Boston’s South End on a Rainy Day

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A couple weeks ago, I was writing an article for the Buzz about Boston’s local florists. I had the privilege of talking to many shop owners and learning just a little bit about the flower industry and the joys of owning a flower shop. When I called one shop, Olympia, I had a lovely chat with Eileen. I had not had the opportunity to step inside Olympia before writing my article, and she kindly invited me to visit the shop. Last Saturday, I trekked over to the South End in the rain to say hello and thank you. Unfortunately, Saturdays are her day off, but I’m still glad I was able to enjoy the whimsical space and admire spring in the South End.

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I’m completely convinced that some of the best adventures are the ones that we aren’t seeking. Sometimes, I like to stroll and enjoy the scenery, with no intention of taking photographs. However, despite the rain, the South End was filled with marvelous flowers, and I was delighted any which way I looked. It was impossible not to stop and snap a photo. Here’s a small collection of the neighborhood in bloom.

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Happy spring and cheers to your next adventure!

~Marissa

 

Boston’s Oldest Flower Shop

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Boston is rife with flower shops, and they’re all charming and have unique stories. Olympia Flowers & Gifts claims the title of Boston’s first flower shop. 115 years old, its doors first opened in Dudley Square, Roxbury. The same family has owned Olympia since it opened, and the current owners are the great-grandchildren of the founders.

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Located at the corner of Washington Street and Massachusetts Avenue, its simple green awning and charming windowsills filled with flowers beckon passerby. Inside, the walls are adorned with photos of old Boston and the shop. It’s wonderfully nostalgic. The selection of flowers range from plant-your-own to bouquets. Eileen Bornstein, wife of co-owner Joe Bornstein, says that the flowers are freshly selected from the flower market each day.

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If you’re ever in want of something to do on a lovely spring day, wander the South End and meander into this historical, bright little spot. And, after you’ve picked up a bouquet (or two!), Flour Bakery is only a few paces away.

Pinhole!

Apologies that I’ve played hooky for the past week! It’s time to turn in our thesis and I have the joyous task of editing around 50 pages that talk about infectious diseases. I never want to read about a mosquito ever again. But, on the bright side, I am now fairly knowledgable about a new and major disease (Zika). It’s good to be informed, I guess.

The weather here had taken a turn for the beautiful over the weekend, and everything was flowering! Glorious. Today, it’s dark and gloomy, but on Sunday, the birds were singing, the air was warm, and the sunshine inviting. I have this little mirrorless camera that is tricked out with way more features than I could actually use, master, or care for, but I was interested in some of the cool effects I found, and ended up really liking the “pinhole” effect, which I’m sharing today.

The pinhole camera has been phased out for a while, but I’m personally charmed by its simplicity. Essentially, it’s a light-proof box, no lens, small aperture hole. Wikipedia tells me that it works like a camera obscura, and now I am intrigued, because there’s a giant camera obscura in San Francisco. Can you guess what I’ll be spending the weekend reading up on? Meanwhile, happy spring! I hope these flowers bring you joy.

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On the Esplanade

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Marsh Chapel

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Springtime at Marsh Chapel

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Flowers on Commonwealth Avenue

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Scenes from Nashville

In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy wrote that all happy families are alike. The same goes for cities. All cities are alike…to certain degrees. The imposing skyscrapers, the sky obscured, and the dirt. Cities are dirty; the grime is pervasive. The air…it hovers over you, an invisible cloak. In those respects, all cities are alike.

To complete Tolstoy’s sentence, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. And in this literary analogy, each city has a little something that whispers, beckoning you to know her secrets. Music City certainly had a few.

I didn’t spend very long in Nashville, but the brief taste I had was enough. From the pedestrian bridge, the Riverwalk was visible; the old warehouses dragging you back to mid-nineteenth century Nashville. It’s southern, charming, and weathered, challenging you to appreciate it amidst the sleek, imposing towers. Somehow, it works, and modernity fades as the Cumberland River flows, slowly, and time is suspended.

[I also went to the Loveless Cafe. Read about it here. One word: Biscuits.]