The Insta-Home Challenge: Boston

by Angela on September 24, 2014 · 5 comments

Max at the Burroughs Street Tot Lot in Jamaica Plain

Cerulean cloud-peppered skies, electric orange shades shimmering in the trees, crisp happy air, and the fine grit on a freshly picked Cortland apple.

Fall in New England. This is what life’s about.

After our short but sweet stint in urban penthouse-living in Montreal, the sight of this cute blue duplex house off of Centre Street in the historic Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain was comforting. We have the bottom level of this home, with a complete herb garden planted out front, and a secure driveway for two cars.

There’s a wrap-around porch and a happy sunroom/mudroom, with this funny magnetic screen over the entrance door that’s actually kinda cool. Both kids and Turkey love making grand entrances through it.

Please don’t ask why Mike is looking all tough in the kitchen. We all know what a softie he is — especially in the kitchen.

Boston housing is super, super expensive. I’ll say it again. SUPER EXPENSIVE.  Mind-blowingly so, as fall is this city’s high season and no one wanted to discount month-long stays.  When I started this housing search back last spring, this gem came up on VRBO. Thankfully, the owner Peggy was amenable to negotiating a bit, and in the end we paid within our (high-end) budget, Peggy got orchestra seats to see The Lion King, and we got a free trip to her other vacation property in Provincetown, Cape Cod. Score, all around!

The living room is perfect for our kids to frolic and play.

It’s a two-bedroom, one bath. And the bathroom is, ah, cozy.

The tub’s pretty perfect, Eva says. Come on in and play!

Our master bedroom is cheerful and large. There was no dresser to put clothes in, so the owner Peggy made a run to Ikea and got us hanging shelves to put in the closet. Oh, the very essential washer/dryer is in the “grody basement” (according to Peggy), and she felt bad to make us go down there.  So, for the win: she has our laundry picked up on demand from our porch, and it’s returned to us fluffed and folded later in the day. I could get used to this!

We knew Max would have a bunk bed — but imagine our surprise when the lower twin bed was made into a king for him when we moved in! He literally has the largest bed in the house. Mike and I contemplated staying in here instead.

Probably the best thing about our housing? Our location can’t be beat! It’s so kid-friendly here, with the multitudes of parks, playgrounds, farmers markets and kid yoga and music classes. We are near the Green Street T stop, and it takes Mike about 25 minutes door-to-door to commute to the Opera House downtown. We are literally around the corner from the JP Seafood Cafe (I could throw a stone from our front porch to their back door), which is actually a Japanese/Korean/Sushi place. Yep, you could say this is my heaven.

The shops and restaurants are basically everything we could ever need — we never use the car. There’s a CVS, organic grocery, gift stores, farmer’s market, kitchenware shop, toy shop, all within a 5 block radius, as well as every kind of cuisine available …

But this is the place that will prove to be the death of us. JP Licks. I had to make myself stay away this third week, as I found myself inside this ice cream parlour almost every day for the first two weeks. It’s true — I feel large.

Jamaica Pond is also a 15-minute walk away. Evidently, MIT put in public wifi here, so even when you’re boating, you can jump online.

My nephew Danny stayed with us for a week before heading back to UC San Diego for his sophomore year. He’s a die-hard Yankee fan (he was born in Manhattan), but we did have to pay a visit to one of the cathedrals of baseball. We went to Fenway Park so he could stand atop the Green Monster.

We also went apple-picking in nearby Ipswich, at Russell Orchards.

Before heading home, we stopped at a local’s pub and tavern called Choate Bridge, where we indulged in real Ipswich fried clams. The best we’ve ever had — each one was succulent and meaty.

My sister Eileen wanted her son to change a few diapers while he was visiting with us, which I made him do…

More photos of gorgeous Boston, to come!


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Janeen September 25, 2014 at 10:01 am

I love how big Max has gotten! It’s been fun following your family and seeing the growth of your kids. Eva wasn’t even around when you started and now look at your beautiful family!


steve September 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Pics are wonderful. Boston is one of my favorite cities. Try the Freedom Trail and the waterfront. Enjoy!


Katie September 25, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I’m glad you’re getting to experience the best of Boston’s fall weather! The pictures of your kids are so cute-I especially like the one of Eva at the apple orchard. Thanks for sharing your family’s adventures!


Katherine S September 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Fenway Park was one of the coolest baseball tours I’ve taken. Did you see that red seat in the bleachers? Have a good time in Boston and we can’t wait to read more of your time there! Love the Sauvages


ANGELIQUE September 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm



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