Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

Link Boston Homes
Jonte Samuel plays the saxophone in the Park Street MBTA station. He’s one of the talented musicians who entertains people coming and go in the station. Jonte plays music from many different countries.

Art and Architecture Tour (onsite and virtual)

Join a Boston Athenæum docent for a tour focused on the history of the Athenæum, its iconic building and its special collections at 10½ Beacon St.

In-person tours will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 27 and from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 29.

Whether you are visiting for the first time or are a member who frequents the building, the stories are sure to fascinate you as you walk through the historic library.

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and registration (Members: Free | Visitors: $2 plus admission).

Hidden Spaces of the Nichols House Museum

Explore the Nichols House Museum, 55 Mount Vernon St. from behind the scenes at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28.

What did it take to make the house run in the Victorian era? How do staff manage its preservation today? Peek into rooms and spaces not usually on view, take the back stairs, and explore more than 200 years of this old house’s secrets.

Visit www.nicholshousemuseum.org for more information and registration ($12 - member | $17 - non-member).

Menorah Lighting/Celebration on Boston Common

Kindling the tallest menorah in New England will take place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28 at Brewer Fountain on Boston Common with special guests, live music, holiday treats and warm beverages. 

RSVP greatly appreciated: http://ChabadDowntownBoston.org/chanukkah

Go to https://m.facebook.com/events/boston-center-for-the-arts/menorah-lighting-and-spectacular-fire-show/2697664227208226 for more neighborhood Menorah Lighting events.

King’s Chapel Concert Series: A Year in Chorales

On the first Sunday of Advent, the King’s Chapel Concert Series celebrates the beginning of a new church year by traversing it from start to finish in elaborate chorale prelude settings by J.S. Bach, his student Homilius, and composers from subsequent centuries.

Heinrich Christensen will play the C.B. Fisk organ, with Chorales performed by members of the King’s Chapel Choir, at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28 at King's Chapel, 58 Tremont St.

Visit kings-chapel.org for more information (Suggested donation: $25/$20).

Virtual Book Talk: ‘The Shattering: America in the 1960s’

On July 4, 1961, the rising middle-class families of a Chicago neighborhood gathered before their flag-bedecked houses, a confident vision of the American Dream. That vision was shattered over the following decade, its inequities at home and arrogance abroad challenged by powerful civil rights and antiwar movements. Assassinations, social violence, and the blowback of a “silent majority” shredded the American fabric. Covering the late 1950s through the early 1970s, The Shattering, focuses on the period’s fierce conflicts over race, sex, and war. Kevin Boyle captures the inspiring and brutal events of this passionate time, including the stories of well-known political leaders and everyday people, with a remarkable empathy that restores the humanity of those making this history.

This virtual book talk with Boyle will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Go to www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and Zoom registration (Members and VESP holders - free | Visitors - $5).

ARC Blood Drive at  Big Night Entertainment Group

Donate blood to help end the critical shortage status with the Red Cross from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 at Big Night Entertainment Group, 110 Causeway St.

Visit www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time or phone 1-800­-RED CROSS (1-800­-733-2767) to reserve a space.

Virtual Book Talk: ‘Women in the Picture: What Culture Does with Female Bodies’

Venus, maiden, wife, mother, monster - women have been bound so long by these restrictive roles, codified by patriarchal culture, that we scarcely see them. Catherine McCormack illuminates the assumptions behind these stereotypes whether writ large or subtly hidden. She ranges through Western art - think Titian, Botticelli, and Millais - and the image-saturated world of fashion photographs, advertisements, and social media, and boldly counters these depictions by turning to the work of women artists like Morisot, Ringgold, Lacy and Walker, who offer alternative images for exploring women’s identity, sexuality, race, and power in more complex ways.

This virtual book talk with Catherine McCormack will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2.

Go to www.bostonathenaeum.org for more information and Zoom registration (Members and VESP holders - free | Visitors - $5).

Otis House: Witness to History

Otis House is more than simply the last free-standing home in Boston’s West End. Over the past 225 years, Otis House has witnessed constant changes in occupancy, use and appearance that have followed the fortunes of its neighborhood due to evolving economic, demographic and political forces.

At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, join Otis House Site Manager Michael Maler on an enlightening virtual journey through time as he discusses how the Otis House of today provides a canvas for telling the story of the now-vanished residential neighborhoods of Bowdoin Square and the Old West End, keeps alive the stories of the multitude and diversity of people who have called West Boston their home, and illustrates through its survival the resiliency of modern-day Boston as it continues to grow and evolve.

Go to https://my.historicnewengland.org/11338/hgo-history for more information and registration. Tickets are free; donations are encouraged. 

Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll

The Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2. Enjoy a rare opportunity to walk down a car-free Charles Street and visit the many holiday-decorated shops that line the street.

Classic carols, handbells, horse-drawn carriage rides, neighborhood tree-lighting, and refreshments are all part of the annual Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll sponsored by the Beacon Hill Business Association.

The tree lighting will begin at 7 p.m. at the corner of Mount Vernon and Charles streets. 

