like a local.

Credit:  @diningplaybook

This is one of those posts I’ve had in the works for a while but was required to do ample research in order to refine what it is I I wanted to share. When you move to a new place, the discovery that goes into storytelling is almost as much work as crafting the perfect descriptions. Now that we’re mostly settled in our new place (and by settled I mean, I still haven’t taken our Christmas tree down), I’ve taken to exploring all that our little community has to offer by taste-testing, asking questions and researching the best places to hang out, eat and drink in the area. This post is to introduce you to our neck of the woods and all of the places I want to try in this new year…

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Teresa’s Prime. P & I are what I would classify as novice foodies. We appreciate a good dish but often default on known favorites when in doubt. I’m kind of sucker for fancy dinners that aren’t too loud (in addition to places that take reservations to satisfy my need for advance planning) and it seems that this North Reading eatery checks all the boxes. One look at their Yelp profile and previous guests recommend everything from filets with half stuffed lobster tails to crab cakes and a delicious wine selection. It could be a splurge depending on what you order but it also sounds like the perfect place for a milestone meal or fancy date night. Top it all off with Teresa’s having won Best of North Shore’s category for “Bacon” and I am seriously intrigued!

20 Elm St. (Rte. 62), North Reading, 978-276-0044, teresaseatery.com

credit:  @patrick_andrew

The Baldwin Bar/ Baldwin & Sons Trading Co. Call me crazy but I think there’s something so fun about just going out for drinks. A little something to snack on is great but the idea of a fun cocktail takes me back to late fall of 2015 when P and I were just getting to know each other. Upon first hearing about The Baldwin Bar, I had a theory that it was equal parts festive novelty and a haven for locals with good taste. After more research, I have decided that I was correct on both fronts and have since spent countless minutes exploring their menu to the extent that I can nearly taste everything. Hosted in the Baldwin Mansion in Woburn, The Baldwin Bar is open at 5pm every day (Baldwin & Sons Trading Co. is only open Thursday-Sunday) and serves the most delectable sounding cocktails with ingredients like “rainwater madeira”, “Del Maguey Vida” and “pink peppercorn”. I’m not sure I’ve ever needed to visit a bar more in my life…

2 Alfred St., Woburn, 781-935-8488, www.thebaldwinbar.com/

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Cupcake City. Truthfully, I’ve had Cupcake City before but never in person. They’ve been absolutely fantastic about providing refreshments for events I’ve hosted both for my blog and for charity. I’m not at liberty to tell you how close I live to their Reading shop but just know that it’s close enough to be dangerous and also a good thing that they’re closed on Mondays otherwise I’d probably try to start every week with a cupcake. Their “every day flavors” (Hostess, Peanut Butter and Lemon, to name a few) are enough to start a craving but their “specialty flavors” (S’mores, Mint Chocolate and Carrot) will have you wishing that every major event served cupcakes and that they were this good. Next time I’m asked to bring food anywhere, you better believe I’m brining Cupcake City.

137 Main St., Reading, 781-944-0400, www.cupcake-city.com/our-cupcakes.html

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MarketStreet Lynnfield Outdoor Rink. I’m not one for the cold but being from New England, there are a few things that sweeten the deal of having seasons and dealing with winter at all. Perhaps because there’s a certain wintery festiveness that comes from seeing a pair of skates or I’m just motivated by the inevitable hot cocoa that usually follows but I’ve always thought the outdoor rink at MarketStreet in Lynnfield is so charming. Sure it’s cold and you have to balance like you’ve never balanced before in your life but a few laps around the rink, holding hands with a friend or significant other sounds perfectly delightful. Tucked behind J.P. Licks (post-skate refreshment idea?), you’ll find this rink waiting for you, a friend and other outdoor winter activity enthusiasts complete with skate rentals for under $30.

600 Market St., Lynnfield, 781-484-5400, www.marketstreetlynnfield.com/info/marketstreetrink

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Aine’s Boutique. I believe that a sure sign of being a local is having a favorite spot where you can find the things you need, when you need them. It’s been a while since I’ve visited but now that I’m a local, I expect that I’ll be popping into Aine’s Boutique quite a bit more for inspiration for my own closet as well as gifts for others. One thing I love about this boutique is that they carry Beautycounter (pictured above), a brand I have loved since 2016 that I’m sure will be making an appearance on vanessainboston.com very soon. I am increasingly more curious about brands with a conscious and by carrying Beautycounter products, I know that Aine’s cares just as much about the wellness of their clients as they do about how they feel about themselves on the outside. It’s good knowing that I can support a small business and my need for a refreshed wardrobe every now and again!

662 Main St., Reading, 781-944-0429, www.facebook.com/ainesboutique/