Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

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The Frog Pond in Boston Common is a great place to go skating during the winter months – except this year due to COVID-19. Hopefully skating can happen again next winter.

Exercise Is Medicine: How physical activity boosts health and slows aging

Exercise Is Medicine: How physical activity boosts health and slows aging

Exercise is Medicine – for any stage of life. Judy Foreman, a medical journalist and author, will outline the many biological changes that occur with exercise, and the recent research showing that exercise slows the aging process from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9.

She will discuss the biology of aging and explain why physical activity has such profound beneficial effects on the brain, the immune system, the heart, and all the other organs in the body.

This free virtual program is presented in partnership with the Boston Public Library, as part of Beacon Hill Village’s Living Well Ending Well series. Closed captioning is available.

Registration is required online.

Go to https://www.beaconhillvillage.org and/or bpl.org for more information and Zoom registration or phone 617-723-9713.

‘How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote and Insisted on Equality for All’

In the standard story, the suffrage crusade began in Seneca Falls in 1848 and ended with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. But this overwhelmingly white women's movement did not win the vote for most black women. Securing their rights required a movement of their own.

In Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote and Insisted on Equality for All, historian Martha S. Jones offers a new history of African American women's political lives in America. She recounts how they defied both racism and sexism to fight for the ballot, and how they wielded political power to secure the equality and dignity of all persons.

From the earliest days of the republic to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, Jones excavates the lives and work of black women – Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Fannie Lou Hamer, among others – who were the vanguard of women's rights, calling on America to realize its best ideals.

Join the conversation from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9.

Visit https://www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and Zoom registration (Members and VESP holders: Free | Visitors: $5).

We all know Boston is historic: Here’s why                                             

Join Boston photographer and author Peter Vanderwarker to explore some of Boston's more interesting stories through photographs, including historic pictures of the Vilna Shul, Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9.

Visit https://vilnashul.org/events/event/we-all-know-boston-is-historicheres-why for more information and Zoom registration.

CBI Virtual Job Fair

Community Boating Inc. is the oldest public sailing facility in the country and regularly serves more than 1,000 children, 6,000 adults and 300 people with disabilities each year.

Program directors and managers will be on hand from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10 to discuss employment opportunities for the coming season.

Go to https://www.community-boating.org for more information (including a list of positions available for adults and youth).

Break into audiobook recording with Rosie Jones                                   

Join the West End Branch Library and the Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10 for a virtual discussion on what’s behind the making of an audiobook. 

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

Read the Room Book Club: ‘The Rise of Silas Lapham’             

Read the Room Book Club will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10 to discuss class and Boston society in the 19th century using the book The Rise of Silas Lapham by William Dean Howells (1885) and the interiors of the Gibson House Museum as their guide. 

In his story of one of the millionaire industrialists who flourished in the post-Civil War years, William Dean Howells probes the moral and social conflicts that confront a self-made man trying to crash Boston’s old-guard aristocracy. Would Silas Lapham have been accepted into the “in-crowd,” if the decision were up to the Gibsons?

Visit eventbrite.com/e/read-the-room-book-club-the-rise-of-silas-lapham-at-gibson-house-museum-tickets-133409723073 for more information and registration (Nichols House Museum and Gibson House Museum members: Free | Non-members: $12).

‘The Millennials Are(n’t) Alright: Gen Y and COVID-19’

Join a diverse panel of millennial voices from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10 to hear firsthand how the coronavirus has affected all aspects of their lives, including the Broadway performer whose dream role came to a halt, the entrepreneur whose new business continues to face an uncertain future and a new mother navigating the path of motherhood. Be inspired by their message of hope.

Go to https://www.mos.org/explore/subspace/millennials-gen-y-covid for more information and registration for this live stream event.

Tai Chi for Wellness                                                                                    

Join the Boston Public Library and Eddie Watkins from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 11 for an online introduction to Tai Chi, an ancient exercise rooted in China that consists of postures that are gentle and flowing. Movements are slow and repetitive and are coupled with a focus on the breath.

Visit bpl.org/events more information and Zoom registration.

Author talk: ‘The Third Daughter’

Talia Carner will present a Jewish Book Council Talk on her historical novel The Third Daughter at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 11.

