Category Archives: massachusetts

Boston Bacon and Beer Festival 2015

shojo boston

I have been dying to go to this event for literally YEARS. Every time it came around it would sell out immediately and I was never able to attend until this year. In their 6th annual year, eatBoston’s Boston Bacon and Beer Festival moved venues to Fenway Park and so could accommodate more people. Even with space for additional attendees, the event was still a sell out.  I found out why!

While it was fun to suck down some cold pops and sample some new brews, the beer wasn’t the highlight of this event for me at all. The inventive chefs of 38 restaurants were what stole the show. The things they did with bacon were incredible. My personal favorites were…

The Bacon Doughnut by Blackbird Doughnuts

blackbird doughnuts

A Bacon Smore by jm Curley

JM Curley

Bacon Flavored Ice Cream by Lincoln Tavern

The “Beast in Show” winner of the event voted by Bacon & Beer attendees was Shojo Boston with their Togarashi Mantou Stuffed with Bacon & Cheddar. Unfortunately, I didn’t try this one out.

shojo boston

Other bites I’m disappointed I never got around to trying were the Bacon Mac & Cheese and the Maple Bacon Cotton Candy by Sweet Cheeks BBQ. (apparently a favorite for several years)

The winner received the obvious recognition but even better $750 donation toward their charity of choice. That’s right, this delicious fun-filled event has a charitable aspect too! In fact, the entry fees to the event went to several charities including Lovin’ Spoonfuls – dedicated to rescuing and distributing healthy food that would otherwise be discarded to organizations where it’s most impactful. Community Servings – not-for-profit food and nutrition program that provides medically tailored meals to people with critical and chronic diseases in Massachusetts. And the Red Sox Foundation – raising monies for several programs focused on children and families in Massachusetts.


What I loved and what I didn’t love:

Fenway was an AMAZING venue. Perfect for this event. Better yet was getting access to the grandstands when the park was practically empty – what a treat!

Since this was my virgin Boston Bacon and Beer Festival I didn’t know exactly what to expect but one thing for sure, I thought I’d get a TON of plain ole bacon and those tasty strips were NO WHERE to be found. Also, carting around a map, beer and plate for the various tastings (as well as an iPhone for photo evidence) I wish there had been a few empty tables scattered about so that attendees could put down things and enjoy a bit more instead of juggling things in their hands. Other than that, I thought this event was truly fun and worth the ticket price! I’ll be back next year AND I hope it’s still held at Fenway. I know I have a few followers that now want to attend too.


Filed under boston, massachusetts, travel

Lessons Learned at Boston Dive Bars

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When I’m not on the road these days, I’m busy trying to discover some of the best things about my hometown, Boston. First of all, I know I sometimes act all prissy and I DO like to go to the latest HOT SPOTS, that’s no joke. BUT betcha didn’t know I have serious soft spot for dive bars. Always have. It’s just one of those things about me…I like things that are a little rough around the edges and, as I recently found out, there’s a lot I didn’t know and learned during an evening out at a few local dives.

You should come well prepared. By that I mean with cash because apparently the best sketchy dives don’t accept credit cards. Who knew? Many, however, do have ATMs inside.

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You can gamble in dives, well play Lotto, but isn’t this really the same thing?! YES, I had never played the game Keno before my evening out and apparently there are betting rules, even in dive bars. You cannot just get a ticket and fill it out and pay up to the barkeep. No, if it’s proper-like, you gotta go to the end of the bar where the betting is legal. The irony!

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Not only can you get cheap drinks at dives – hello PBR – another Lola favorite that you didn’t know (It’s not all dirty martinis all the time) 😛 Dives also have cheap drink specials. For instance, at one dive they had the “Kinkytini”. Of course, the name alone intrigued me. Come to find out Kinky Liqueur is super premium vodka distilled 5 times with succulent mango, blood orange liqueur, and passion fruit. Never knew of it before, oh, and its label is hotpink too…need I say more?

If it’s dive worth its weight, it’ll have a juke box. BUT many juke boxes have gone digital. So if you wanna get in on the action of picking your favorite songs you better get the TouchTunes app. Yep, another thing I discovered during my dive night out. If you are like me and don’t know what TouchTunes is, well it’s the largest in-venue interactive music platform, featured in over 60,000 bars and restaurants across North America. Pretty cool, huh?!

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Finally, just because you fit into the “dive bar” category, not all dives are created equal. I sampled 3, my evening out in Boston. The “Classic” Drinking Fountain, which you can really get a taste of all things divey. Pool tables, digital juke box, Keno. You get the picture. The “Institution” Wally’s, a tiny hole-in-the-wall where there’s live music every night! LOVE. And, finally “The Real Cheers” 21st Amendment. This dive establishment located in Beacon Hill is across the street from the Massachusetts State House and has been serving the state’s most colorful characters since 1899.

