Travel

Back Bay

Establishment neighborhood
Elliot Hotel
370 Commonwealth Ave., Back Bay
The Elliot is a hotel that feels like a luxurious bed and breakfast—it’s cozy, small, and full of the considered details and homey décor choices. The beds are piled high with soft sheets, down pillows, and brocade comforters. In what feels very Belle Epoque, the drapes, bed skirts, and decorative pillowcases all share the same pattern, the lighting is soft, and the coffee tables are piled high with art books. The hotel's restaurant, Uni—run by James Beard Award winner Ken Oringer—specializes in sushi, favoring fish from both the New England waters and Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market (the largest and, arguably, best fish market in the world). There’s no gym, but you can run along the nearby river or take advantage of the complimentary passes to the Boston Sports club.
Winston Flowers
131 Newbury St., Back Bay
Now a third-generation company with seven locations in New England, Winston Flowers began as a father-son team, with a pushcart parked in front of the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Newbury Street in 1944. Winston Flowers prides itself on their close relationships with growers—they purchase their blooms directly from the growers and each one is hand selected. They also highlight local farms, particularly in the time period spanning from late summer to early fall, when favorite flowers like sunflowers, peonies, and lilac are in season. In addition to the first permanent Winston location in the Back Bay (open seven days), there is a second Boston shop in the Financial District (open weekdays).
Winston Flowers
131 Newbury St., Back Bay
Now a third-generation company with seven locations in New England, Winston Flowers began as a father-son team, with a pushcart parked in front of the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Newbury Street in 1944. Winston Flowers prides itself on their close relationships with growers—they purchase their blooms directly from the growers and each one is hand selected. They also highlight local farms, particularly in the time period spanning from late summer to early fall, when favorite flowers like sunflowers, peonies, and lilac are in season. In addition to the first permanent Winston location in the Back Bay (open seven days), there is a second Boston shop in the Financial District (open weekdays).
Flour Bakery
131 Clarendon St., Back Bay
Flour Bakery is best known for their pastries and desserts (owner Joanne Chang famously beat Bobby Flay when he tried to take on her sticky buns in Throwdown), which are more than enough to justify a visit. Less famous but equally good are her lunchtime sandwiches and salads, which can be ordered at the counter and taken to go. Needless to say, the bread on the sandwiches is game-changing—we’re partial to the focaccia—and it’s kind of sinful to leave without taking dessert to-go, also. Locations Downtown, on the South End, and in Cambridge.
Thinking Cup
85 Newbury St., Back Bay
Thinking Cup's cozy interior is the ideal place to hide out during a freezing nor’easter. The exposed brick walls and low ceilings create an intimate vibe, and the Stumptown coffee is brewed to perfection. The menu is just the right length (a nice array of pastries and breakfast options, and four to five choices for a sandwich if you're around at lunch), but you really don't need much more than a coffee and a corner table to make yourself at home in here. In addition to the original location off Boston Commons, there's also an outpost in the North End.
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