Inspired by Shalom Aleichem’s short story, The Man from Buenos Aires, The Third Daughter is a frightening journey into the New World of the late 1800s, told by a trusting young woman lured from Russia and forced into prostitution in Argentina. When succeeding in the nascent art of tango, Batya finds courage in the face of danger and hope in hours of despair – and bravely struggles to free herself from bondage while bringing down the powerful pimps’ union. 

Go to https://vilnashul.org/events/event/talia-carner-and-the-third-daughter for more information and Zoom registration.

Kitchen explorations with Chef Michael Leviton             

Join JArts, in partnership with the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center and the Vilna Shul, for the latest stop in the Kitchen Exploration series’ culinary journey through historic Boston. Chef Michael Leviton will cook and discuss some of his favorite Passover recipes from the archives of the Jewish Heritage Center at the New England Historic Genealogical Society from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 11.

Visit https://jartsboston.org for more inforamtin and registration (free; donations welcome).

Science Book Club for the Curious                                                            

The Science Book Club for the Curious, created by the Museum of Science, is a reading group designed especially for those who are interested in science and technology and how it impacts our society.

The group will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 11 for a discussion of The Sediments of Time: My Lifelong Search for the Past by Maeve & Samira Leakey.

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events for more information and registration.

Art and architecture tour

Join Boston Athenæum’s Docent Maureen Marcucci for a virtual tour of the library's historic landmark building, including inspiring views of its reading rooms and an introduction to its history and remarkable collections from 10 to 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 13.

Whether new to the Athenæum or a member who frequents the building, Marcucci has stories that are sure to impress and surprise you.

Visit https://www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and Zoom registration.

Hill House winter/spring programs and summer camps online/onsite

Registration for the spring program and summer camps at Hill House, Inc., 127 Mount Vernon St. is open for new and returning participants.

Check out the wide variety of offerings in their Spring Athletic and Program Guide and Summer Camp Guide from spring baseball and softball leagues, STEM and creative expressions to summer onsite and offsite opportunities.

Hill House Camps (Kiddie Kamp for 3-to-5-year-olds and Day Camp for 5-to-12-year-olds) offer weekly Kiddie Kamp onsite adventures; Day Camp field trips; expanded enrichment opportunities; sailing, theatre, sports and film camp options; weekly themes; extended day options for Day Campers; and expanded LIT program for 13-to-15-year-olds.

Registration for online/onsite Winter programming that includes basketball, music, art, STEM and much more continues for all members and nonmembers.

Give to Hill House's 2020-2021 Fundraising Appeal to help keep programs running.

Visit www.hillhouseboston.org for more information and sign ups.

BPL Reading Challenge                                                      

As the pandemic drags on and Boston residents remain cooped up in their homes, the Boston Public Library invites readers throughout the city to participate in “Reading Together.”

In the challenge, each month has a distinct theme and participants are asked to read a book tied to the theme.

The library offers recommended book lists for the monthly themes for adults, teens and children at bpl.org/yearlong. Participant patrons can track their progress as well.

Visit bpl.org for more information.

Lyric Stage To-Go ‘The Walking Plays’                                                                           

The Walking Plays is a new free audio play series of six short plays by Boston-based playwrights which unfold on a continuous route around the Back Bay, Downtown, and Theatre District neighborhoods.

The Walking Plays explore the private moments that we experience in public. Rediscover Boston through new eyes as you walk alongside intricate characters or experience these intimate stories in the comfort of your home.

The first two plays - On Paying Attention by David Valdes and Monster in the Sky by Ginger Lazarus - are now available with four more being released in the spring.

Visit www.lyricstage.com/to-go/walking-plays for more information and access to the plays.

Simple morning meditation practice

Beacon Hill Friends holds a simple meditation practice that helps reduce stress and ease you into the morning. The meditation is 15 minutes long and begins and ends with a brief introduction to the practice. Orientation for newcomers begins at 8 a.m., and the practice begins at 8:10 a.m. on weekdays. 

Join once or join regularly – this meditation is free and open to the public.

Go to bhfh.org/virtual-events for more information and the Zoom link.

Art journaling as a spiritual practice

LJ Boswell will lead art journaling workshops from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Sundays through March 14, hosted by the Beacon Hill Friends House.

Each class will begin with an introduction to a simple art lesson you can choose to incorporate into your art journaling time. Then relax into a guided meditation and the meditative flow of creation. From a space of listening, open to Spirit’s guidance as a way of creating what you most need to express or remember in this moment. The group will close with an opportunity for those who are inspired to share from your heart. If no one is moved to share, the group will simply enjoy the gifts of a meditative space.

