Valentine’s Day Events in Boston

Valentine’s Day is this weekend and if you’re like most people, you’re scrambling to find something to do with your signifiant other or group of friends. It’s easy to find a restaurant with an expensive prix fixe menu but that’s boring and overdone. Here are 7 things to do in Boston with your friends or significant other that are more fun than dressing up and going out to dinner.

Valentine’s Day Drinking Events in Boston

Boston Wine Expoboston wine expo

The ultimate Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day event, the Boston Wine Expo is February 13th and 14th at the Seaport World Trade Center. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the BWE is the perfect way to celebrate with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or group of friends.

I attended the BWE with my boyfriend last year and we can’t wait to go back. Read my Boston Wine Expo 2015 review to see how much fun we had. Tickets start at $99 a person, including tastings, and for a limited time, Sunday tickets are $10 off so buy your Boston Wine Expo tickets here.

Valentine’s Gras Pub Crawl

For those seeking something less refined, there’s a Valentine’s Day/Mardi Gras themed pub crawl hosted by Pub Crawlers of Boston on February 13th. Tickets are $23—get more info and buy your tickets here.

Valentine’s Day Couples Events

Muse Paintbar Couples’ Nightsmuse paintbar couples night

The newest in paint-and-drink nights, Muse Paintbar is offering Couples’ Nights from Friday February 12 through Sunday February 14, 2016.

Muse offers multiple sessions throughout the day and evening and all evening sessions on Saturday, February 13th include a glass of Prosecco. Tickets are $35-$55 – check out the calendar and paintings at Muse Paintbar here.

Alice’s Table Flower Arrangement Classflower arranging class boston

Don’t buy a bouquet of flowers for your love; make one together! Alice’s Table is offering pop-up flower arrangement classes at The Street at Chestnut Hill.

The innovative company is partnering with Shake Shack for the perfect couple-friendly event with burgers, beer, flowers on February 13th. Tickets are $75 and include a bouquet you make and take home – buy your Alice’s Table Valentine’s Day tickets here.

Valentine’s Day Exercise Events in Boston

YogaWorks Back Bay Acro Yoga Workshop

Formerly known as Back Bay Yoga, YogaWorks Back Bay is under new ownership and amping up their workshops. The studio is offering an Acro Yoga workshop on Valentine’s Day. Come with a loved one or friend to this partner yoga workout. Don’t have someone to drag along? Come anyway and YogaWorks will pair you up with someone! All levels welcome and tickets are $40—get a FREE week at YogaWorks Back Bay and sign up for YogaWorks Valentine’s Day Acro Yoga here.

Cyc Fitness Valentine’s Rides

Boston’s newest indoor cycling studio, Cyc Fitness is a great full-body workout for you and your girlfriends. Located in the swanky David Barton Gym on Arlington Street, Cyc Fitness is hosting both love and heartbreak themed rides all this week. Also, Cyc Fitness has teamed up with the Challenged Athletes Foundation. The studio will donate $1 every time you ride until the end of February as part of their Calories for a Cause campaign. Classes are $27—check out the schedule and sign up for a Cyc Fitness Boston class here.

Xtend Barre Newbury Streetvalentines day xtend barre newbury class

Looking to be healthy for Valentine’s Day? Sign up and bring your sweetie for free on February 11th at 7:45pm. Unlike other barre classes, Xtend Barre is very man-friendly so your Y-chromosomed paramour won’t feel out of place. Classes cost $30 each without a membership—a great deal for 2 people! Don’t miss this awesome workout—sign up for this  Xtend Barre Valentine’s class here.

Do you know of a great Valentine’s Day event that isn’t included in this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tour

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of checking out the newest beer tour in New England, Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tours. Based out of Boston, Pints of Portsmouth is a Boston-to-Portsmouth, New Hampshire beer tour inspired by the San Francisco-to-Napa wine tours in California.  It’s not surprising that Allo Gilinsky, the founder of Pints of Portsmouth, hails from Northern California.

Joining the ranks of Boston transplants, Allo and his innovative craft beer tour is a perfect fit for Boston. Shuttling up to 20 beer lovers to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and back, the all-day tour includes visits, tours, and tastings at 4 breweries, lunch, water, and a Pints of Portsmouth beer koozie. Allo guides the tour, providing a itinerary and background information on the breweries.

boston to portsmouth beer tour

I was invited with my friend Jodi on the Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tour last weekend with a group of known beer lovers and bloggers. At 9:30 on Saturday morning, we met the group and luxury shuttle bus outside of the conveniently located Assembly Square T Station. Allo greeted us with a huge smile, detailed itinerary, and gift bags on our seats. I was immediately impressed with the attention to detail that went into the Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tours—koozies, social media reference guide, and name tags to boot!

pints of portsmouth beer tour

The 45 minute drive to Portsmouth flew by and before I knew it we were at our first stop: Smuttynose Brewery. The famous brewers of Finestkind IPA and Old Brown Dog, two of my favorite local beers, Smuttynose has a beautiful new brewery which they opened in 2014. All of the beer is brewed on site in the green, sustainable facility.

