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When we met Rachael, we were so excite to learn that she walks through Graffiti Alley in Central Square, Cambridge every day and truly appreciates the Central Square art murals and community. A champion of social justice and just plain fun to be around, Rachael is a fantastic new guide for us at Off The Beaten Path Food Tours!
From improv to bachata, Rachael has taken all kinds of interesting classes. She also once studied how to create and host your own podcast. But most of all, she is the perfect navigator for our new Central Square Food and Mural Arts Tour.
Rachael loves food and can tell you delicious places to eat all over the city, especially through her new blog Qween of Cambridge. She knows food, especially ice cream, as she once helped start a new ice creamery in her college days. To learn more about Rachael, visit our About Us page or join a tour this weekend.
Our Central Square Cambridge Food and Mural Arts Tour runs Saturdays year-round at 12:30pm. Book via offthebeatenpathfoodtours.com. We will even provide hand warmers on cold days!
Guests, local and tourists alike, often ask us about Boston's Freedom Trail. Yes, we've done the Freedom Trail and it really brought to life the history of Boston over the past 250 years and the American Revolution. It's really fun to see guides dressed in period costume.
Here are some bullet points to help you familiarize yourself with the Freedom Trail:
We hope to see you on a future Off The Beaten Path Food Tour! We walk 1-1.5 miles on our tours, and we explore off-the-beaten-path destinations with rich history and delicious food in Boston neighborhoods such as Somerville, Cambridge, Lowell, and Boston.
At Off The Beaten Path Food Tours, we offer tours of interesting Boston neighborhoods that are off-the-beaten-path but have the most delicious food and stories. We pride ourselves on exploring unique towns that are away from tourist areas like the North End. That said, we have had many fun memories of eating in the North End, and we wanted to share with you some of our favorites in case you're interested in North End italian restaurants in Boston. We encourage you to veer off the beaten path with us and explore other areas of Boston and beyond with interesting stories to tell and food to try.
1. Cafe Vittoria (290 Hanover Street)
We've been coming here for decades for their delicious can't be beat tiramisu and cappuccino which will turn any first date into a romantic occasion.
2. Bricco Panetteria (hidden alleyway behind 241 Hanover Street)
We loved discovering this Old World bakery which can be difficult to find. They make over 1,000 of loaves of bread a day, and it's definitely worth searching for this spot which is different from Bricco restaurant.
3. Bova's Bakery (134 Salem Street)
If you're craving pure comfort food in the form of a chicken parm croissant or even a cannoli or arancini, Bova's is a great spot and family-owned business that will cure any craving. They also serve late night Sicilian pizza if you can stay up that late!
4. Giacomo's (355 Hanover Street)
So maybe it's not a fancy new North End spot at this point, but for us Giacomo's never disappoints. From delicious seafood to can't miss pumpkin ravioli, bring your cash and know the wait is worth it here!
5. Al Dente (109 Salem Street)
If you don't want anything fancy, and you love all the carbs, we favor the vodka sauce with penne at Al Dente. Heaping portions, solid cuisine, enough said.
6. Galeria Umberto (289 Hanover Street)
There are still some mom and pop places in the North End, and this is one of them. It closes early around 2-3pm and only takes cash, but it's a great place for a Sicilian slice during the day!
7. Taranta (210 Hanover Street)
A mix of Italian and Peruvian cuisine, this place is certainly creative with the chomps to back it up. We've been eating at Taranta since it opened, and it's consistently delicious but check the menu first to make sure it's something you'd like to order.
8. The Original Mike's Pastry versus Modern Pastry
Take a deep breath before you walk in because deciding among all of the carb-y treats at these spots can be stressful. 3 more of those, 1 of those, 2 of those you may shout above the counter as they wrap up your goodies in a box with a string tie. Our favorite at Mike's is the nutella cannoli and at Modern we love the Italian cookies.
So if you're looking for the best italian restaurants in Boston's North End or a Boston Food Tour, we suggest you explore one of these on your own and then reserve an Off The Beaten Path Food Tour with us in nearby Somerville, Cambridge, Lowell, or Boston to eat where the locals eat and spend a fun afternoon supporting smaller businesses.
Visit offthebeatenpathfoodtours.com to book a tour today.
Who were the Lowell Mill Girls?
We don't have enough time to fully touch on the importance of women working in the Lowell, Massachusetts mills during our Lowell Food Tours so we thought we'd include some extra trivia about these hard workers who were pivotal to Lowell's history and fought hard for their rights.
1. Industrial Revolution - the term was coined during the Industrial Revolution of the United States. By 1840, they made up the majority of the Lowell textile workers.
2. Ages 18 - 35 - these women were young, between the ages of 18 and 35. There were over 8000 workers in the mid-1840's.
3. Challenging Gender Stereotypes - these workers were independent women earning their own wages, which they often used for independence as well as to help out other family members such as brothers to pay for college.
4. Difficult Factory Conditions - these women worked in very sub-par conditions, upwards of 70 hours a week in grueling environments. The air was very hot in these rooms that were full of machines that generated heat, the air quality was poor, and the windows were often closed.
5. Voracious Readers - Although they had little time for relaxation and entertainment during the week, many of the workers used the Lowell library to read books and also circulated novels among themselves.
6. Strikes - One of their strikes helped reduce the work day by 30 minutes, but they were unsuccessful getting the work day reduced to 10 hour days. It was extremely impressive that these women came together to form the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association and concentrate their efforts to organizing.
