At the age of 16, Matthew "Matty" Hughes became the youngest-ever licensed captain in the port of Boston. Funneling his passion into a career, he founded Boston Harbor Cruises in 1926 to lead tours up the Charles River. What began as a two-man, one-boat operation has grown tremendously throughout its more than 90-year history, now encompassing a 21-boat fleet and more than 250 employees who transport more than 2 million passengers.
The Boston Harbor Cruises's staff handles all things nautical, from whale watching and speedboat tours to wedding receptions and celebrations for special occasions. Because dolphins are hard to saddle and refuse to obey verbal commands, Boston Harbor Cruises also navigates the waters with ferries and harbor cruises that explore the historic and romantic sights of Boston.
Though the leadership has changed, Matty's grandchildren Rick and Chris Nolan still perpetuate the traditions of Boston Harbor Cruises, furthering one man's obsession with the harbor and inspiring future generations to create their own memories on its calm waters.
South Kingstown is the newest location opening in 2013 of Rock Spot Climbing’s multiple locations, where colorful footholds and route markers sprawl along artificial rocks create diverse climbing surfaces for every major discipline. Dozens of top-rope stations challenge climbers to scale the wall in safety, whether belayed by a human companion or hooked up to an auto-belay unit that reduces the risk of conversation. Meanwhile, others eschew ropes in order to tackle bouldering routes—low-altitude obstacles littered with arches, steep faces, and caves—and lead climbers set their own anchors as they scale the wall. The climbing courses vary for all skill levels, ranging from sheer faces with ample handholds to cliffs for expert climbers and lemmings. Cardio machines let athletes warm up or cool down between climbs, and instructors lead afterschool classes to teach kids the art of competitive climbing.
Communication is key at Massage Mantra, where a team of seven licensed massage therapists encourages clients to describe their pains and stresses and listens closely in order to structure treatments suitable to their needs. Once they have taken your input to heart, they stretch out their nimble hands and begin to soothe muscles with one of six available bodywork modalities, from reiki treatments that calibrate the body's energy levels to sports massages that methodically extract hockey pucks lodged between muscles. A roster of skin-specific facials complements the massages’ inner healing with infusions of nourishing vitamins that promote a healthy outer glow.
Ask a born-and-bred American to describe an Australian meat pie, and you won't get much of a response. But to an Australian, it's home: a circle of shortcrust filled with a saucy, savory filling and sealed with a flaky puff-pastry top. Unsurprisingly, the treats are rare around these parts. "For Aussies," explains The Boston Phoenix, "finding this savory sealed pastry is like a lonely American stumbling on a hot-dog stand in the Gobi Desert." Which is why KO Catering and Pies has caused such a stir—its Australian-born owners have set up shop to provide Aussie ex-pats and curious natives with five varieties of the flaky pastries, including versions filled with braised lamb shank, curried vegetables, and their signature ground beef in peppered gravy. The uninitiated needn't fear, as instructions on how to devour the pie (douse in ketchup, remove from foil, and eat by hand) are clearly marked on each brown-paper bag. The nostalgia for Down Under doesn't end there. Other Aussie classics include a burger topped with beetroot and a fried egg, and—of course—shrimp on the barbie, which chefs spice up with a Moroccan chermoula sauce and serve over rice salad with feta and cherry tomatoes. For dessert, try a few coconut-infused Anzac cookies or a half-pint of ice cream spiked with Tim Tams, the country’s signature cookie. The shop also stocks a selection of Australian groceries, giving locals a change to stock up on bottles of Vegemite, fresh pieces of lamington cake, and the chocolaty powdered drink known as Milo more easily than digging a tunnel through the planet every time they have a craving.
This small locally-owned business, with at least three locations in Boston, is a favorite with the lunch crowd that wants high-quality food served up fast. Though service is speedy, Viga, which offers mostly Italian cuisine, is no fast-food joint. Breads and pastries are baked fresh daily, and the owners promise that they use the freshest dairy, meat and vegetable products available. The menu features a variety of pizzas, pasta, salads and pastries. Calzones, perfect for a lunch on the go, are filled with mozzarella and parmesan and can be customized with ingredients like chicken and broccoli, steak, grilled vegetables and much more. Daily specials make sure frequent diners – and there are plenty – don’t get bored with the menu. The Financial District branch runs like a well-oiled machine, with customers pushing through the warm, brick-walled space to grab quick-service meals, cold case drinks and snacks, before heading out the door.
According to popular belief about barbecue, the less fancy a barbecue restaurant is, the more delicious its food will be. M&M Ribs is a living example of this—its tender chicken, fall-off-the-bone racks of ribs, and meaty pulled-pork sandwiches are served out of a simple, unadorned food truck.
The mobile barbecue joint's set schedule ensures that it's predictably parked at City Hall and in the Financial District when it’s not resting in its home lot at the corner of Hampden and Kemble or on the roof of Faneuil Hall. This ensures that fans of fried chicken, beef brisket, and mac ’n’ cheese can always easily track down some country-style cuisine. When not dishing out feasts to lunch and dinner crowds, M&M's chefs cater barbecue meals or make appearances at local festivals and markets.