smuttynose brewery

Upon arrival we were greeted with Smuttlabs‘ newest beer, Smoked Cherry Short Weiss. If you’re a sour beer lover, this limited release is a must-try! The tour showed us everything from the bags of malt and fermenters to the bottling line. After the tour we got to taste 4 additional beers, all of which were delicious.

smuttynose brewery

Easily excitable when it comes to new beer, I took home a box of assorted sours, including the Smoked Cherry Short Weiss. Pints of Portsmouth has a cooler on board in case you purchase chilled beer and plenty of room for any other beer that you purchase.

smuttynose brewery

Photo by Fest Pics

The next stop on our Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tour was to a brewery unfamiliar to  this beer geek—Earth Eagle Brewings, known for their Gruit style of unhopped beers. We tasted 3 more beers over a lunch of sandwiches and nachos. I particularly enjoyed their White Light Gruit Herbed Ale.

earth eagle brewing portsmouth

Photo by Fest Pics

earth eagle brewing

Our third brewery of the day was Beara Irish Brewing Company. An unassuming brewery located amongst a cluster of stores, Beara offered us a tasting of 3 beers including a Java Stout, a Maple Wheat, and an Irish Stout.

beara irish brewing company portsmouth

The fourth and final stop on the Pints of Portsmouth Beer Tour was at Throwback Brewery. Owned and operated by two women, Throwback stole my heart with their founder story, beautiful farmhouse brewery, and collaborative efforts with local farmers in both their beer and food. I highly recommend the poutine-yum!

throwback brewery new hampshire

Owner Nicole Carrier set a private space for our group in a partitioned area. Seated between stainless steel tanks of beer, she explained the name and local ingredients behind each beer including Merry! Happy! Dreid-Ale, a ginger flavored beer, and an IPA called Donkey-Hote named in honor of the late donkey they inherited when they purchased the property.

pints of portsmouth beer tour boston

After a long day that flew by, it was time to hit the road and get back to Boston. We arrived back around 6pm safe and sound and with a newfound appreciation for the beers of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

If you’re looking for a fun beer-themed day trip from Boston, I highly recommend Pints of Portsmouth. The company offers several tours as well as custom tours which makes it the perfect gift for the beer lover in your life or a fun outing for birthday parties, reunions, bachelor/ette parties, and more.

While my trip was compliments of Pints of Portsmouth, this is a tour that I would gladly pay for. The day-long trip is priced at $110 and includes tours and tastings of 4 breweries, a designated driver to shuttle you around, water, and a koozie—a great deal for an awesome experience!

Special thanks to Allo from Pints of Portsmouth and Mike Johnson of FestPics for the tour and photos.

Weekend in Freeport, Maine

One of my favorite things about living in Boston is that it’s easy to go away for a weekend getaway. Whether it’s a preppy jaunt to Kennebunkport or a girls’ day trip to Newport, everything in New England is a short drive away.

On our last New England getaway, my boyfriend and I visited Freeport, Maine for 3 nights over the extended New Years Eve weekend. Neither of us had ever been to Freeport and to be honest, it wasn’t on our top list of places to visit in New England. But as luck would have it during my lodging search, I found an adorable place on Airbnb that was perfect for a romantic weekend away.
airbnb freeport maine

If you haven’t used Airbnb, you must check it out (here’s a link for $20 off your first trip). For those unacquainted, Airbnb is a website that facilitates lodging between homeowners with extra rooms or guest houses and travelers seeking the comforts of home-like accommodations. I love, love, LOVE Airbnb and no one paid me to say that!

We stayed in a converted barn just south of downtown Freeport. Since Freeport is close to Portland, we had originally intended on staying in the area and spending at least at day in Portland. But between the food, shopping, and outdoor activities in Freeport and the cozy fireplace and outdoor firepit at our Airbnb, we spent the entire weekend in town.

minglewood airbnb freeport maine

couple drinking coffee by the fire

airbnb freeport firepit

Dinner at Gather Maine

Just two hours north of Boston, my boyfriend and I drove up to Freeport the evening of New Years Eve with enough time to check into the Airbnb and change before our dinner reservations. Thanks to recommendations from coworkers and some Yelp reviews, we reserved a table at Gather in Yarmouth. The farm to table restaurant was perfect for a relaxing New Year’s Eve dinner, complete with a special menu, delicious cocktails, and a bluegrass jazz band. The rabbit I ordered from the special holiday menu was outstanding and my boyfriend’s salmon with fried kale was amazing!

dinner at gather maine

Gather wasn’t having a big New Year’s celebration, which worked with our low-key celebration plans of drinking bubbles in our pajamas so after dinner we drove back to our cozy weekend home to ring in 2016.