Author Sarah Hurwitz: ‘Navigating the Current Climate Through Judaism’

Join Sarah Hurwitz, Chief Speechwriter for First-Lady Michelle Obama, in conversation with Rav Tiferet Berenbaum of TBZ of Brookline as they discuss Hurwitz's memoir, Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality and a Deeper Connection to Life -- in Judaism at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2. They’ll grapple with current issues and turn to Judaism for guidance.

Go to https://vilnashul.org for more information and Zoom registration ($18).

Boston Common Tree Lighting 2021 & Frog Pond Skating Spectacular

The City of Boston and guests from the Province of Nova Scotia will celebrate the 80th Annual Tree Lighting on Boston Common from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2. Join them in the countdown as Mayor Michelle Wu illuminates Boston's official tree and trees on Boston Common and the Public Garden bridge.

The holiday lights throughout both parks will light up in sequence at approximately 7:55 p.m. when the Mayor is joined onstage by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty. The show will close with a pyrotechnic display by Atlas PyroVision.

Refreshments and additional support will be provided by promotional sponsors.

WCVB Channel 5’s Chronicle Co-Anchors Anthony Everett and Shayna Seymour will host Channel 5’s live broadcast of the event featuring various artists beginning at 7 p.m.

The Skating Club of Boston and special guest star, former Skate America and U.S. champion Max Aaron will present a free on-ice spectacle at the Frog Pond at 5 p.m., hosted by Olympic champion Scott Hamilton.

Go to www.boston.gov/calendar/boston-common-tree-lighting for more information.

Historic Holiday Stroll

Walk the Freedom Trail and discover how Boston’s holiday traditions evolved. Led by 19th-century Dickensian costumed guides, the festive stroll is complete with a tour of holiday lights and Christmas trees along the Freedom Trail. Following the Stroll, guests enjoy discounts off museum store purchases at Freedom Trail sites, including the Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Paul Revere House, and Old North Church (valid with any Historic Holiday Stroll receipt through February). 

This event will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from Dec. 3 through Dec. 18 and on Thursday, Dec. 23 and Friday, Dec. 31. The group will meet at the Boston Common Visitor Center, 139 Tremont St.

Go to www.thefreedomtrail.org/tours/historic-holiday-stroll for more information and reservations ($20 Adults; $10 Children).

‘Discovering Spirit Within Ourselves’ series

The Beacon Hill Friends House will present a three-part series “Discovering Spirit Withing Ourselves” - an exploration of mystical spiritual traditions led by Jen Higgins-Newman from 2 to 4 p.m. on select Saturdays as follows:

– Session 1II: “Seeking” on Dec. 4

The group will focus on what it means to be a seeker. How to hold uncertainty and lack of clarity in order to forge a unique relationship with that which is greater than ourselves.

These interactive hybrid workshops, where participants will engage with readings, queries, journaling and discussion to engage deeply, will be held in-person at Beacon Hill Friends House, 6-8 Chestnut St. and on Zoom.

​These workshops are for everyone – Quakers and non-Quakers, no matter where you fall on the question of "God" (including theists and non-theists) or whether you have engaged in a practice such as this before. Attend any or all of the sessions.

Visit https://bhfh.org/events for more information and registration.

MAAH’s Living Legends ‘Hybrid’ Gala 

Join the Museum of African American History Boston’s Living Legends Gala Live at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5 at the Newbury Boston Hotel, 1 Newbury St. for a special in person experience featuring dinner, live entertainment, and socializing or virtually at 4:30 p.m. from the comfort of your home.

Celebrate Boston's unique African American community and experience the compelling stories of the past and present, inspire pride and continue the legacy of equality for all. This event will be hosted by Anthony Anderson and co-chaired by Dr. David Brown, President of Mass General Hospital and Ron Walker, CEO of The Walker Group. The Gala will honor M. Lee Pelton of The Boston Foundation and Dr. Peter L. Slavin of Harvard University, and Actor, best-selling Author and philanthropist, Hill Harper.

Go to www.eventcreate.com/e/llg for more information and tickets/sponsorships (prices vary).

Klezmer Jam

The Boston Synagogue, 55 Martha Rd. will host a Klezmer Jam from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5 and Dec. 19.

– 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Slow Jam

The group will learn tunes together by ear, building a shared repertoire – focusing on a different great klezmer player each week. All levels welcome!

– 7 to 9 p.m.: Tikhl Tanz! with the Boston Synagogue House Band

They’ll play a freylekh set of upbeat klezmer music and dance with tikhls (kerchiefs). Come to dance, listen connect with community and meet new friends. Musicians are encouraged to join the band and play along. Light food and drink will be served on the outdoor back patio. (This portion will also be available through Zoom).

Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/klezmer-jams-tickets-190447362187 for more information and registration (Free with a suggestion donation of $10-$20).

ARC Blood Drive at  Big Night Entertainment Group

Donate blood to help end the critical shortage status with the Red Cross from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9 at Big Night Entertainment Group, 110 Causeway St.

Visit www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time or phone 1-800­-RED CROSS (1-800­-733-2767) to reserve a space.

