The Wild Dahlia in Easton

The Wild Dahlia in Easton

Yesterday, I wrote about the amazing food at The Farmer’s Daughter in Easton. But I didn’t mention that this part of Main Street in Easton is quintessential Americana. It feels like a village in a Hallmark holiday movie. A quick search reveals that many movies have filmed in Easton, including this particular area.

With the holiday season upon us, the decorations will only add to the atmosphere, helping to increase the romance of it all. Lots of local shops are all within walking distance, so if you visit the restaurant, take some time to stroll around the area and do some shopping.

My friend and I decided to do the same after our meal and happened upon the cutest little flower and gift shop called The Wild Dahlia. We were told that their main business is as a flower shop for weddings and events. Their Facebook page shows that this Friday they’re offering a Wreath Workshop. Cue the bouncy Christmas music!

When you walk in, it smells amazing. Besides selling flowers, they also have candles, perfumes, soaps, lotion, jewelry, cards, and so much more. It’s really the perfect gift shop. I got a candle and some lip gloss too. If you’re looking to support a small business while doing your holiday shopping, stop by The Wild Dahlia in Easton.

A Change for Quincy?

Quincy City Hall

Today is Election Day! A few hours ago, I dropped off me and my mom’s ballots at Quincy City Hall. Polls close in less than hour as I write this post.

Quincy could have a newly elected mayor if Anne Mahoney wins! Finger’s crossed that Quincy will have a change.

+ + +

Updated 11/8/23: Unfortunately, Anne Mahoney didn’t win. According to The Patriot Ledger, Mayor Thomas Koch was reelected to serve his seventh term.

Spice Bank at the Boston Public Library

spices

Unlike a regular bank where you deposit money, instead, the Boston Public Library‘s Spice Bank is looking for spices and dried herbs. Tasty!

Since 2021, the Greater Boston Food Bank and the BPL have joined forces to collect and distribute spices, along with food, to people across Eastern Massachusetts. Library patrons can bring unopened spices and dried herbs to any of the participating library branches (Brighton, Central Library in Copley Square (Newsfeed Café), Charlestown, Connolly, Fields Corner, Jamaica Plain, Lower Mills, Roslindale, Roxbury and South Boston) through April 15, 2024.

The spice bank came about because, “the BPL hopes to offer a way to maintain a sense of cultural identity and family traditions, encourage creative and nutritious cooking, and promote the abundant cultural make up that is found in Massachusetts.” Hopefully this bank will yield a lot of interest. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!

The BPL is no stranger to innovative programs like this. They have a seed library and over the past few years have given away free gardening kits.

Recently I’ve been trying to visit BPL branches that I’ve never been to before. I visited the Adams Street Dorchester branch most recently, and took out a bunch of books. One of the books is aptly called The Last Chance Library, by Freya Sampson. So far I’m enjoying it. It’s lighthearted and set in England, about a librarian who finds out that her library may be closed down due to budget issues.

Libraries have always been a big part of my life. It’s wonderful that there are many available near where I live. I love seeing how libraries continue supporting communities in so many new and innovative ways.

Korean Dramas & Air Quality in Massachusetts

How did watching Korean dramas get me thinking about air and water quality in Massachusetts? Let me tell you.

During the pandemic, I dove into the treasure trove of Korean dramas on Netflix. After watching several, I started recognizing the sounds of certain words. I began matching them up phonetically with their English meanings from the subtitles and keeping a written notebook. I wondered about the daily lives of regular South Koreans and wanted to expand my vocabulary beyond written scripts.

YouTube provides an easy gateway into people’s lives. After watching many videos, I learned that South Koreans are very aware of fine dust. The first few times I heard it mentioned, I didn’t think anything of it. However, it was repeated so often I could no longer ignore it. I wondered, “Is this a thing?”

The vloggers I’ve watched check daily dust levels, wear masks outside, and often keep their windows closed. A Korean vlogger now living in the UK, remarked on the clear skies without fine dust. It’s definitely a thing.

Now that I think of it, I don’t recall any dramas mentioning fine dust. Sometimes you find what you’re not looking for.

A not so quick search revealed an article giving insight and noting the health hazards when fine dust particulate matter (PM) reaches certain levels. Since I’m interested in visiting South Korea at some point, I’ll probably do what the locals do and wear a mask.

In my normal daily life, I hadn’t thought about PM levels too much. Then early this summer, because of the wildfires in Canada, the Boston area received air quality warnings and advisories. Was this like the fine dust in South Korea?

