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Welcome to Boston Homestay - American Councils Group!18-Oct-2019

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Halloween In Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, October 28, 2019

October is here and that means that that the Halloween festivities are in full force!  There is not only a flurry of events going on in and around Boston, but there are so many fun things that you can do in your own home.  For visitors coming from abroad, it is possible that they may have experienced Halloween or something similar in their country, as the origins of Halloween are based in Celtic and European traditions.  In other places, like Mexico, there is a different holiday to celebrate the dead, called Dia de los Muertos.  With so much spooky activity going on this month, we thought we would hone in on Halloween in Boston - both in the city and at home!

There are no shortage of fun fall and Halloween activities to participate in with your visitor, without having to even leave the house.  One tradition a lot of our hosts love to engage in is carving pumpkins together.  You can get the pumpkin at a pumpkin patch or just at your local supermarket (which would have a pumpkin carving kit as well).  Just lay down the newspaper and carve away!

Another great Halloween activity for those who really want to embrace the holiday is decorating the house. Whether it is spider webs on the bushes, spooky lights up the walkway, a ghost in the tree, or even more, it is a great way to make the house look and feel festive.

Lastly, one of the most arguably important Halloween activities is picking out your costume! Some people like to go out to a thrift store or a special Halloween pop up store to see what treasures they can find there, while others look in their wardrobe to try to find any costumes they may have left over from prior year.  

If you want to get out and experience what Halloween in the city, there are lots of options available to you!  Here’s just a short list of the many events happening in Boston, and you can also click here for Boston's Ultimate Halloween Guide:


Boston is also close to one of the towns that contains supernatural attractions year-round - Salem, Massachusetts! Known for the Salem Witch Trials, this town is a hot-bed for psychics, mediums, magic, and, in October, the "Haunted Happenings" festival.  Taking place throughout the entire month of October, this festival includes a Psychic Fair & Witches Market and the Ghosts & Legends Trolley, along with all the year-round attractions like the Salem Witch Museum and the Witch Mansion haunted house.

Every family has different traditions for the day itself.  Some people go to Halloween parties, some like to hand out candy to kids from the neighborhood, and some are actually going out trick-or-treating with their little ones.  Either way, it is a chance to dress up and make a night of it!  Happy Halloween!

Sources: History.com, Haunted Happenings






Explore Boston: Neighborhood Series

Global Immersions Recruiting - Sunday, October 20, 2019

This week in our Neighborhoods Series, we’re highlighting Arlington, Cambridge and Somerville. Closer to Boston, these cities have lots of fantastic restaurants, some colleges, and historical events and landmarks. And, of course, there’s never a shortage of activities to engage in - from museums to biking paths. We’ll start with the city furthest from Boston (Arlington) and move our way in!


Arlington

Located at the end of the Red Line, Arlington has more of a suburban feel, but definitely has a lot to do.  Home to the Jason Russell House (see picture above), this city, bordering Lexington, was a key player in the Revolutionary War. Originally a more rural community rooted in agriculture, Arlington eventually developed into a heavily populated suburb of Boston.  The Smith Museum, located right next to the Jason Russell House, has exhibits that show the development of the town from prehistoric times to present day. If you want to really experience the patriots march, you can walk or bike along the Minuteman Bike Path from Alewife to Lexington. Present day Arlington contains some gems of the Boston area in terms of food and activities. With a diverse range of restaurants, from Argentinian cuisine at Tango to authentic and delicious sushi at Toraya, they’ve got some good fancy eats as well as their fair-share of casual American fare and pizza parlors.  And if you’re looking to follow dinner with a movie, Arlington has a couple options, from more current movies at the Capitol Theatre to special musical performances and movie festival flicks at the RegentTheatre.  If you want to enjoy some dessert, Arlington has many options, from the mouth-watering cookies at Cookie Time to the rich ice cream at Abilyn’s Frozen Bakery.  And for your late night fix, The ScoopN Scootery is open and serving ice cream sundaes until 2 am!


