff games.
2. Where is the best and least-expensive place to eat?
The best? Eastern Standard by a country mile. The second-best? I’m partial to Boston Beer Works’ menu. Yes, their beer too. And if you’re looking for a craft beer and some tater tots, The Lower Depths is for you. As for the least expensive, well, there’s a McDonald’s right off the T stop, although we still pine for the magnificent slices at the long-lost Baldini’s (God rest its soul).
3. Where’s the best place to get the best deal on Sox gear for the kids?
I still have my 1992 Colorado Rockies T-shirt I bought from a vendor a year before the expansion franchise’s inception. I got that from the same area where I bought my Marty Barrett poster in the mid-80’s (I still have it too). The Yawkey Way Store, across the street from the park, is still the way to go though. It’s the sort of spot that will produce wide eyes on any first-time child, which means you may actually shell out a few bucks more than what the knockoff down the street is going for, but it’s worth it. (I also bought a Toledo Mud Hens hat here once. Full disclosure.)
4. Programs? Yes or no?
I have programs my grandfather scored in from 1981. Yes. One hundred times, yes. Kids may not get it, but how cool would it be to give them a scorecard from an ALCS game somewhere down the road?
5. What if they lose and my child is upset?
Do what my Mom did in 1986 when I cried at the foot of my bed when the New York Mets won Game 7 of the World Series. Say, “Welcome to the club.”
OK, it’s an old club, but some of you get the point.
They’re not losing anyway.
By Matt Juul/Boston.com correspondent
Looking for a new restaraunt to try out or want to know what's happening around town?
Explore Boston in a different way with these free and fun to use travel apps.FULL ENTRY
By Paul E. Kandarian, Globe Correspondent
Though summer is winding down, the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston is still running its “Centennial Summer Escape Package,” with rates from $125 per person through Sept. 2.
Guests can also upgrade to Fairmont Gold, the hotel’s luxury-lifestyle offering, for another $100 per night.FULL ENTRY
By Paul E. Kandarian, Globe Correspondent
Langham Place, Fifth Avenue, a new five-star luxury hotel in New York City, and its newest partner, Boston-based Magellan Jets, a private aviation company, have created an end-of-summer deal for weekday travelers.
Any guest choosing the hotel for a weekday stay gets the option of adding a weekend at the hotel for 20 percent off the best available rate, and pick from one of Magellan’s summertime destinations for a day trip.
Guests can also book a weekend on its own and still get the day-trip getaway, which includes some pretty cool options, including a Sikorsky or Bell helicopter ride from New York to the Hamptons, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, or Cape Cod; a turbo prop hop to the same spots; or a trip on an Eclipse 500 jet to those destinations or Portland, Maine, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, or Washington.
Well, here’s some comforting news.
In compiling a list of America’s most dangerous bridges, Travel and Leisure Magazine came to the conclusion that the worst of the lot is right here in Boston at Storrow Drive Westbound.
The magazine analyzed 2012 data from the Federal Highway Administration for some 700,000 bridges, “focusing on the subset with an average daily traffic volume (ADT) of more than 50,000 vehicles.” Travel and Leisure then ranked the bridges according to their “sufficiency rating (SR)” from 0 to 100 (best).
Here’s what they concluded about Storrow Drive, which finished with an ADT of 57,770, and a SR of zero.
“This double-decker roadway abutting Back Bay has been a headache practically since it opened in 1951. The problem: the pavement of the upper deck is too thick, straining the corroding steel beams that support the structure from underneath. Numerous rounds of costly interim repairs (most recently in 2012–13) have kept the artery open, but they’re merely stopgaps to extend its life through 2018 while longer-term solutions are weighed.”
Route 145 in Revere was also tied for 11th while 495 Northbound in Amesbury was 20th.
If you’re a Red Sox fan and can’t get enough of baseball any time of year, consider the 2014 Red Sox Fan Cruise, available only through AAA Southern New England. The cruise from Fort Lauderdale Jan. 12-19, a seven-night Western Caribbean swing on the Celebrity Silhouette, will have along as participants 2004 post-season closing hero Keith Foulke, Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione, former starting pitcher John Tudor and former infielder Dave Stapleton. The ship visits Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman Island, Falmouth in Jamaica, and Labadee, Haiti.In addition to onboard meals, fitness centers, entertainment and daily activities, guests can play catch with Foulke and Tudor, attend two exclusive on-board cocktail parties, test martinis at a tasting event and hit an all-day private beach party in Labadee. Guests also get a $!50 onboard credit per stateroom. Rates start at $910 and run to $1,290 per person. For info, visit www.redsoxcruise.com
By Matthew Juul, Globe Correspondent
Wish you could sip on an ice cold Samuel Adams on your next cross country flight? Well, now you can.
CNBC reported on Tuesday that the Boston Beer Company will be partnering with JetBlue Airways in order to bring its newly canned beer, dubbed the “Sam Can” by fans, to JetBlue flights nationwide.
The latest addition to the Samuel Adams line was revealed in May after the company’s founder and Chairman Jim Koch had a change of heart over his opinion that beer should only be served in bottles. Koch claims that Boston Beer invested two years and $1 million into designing the new beer can.
