North End/Waterfront

The Best Activities and Entertainment This Holiday Season in Boston

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Boston is a fun place to be any time of year, but especially at Christmas-time, when the sparkling Christmas trees and festive lights illuminating streets and storefronts bring cheer to even the scroogiest Bostonian.  The city buzzes with music, holiday shoppers fill the sidewalks and stores and best of all, special holiday events start filling people’s calendars.  To make sure you capture the allure of Boston during the holiday season, and to avoid missing out on tickets or double booking yourself, it’s important to start planning your event schedule as early as possible.  Here are our recommendations for the best activities to participate in this year:

Lighted Christmas Trees - By late November and early December beautifully lit christmas trees begin to pop up all over the city.  You can find two of the biggest trees in Boston Common and Faneuil Hall, which is also the site of the Blink! holiday lights and music show which is free and runs 12 times between 4:30-10pm.  Here is a list of tree lightings taking place in November, and here is one for December. 

Ice skating on the common - If you're planning to head to Boston Common to see the glorious Christmas Tree, make sure to pack your ice skates for the outdoor rink, which opens in mid-November.    

Menorah lighting - Also in Boston Common you'll find public Menorah lighting each night through Hanukah (December 24th - January 1st).

The Nutcracker - Performed by Boston Ballet at Symphony Hall from November 25th-December 31st.  

Holiday Pops - Performed by Boston Symphony Orchestra from November 30th-December 31st.

Holiday shopping - You'll find unique shopping experiences in some of Boston's most charming neighborhoods.  Make sure to check out Newbury Street and the Prudential Center in Back Bay, Charles Street on Beacon Hill, Salem Street in the North End, Washington Street in Downtown Crossing and Harvard Square in Cambridge.  

Santa - In many of Boston's popular shopping areas you'll have the chance to visit with Santa, which is a nice way to break up a day of shopping with the kids.  

Santa Speedo Run- On Saturday, December 10th, hundreds of scantily clad runners will hit the streets for a run that raises money for The Play Ball Foundation, "which provides Boston middle school students with a chance to play, and build friendships and character through the lessons of sports - teamwork, communication and discipline."  It's a fun, unique holiday event for both runners and their audience

First Night - Boston's signature New Year's Eve event includes a fireworks show over Boston Harbor, a huge Celebrate Boston Parade down Boylston Street, musical performance, ice sculptures and fun activities for the whole family.  

These are just a few of our favorites, but there's no shortage of festive, entertaining things to see and do in Boston during the holiday season.  For more advice on activities in your neighborhood, contact one of our agents, all of whom live in the city and surrounding area.  




This Week's Featured Neighborhood: North End

The Italian Heart of Boston

Also known as 'Little Italy,' the North End of Boston is its oldest residential neighborhood. The historic neighborhood was often the first stop for immigrants arriving in Boston centuries ago. Rich in history, the North End is home to the Old North Church, Paul Revere's house and burial grounds. The North End also features one-square mile of waterfront that provides scenic views of the Boston Harbor.

Above all the North End is famous for its deeply rooted Italian culture that is still prominent today. The North End contains an abundance of restaurants, most of which are Italian. This spot is the ideal place to find authentic cuisine, bakeries, and gelato in Boston. Overall the North End is what makes Boston so special from its rich history to beautiful views of Boston Harbor, this neighborhood is a must visit for tourists and an ideal place to live.

Some restaurants include: Mamma Maria (Italian): 3 N Square Lucca (Italian): 226 Hanover Street Aragosta Bar and Bistro (Italian): 3 Battery Wharf Neptune Oyster (Seafood): 63 Salem Street

Some shopping stores include: Bobbles & Lace: 26 Prince Street Twilight: 12 Fleet Street

Some bars & pubs include: Waterfront Café: 450 Commercial Street Four Winds: 266 Commercial Street

Be sure to let us know your favorite spots in the North End by commenting on our Facebook! For more information on the North End, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Charles Rentals.

For Back Bay listings please visit our website


Reasons to Consider January 1st Rentals

2014 is upon us, and with it comes numerous lease openings in the Boston area. While people may find many reasons not to rent, but in today's day and age renting is something that should considered for the New Year. Below the Newbury Rentals team has come up with some reasons to consider rentals on January 1st.

More financially safe than owning a home

The economy has greatly influenced the housing market, and now is a better time than ever to rent. One of the largest costs avoided when renting is the mortgage. Not only is the cost of a mortgage avoided, but also the stress of large payments or having to remortgage. Other big costs avoided are property taxes, Homeowners Associate fees (doesn't apply to all), and homeowners insurance.

In addition, when renting you avoid the responsibilities of buying or selling a home. Another upside to renting is that it allows for people to save up money, pay off loans, and spend money elsewhere. In some cases renters today are renting more than one home allowing for them to have a vacation spot.