Freeport Village

Though small, the downtown area of Freeport, called Freeport Village, packs a strong punch. We spent hours casually strolling through the LL Bean stores (there’s at least 4 of them) and the various outlets.

ll bean freeport maine

We fell for the tourist trap and ate lunch at Linda Bean’s Topside Tavern, a restaurant directly across from the LL Bean flagship store. If you’re looking for food in the area, I recommend walking a block or two north on Route 1 and checking out some of the other restaurants or driving a few minutes down the road for brunch at the Muddy Rudder, lunch and beer at Gritty’s, or a hearty dinner at Buck’s Naked BBQ . Or if you’re craving something sweet, stay in town and head to Frosty’s Donuts for a glazed bite of heaven.

gritty mcduffs restaurant freeport maine

frostys donuts freeport maine

Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park

Despite a warm fall and beginning of winter, a few inches of snow fell in Freeport before we arrived. We took this opportunity to break in the new snowshoes my boyfriend bought us for the holidays at Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. Our thoughtful Airbnb host had put together a binder of information, including a trail map of the coastline park so we were well prepared for a snowy walk through the woods.

snowshoe wolfes neck state park freeport maine

wolfes neck state park

snow shoe wolfes neck state park

Maine Beer Company

Since no weekend trip is complete without a trip to a local brewery, Maine Beer Company was the last stop on our Freeport weekend getaway. My boyfriend and I split a flight of four beers (Mo, Beer III, Another One, and Pilot 9). Breweries can be hit or miss when it comes to food, as the licensing limits what they can and can’t serve, but the pretzels at Maine Beer Company were on point. Fresh and delicious and served with a side of tasty mustard, the pretzel was the perfect compliment to the beer flight.

maine beer company freeport

maine beer company freeport

If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway close to Boston, I highly recommend checking out Freeport!

Christmas Eve at The Slutcracker

On Christmas Eve, while most people were spending time ’round the tree with family, my boyfriend and I attended The Slutcracker, a burlesque-ballet performance of The Nutcracker at the Somerville Theater. I first heard about The Slutcracker two years ago, but due to its popularity had difficulty getting tickets. This year I lucked out and bought what were likely the last two tickets of the sold out Christmas Eve show.

The brainchild of Vanessa White, The Slutcracker is a beautiful and hilarious take on the Tchaikovsky ballet. The show starts off in a similar manner to The Nutcracker, Christmas party blah blah blah, except that Clara is an adult, which makes for an ironically less creepy vibe from Drosselmeyer. The Slutcracker takes a decidedly mature turn when Clara finds a sex toy under the Christmas tree and experiences a sexual awakening in a kinky sex world.

the slutcracker ballet boston

Astonishingly creative, The Slutcracker manages to stick to the story while incorporating nearly every imaginable deviance into the show. But what surprised me most about the show wasn’t the nipple tassels or the 10-foot tall phallus; it was the ballet. Compounded with the refreshing range of body types in the cast, watching the dancers pirouette and leap in neon pointe shoes and 4-inch heels gave me an entirely new appreciation of the art that is created through dance.

So, if you’re not the pearl-cluthing type and you’re looking for a fun way to experience Christmas in Boston, check out The Slutcracker.

Townsman Boston Christmas Eve Brunch

Christmas Eve is a time to gather with family and friends for fun, laughs, and delicious food. To me, there is no better meal to enjoy with friends than brunch and no better way to spend Christmas Eve Day than with good friends at Townsman Boston’s brunch.

If you haven’t heard, the Leather District restaurant offers brunch just once a month at the end of the month. Friends and I went for Townsman’s Halloween brunch a few months ago and we were blown away. Complete with fabulous cocktails, food coma-inducing dishes by Chef Matthew Jennings, and an awe-inspiring cake table by pastry chef Meghan Johnson, Townsman’s brunch is a force to be reckoned with.

townsman boston brunch menu

My boyfriend and I met Caitlin and her boyfriend for a casual Christmas Eve double brunch date. Reservations are highly recommended but due to last minute holiday planning, we took our chances and arrived without one. Townsman has tables for reservations and the bar and lounge area are open seating. We  were lucky and waited just a few minutes before some seats opened up at the bar.

We started brunch with the best boozy eggnog that I’ve ever had. I’m relatively new to eggnog but my dining companions with eggnog expertise seemed to agree that this cocktail was top notch.

eggnog townsman christmas brunch

The menu for the Christmas Eve brunch was similar to the one served on Halloween, which made making a decision much easier. Trying something different than the chicken fried hanger steak I ordered in October, I opted for the soft scrambled eggs with burrata and crispy Brussels sprouts. Ah-amazing! The eggs were perfectly cooked and paired well with the cheese and baby cabbages. The fact that there was something green on my plate made me feel less guilty for indulging.

townsman brunch eggs

We indulged in the cake table which was piled high with cakes, tarts, cinnamon rolls, and a chocolate pistachio yule log that was almost too beautiful to eat. There’s a reason the #caketable has its own hashtag!

townman brunch cake tableDespite the absurdly delicious food, you won’t find any pretension at Townsman. In fact, my favorite thing about the brunch at Townsman might be the staff. Townsman employs some of the most friendly, helpful, and festive people. I wasn’t surprised that those working the Halloween brunch were dressed up, but I did not expect the ugly sweaters, Santa garb, and elf hats that the front of the house was wearing on Christmas Eve. It made me feel decidedly less weird for bringing hats for all of us to wear while sipping eggnog and stuffing our faces.

townsman brunch christmas eve

If you get the chance, go to Townsman for their monthly brunch—you won’t regret it!