Beacon Hill - West End neighborhood notes

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People of all ages enjoy riding on the carousel in Boston Common.

Crossword Puzzle Lunch Club                                                       

Join the Boston Public Library from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 24 and Tuesday, Sept. 7 for a lunchtime crossword puzzle.

People can put their crossword puzzle skills to the test while also learning something new along the way as the group collectively solves a crossword puzzle together.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration.

Up Close Tour: Two Giants

Upon stepping into the lobby of the Athenæum, visitors are welcomed by two giant portraits depicting two giants of American history: US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall and statesman and orator Daniel Webster. Preeminent nineteenth-century portraitist Chester Harding, whose home and studio were next door to the Athenæum, completed both Grand Manner paintings.

Join Docent Clive Martin from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Aug. 25, as he introduces people to the artist and his subjects, and shares the story of how these impressive paintings came to be at the Athenæum.

Visit for more information and registration.

Testing the Constitution: The Alien and Sedition Acts                            

In 1798 as the United States and France engaged in a naval conflict known as the Quasi-War, Federalists, led by Harrison Gray Otis in the U.S. House of Representatives, enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts to defend the nation against domestic and foreign threats.

Through these laws, Federalists attempted to define patriotism by marking the boundaries of political debate, deciding who could live in the country and limiting who could become an American. Little more than 20 years after Americans declared independence, and less than 10 since the ratification of a new constitution and a bill of rights, Americans robustly debated the meaning of independence, the powers of government and the rights embodied in their founding documents.

Join author Terri Diane Halperin at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25 for this Historic New England virtual program discussing the passage and furor over these laws, the difficulties of enforcement, and the debates that erupted between partisan opponents, revealing the dangers of partisan excess throughout history.

Visit for more information and Zoom registration (Tickets are free; donations are encouraged). 

Hidden Spaces of the Nichols House Museum

Explore the Nichols House Museum from behind-the-scenes.

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. 

Tours will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, at 11 a.m. on Friday. Aug. 27 and at 11 a.m. and noon on Sunday, Aug. 29.  Tours lasts approximately one hour and visitors will take three flights of stairs. Masks are required.

Visit for more information and registration (Member: $12 | Non-member: $17).

Up-Close Tour: Athena at the Athenæum

Join BA Docent Clive Martin from noon to 12:45 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 27 at the Boston Athenæum for a discussion of the Goddess of Wisdom's presence in the library and her place in the ancient world, beginning with the towering sculpture of Athena and the monumental head of Zeus that grace the Athenæum's lobby.

Visit for more information and registration (Members: Free | Visitors: Free with admission).

Walking Tour – The Old West End: Boston’s Lost Neighborhood                    

The West End Museum’s history buff Jim Briand will explore the history of three West End buildings that survived urban renewal, but are likely to be lost to development in 2021-2022: The West End House, Winchell School and one of the last original brick tenements and what they tell us about education, immigrant assimilation and day-to-day living in the tight confines of the old West End.

The 90-minute tours will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28 and Sept. 11.

Visit for more information and registration (The West End Museum Members: $5 | General Admission: $10).

Out of the Park                                                                    

In partnership with the Boston Red Sox and the City of Boston, the Highland Street Foundation will present Out of the Park on the Boston Common on Saturday, Aug. 28. The event starts at 2:30 p.m. and the game begins at 4:05 p.m.

Watch the Red Sox vs. the Cleveland Indians on a big screen and enjoy games, entertainment and refreshments. All are welcome at this free event - no advance registration required.    

Out of the Park attendees will get a chance to meet Red Sox mascot Wally, savor Fenway Franks and other ballpark treats, hear from the Hot Tamales Brass Band, and enjoy activities such as face painting, caricatures, balloon art, and baseball-themed games.

Visit and/or for more information.

BBF Beacon Hill Walking Tours

From the golden dome of the State House to the elegant homes of Louisburg Square, the Boston By Foot Beacon Hill tours travel picturesque streets, highlighting examples of early American architecture with particular emphasis on the work of Charles Bulfinch. Experience Beacon Hill’s ornate past, from its rural beginnings to the vision of the Mount Vernon Proprietors, while walking among this historic collection of Federal and Greek Revival row houses.

Participants will also hear the stories of Boston’s prominent citizens who have called Beacon Hill their home.

Tours are offered at 6 p.m. on select weeknights and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays through October.

Visit for more information and reservations (Adults: $15 | Child: $8 | Child under 6: Free).

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. 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 for a downloadable August Adventures calendar, links to the venues and more information.

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 for more information and the Zoom link.

‘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 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.

TADpole 10 Summer Series 

The Highland Street Foundation will host storytime at the TADpole Playground on Boston Common. Join them for stories and additional activities, guest readers, books, giveaways and snacks from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays through Aug. 26.

Visit for more information.

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 for more information and registration.

heart journaling drop-in sessions

Beacon Hill Friends invite you to join heart journaling sessions from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays through Sept. 23.

In a nurturing and supportive environment, explore the wisdom of your own inner landscape and the power of art journaling to help process life. Each session is designed as a collective and spiritual experience in which deep themes of life emerge. 

Through the flow of each session, and silently witnessing each other, experience the invitation to shift perspectives and gain insights. 

Visit for more information and registration ($125/series | $25 per session).

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 for more information and registration.

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 for more information

Art and Architecture Tour

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. from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays through Aug. 28.        

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

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 for more information, including a full schedule and list of tours/prices.

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 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays in August with advanced reservation.

Visit for more information and tickets (free to $12)

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 for more information and reservations.

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 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 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 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 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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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