7. Women As Capable - Overall, these women proved to the world at large that women were capable of physical labor, diligence and leadership in the workplace, and the ability to come together and organize.
Learn more about the evolution of Lowell on our weekly Downtown Lowell Food Tour and upcoming Lowell Mill No. 5 Food Tour. We can't wait to have you join us in Lowell and explore the best restaurants in Lowell downtown.
Although culinary tourism is growing, it's still a relatively new industry. Most of our guests say: food and tours, what's not to love?
In Boston specifically, there's always been a sense that the North End restaurants are frequented by tourists so the idea of a food tour, and specifically a North End Food Tour which has existed for a long time, is often associated with guests from out of town who are going to tourist traps that no locals frequent. And the people giving the tour do not always live in the area so provide a fake and not authentic viewpoint of the neighborhood that's been scripted to paint an image to tourists kind of like a Duck Tour. Well we are here to break the mold! Our company is different, and we are constantly thinking of new ways to delight our guests. Thank you for taking a chance on us. Here's what to expect:
At Off The Beaten Path Food Tours, we pride ourselves on providing a well-balanced taste of the neighborhoods we frequent. We aren't shy about covering what may be controversial subjects that the neighborhoods are tackling like Lowell's community effort to reimagine their city and shed a history of gang violence that used to pervade the city decades ago. In Somerville, we share information about the rising rents and tensions between the 'Villens who have lived here for decades and the new wave of start-ups, high rents, and pricy restaurants. In Central Square, we grapple with the importance of art and how the new murals are bridging gaps around diversity and representation. Our guides are as excited to share modern happenings and what they love about the neighborhoods as well as stories of yester-year.
2. Lots of Stories and Information
Our guides are super smart. We like to think they're the smartest tour guides in town, each with their own point of view and personality. In fact, our guests are often surprised to learn the depth that we go to in our tours to present an interesting and fact-filled perspective on the neighborhoods. The Boston walking tour guides have a balance of innate knowledge of the neighborhoods as well as have studied them extensively and are constantly learning. From the area's most famous residents to how it got its name to how buildings and populations have evolved over time and area trivia, you'll walk away with a new appreciation of what could be your own backyard.
3. Tours are for Local and Tourists Alike
We aren't your typical Boston tour company in that the majority of our guests are locals to New England or even Massachusetts. Since you'll be visiting up to 7 best restaurants on each tour and the guide will point out a bunch more local restaurants and other cultural venues and things to do in Boston, you'll have a chance to be acquainted with so many new spots. As a testament to the power of being a local, one of our guests had lived in Davis Square in Somerville for 8 whole years, and they had never visited 5 out of 7 of the spots that we visited on the tour. "I've always meant to go in here," they exclaimed, "I've even passed by this spot every day for the past year and never came in." Plus you'll get to know the owners or managers at a lot of our local restaurants which makes the neighborhood feel more friendly and close-knit so that you can feel good about returning there and exploring more.
4. Be Prepared to Eat
A common myth is that the restaurants are giving us the food for free, which we definitely appreciate if they share our vision, but often we are paying the restaurants and therefore have to carefully balance what we can serve with what's possible from an operational standpoint on their end. As much as possible, we try to establish a relationship with the restaurant partner so that we can pre-order the food and cut the line. However, that's not always allowed. We also try to maximize the value of each stop to provide guests as often as possible a) a lot of food and b) the ability to choose their own flavor. We like to talk to the owners or managers and also go behind the scenes to have unique experiences. Like our restaurant partners, we care deeply about any dietary restrictions or preferences, so we are often able to substitute food and beverage items to meet the dietary needs of each guest. In addition, we don't visit that many chains and if we do it would be a small, local chain that's still entrepreneurial. We have given a lot of thought to making sure our stops are interesting and robust and take this aspect of the tour very seriously.
5. Reviews Matter
Our company is designed to support small businesses, and we are a small business ourselves! So we definitely have limitations on getting the word out there about our food tours. We truly love it when guests take more than one tour with us, and so we encourage guests who did enjoy the tour to review us on TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, Yelp, and even just tell a friend who may be interested in joining a future tour. We also love to donate tickets to local causes such as silent auctions and raffles that support worthy Boston non-profits. Overall, supporting small local businesses is our passion and mission!
6. When In Doubt Email Us
Sam and Lizzie, the founders, are always corresponding with guests, so please email us or message us on Messenger if there's a group tour you'd like to book, a tour that you want to book that appears to be full or if you want to schedule a tour off-schedule. Since our guides sometimes have flexible schedules, we can accommodate many different situations. We promise to get back to you within 48 hours if not sooner. We love corporate tours and team bonding as well as bachelorette parties and bachelor parties, birthday parties, and other group events. We can accommodate up to 15 guests on most tours but have some tours that can accommodate up to 25 guests or can run multiple tours at once. So the sky is the limit!
Book a tour today via offthebeatenpathfoodtours.com. Thanks for supporting small, local businesses.
Central Square, Cambridge often feels like the heartbeat of Boston to me. I lived within a 5 minute walk to the Central Square MBTA for over a decade, and I have lots of great memories. Here are some of my favorites:
Our Central Square Food and Mural Arts Tour runs Saturdays at 12:30-3:30pm. We look forward to meeting you this weekend! Book a tour today via offthebeatenpathfoodtours.com