South End 

Remember my brief residency in Cambridge, Ma? Well, I did it one better last weekend. My daughter’s boyfriend was away. So with money in my pocket from my temp job, she and I planned and executed a perfect mother-daughter weekend. I had ordered up the warm and sunny weather in advance so all that remained was the execution. Alas, we filled those 30 hours with purpose.

The summary version: six fine dining establishments, a half day of spa treatments, a hot power yoga class and many miles on foot.

The details:

Transportation – the very efficient and relaxing Concord Coach to South Station. I don’t drive in the big city plus didn’t want to leave my husband without wheels as we had impulsively downsized to one car when our spare car suffered a minor illness in the summer. Right after than decision, I returned to work and we have regretted that move every since. In any case, the bus to Boston to is great and it is easy to score a row to oneself if you practice this technique: pile your luggage on the spare seat, put in your headphones, adopt the resting bitch face and don’t make eye contact. The remaining weekend transportation was the brief Ubers to and from Sally’s apartment and lots and lots and lots of walking. The perfect weather paid off!

Accommodations – Sal and her boyfriend recently moved to a new apartment in Boston’s South End. (Hey, I traveled from the Concord’s South End to Boston’s!). The apartment is on the 7th floor of a newly renovated building and features hotel-like amenities such as 24×7 doormen, a nice gym, some comfy lobbies and free coffee at the front desk. Spoiled already! The apartment itself is all white, with high ceilings and sparse décor and a great view – making for a relaxing vibe.

Spa Treatments – This was the main goal of weekend: some mother/daughter luxury and body maintenance. An afternoon at the spa is certainly shorthand for indulgence especially with a treatment package called “Soul Soak.” But is it enjoyable? A good massage is painful. A facial is a long time to have someone 6 inches from your face, picking and rubbing. I don’t exactly enjoy it, but every time I indulge, I wish it did it more often. The paraffin hand and foot soak is just silly, but so satisfying when the wax is peeled off. We had a good time post-spa discussing our various muscle knots and analyzing the lives of massage therapists and estheticians.

Restaurants – The South End is a very hip area and it was apparent in Sally’s selections.

Saturday lunch was at Anoush’ella ( which is a great concept. I think the Concord South End needs one. Basically, it is eastern Mediterranean fast food. You order at a counter and can take-away or sit at one of several tables in a small dining room. It was my dream lunch spot. I wish we were hungrier or had more time because there were so many tempting options. The walnut Harissa is worth the trip. Lucky Sal, it is a 3 minute walk from her apartment.

Post-spa, we were parched and in search of iced tea. We ended up at Flour Bakery ( – a well-regarded mainstay. The make their own seltzer and raspberry seltzer was the perfect recovery beverage after a rough massage. The baked goods looked amazing, but we were still full from lunch and had more eating to do.

A wardrobe change and then a pre-dinner cocktail at . This gastro pub advertises as being loud and that does not begin to describe the noise level. However, we scored window seats and enjoyed interesting cocktails with lavender, pear juice, etc, etc served by a lively inked and pierced waitstaff.

We strolled over to Kava ( which made the Gallows seem downright library-quiet. The vibe was terrific, however: a very warm evening, attractive young folks inside and out, Greek music blaring.


Here’s an attractive young person.

There was a wait for a table so we walked across the street to The Buttery We waited in the bar, which actually was a little like a library – polished wood, tin ceilings and quiet. The bartender was chatty and handsome and with a glass of mineral-forward white in hand, the time passed quickly. Dinner at Kava was fantastic. Unique Greek small plates, strong on vegetables, unpronounceable. The staff was Greek and the table next to us was occupied by two adorable older women, dressed up and sharing a whole grilled fish.

Indoors at Kava

Thus satiated, we strolled home. We had one more restaurant to conquer, but first sleep followed by

CorePower yoga – as first time attendees, we scored a free class. Our class was PowerSculpt2 and only recommended for those who had taken PowerSculpt1. In spite of not meeting the prerequisite and learning that this was a “hot” session – the room heated to 94 degrees – we boldly proceeded. I was duly proud of myself for completing the class intact especially since I was easily old enough to be everyone’s mother or even grandmother. I dispelled my self consciousness with the recognition that I was invisible in this crowd and went on to have an invigorating session. So. Much. Sweat.

It was Sunday and we needed

Brunch – Masa ( was our destination. You can’t finish off a girls’ weekend without a Bloody Mary. Being a Latin restaurant, we were expecting spicy, so we puzzled over what was making them so sweet. Agave? We added a little hot sauce. The food was plentiful and tasty, but the service was mixed. The people-watching was pretty good, though. Still wondering about that Harry Dean Stanton look-alike with the giant glass pinky ring, dining alone and drinking a whole bottle of white wine with his burger.

Thus concluded our mother-daughter weekend which could not have been better. The best part, of course, was spending extended, uninterrupted time with my girl.

Oh, and my souvenir: a coveted gem for my condiment collection.



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