Welcome, readers, to another new segment, Dialogue with the Duchess. I’ll be interviewing various Bostonians about their thoughts on the city and its surrounding areas.
This week we’re sitting down with local musician and quote king extraordinairre Matt Ashwood. Matt came to Boston 8 years ago to attend grad school at Emerson and has stayed ever since. My favorite place to find Matt is when he’s singing with his guitar and harmonica in the Boston Common or at an open mic but I love hearing what he has to say about his adopted hometown!
1. Where’s your favorite place to go for a cup of Joe? What’s your order?
I tend to frequent Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks, for convenience. After all, they are everywhere! Did you know there is a place in Government Center where you can see two different Dunks at the same time? Ridiculous. However, I feel like this question really wants to know where I would take something to read for a bit on a Saturday morning. The answer is: Cafénation in Brighton Center. As for the coffee, always hot and black. No frills. I’m a real man.
2. What’s your favorite museum?
I enjoy the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston’s Seaport district. I have an affinity for street art and I found both the Barry McGee and Shepard Fairey exhibits at the ICA to be very impressive and thought provoking. The building itself is artfully designed, incorporating a lot of glass surfaces and spectacular views of the harbor and city. It’s always fun to be on the water, especially in the summer. If you like seafood, head down the street to the Barking Crab after you check out the ICA.
3. You need to get out of Boston for the weekend. Where do you go?
There are a lot of great places to visit just outside of Boston. I’ve had a lot of fun in Newport, RI and in the Easthampton area in western MA. If you need to escape not just Boston, but city life in general, and you’re up for a 4-5 hour drive, I recommend visiting Acadia National Park in Maine. Set up camp for a few days and check out Cadillac Mountain. When you reach the summit, you’ll be at the highest point within 25 miles of North America’s eastern shoreline. Needless to say, the views are spectacular. You can actually drive your car up to the top, or you can drink some hot, black coffee and hoof it up there on foot.
4. Favorite Boston sports team?
I am a native Clevelander and, as I rule, I have stayed true to my hometown allegiances and do not root for Boston sports teams. With that said, basketball is my favorite sport and I was fortunate enough to live in Boston for one of the Celtics many championships. Kevin Garnett and Paul Peirce have a passion for the game that demands respect and Coach Rivers is a true professional. Of course, none of the aforementioned people are with the Celtics anymore, but I grew fond of the team when they were, and I find myself still rooting for them.
5.What’s one “Bostonian” thing you would like to do but have still not done?
I am ashamed to admit I have lived in Boston for over seven years now and have still never been to the Top of the Hub restaurant to see the amazing view from atop the Prudential Tower. What can I say? I have no excuse. I have failed…
6.You’re headed out on a Saturday night. Where do you go?
Hmm. Maybe I should go to the Top of the Hub this Saturday…
Actually, it all depends what I’m in the mood for. For a casual night close to home (in live in Brighton) I’ll drink some beers and crush some tunes on the jukebox at Porter Belly’s in Brighton Center. If the plans involve food, I like to grab margaritas and dinner at Border Café in Harvard Square. Try the empanadas! I love music, so I may be checking out a concert on a Saturday night. My favorite venues include: The Paradise Rock Club on Comm. Ave. near BU, The Sinclair, which is conveniently right next to Border Café in Harvard, and Bank of America Pavilion in the Seaport district. If I’m going out dancing I just let The Duchess of Cambridge lead the way because that’s not really my scene, but I still have fun every time : )
7. Lobster roll or clam chowda?
I have kindly answered every question put to me in great detail. Well, I’m skirting out of this one, Duchess. I can’t decide. I love seafood. I’ll have the lobster roll and the clam chowder, and let’s throw in some crab legs. You’re buying, right?
8. What’s one touristy place you take all your out-of-town visitors?
You may have guessed from question four that I am a pretty big sports fan, as are a lot of my friends. If I have visitors in town who are even mildly interested in baseball, I like to take them to Fenway Park. If it’s summer, I’ll try to get tickets to a game, but if the Sox are out of town, or it’s off-season, the tour of the park is actually pretty cool too. If you have any romantic feelings about baseball whatsoever, you really need to see Fenway. It’s the oldest baseball stadium in America and along with being steeped in such a rich history, it’s also incredibly unique. They really don’t make them like that any more.
9. If you could live in any Boston neighborhood, which one would it be?
It’s no secret that Boston is a pricey town. There are definitely areas where I’d like to live, but where paying my rent would keep me from doing pretty much anything listed above. If money were no object though, I’d love to have a spacious place in Back Bay. It’d be a nice bonus if it were on a high enough floor to have a nice view of the river too. There’s a lot of great stuff going on in Back Bay and it’s also close to everywhere else I’d want to go.