Visit bhfh.org/virtual-events for more information and registration (Investment: $25/workshop or $125/series. Sliding scale rates available).

Online ESL conversation groups                                                   

Practice speaking English with other adult learners in an informal and friendly group setting from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on most Mondays, from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. on most Tuesdays, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on most Wednesdays, and from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on most Fridays through Aug. 31. The group is led by a native speaker and will take place online.

Online intermediate and advanced ESL classes are also offered at select times.

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and registration.

‘MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness’

The Beacon Hill Friends will host MIDWEEK: Experiments in Faithfulness from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. This facilitated spiritual practice with Quaker flavor and an experimental ethos is open to everyone.

Go to bhfh.org/midweek for more information about the facilitators and the practices they offer along with program details and Zoom registration. These closed-captioned programs are free, although donations to support their work are welcome.

Friday Unwind: Gentle Yoga                                                                     

Unwind with Gentle Yoga – sponsored by Hands to Heart Center and the Boston Public Library – will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

The yoga classes are geared for beginners with plenty of options and modifications for all bodies and ability levels.

The class will be live-streamed on YouTube/Hand to Heart Center – Yoga for the People.

You can also get the link at bpl.org/online events. The recorded sessions will remain online.

Music at Home from King’s Chapel

Music remains an important aspect to the virtual presence of King's Chapel. Here are a few offerings to enjoy:

- “Talk About Music!” –​ Music Director Heinrich Christensen hosts a weekly conversation on all things musical from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays via Zoom. Topics announced on their website and social media.

- “Weekly Musical Meditations” – This virtual glimpse of King's Chapel is accompanied by soothing music performed by their talented musicians. Every Monday they will add a new musical meditation on their social media channels with the hashtag #MusicAndMeditationMonday and on their YouTube channel.

- “Music in the Time of Covid: A Series” – In this pandemic world, Music Director Heinrich Christensen with composer and videographer Graham Gordon Ramsay recorded a series of videos of new music after dark. ​Read the blog post on their website about their reflections on these Introspections

- Music from Virtual Worship Services – On King's Chapel YouTube channel, is a curated playlist of songs from their weekly online worship services.

Go to kings-chapel.org/musicfromhome.html for more information and links to enjoy.

MOS Sci-Fi Book Club                                                                    

The Science Fiction Book Club for adults will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 16 to discuss Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (virtually, of course).

Visit www.meetup.com/Science-Book-Club-for-the-Curious/events/276288825 for more information and registration.

‘The Happiness Project’: Book discussion for a happier life

Following the book discussion of The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin that took place in January, participants will meet monthly to discuss their personal resolutions, swap ideas, build enthusiasm, give encouragement, and – perhaps most importantly – hold each other accountable. Being part of a group is a terrific way to build friendships, have fun and figure out ways to make yourself happier.

The group will meet from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays as follows:

-          April 7: Inspiration

-          May 5: Happy memories

Visit bpl.org/events for more information and Zoom registration.

Operation ABLE                                                                              

Operation ABLE (174 Portland St.) provides employment services and training programs to job seekers from economically, racially and occupationally diverse backgrounds.

All services, including distance learning, coaching, and wrap-around services, are being conducted remotely. Class enrollments are open for computer skills training and Health Care and Social Services training, among others.

Visit operationable.net for more information and registration.

Blessing Barn Beacon Hill                                                                                       

The Blessing Barn at 122 Charles St. is a thrift and antique shop, as well as a self-described “sharing center,” that accepts donations of and sells new and gently used clothing, linens, home decor, furniture, kitchen items, toys, records, books and wall art, among myriad other items.

BBBH exists to provide simple, short term housing for patients and their support individuals needing medical care away from home. They are proud to provide a ROOM IN THE CITY.

Join them by giving in the following ways: Offer to be a host home; Pay for a room in the city for one night; Purchase items in their store; Give a monetary donation using their secure form.

Visit theblessingbarn.com for more information.

MOS experience onsite/online

The Museum of Science has reopened following health and safety guidelines – face coverings and reservations are required for admission.

