Whether you are a seasoned Boston local or a weekend visitor, Laura Purdom’s Guidebook Secret Boston - The Unique Guidebook to Boston’s Hidden Sites, Sounds, & Tastes, is sure to open your eyes to new and interesting pieces of history and hidden gems of the city. From “Accent” to “Yoga,” she takes the reader on an alphabetical journey off the beaten track through elements of history, food, entertainment, and lifestyles.
Making her way through the historic African museums, Boston architecture, famous bakeries, and the Big Dig, Purdom discusses the famous cemeteries in Boston, including Forest Hills (Ezra Pound), Old Granary Burying Ground (Samuel Adams, Paul Revere), and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (Thoreau). She transitions into information on community boating in the Charles River: sailing, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and windsurfing as well as Boston’s infamous duck tours. She continues on the alphabetical theme to reveal top Chinatown restaurants, “Chocolate and Coffee” (Lists of famous bakeries and cafes), “City Views” (Top of the Prudential Tower, Bunker Hill Monument, etc.), and cycling routes throughout and surrounding the city.
Diners and “Dog Days” are next, where she lists a dog bakery in Somerville “Fi-Dough,” and dog parks: Blue Hills Reservation, Middlesex Fells and Fresh Pond Park. Then on to “Fenway,” and “Folk,” for which she suggests: Boston Bluegrass Union, Sandy's Music (Mass Ave.), Cantab Lounge (Tues. night Bluegrass), Johnny D’s (Somerville), and Club Passim (Harvard Sq: known for famous folk).
Purdom guides the reader through Boston fruit markets, green spaces, ice cream, ice-skating, industrial history, and all things Irish. Then she lists a variety of venues offering jazz and blues, some of which include the Lizard Lounge (Porter sq.), Ryles (also offering Latin dance), Wally’s, Midway Café (JP), and Boston Blues Society.
She introduces theatre by focusing on Boston’s independent theatres. “Every American city has its industriplex movie mall featuring butter-flavored popcorn and Hollywood-flavored films. But only Boston (the Cambridge part) has the Brattle.” In addition to the Brattle, Boston’s independent theatres include Coolidge Corner Theatre, Harvard Film Archive, MFA, Kendall Square Cinema, and the Wang Center (shows classic films).