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Local Betty Field Trip: A Trip to SOWA {Go! It's Easy-Peasy}


We love a trip into SOWA, the neighborhood South of Washington, it's a no-hassle version of the Highline District in Manhattan. No wandering lost down long blocks, no fear of being run over by the wayward cab.  But yes to great art, wonderful crafts, interesting retail shops, and delicious places to eat.

Go any weekday or weekend {450 Harrison is open each day from 9:00am - 7:00pm and weekends from 11:00am - 5:00pm.}  Lots of the galleries and even artists studios will be open.  Or venture forth on a First Friday {the first Friday of each month} when galleries and studios are open to the public from 5:00pm-9:00pm.   

First Fridays give you the chance to meet artists in the studio, a more personal way to experience art firsthand {no worries, it's a no- pressure-to-buy environment}.  The evening is for everyone from seasoned collectors, to first time art buyers, to those who have never considered art before. Find 15 galleries and over 50 studios of artists working in different mediums, each with a unique approach to creative expression. It's free and there are usually tasty treats to keep your spirits up as you enjoy the art.

So you want to try it?  Us too- so we went to our local expert Libby Morris {who features beautiful handcrafted Italian pottery at Giardino del Sol} to give us the inside scoop.  Here's what she says:

Parking:
is essentially on the street and in paid lots.  There is a parking lot at the Thayer Street buildings {one off of Albany Street and one off of Harrison Ave}, but they can fill up fast.  There is also a lot near Gaslight and the Boston Sports Club on Harrison Ave. which is much larger.  I think that parking anywhere along Harrison, Albany and Washington is fine, or on the small streets that run off of these two main roads. 

Nearby Restaurants
:  
Myer's and Chang: great Asian, casual, fabulous food.
The Gaslight: high energy French Bistro.
B&G Oyster & the Butcher Shop: these are two Barbara Lynch restaurants right across from each other on Tremont - one is all about fish, the other all about meat, very small, definitely need a reservation for the evening.
Stella: very good dinner place.
Orinoco Kitchen: Venezuelan, great food, they don't take reservations and the place is small. 
Franklin Cafe: a South End favorite.
Estragon: Spanish - great for Tapas.
The Buttery:  a great cafe for coffee, lunch & pastries. 
Aquitaine is wonderful too - more high end.

Galleries:

Galatea, a cooperative gallery; Chase Gallery; Vessels Gallery featuring ceramics; Gurari Collection and Galeria Cubana are some of my favorites.   These are all in the the two buildings facing Thayer Street.  Thayer Street is a pedestrian street that runs between Harrison Ave and Albany Street.  There are two long old warehouse buildings that face each other across the pedestrian area.  In the 460 Building there are two main entrances, and some of the galleries/retailers have their own entrances.  The 450 building has small galleries and retail shops and the upper floors are all artists' studios which are open on First Friday, as well. 

Fun Retailers:
Bead & Fiber, Simplemente Blanca, Galvin-ized Headware, Brix wine shop, Goosefish Press.... 

First Friday's are wonderful - but I would not advise bringing young children unless they are particularly comfortable in large crowds and moving around a bit.  There can be large-ish crowds, most of the galleries offer wine and nibbles, and the basic feel of the evening is one of an artsy cocktail party.  As retailers and gallery owners, we view it as an opportunity to welcome the public into our spaces and let everyone see what we have to offer.

During the summer there is the SOWA Sunday market and that is the perfect opportunity to bring children - it's outside with lots of small vendors and craft stalls, and the stores and galleries are all open too.  There is more space and so even though it can be crowded it works well for children.

So there you have it, the how-to on SOWA, now we have no excuse to stay at home watching reruns of Dr. Drew Celebrity Rehab. Time to get out of town and get our culture on. Thanks Libby for all the advice!