If you like cheap drinks, interesting people watching and other divey things, you should check these 3 spots out. You can find more dive bar hot spots (90) in “Boston’s Best Dive Bars: Drinking and Diving in Beantown“. Supposedly a dying culture that is a big part of Boston’s drinking history…go support a local dive near you soon. Tell em Lola sent you!


Filed under boston, massachusetts, travel

Lola’s Cocktail ‘Pink Love Affair’ for Breast Cancer Awareness

No one is EVER shocked when I tell them I have an obsession with the color PINK. It’s a FUN color and definitely my signature (among other things) hellllooo boa?!

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Anyway, given that I’m a girl and somewhat an ambassador for the color pink, I felt it was very fitting to dedicate October to Breast Cancer Awareness on Lola’s Travels. I had already started #PinkMonday on Facebook because, you know, most people dread Mondays and pink makes me happy. So, in the month of October, for every like on my #PinkMonday posts on Facebook, I will be donating a $1.00 to Breast Cancer Awareness & Research. Including today, 3 more Monday’s to go folks!

This #PinkMonday I also wanted to showcase a yummy PINK cocktail made just for moi and in honor of my #PinkMonday October Facebook posts. After the color pink, cocktails might be my next favorite thing! I got to name my drink and thought ‘Pink Love Affair’ was an appropriate name since I do have a huge love of pink.

BUT, I’ll be honest, although I wanted a pink drink, I don’t love sweet cocktails so this was a big challenge. I love this delicious drink because it was fresh & fruity but not too sugary. AND luckily for you, here’s the scoop on how to make ‘Pink Love Affair’. Go on and toast to all the lovers of pink and ladies in your life!


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  • 3 oz house infused cranberry vodka
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • Splash of simple syrup
  • Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
  • Touch of cream
  • 3 strawberries & 3 raspberries


  • Place 3 raspberries and 2 sliced strawberries in the base of a mixer & muddle.
  • Build remaining ingredients over ice.
  • Shake vigorously and pour with strainer into a martini glass.
  • Garnish with remaining strawberry.

Now I should sing the praises of the creators of my special cocktail. A fine bartender, Mike Dillon, over at The Wild Horse made it up for me. The Wild Horse, newly renovated and reopened under new ownership, is a delicious and fun restaurant and bar in Lola’s neck of the woods – the North Shore, 30 minutes outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

I’ve always been a fan of this establishment but love it even more now that it’s been revived by the new owners. They serve locally sourced fare wherever possible BUT, no surprise, I’m a huge fan of the house infused spirits! Same idea, made with farm fresh sourced ingredients, some of the current offerings are Pumpkin Puree Vodka, Cinnamon Vanilla Bourbon and my personal favorite for my dirty martinis – Jalapeño & Habanero Pepper Vodka for what they call ‘Hot & Dirty’. MMMMMM LOVE!

I truly appreciate The Wild Horse creating a special drink for Lola for my month of celebrating PINK. Consider liking my #PinkMonday Facebook posts during October…I’m glad to donate to Breast Cancer Awareness & Research since breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, behind skin cancers, and about 1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2013 are:

  • About 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
  • About 64,640 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
  • About 39,620 women will die from breast cancer

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a woman’s death is about 1 in 36 (about 3%). Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1989, with larger decreases in women younger than 50. These decreases are believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.


Filed under boston, cocktails, massachusetts, travel

One Day Stay: Boston, Massachusetts


Boston is one of the oldest and, in my opinion, most charming cities in the United States and I’m proud to call it HOME. A perfect ‘One Day Stay’ for many East Coasters, Boston is a short drive or train ride and well worth the trip. Pretty in all seasons, Summer and Fall are my personal favorites. Who wouldn’t love watching all the boats on the Charles River or out in the harbor? OR how about viewing the colorful Fall foliage? It is always fun to spend a night in town discovering new hot spots and reminiscing old haunts. I’d say, make Boston your stopover even if you are coming from elsewhere to tour some of The States. It is a great bouncing off point – no wonder it’s nicknamed ‘The Hub of the Universe’!


Four Seasons Boston

Opened in 1985 in the heart of Back Bay, Four Seasons Boston is an institution of luxury in Beantown. Being a local to Boston, Four Seasons Boston is THE PLACE you think of for a cozy, after dinner drink or Sunday brunch at their Bristol Lounge. Staying as a guest is just a major added bonus! Four Seasons Boston has 196 rooms and 77 suites – all decorated in a contemporary style with touches of New England details. Perfect for the business or leisure traveler alike, recent updates include guest bathrooms as well as the ballroom & meeting spaces. Of course, it wouldn’t be Four Seasons without a FAB spa and fully equipped fitness facility. Completely LOLA APPROVED! I especially enjoyed the welcoming staff. Ron may be the very best doorman I’ve ever encountered.


boston public garden

Stroll through the Boston Public Garden and take in what has gone virtually unchanged since the Garden’s inception.  Said to be the “oldest” botanical garden in United States, the Boston Public Garden is one of my all time favorite places, in ANY season, to take a deep breath and enjoy the beautiful nature all around. You will find there the pretty Lagoon, old school foot-peddled Swan Boats, gorgeous fauna and more. Children of all ages love the duckling statues of Make Way for Ducklings fame.


