My first meeting of Cambridge was to visit a customer of mine, Charrette, located on Brattle Street. I learned quickly at that time that "thou shall never attempt to navigate Boston streets". Otherwise, I could see that I was going to love the place. Right across the street, there was a specialty stationery store, a bath shop which was not part of a chain, a funky clothes boutique, and a sidewalk café. Our first lunch was at a small middle eastern restaurant so well hidden in fact, I don’t know how we ever found it. The ambiance was divine and the food matched the atmosphere.
Near the T Station at Harvard Square, you can hear self-appointed preachers at any time of day; there are also interesting musicians from time to time, and other kinds of street performers. Next to Au Bon Pain, one evening, we watched brows deep in concentration over chess games on permanent tables. It’s wonderful to walk around Harvard Square, by day or night, it’s always bustling with activity, and window browsing is addictive. And yes, we did go by the restaurant which appeared in the scene of Good Will Hunting.
Next to the Harvard Museum Shop, there is an alley with shops on both sides; one of the most interesting is Selleto with handmade soaps, scented candles, and all sorts of things which smell divine. There is also a very high brow bookstore on the same side. Speaking of which, Harvard Square is home to one of the country’s best travel bookstores!! You must make this a stop at all costs: it’s called Globe Corner Bookstore and is located at 28 Church Street, phone # is 617.497.6277. You can check them online HERE
Nightlife is not lacking here; there are theaters, jazz clubs, movie houses, comedy clubs, and quite a palette of restaurants. On a very cold January night, we went for authentic Jamaican food and enjoyed reggae and soca on the dance floor. As far as lodging, the bed and breakfast route is the most charming, but Sheraton has a location here if you prefer a full fledged hotel. Keep in mind that the occupancy rate of rooms in Boston is sky high, and so are the prices, so book early. No matter where you decide to stay, ensure that you include Cambridge in your itinerary.
Bayside, New York
February 19, 2002
From journal Boston Beckons