Third Annual Winter Party

The Third Annual Winter Party, hosted by the Young Friends of the Public Garden, will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10 at 8 Park St.

Come and be merry – celebrate and support Boston’s iconic downtown greenspaces: the Boston Common, Public Garden and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. A fun array of raffle prizes will be offered, including Red Sox tickets, a stay at the Newbury Hotel Boston, a Reebok gift card, a Paws & Purrfection gift basket and more.

Tickets include two complimentary drink tickets and passed hors d’oeuvres.

Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-winter-party-tickets-208052700227 for more information and reservations ($65 -$95).

BBF November walking tours                                

The Boston by Foot Heart of the Freedom Trail tours will be offered at 11 a.m. and The Road to Revolution tours will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturdays in November.

Visit www.bostonbyfoot.org/tours/Beacon_Hill for more information and reservations (Adults: $15 | Child: $8 | Child under 6: Free).

The Nichols House Museum tours

The Nichols House Museum, 55 Mount Vernon St., was home to landscape gardener, suffragist and pacifist Rose Standish Nichols and her family. Their home and its original art and furnishings provide a glimpse into life on historic Beacon Hill from the mid-19th to mid-20th century. The museum educates and inspires the public through innovative tours and programs.

The 45-minute tours take place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with an addition option at 2 p.m. on Fridays through Nov. 28 with advanced reservations.

Visit www.nicholshousemuseum.org/visit for more information and tickets (free to $12)

Ice Skating at The Boston Common Frog Pond

The Boston Frog Pond will be open to welcome skaters to the ice for the 2021-2022 season.

Visit https://bostonfrogpond.com/winter-programs/pricing-season-passes for more information, including open hours, admission, plus rental and services.

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.

King's Chapel Tuesday Recitals                                                     

King’s Chapel, 58 Tremont St. hosts Tuesdays Recitals at 12:15 p.m. on site and on Zoom through Dec. 28.

The 30-to-40-minute recitals feature a wide variety of performing artists ranging from local students to traveling performers. The performances range from jazz and folk music from numerous ethnicities to classical music from medieval times to the present.

Visit www.kings-chapel.org/tuesday-recitals.html for more information (Suggestion donation: $5, given to the performers).

‘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.

DivorceCare

If you are separated or divorced and need healing, the Park Street Church invites you to attend DivorceCare, a 13-week support group, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays through Dec. 16 via Zoom.

You’ll find a warm, caring environment and will come to see the group as an oasis in this difficult season of life. There are three key elements to this experience: video seminar, group discussion and a personal workbook.

Each Biblically-based session is self-contained. Unless you’ve been there, it’s hard to understand the hurt that comes from separation and divorce. That’s why many of friends and family might not fully understand what you are going through and may not know how to best help you.

If you are interested in attending, please register by emailing divorcecare@parkstreet.org to receive the link for the meeting.  

Friday Unwind: Gentle Yoga         

Join the Boston Public Library remotely from 4 to 5 p.m. on Fridays for a gentle yoga class by Hands to Heart Center (HTHC). Participants can expect a beginner-level one hour yoga flow, with plenty of options and modifications for all bodies and ability levels. All are welcome.

These classes will be live-streamed on HTHC's YouTube channel, where previously recorded sessions may also be found.

To attend, visit https://bit.ly/BPLY0GA. No registration is required.

Operation ABLE                                                                                                     

Operation ABLE (174 Portland St.) provides employment services and training programs to job seekers from economically, racially and occupationally diverse backgrounds and for those over 55 years of age.

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

Visit operationable.net for more information and registration.

BCYF programs and services                                                         

The Boston Center for Youth and Families offers a variety of arts and computer activities,

recreational programs, virtual field trips, workshops and services both remotely and in person for children, youth, individuals and families at 36 facilities, including community centers and pools.

Visit www.boston.gov/departments/boston-centers-youth-families for more information and registration.

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 permanent and temporary exhibits and a variety of shows in the Planetarium and 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.

The West End Museum open

The West End Museum, 150 Staniford St. (Unit 7) is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

The Museum offers in-person, virtual, and strolling tours and hosts events.

Visit thewestendmuseum.org for more information.

Boston Athenæum online/onsite

Boston Athenæum offers many activities online (some free of charge), serving their members, the Boston community and beyond. They also offer tours of the first floor of their landmark building and artworks from the special collections.

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

Museum of African American History online/onsite                   

The Museum of African American History, 46 Joy St. will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays.

Visit www.maah.org for ticket and scheduling information along with virtual programs and events.

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 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.

Free meals/food resource information                               

Boston Eats will provide free nutritious breakfast and lunch to city kids and youth – 18 years of age and under – through 2021. 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.

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.

Old West Church Community Lunch/Dinner

Everyone is invited to the community meals at the Old West Church at 131 Cambridge St. – served rain or shine and holidays, too. While these meals primarily serve people who are housing insecure or elderly, it’s for anyone.

The Community Lunch is served from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Community Dinner is served from 5 to 6 p.m. on Mondays.

During the pandemic, the meals are served to go. Everyone is welcome to come by and grab a hot meal to takeaway.

Visit www.oldwestchurch.org 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.