Access to urban conveniences

The majority of rentals are found in urban areas, which usually means everything is in a mile. Many necessities are within walking distances in urban areas. Not only are there numerous stores within a close proximity, but also many stores in cities cannot be found in suburban areas.

Some rentals have luxuries

Many luxury buildings and apartment complexes offer a pool, gym, and other amenities. It can come in handy especially in the cold winter months when any imaginable luxury is accessible right in your own building.

Less upkeep

There is far less upkeep involved when renting. Someone else does all the repairs when renting, a landlord or someone they hire will take care of repairs and replacements. When something breaks and it's in the contract that the landlord will fix it, then they are required to do so.

Social scene

When more than one tenant are living under the same roof, rentals themselves become great places for a social life. Rentals in urban areas are also close to some of the best nightlife spots, including bars, clubs, and restaurants.

For more information on rentals, feel free to message our Rental Agents directly at our new rentals Facebook page, Newbury Rentals or check out our site!


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How to Get Your Home Ready for Winter in Boston

Whether this is your first Boston winter in the new apartment or just looking to battle the challenges of living in the city during gargantuan snow storms, we are here to give you some tips on how to make it through:

Mind the Thermostat

Yes, we know that this is the #1 word of advice from any Bostonian, and there is a reason for it.  Not only is it super energy and cost efficient to keep your heat on low when you are out of the house, but also it's just as important to get your thermostat checked out!  It's good to double check that the batteries and the thermostat itself are working properly before the real snow begins.

Beware of the Draft

Double checking that the windows lock properly and weatherstripping all windows and doors are two quick ways to combat the cold winter air.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, cold air drafts can waste anywhere from 30% to 5% of your energy use. Rolling up towels are a quick DIY way to weatherstrip any problem doors.

Schedule an Energy Audit

Have one of the experts handle it and inspect your home to help you cut costs on your winter heating bills.  Whether you live in an apartment or a condominium, you can have your landlord contact National Grid to inspect your home and provide a full report on how to make your home more energy efficient.

Stock Up on the Basics

Flashlights, batteries, and your ice-melt solution of choice are all handy items to stock up on in the Boston weather.  It's always better to be prepared with these items on hand then to have to trek through snow banks in Back Bay for any last minute necessities.

Always Have a Backup Plan

Parking in Boston can be a nightmare on a day to day basis, then throw in a New England Blizzard and things can get really interesting.  Always be sure to have a back-up plan about where to park in case your parking spot is ever the home to a snowbank. You can talk with your landlord or surrounding parking garages about back up options.

Protect Your Floors

Even gleaming hardwood floors can take a toll from the harsh New England Winter. Take any old tray and fill it with pebbles and rocks to create a stylish and mess free place to put your winter boots to dry.

For more tips and tricks on how to make it through a legendary Boston winter, feel free to reach out to our agents about life in the city!


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New Developments Coming To Boston

Boston's skyline is expecting a few new developments. We've posted about Millennium Place in the past- a new building planned for the downtown area on Washington Street, with 256 luxury units forming fifteen stories of living space. The building will add a modern glass and steel look for  eye-catching extravagance in the Boston Common neighborhood.

Millennium Place plans

In addition to Millennium Place, a few other future developments have caught our attention. It's recently been noted that the Christian Science Plaza, a local landmark known for its reflective pool, will have two new buildings in its midst. Filling up the space previously reserved for public parking and empty city space, the city plans to add "a 50-story tower containing a hotel, condos, stores and restaurants, as well as a 20-story building with additional apartments and retail space" (according to These two multi-purpose buildings will be planned by Cambridge area developers, "Carpenter and Company." The Christian Science website states, "Carpenter and its team will be responsible for designing, financing, constructing, and maintaining the new buildings."

Millennium Place plans

While some may bemoan the loss of parking in the Christian Science Plaza vicinity, many are excited at the prospect of more living space alternatives in the Back Bay area, as well as other benefits planned for these new buildings. With restaurants, hotel space, and retail capabilities, the building has potential to add a lot to Boston's commercial center. The Christian Science landmark, as it stands, will not be affected by these developments. Mayor Menino confirms in a recent statement, "I am very pleased that the development of these buildings will allow the Plaza itself to be maintained for the enjoyment of Boston residents and visitors for many years to come."

Lastly, a new development in the waterfront area is sure to gain some attention as time goes on. While the city may have approved the "Portside at Pier One" plans eight years ago, it is just now starting construction. The building is intended to be five stories of luxury living space, containing 176 units, and retail space on the ground level. Developers claim that renting each of these living spaces should cost around $3,000 a month. The development, spearheaded by Roseland Property and Co., is a $67 million project.

Millennium Place plans

As things progress, we can't wait to see the final products, and we'll be keeping our eyes out for more construction in and around the Boston area.