Somerville

Getting closer to Boston, and further along the Red Line, Somerville has more of a city feel and has major centers for restaurants and boutiques in Davis, Porter, and Union Square. There are also a number of smaller squares, including Magoun, Inman, and Ball Square.  Somerville also houses Tufts University, so there are a lot of college-age residents in the area along with young families, immigrants, and long-time residents Being so highly and diversely populated, there is a huge variety of events, community groups, and things to enjoy. In Davis Square alone, there’s the over-100-year-old SomervilleTheatre which shows both contemporary films and also has special showings of classics like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, along with bowling and pizza at Sacco’sBowl Haven and Flatbreads, and live music at The Burren.  Not only that, but there’s a number of clothing stores, bars, and other amazing restaurants like Redbones BBQ and Tenoch Mexican and to enjoy. And while Somerville has a lot of older infrastructure, there is a lot of newly developing sections, like Assembly Row shopping center, which has restaurants, tons of shops, and a movie theater. There is always somewhere to be or something to do for any interest- whether it’s enjoying the view from Prospect Hill (see picture above) or going out one of the many festivals, concerts, or markets. 

Cambridge

Right next to Somerville, Cambridge directly borders Boston, and feels almost like an extension of the city. It is host to many prestigious colleges, like Harvard and MIT, and, like Somerville, has a wide diversity in its population.  There are so many fun places to explore for all different interests. For the cinephile, Kendall Landmark Theatre and Brattle Theatre both host a number of independent films and movie marathons, like the upcoming Saturday Morning All-You-Can-Eat-Cereal Cartoon Party at Brattle. And if you’re more interested in shopping, there are malls like the CambridgesideGalleria for more well-known stores and also lots of vintage stores, like RaspberryBeret. On a beautiful sunny day, you can drop by Paddle Boston and rent a canoe, paddleboard, or kayak to take out on the Charles River. If the weather is crummy, there are also many museums in the area to check out, including the Harvard ArtMuseums (pictured above) for art lovers, the Museum of Science for an interactive experience for the whole family, or the MIT Museum for a mix of technology and history. In terms of food, Cambridge has too many options to list! For everyone from the carnivore to the vegan, fine-dining to fast casual, and a huge cultural diversity in cuisine. You can check out this list of “33 Essential Cambridge Restaurants” to get an idea of all the options out there.


Leaf Peeping in New England

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, October 11, 2019

Fall is in full swing, with a crisp in the air and all your favorite seasonal treats coming back into rotation.  One of the most wonderful parts about living in New England is that we get such distinct seasons, and with the Fall comes the changing of leaves.  Vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows dominate the New England color scheme throughout September and October, and present the perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy the colorful scenery with some leaf peeping!

Every state has different peak foliage time; for Massachusetts, mid-October is the best time to go peep some leaves.  If you want to head outside of the state, check out this live “Peak Fall Foliage Map” to see how the color progresses through all of New England.

With many state forests and scenic drives, there are options to catch the fall leaves whether you want to stay closer to Boston or drive up to New Hampshire or Vermont.  Here’s a list of some options for every type of leaf peeper to enjoy!

Middlesex Fells


Often referred to simply as the Fells, this state park stretches across Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, and Winchester.  There are more than 100 miles of hiking trails and two reservations  for you to explore.  To really get a good glimpse of the leaves, hike up to Wright Tower where you’ll get a spectacular view of Boston, the surrounding area, and the bright foliage!

Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary


Broadmoor is an Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary that over 800 acres on the Charles River in Natick and Sherborn.  It’s got 9 miles of hiking trails through forest, wetlands, and fields.  In the fall, one of the best activities to do there is canoe along the Charles River and take in the beautiful variety of colors.

Walden Pond


Just down Route 2 in Concord, Walden Pond is a serene getaway where you can hike the trails to see the home of Henry David Thoreau or take a boat out on the pond and get a 360 degree view of the trees and their vivid reflections on the water.

Emerald Necklace


The Emerald Necklace cover 1,100 acres in the Boston Area, and is made up of several parks and recreation areas including the Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica, Pond, Olmstead Park, and The Riverway.  You can walk the 7 miles from one end to the other or explore park by park.  To see a huge variety of trees, the Arboretum bordering Roslindale and Jamaica Plain has a lot of leaves to peep with 14,980 different kinds of plants.

If you are feeling more ambitious, there are an abundance of scenic drives that you can take to get out of Boston and be immersed in the fall beauty.  The Berkshires have many scenic drives and hikes to enjoy.  To see a comprehensive list of leaf peeping drives, check out this Boston Magazine article on “The 15 Best Foliage Drives in New England”.






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