Legal Harborside

Enjoy a drink along the waterfront. After all, Boston is the capital of the “Bay State”. There are many places to go and have a seaside cocktail but to me the best places are in the recently developed Seaport area. Specifically, Legal Seafood Harborside Roof Deck. Holy WOW! This isn’t how I kicked off my evening. No, I stopped by on a sunny Saturday afternoon and, OH BOY, was this place jumping. I cannot even imagine what the scene must be like after dark. With a scaled-down food menu but a generous drink menu, one could be there for hours sampling the variety of specialty cocktails Legal Seafood offers. Lola tried the Raspberry Fix and it was delish on a warm summer day!


bistro du midi

Eat at Bistro du Midi, named the ‘Best French restaurant in Boston’ by the Boston Globe and it is easy to see why. The dashing staff and talented Chef gave a warm welcome plus a little amuse-bouche. I followed up that tasty treat with a marinated beet salad sprinkled with Vermont goat cheese and then had the pasta with duck & port bolognese paired with apples and French feta for my main course. Even though French inspired seafood is somewhat Bistro du Midi’s specialty, I can attest that my meal was DIVINE. At dessert time little cookies were gifted. My favorite part of the meal, however, may have been the wine! Unique to Bistro du Midi is serving Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge 2011 from a gigantic bottle.  I confess, it kinda won me over instantly.

PS – Another one of my favorite ‘DO‘ activities in Boston is walking the Freedom Trail. It would be criminal not to suggest the 2.5-mile red-brick trail that’s easily navigable and takes you past 16 nationally significant historic sites. Just follow the red-painted line from the Visitor Information Center in the Boston Common to see sights such as important cemeteries, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere’s house, the Old North Church and the Old South Meeting Hall, where patriots planned the Boston Tea Party. Markers along the trail tell the story of the American Revolution and our nation’s early years. OH and by the way, the Freedom Trail is FREE!

A big THANK YOU to Four Seasons Boston for hosting my stay. As a local, I’m also a regular visitor to Four Seasons Boston and so I totally ‘Lola Approve’ it. The views here are mine!


Filed under boston, massachusetts, one day stay, swanky luxe stays, travel

kickin’ off summertime with seaside mini-escapes!

summertime – my favorite time of year


WHY? well, in the Northern Hemisphere it is when things warm up and the sun shines the most. i’m a sunshine girl all the way and am happiest when by a pool or the ocean. so, nothing pleases me more than to return to some of my favorite summertime spots to kick off the season. it’s time for me to get footloose and fancy free because we’re knocking on summer’s door.

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this week i’m excited to be heading back up to Kennebunkport, Maine. i’ve been invited to come check out the stunning Nonantum Resort. with a history in Kennebunkport since 1883, Nonantum Resort is close to the shops, galleries and restaurants of Dock Square as well as some of the most pristine beaches on the East Coast. i’m super excited AND it just so happens they are having a little fete the evening i’m there. Nonantum Resort is opening their new waterfront restaurant. did someone say waterfront? um, yes please! 95 Ocean has been highlighted on The TV Diner and received the show’s “Platinum Plate Award.” some specials highlight Maine’s local farm produce as well as fresh herbs from The Nonantum’s garden and local seafood. sign. me. up!

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THEN, over the weekend, my dear friend Mrs. O Around the World is coming to visit and we plan to have a fun overnight in Boston, sampling the best that Beantown can offer in 24 hours. it’s been 7 years since Ana visited Boston so i’m excited to show her some new things around town. Boston is definitely one fantastic city that gets better all the time!

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AND after a quick ‘Best of Boston’ tour, Ana and i are off for a lovely drive down to Newport, Rhode Island. i was in both Newport and Kennebunkport over the wintertime. both have amazing things to offer in the off-season but truly the BEST season is the summertime. Mrs. O has never been to Newport so i’m thrilled to show her the ‘City by the Sea’ and all of its splendor. some of what is on deck for us there? i don’t want to make you jealous but a grand tour of the mansions from the sky! that’s right, a VIP helicopter tour because how else would you see the mansions of Newport if you are Lola and Mrs. O?! oh, AND a sailing cruise aboard an America’s Cup yacht with 12 Meter Charters. Ana and i are excited to have a special visit in Newport discovering its roots as the ‘Queen of Summer Resorts’ and the ‘Sailing Capital of the World’.

you can follow our tweets for both cities by searching the hash tag #TwoPlayBoston and #TwoPlayNewport.





Filed under boston, Kennebunkport, Maine, massachusetts, rhode island, travel, USA