Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

Link Boston Homes
Many of the homes on Beacon Hill are enhanced with flower window boxes.

Gallery Talk in 40 Years

Join book artist and Boston Athenæum Proprietor Jennifer Pellecchia from 5 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27 for a discussion of her binding of Josef Halfer's The Progress of the Marbling Art from Technical Scientific Principles, which represents a series of experiments combining traditional decorative techniques in non-traditional ways. She will talk about some of the processes that went into the design and execution of her binding, and share insights on the challenges of planning an exhibition during a pandemic.

This gallery talk is offered in conjunction with the exhibition “40 Years: Celebrating the New England Chapter of the Guild of Book Workers,” on view at the Boston Athenæum, 10½ Beacon St. through Aug. 7.  

Visit www.bostonathenaeum.org/events for more information and registration (Members: Free | Visitors: Free with admission).

Small Group Tours of The Vilna

The Vilna Shul, Boston's Center for Jewish Culture, 18 Phillips St. will offer a sneak-peak of their renovated space and historic sanctuary at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27 and at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 12.

This program will begin on their outdoor patio and feature a meet-and-greet with their new Executive Director, Dalit Ballen Horn, followed by a guided tour brimming with history.

Visit https://vilnashul.org/events/event/vilna-meet-and-greet for more information and registration ($15).

Summer Evening at Otis House

Enjoy wine, light food and the warmth of summer during an evening on the front terrace of Otis House (c. 1796), where Harrison Gray and Sally Foster Otis, with the support of a skilled and dedicated staff of servants, were known to be some of the best hosts in late18th century Boston.

Tour Otis House (141 Cambridge St.) and see Harry Otis' famous punch bowl, and learn how, in the century that followed, the increasing popularity of boarding house life changed the way nineteenth-century Bostonians lived, socialized, and entertained.

Hosted in collaboration with the Beacon Hill Civic Association from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28.

Visit https://my.historicnewengland.org/12656/hgo-terrace for more information and reservations ($30). Must be older than 21.

Kanopy Club: ‘The Watermelon Woman’ (1996)                                    

Following the Yearlong Reading Challenge's July theme of an LGBTQ+ Author, the Kanopy Club will discuss films that feature LGBTQ+ stories.

Watch the film The Watermelon Woman on Kanopy then join the Zoom discussion from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.

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

Black Heritage Trail® Tour

Join a Park Ranger from the National Parks of Boston to explore the rich history of Beacon Hill's 19th century Black community from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays through Sundays through Sept. 2. The tour begins at the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial (24 Beacon St.) and ends at the Museum of African American History, covering about 1.4 miles.

The Black Heritage Trail® showcases residences and community buildings associated with a Black community that thrived on, and near, the north slope of Beacon Hill before, during and after the American Civil War.

Throughout that time, this community struggled and organized for equal rights and access to equal education. Community members championed the movement to abolish slavery and even housed freedom seekers on their journey along the Underground Railroad.

Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/black-heritage-trail-tour-tickets-153151587521 for more information and reservations.

Free August Adventures with Highland Street Foundation

The Highland Street Foundation will partner with special Massachusetts cultural institutions to provide one free activity each day for 31 days in August. Here is a list of the Boston venues:

Aug. 1: Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

Aug. 10: The Greenway Carousel

Aug. 12: Museum of African American History

Aug. 17: Institute of Contemporary Art/ ICA Boston

Aug. 18: Boston Children's Museum

Aug. 28: Out of the Park, Boston Red Sox & City of Boston

Aug. 31: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

For safety reasons, many of the participating venues have limited capacity and are requiring advanced registration.

Available spots are distributed on a first come, first served basis.

Visit  www.highlandstreet.org/programs/community-events/august-adventures for a downloadable August Adventures calendar, links to the venues and more information.

Tour the Nichols House Museum

The Nichols House Museum 1804 Federal townhouse, 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.

Tours take place at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on most Fridays and at 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Advanced tickets are required.

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

Shakespeare on the Common: ‘The Tempest’                  

Get ready for a magical evening of Shakespeare on the Common as the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company stages The Tempest, this year's annual family-friendly "Shakespeare in the Park" production of free Boston theater.

The Tempest, Shakespeare’s final play, transports the audience to a mysterious and enchanting island. In this tale of magic, betrayal, love and forgiveness, the wise and powerful Prospero struggles to maintain the world he’s created as order is thrown off balance by those around him: his curious daughter, Miranda; a man who’s just washed ashore, Ferdinand; the half human, half monster, Caliban; two fools, Stephano and Trinculo; and the mystical spirit of the air, Ariel, among many others.

With elements of tragedy and comedy, the performances will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays through Sunday, Aug. 8.

The production will remain free, but due to expected capacity constraints, attendees will be asked to register ahead of time.

Learn more at https://commshakes.org/free-shakespeare-on-the-common-2.

Boston By Foot tours and Architectural Cruises resume

Boston By Foot has resumed their in-person public walking tours as well as the popular 

Architecture Cruises, presented in partnership with the Charles Riverboat Company.

Visit www.bostonbyfoot.org for more information, including a full schedule and list of tours/prices.

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.

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 elementary, 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.

Parks Fitness: Yoga at The Boston Common Frog Pond                        

Yoga with Friends of The Public Garden will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays through Sept. 30 on Boston Common Frog Pond, 38 Beacon St.

Visit boston.gov/events for more information and registration.

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.

Boston Common Frog Pond Carousel operating

The Boston Common Frog Pond Carousel is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Tickets: $3/ride | 10 Ride Card: $25.

Visit https://bostonfrogpond.com/frog-pond-carousel for more information

Hill House summer programs and camps registration  

Registration for the summer programs and camps at Hill House, 127 Mount Vernon St., is open for all participants.

Summer Art & Music Classes (for 1-to-3-year-olds and their caretakers) include Art in the Park and Art in Nature and music with Little Groove.  

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.

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

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

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 free of charge, serving their members, the Boston community and beyond. They also offer a tour 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 Fridays.

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 (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.

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.

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.