I’ve been very COVID cautious compared to most and only stopped wearing a mask indoors this past winter, after the numbers dropped. Rising numbers still have me reconsidering.

As I’m writing, I looked up the air quality in Quincy a few times. Over the course of about 15 minutes, it changed from moderate to good. The moderate PM2.5 reading is “2.9 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value.” Should I be wearing a mask? I don’t know. I’m doing what the locals do and that appears to be nothing. Overall, we’re mask averse in this country and seem to live in perpetual denial.

But it’s not just air quality causing concern. It’s also the ocean. This summer, it seems like far more beaches than usual in Massachusetts have been closed for extended periods of time due to high levels of dangerous bacteria. That’s not even considering microplastics found in the water.

Then we have extreme heat causing wildfires. This record-breaking heat forcing people to remain indoors could be impacting mental health as well. Most of us have heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and how it impacts some during winter months. A summer version exists too. With wildfires in Hawaii forcing so many to lose their homes, some don’t even have the luxury of being indoors. Heat is becoming increasingly deadly, yet FEMA has never issued a disaster declaration due to heat.

Climate change is real. It’s happening now and seems that it will only get worse unless everyone in the world gets on board with solutions.

Hadassah Margolis will teach a new course at Brandeis University this fall called Climate Concerns: Eco-Anxiety, Grief, and Resilience. It will focus on wellness in the face of eco-anxiety. I’m glad I’m not alone in my feelings of environmental angst and that more people are talking about this. Misery may love company, but that doesn’t help the bigger problem. I wonder what solutions may be found in this classroom.

I’ve heard people describe the years we have left in our lives as the number of summers. As I inch closer to the end of my 50s, thoughts like this are more on my mind. How many summers do I have to enjoy carefree days out in nature? A walk in the woods by a pond or a simple beach picnic. How do we stay optimistic?

Some recent news inspires. In Brazil, the Wari’ people sought help protecting the Komi Memem River. Legislation passed giving the river personhood protection rights as a living entity. It’s a step in the right direction.

Michael J. Fox said, “With gratitude, optimism is sustainable.” Which feels like grounding in the present moment. And remembering that there are still a few more days left in this summer.

Boston’s Hotel Alexandra for Sale Again

Hotel Alexandra

Like that classic 90s jam by Portrait, here we go again. Boston’s Hotel Alexandra is up for sale.

As I mentioned in my post back in 2019, I’ve been following this property for decades. Whenever the lottery goes really high, I start having real estate fantasies about buying it if I won. With the Powerball jackpot now up to a billion dollars and Mega Millions not far behind, I’ve played a few times. Even won a few bucks! So I’m reinvesting my winnings and continue to try my luck.

Silence remains on the project website about construction starting on the most recent plan for development and I’m wishing for winning lottery numbers. So I started wondering what was going on. I searched and found an article from last month on The Boston Sun stating that Hotel Alexandra is now up for sale by Cushman & Wakefield. What?!?!

I emailed the Boston Planning & Development Agency project contact, Nick Carter, and asked if he knew anything. He replied, “I have not heard anything to that effect but I would also say that we often are not updated on things like this.”

Huh. So I dug a little deeper and found information on the Cushman & Wakefield website. It’s true! There is a post dated June 1, 2023, stating that they are marketing The Alexandra. See below.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Multi-Family Advisory Group is now marketing The Alexandra, a former luxury hotel primed for redevelopment in Boston’s thriving South End neighborhood. Approved plans for the redevelopment include a 70-unit condominium project with a gym, bike storage, rooftop terrace with adjoining amenity room and ground floor retail. The property is within minutes of some of the city’s top dining destinations including Toro, Flour Bakery & Café, and Barcelona Wine Bar.

Further information about the sale states, “The Alexandra is offered on an ‘as-is’ basis and without a formal asking price. Upon receipt of a signed confidentiality agreement, qualified investors will be provided with access to the offering memorandum and due diligence materials. Once investors have had an opportunity to review the offering materials and tour the property, C&W will schedule a ‘Call for Offers’.”

This is so very interesting! Now would I really go through with buying it if I won? I don’t know.

Toying with the idea is different than the reality of what this would mean day to day in taking on such a massive construction project. Especially one that seems doomed to fail. But then again, maybe Hotel Alexandra just hasn’t found the right owner yet. And I can’t help but dream.

+ + +
Photo Credit: Nina LaNegra