Mount Auburn Club strives to be a one-stop shop for fitness, wellness, and recreation. Members can sweat as they cheer on their favorite infomercials in the cardio theater, plunge into the salt-filtrated lap pool, or practice their tennis strokes out on 11 indoor and outdoor courts, which were featured on the Tennis Channel. Professional fitness instructors pump upbeat music for more than 90 group fitness classes each week, from Les Mills classes such as BodyPump to group cycling and Zumba. The mind/body classes include five styles of yoga, tai chi, and ballet barre. Joint-friendly aquatics classes take place in the four-lane, 75-foot-long lap pool overlooking the gardens and deck. Swimmers can recover in the whirlpool after practicing their synchronized doggy paddling.
The club's personal trainers help members map out fitness plans centered on achieving their personal goals. After they've worked out on equipment such as TRX Suspension Training bands or BOSU balls, exercisers can head to the café for one of the healthful creations or submit themselves to the spa team’s capable hands for massages, facials, and other pampering treatments.
The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
Those seeking Grappa Restaurant might be surprised by where they find it—nestled inside a small building that used to be a house, in the middle of an industrial-warehouse street, between two commercial districts. But behind the front door lies a different atmosphere—only 11 tables sit inside the 700-square-foot space, surrounded by walls striped in pale yellow and blue and decorated with Botticelli paintings. At the center of the room, venetian Fortuny lamps cast light from behind white and yellow silk emblazoned with gold designs. The petite restaurant reverberates with classic pop tunes by singers such as Frankie Valli, often accompanied by crooning from the restaurant's three servers—Will, Carol, and Natalie—who also urge the regular clientele to join them.
Grappa Restaurant's chefs base their menu of traditional Italian food on dishes from the owner's childhood, when her grandmother and mother would fill the kitchen with aromas of seared veal, chicken, and marsala-wine sauce. The chefs conjure these familial scents and flavors as they stuff veal or chicken saltimbocca with ham and mozzarella; toss fettuccine bolognese with chicken sausage, meat sauce, and basil-almond pesto; and drape spinach-and-ricotta ravioli in housemade tomato sauce. Servers often end meals much like sophisticated elementary-school students end food fights: with traditional Italian desserts such as housemade ricotta cannolis.
Underground Studios’ leader, Ben McLellan, knows everyone has to walk to the beat of their own drum. Ben, a trained classical percussionist, was marching down the road to a music career when tendonitis threatened to steamroll his dream. Power yoga helped him heal and get back on track, and though he was transfixed by the discipline, he continued to focus on percussion once his tendonitis symptoms had disappeared. Then he moved to Massachusetts to pursue a master’s degree in music, and his life took a major turn toward following his dharma (purpose). Inspired by his mom, Ben shifted his life into the realm of wellness, studying yoga as an apprentice and earning a personal-training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. From there, his path was pretty well laid out.
In 2009, Ben opened the doors at Underground Studios. There, along with a team of instructors, he leads yoga classes that focus on tantra and Hatha yoga—disciplines that help you expand your awareness in all states of consciousness and connect to your true self, much like time travel. Ben and company also lead private yoga classes, and offer personal-training sessions that approach fitness from a holistic perspective, finding results through a blend of resistance training, yoga, and nutrition.
Commended by Boston magazine in 2008 for wedding-gown preservation, Dependable Cleaners offers a basketful of laundering and dry-cleaning services. Turn last night's unfortunate ketchup incident into tonight's food-free canvas with same-day service. Items dropped off before 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday can typically be picked up by 5 p.m. that same day, depending on the location. Though prices vary by location, all stores offer the same reliable de-staining services for dusty dresses ($14.04–$15.34), slovenly shirts ($2.54–$2.88), and pigpennish pants ($7.08–$7.98). Hide a fading summer tan with a freshly depurated jacket ($7.65–$8.52) or sweater ($7.23–$8.73). Dependable Cleaners locations can also handle unconventional vestments such as ballroom gowns, Ugg boots, and antique tri-cornered hats.
Winner of Improper Bostonian's Boston's Best Diner 2010, Deluxe Town Diner serves classic and creative American diner grub within a vintage 1947 setting. Those looking for a hearty breakfast can fill up at any time of the day with a goat cheese and spinach omelette served with thick slices of bacon ($7.25), but Deluxe Town Diner is known for its pancakes, available in six different varieties and served with genuine maple syrup. Take a lunchtime break from the electric shovel factory with a falafel sandwich with sesame tahini ($8.50) or a triple-decker cheeseburger club ($9.95). For dinner, Deluxe Town Diner cooks up simple, classic meals, such as Frank and Beans ($8.95), next to gourmet offerings including chicken picatta ($12.95). The diner's mammoth drink menu washes down diner fare with smooth NYC egg-cream ($2.50) or a bottomless cup of organic fair-trade coffee ($2.25).