J. Kelly Hoey

How To Bleisure: Mixing Work And Leisure Travel In Boston

Travel trend or simply the hot work reality for a growing generation of freelancers, entrepreneurs, (and yes, employees with side-hacks), frequent travelers are mixing R&R with how they are earning a living. It’s a trend that is increasing a lifestyle choice, not completely a business necessity (according to travel insights site Skift). So whether you are a remote worker or freelancer looking for a change of scenery or simply someone looking for collaborative space and great WiFi (plus opportunity to network like the locals) here are the how to and where insights on networking in Boston.

Name: Barbara Clarke, Principal, The Impact Seat (impactseat.com) Location: Boston

Barbara Clarke tells me she has lived in Boston for “forever, but not always”. And she admits, Boston is often called an unfriendly city, and justifiably so. For digital nomads or beleisure travelers Barbara notes “it can be difficult to find a spot that feels comfortable and not too touristy (or student-y).”

Barbara’s recommendations:

· Best power breakfast: Bar Boulud “for something nice and upscale”. For fun and casual head to The Friendly Toast (Kendall Square or downtown).

· For the business lunch: The Townsman (if the weather is nice, you can sit outdoors near a Japanese inspired garden); Trade (great, more serious) and for super casual go to Wagamama (Barbara’s #1 place).

· The “only locals know this place” to start the day: “Most locals are at the gym in the morning. No secrets there.

· Mid-day meeting place: “I always rent spaces in coworking sites

· Work options for night-owls: Boston’s coworking spaces are open late, but pick your neighborhoods carefully! Barbara suggests avoiding Financial District or South Station if you’re going to work late (“these neighborhoods are ghost towns at night”) and head to Newbury Street/Copley Square instead.

· Socializing early-birds: “The only activity that takes place early is people going to the gym or for a run around the city.

· Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Gallows or Picco (South End). The Highland Cafe (Somerville).

· Local coffee shop: Render, Thinking Cup or Tatte.

· Favorite bar: Barcelona or The Butcher Shop (wine bars), The Delux or The Trophy Room.

· End of work day retreat: “Go a little further into a neighborhood like the South End to get away from the crowds of business people having drinks after work.

If you’re seeking inspiration, Barbara has this to say:

There are so many smart people and seminars and workshops that if you want some professional inspiration you can pop in on any of those happenings. If you go to the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) on the waterfront, you’ll see something interesting for sure. It’s a small place so it doesn’t take long to visit and it’s across the way from District Hall where you can do some coworking.

And the fit-in-like-a-local suggestions:

· Wardrobe and business essentials: Conservative. No suits but investors wear jackets and ties.

· Events for combining work and play: “If you’re into EdTech, anything by LearnLaunch is good; SheStarts events; CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center) only for specific events/speakers.

· Co-working space: WeWork or Cove. District Hall (owned by the city) has coworking and a restaurant plus rooms you can book.

· Place to unplug and recharge: “The Boston Common and Public Garden are right there in the center and are gorgeous any time of day even in the dead of winter; The MFA never disappoints. You can go for a walk in the galleries or hang out on a bench.

· Don’t Miss: “Boston has so many great touristy things that are all worth it, particularly when it comes to the Revolutionary War so do all that. Then go eat a good meal at one of the many, many awesome restaurants in our neighborhoods.

Last local word: “Boston isn’t friendly, so don’t take it personally.”


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