Highlights of your visit can include: the new permanent exhibit, Arctic Adventure: Exploring with Technology; the temporary exhibit, The Science Behind Pixar; a variety of shows in the Planetarium; and Superpower Dogs in the newly refurbished Mugar Omni Theater.

MOS at home also offers an array of programs and events. Schedules change weekly and may include a weekly STEM challenge; virtual planetarium visits; live animal visits; science stories; science-related question and answer panels; and Sub-space events.

Visit www.mos.org for more information and reservations.

Neighbors in Need/Neighbors in Deed                   

There are times when we could all use a helping hand and other times when we could lend one, and that’s the underlying sentiment behind Neighbors in Need/Neighbors in Deed (NIN NID) – a program that connects St. Joseph’s parishioners with neighbors who could use a little assistance or just some cheering up.

If you are in need of anything – or are willing to assist them in outreach – please email office@stjosephboston.org or call the office at 617-523-4342 with your name, phone number, email, and a list of items needed, or availability to serve.

Free ‘grab-and-go’ meals/food resource information                              

Boston Eats provides free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth – 18 years of age and under. No ID or registration required.

Visit www.boston.gov/departments/food-access/boston-eats or phone 1-800-645-8333 for a list of meal locations. A list of food pantries and soup kitchens, along with other information is also included.

Visit foodpantries.org for a list of current food pantries, food closets, food banks, soup kitchens, congregate meal locations, food boxes, vouchers, etc.

Contact Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline at 800-645-8333 if you need additional food resources.

Big Sister mentoring                                                                                    

Since 1951, the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston continues to make and support one-to-one mentoring relationships between thousands of women and girls each year.

The Big Sister professional staff matches a girl between the ages of 7 and 15 with a woman who is at least 20 years old, based on shared preferences and interests and continues to provide (virtual) support and guidance to each Big Sister, Little Sister, and Little sister’s family.

To learn more about how to become a Big Sister or to enroll a girl to become a Little Sister, visit www.bigsister.org.

Boston Athenæum                                                                 

Boston Athenæum offers many activities online free of charge, serving their members, the Boston community and beyond.

The Athenæum is open to members for book pick-up and drop-off in the lobby, and by appointment to use the reading rooms. Up to five Day Passes are now available for non-members each day.

Phone 617-720-7604 with questions and to reserve time in the building. 

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org/visit/covid-19-response for more information.

‘Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill’ books for sale

Beacon Hill Garden Club’s Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill: Creating Green Spaces in Urban Places is a combination wish book and reference book all in one. Throughout the book, people will discover the many solutions Beacon Hill’s gardeners have used to make their gardens appealing.

The 85th anniversary edition is a full-color, hard-bound book with more than 110 professional photographs by Peter Vanderwarker and Thomas Lingner. It is filled with pages offering practical solutions to a variety of garden conundrums: walls, paving, levels, gates and doors, ornaments, furniture, light and color.

In addition, there is an addendum listing common and Latin names of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers, bulbs and rhizomes, wild plants and annuals that succeed in our gardens.

Visit www.beaconhillgardenclub.org/our-book for more information.

Wednesday Night Supper Club – ‘Takeout Meal in a Sack’

The Wednesday Night Supper Club is held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Paulist Center Auditorium, 5 Park St. Place. At this time, they have shifted to a “takeout meal in a sack.”

The Paulist Center volunteers have been serving more than 200 people a week who don’t have access to a good hot meal. The program has been running for more than 50 years. 

Visit www.paulistcenter.org to volunteer to help out in any way (cook, serve, clean up; donate supplies, food or money; etc.) or for more information.

Support the parks – give the gift of membership                                                  

Give the gift of membership to ensure that the beloved parks - the Boston Common, Public Garden and Commonwealth Avenue Mall - remain icons of Boston and continue to receive the protection, care and management that they need.

Donations can be made at friendsofthepublicgarden.org.

Beacon Hill Garden Club – Donations welcome

Since its founding in 1928, the Beacon Hill Garden Club has encouraged the love of horticulture and urban gardening.

Even though the Beacon Hill Garden Club has canceled two of its most prestigious events last year – the Beacon Hill Garden Soiree and the BH Hidden Gardens Tour – they are still making donations to various organizations in Boston and Massachusetts, and they encourage you to do so in your local community to help organizations dedicated to horticulture, conservation and civic improvement.

Visit www.beaconhillgardenclub.org for more information.