"Cans have gotten quite good today. (Ours) has a unique shape and a different lid, which means you get noticeably more flavor," Koch told CNBC. "It's not huge. I would call it a slight but noticeable difference, but it was an improvement over the standard beer can."
Since canned beers made up about 53 percent of the market last year, the addition of the “Sam Can” will open up the brand to new opportunities for increased sales as well as grant the company access to areas where bottles are prohibited, such as airlines.
"We were purists about the can and we were shut out of a lot of places where people wanted to drink Sam Adams," said Koch. "Finally finding a can that I can be happy with means that beer drinkers get Sam Adams in occasions where they never could before."
Koch revealed that JetBlue officials contacted them to discuss a possible partnership after reading about the release of the “Sam Can.”
"They've been very innovative in upgrading the customer experience. So they were enthusiastic and committed and when you have a partner like that, you then know it's going to last," Koch continued. "I'm looking forward to this as something that will be available to passengers in the coming years."
Koch went on to say that he is willing to work with other airlines to get the Sam Adams brand back into the skies.
"I appreciate an airline that tends to the details of the consumer experience," he said. "They all get you from point A to point B safely and efficiently. It's just nice to get there safely and efficiently with a good beer in your hand."
Yup, that’s the take from Travel and Leisure magazine, whose readers named Boston the third-most snobbiest in the country. Pfft. Whatever.
To determine which city has the biggest nose in the air, we factored in some traditional staples of snobbery: a reputation for aloof and smarty-pants residents, along with high-end shopping and highbrow cultural offerings like classical music and theater.
San Francisco and New York City finished ahead of Boston, which is just typical, right? Meanwhile, Providence came in at No. 8 and Portland, Maine 18, so at least we have company at the top of looking down.
MBTA service from Boston to Cape Cod begins Friday when the new CapeFlyer will depart South Station, with stops in Braintree, Middleborough, and Buzzard’s Bay, before arriving in Hyannis. The specially-outfitted coach will run weekends this summer through Labor Day.
“Working closely with our partners in the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, we are thrilled to bring rail service back to Cape Cod to help more people experience the beauty and fun of the Cape while getting there quicker and in a more enjoyable way,” MBTA general manager Dr. Beverly Scott said.
The train service is a welcome option to avoiding notable summertime Cape Cod traffic. According to the MBTA, weekend inbound traffic over the Sagamore and Bourne bridges during July and August averaged nearly a quarter-million vehicles during a typical summer weekend in 2012. Friday’s 5:12 p.m. departure from Boston is scheduled to arrive in Hyannis at 7:50 p.m. Saturday and Sunday service will depart South Station at 8 a.m. and arrive in Hyannis at 10:18 a.m. Bus service will be available at the destination, as well as free shuttle service to the nearby Hyannis docks with ferry service to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
The coach will include concessions and bar service (following the Middleborough stop) on the Friday night trip. Bike racks will also be available. A round-trip ticket from Boston will run $35 ($20 one way).
Express bus company Megabus announced a summer sale beginning Wednesday with nearly 90,000 seats available for $5 and $9 for 28 cities across the country next month.
“Megabus.com offers fares from $1 on every trip," says Mike Alvich, megabus.com vice president of marketing and public relations. "But those tickets go quickly, especially during the summer travel season. We want people to know that — beyond booking early for our everyday low fares — travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the best days to find the cheapest fares.”
The additional $5 and $9 June Summer Sale tickets must be booked online at us.megabus.com/sale.aspx at least seven days prior to departure, and are available for travel from June 1-30, 2013 and are subject to availability. There are a minimum of twenty $5 and $9 seats on each eligible bus route.
“Megabus.com wants to keep summer travel affordable, especially with gas prices rising again,” Alvich said. “The June seat sale helps people travel affordably this summer and reinforces that travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays offer low fares year-round.”
The sleek-looking Peek.com made its debut in Boston on Friday, and looks to be a valuable curated source of activities and attractions in the area, as well as other cities across the country. Peek highlights categories of tours in Boston, and even provides the opportunity to book and purchase right from the site. Ten percent of those revenues over the next three months will go toward the Boston One Fund to aid victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
The company was founded by Harvard Business School alum Ruzwana Bashir, and her co-founder, MIT alum, Oskar Bruening. It is backed by Jack Dorsey (Founder of Twitter) and Eric Schmidt (Chairman of Google), and is currently in more than 10 regions, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Orlando.
Think you’re exciting Boston? Not as exciting as Oakland, apparently.
In determining the most exciting cities in America, real estate website Movoto ranked Boston second to San Francisco’s neighbor, using a number of criteria including park acreage per person, the lack of big box stores and fast food restaurants, and museums and bars per square mile. Sounds like Boston would be a big winner, no? Not the case.
“When we think of an exciting place to live, we think about places where there is always something to do—whether it’s eating at new restaurants or jogging through a park,” the report concluded. “This sounds a lot like Oakland, so we really weren’t that surprised.”
San Francisco came in third, followed by Seattle, Washington, D.C., and New York, which came out just ahead of Milwaukee. Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Portland, Ore. rounded out the top 10.