Between launching city-centric websites like Cambridge Uncommon and Salem Uncommon and teaching journalism classes at Cambridge Community TV, freelance journalist Sam Baltrusis wrote his book Ghosts of Boston: Haunts of the Hub. In its pages he reveals 300 years of city history and ghost stories. He details unexplained sounds and hovering objects seen inside the Hub?s dorm rooms, apparitions witnessed on the Boston Common, and a colonial British solider glimpsed on the tracks at the Boylston station. His deft pen has also led him to become a regional stringer for The New York Times and his second book, Ghosts of Cambridge: Haunts of Harvard Square and Beyond hit shelves in September 2013.
Not content with relegating his words to the page, Sam also brings them to life through seasonal walking tours. Guides lit by handheld lanterns lead guests through the shadowy streets of downtown Boston. They divulge stories of murder and recall Cambridge's ominous history. They also answer questions such as which Harvard hall is the most haunted, which area church is home to the ghost of a British redcoat soldier, and which famously mustachioed ghosts are just wearing fake mustaches. The founder's literary background shows through on the tours, too, which are peppered with the lore of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allen Poe. When he's not guiding in-person guests, Sam doubles as a paranormal expert on the Biography Channel's, "Haunted Encounters" and on Ryan Buell's Paranormal Insider Radio.
Massages and hot tubs are two of humankind's favorite ways to unwind, and Inman Oasis offers both. Voted "Best Massage" by The Phoenix readers for six years running, the business is home to a team of licensed massage therapists that delight in hearing their clients sigh under their capable hands. The staff specializes in more than 10 types of massage covering everything from basic relaxation to Shiatsu, Tui Na, and cranio-sacral therapy. Down the hall of the feng shui studio lies the hot tub area, where clients retreat to enjoy the relaxing and joint-restoring benefits of hydrotherapy. Those looking for serenity can soak in one of two private tubs: a seven-foot fiberglass tub boasts hydraulic jets for arthritis therapy, while a Japanese-style wooden hot tub is ideal for those in search of a more serene soak. Also made of wood, a community tub comfortably fits up to seven people or seventy escaped lobsters, and massage customers can call ahead to reserve a spot for a pre- or post- kneading soak.
Amid peach-hued walls, Carriage House Salon & Spa’s team of stylists and aestheticians lavishes patrons with hair, skin, and nail treatments. Under beaming track lights and sun rays pouring in from floor-to-ceiling windows, hairdressers tend to tresses on the salon floor, where locks can be snipped off or coiled into occasion-ready updos. Nail stations brim with much more than polish, as many treatments can be supplemented with a warm paraffin wrap that hydrates skin and eases discomfort endured by people with arthritis. In private treatment rooms, massage therapists unfurl knotted shoulder and neck muscles. During facials, Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products and techniques stimulate lymphatic systems and dress skin in natural plant and mineral extracts brought to the spa by a friendly wood nymph.
After earning a dual bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston, Latoya Lewis graduated from the Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics and Massage Therapy. Today, she specializes in reflexology, deep-tissue, Swedish, and sports massage, in which a cushion-footed baseball mascot walks on the client's back. Latoya prides herself on her level of empathy and intuition, always making the effort to understand clients' problems and constantly tailoring her services to the individual in her care. She often incorporates elements of trigger-point therapy and reflexology, as well as stretching and breathing exercises, into her massages. Past clients have included oncology patients and senior citizens, for whom she's developed ongoing therapy plans that she hopes will translate into broader, life-related changes.
The staff at Tocco Classico helps clients to cultivate confidence with a variety of salon and spa treatments. From behind a row of black-leather styling chairs, stylists perform cuts and coloring services that can redefine a client's image and erase evidence of having chased loose change into a cotton-candy machine. Aestheticians target blemishes and imperfections with facial treatments or quickly remove unwanted hair with waxing. Massage therapists reward shoulders, backs, and legs with relaxing bodywork treatments. The spa also keeps clients looking food after they leave by stocking a variety of hair products for ongoing upkeep.
Though the ladies at Se Renaissance donate their time and a portion of membership proceeds to causes both in Mexico and in their communities, they acknowledge that helping others is the second facet of a healthy life⎯the first is taking care of yourself. Within their new space in Cambridge, therapists help women do just that by providing five massage modalities and an old Chevy that’s been converted into a robot butler. Clients can take advantage of after-hours availability and make appointments online.