Exploring. With Fenway Friends.

Exploring. With Fenway Friends.

entering smrville b&wGSP just started a new project with the fine folks at Samuels & Associates, who are doing some exciting and transformative stuff in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood (see: On one of our first days together I took the team over to a few of my favorite Cambridge and Somerville neighborhoods to do some exploring.  Simple goal being to spend some time together outside of Fenway to talk retail and place-making while meeting and visiting with some of the most dynamic retailers and ground floors users/innovators in Greater Boston.  It was a great day and it looked like this:

8:30am – start at Crema Cafe in Harvard Square; my sister’s place.  We all had some sort of coffee product while talking about what makes Crema (and other well done local cafes) so different from the usual suspect coffee players we see all over the country

9:00am – visit and chat with Ayr Muir, Founder/CEO of Clover at Clover’s Harvard Sq resto.  We tasted some more coffees (matt’s and intelligentsia) and talked about Clover’s (very unique) approach to the food service biz

9:30am – some quick Harvard Sq exploring on way to get zipcar (walk by Shake Shack site, JFK St retailers, peek at Henrietta’s Table, etc.)

10:00am – arrive in Union Square and immediately hit Union Square Donuts for variety of donuts.  They were killer, by the way

10:15am – visit and tour with Tse Wei of Journeyman and Back Bar.  I love both these spots.  Amazing examples of what can be done in odd and challenging real estate when special people get creative. Great n’hoods need places and people like this

10:45am – Block 11 – quick walk-through of this bank turned cafe space; another great example of repurposing of a tough physical space for great retail use

11:00am – walk-through of Artisan’s Asylum, which is a 40,000 SF+ non-profit maker-space just outside of Union Sq.  My fellow board member Gretchen Greene joined us and showed us around; and showed us her super impressive artwork 

11:30am – visit to Brooklyn Boulders Somerville, which is just two doors down from Artisan’s Asylum.  See it to believe it

11:45am – left Union Square for quick drive through East Cambridge on way to Central Square (quick stop at Clover’s commissary for snack)

12:00pm – Arrive Central Square and hit Life Alive for some juices in an effort to make ourselves feel a bit better about devouring donuts and coffees earlier in day; and of course just to see the line grow at this unique Central Square hot spot

12:15pm – visit with Alex and David, the innovators behind the mmmaven project, Together Festival and many of boston’s best parties over past decade.  Fun conversation about intersection of arts, music, education and place-making

12:45pm – walk around Central (veggie galaxy diner, rendevous, Dosa Factory, central kitchen, etc.) on way back to car; drive to Kendall Square for remainder of afternoon.

1:00pm – quick pop in at Area Four to see dual use dynamic (cafe + resto) in action and then a peak into Catalyst restaurant and adjacent function space

1:20pm – Lunch outside at Firebrand Saints in heart of Kendall.  Lots of good talk and strategizing over mezze and burgers

2:00pm – quick walk around Kendall; stops at Evoo/Za, Kika, Cambridge Spirits, Commonwealth, Tatte, Voltage, etc. along Third Street.

3pm(ish) – END.

If you aren’t familiar with the above orgs and retailers, get familiar.  It’s these businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them that are pushing Greater Boston into a more interesting direction, making better neighborhoods and creating a more dynamic and exciting urban life for those of you living and/or working in The Commonwealth…. and giving us world-class donuts, coffee, juice, arts, music, etc. in the meantime.

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