> 408-506-9660, dishcrawl.com/boston
Learn about a neighborhood by eating your way through it in this gourmand’s take on a pub crawl. For $39, Dishcrawl participants walk between four diverse restaurants in one evening, sampling key menu items while hearing a few words from the chefs behind them. The region’s first event was held in November and focused on the South End, leading folks from Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen to Jae’s Cafe and Grill, Addis Red Sea Ethiopian Restaurant, and the Beehive. Additional crawls for 2013 are in the early stages of planning.
THE ETIQUETTE ACADEMY OF NEW ENGLAND
> 39 Harvard Street, Brookline, 617-608-3920, etiquetteacademy.org
Good manners don’t need to be stuffy. That’s the theory behind The Etiquette Academy of New England, a Brookline school founded by Snezana Pejic, who was trained in royal protocol as a staff member for the late King Hussein of Jordan. “When you make it interesting, kids really want to learn new things,” she says. Classes for children 7 and older — which cover topics like table manners, conversation, and letter writing — begin at $165. For adults, group programs on job hunting or making small talk start at $175.
FRANKLIN PARK ZOO ARRIVALS
> 1 Franklin Park Road, Boston, 617-541-5466, zoonewengland.org
Back in October, eagle-eyed Franklin Park Zoo staff members noticed that Skippy the kangaroo had a joey peering out of her pouch. The baby won’t fully emerge until it’s 8 or 9 months old — sometime in early January — and that’s when the zoo will identify its gender and name it. Visitors can usually see Skippy (and, with any luck, baby) when the weather is right, usually above 40 degrees and clear. Also check out the zoo’s 10,000-square-foot revamped playground, full of animal-inspired slides, climbers, and swings. It was designed with input from parents and folks who work with children with special needs.
ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM’S NEW WING
> 280 The Fenway, Boston, 617-566-1401, gardnermuseum.org
The outward character of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum changed massively this year with the addition of a wing designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Taking pressure off Mrs. Gardner’s original, eccentric palazzo, the building has absorbed the cafe, shop, and concert hall, houses artists’ studios and a conservation lab, and has space for special exhibitions. The new wing — sleek and transparent, yet also cozy and lived-in — is connected to the original building by a covered glass walkway. Pass through it and the old magic of the museum remains.
> Natick Mall, 508-975-4230, teslamotors.com
You can put your name on a waiting list here, but the main point of the “gallery” is to spread the word about electric cars to the eco-inquisitive. The staff encourages customers to sit in the driver’s seat of a real battery-powered Model S for a demo, while kids and others can make use of the touch screens along the walls. Those in the shopping mood can buy some branded clothing and accessories.
VIDEO COACH: UBERSENSE
Athletes and coaches no longer have to be on the same field every day, thanks to this free app developed by a Downtown Crossing-based start-up. Users shoot sharable videos on an iPhone or iPad, then, employing slow motion, pore over errors in form. Feedback comes via virtual markups and audio instruction. With more than 800,000 downloads, the app received prominent attention this year when US teams like women’s volleyball and women’s gymnastics used it to train for the London Olympics.
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