Boston Apartment Living: Building Relationships with Your New Neighbors

You are now three weeks in to your new lease and probably finally feeling settled in your new apartment. You have probably seen your neighbors in the hallways or when you are exiting or entering your apartment building and just greeted them with a quick nod. However, now that you feel more comfortable it is time to possibly build some friendly relationships with the people that share your building, mail room, and maybe even laundry basement. Here are a few pointers for meeting new neighbors!

  • Remember to smile
  • Don't be afraid of small talk--while exiting or entering the building, in the laundry room, or in the elevator or on the stairs
  • If there is one, join your building's committee--you'll definitely meet people and feel as if you have a say in the community and also be able to discuss common issues (such as issues with the landlord, etc.)
  • If you're feeling bold, plan a building party---invite everyone!

You never know---after making these connections you could make a new friend, or even find a new roommate for next year!!

Good luck,

The Charles Realty

Boston Luxury Building: Burroughs Wharf

Burroughs Wharf has been the destination for luxury living on the Waterfront since it was built 20 years ago. Its units are larger and mostly set up as duplex and triplex, all with oversized windows flooding the space with natural light and unparalleled views of the water. It has safe underground parking, 24-hour security, and a doorman. Residents have privacy while also being close to the excitement and entertainment of the North End and downtown Boston.

Amenities: Waterfront, Private residential entrance, 24-hour security, underground valet parking, balconies, dishwasher, disposal, microwave, carpeted floors, hardwood floors, air conditioning, cable/satellite TV, water views, elevator, new construction.

Boston Luxury Building: Lewis Wharf

Located right on the water's edge, Lewis Wharf has stunning views, an outdoor pool, a gorgeous outdoor garden area, and balconies. The building was originally built as a warehouse in the 1830's and was converted into condos in the 1970's. With exposed brick and beams and fireplaces, the historical charm is maintained in the 90 residential units. With 24-hour security and a concierge, the building boasts huge common roof deck with sweeping views of the city and the water. Rental parking is available.

Amenities: elevators, 24-hour concierge and security, roof deck, parking, garden, pool, water views, city views, balconies.

Finally Progress Potential for Filene's Site

This is an issue that is dear to many, if not all, Boston residents. For roughly 3 years now, there has been a gaping hole in the middle of the city's busy downtown crossing area. We've blogged about this before. We have been excited about possible new retail outlets that might move in to where Filene's used to be, and we've discussed the controversy surrounding the developers. Up until about a week ago, Vornando Realty Trust of New York was the sole developer linked to the site. Since then, it has been announced that Millenium Partners have taken control of the site. Vornado is now a more passive partner. Because it was due to Vornado's conflicts with our mayor, the project had been put on hold, this shift in command means that we should be able to expect some progress soon!

Millenium Partners are no strangers to this area in Boston. It developed the Ritz Carlton Tower and is currently at work with the Hayward Place residences across from the Ritz. Personally, I am excited about something being done to try and rectify this eyesore in one of the city's most frequented areas.  Do you think this is promising? I certainly have my hopes up for the first time in a while.


Preparing Your Home For Winter

We've already has some cold days this year! Even though it has warmed back up a bit (I promise you that this is only temporary), I can assure you that winter is coming. However, it is not too late to take some steps to prep your home for the cold months ahead.

1. Give your boiler a check up

Whether you like it or not, your heat is going to get turned on soon (if it hasn't been already). It's a good idea to get your boiler tuned up. It could add years to its lifespan! If nothing else, the filter should be changed between cooling and heating, which is not a difficult task!

2. Inspect chimneys!

Now is the time! Do not wait to have them inspected or cleaned if you use your fire place regularly throughout the winter.

3. Weatherstripping

If you're like me and live in an old building in Boston, you can actually feel the cold air blowing into your home from underneath doors and around windows. Get some floor snakes to go under your doors, and purchase some products to seal up your windows. Not only will you save money on heating, but you'll be so much more comfortable when it starts getting really cold!

4. Prevent ice damns on your roof!

"Seal air leaks. Shutting down air leakage is probably going to have the biggest effect, and it's the kind of thing you can do incrementally. The second would be adding insulation. If you have R18 insulation value, turn it into R36. This is where your energy audit will be helpful. And the third is making sure your roof is vented properly, if your house is designed to have a vented roof. Make sure your soffit vents aren't blocked, your gable vents are open." (Source)

5. Order a home energy audit

If you've been putting this off, now is the time to do it. They use an infrared gun to monitor heat leakage, and the process is so much more successful when it's cold outside. The results could help you save money and stay warmer this winter!

6. Prepare an emergency kit

Collect a flashlight, batteries, matches, food and water in case of an emergency. Also, collect the phone numbers of your local utility companies and tape them somewhere safe!

Let us know if you have any other suggestions to keep everything and everyone safe this winter!