|The croissants at Clear Flour Bread rival any of those that I've had in Paris. Their Gruyere croissant, which was recently voted the best in Boston, is the perfect combination of Swiss cheese and French pastry.|
Which bakery makes the best croissants and baguettes? Where can I find locally grown heirloom tomatoes and corn on the cob? What's the name of the grey building with the gargoyles? Does Tom Brady, the New England Patriots quarterback, still live in Back Bay?
If you would have asked me any of those questions last week, I would have been hard pressed to give you an answer. But after spending the past couple of days with Carolyn, whom I had the good fortune to meet online while I was looking for a home exchange, I have a fairly good idea of what it's like to live in Boston because she has been telling me about the city's history and pointing out all of her favorite places during our early morning walks along the Charles River Basin and through the Boston Common.
Breads, tarts, bouchons and financiers at Clear Flour. Please click to enlarge.
While many people balk at the thought of letting strangers stay in their home, meeting kindred souls that I would have otherwise never encountered is the best part of house swapping. That's the consensus that fellow home exchangers Mike, Peter, Carolyn and I reached when we dined at Aragosta on Thursday evening. We all agreed, however, that it pays to be cautious and that it's important to vet prospective exchange partners. The rewards, however, are well worth it!
Even though Stephane was disappointed that his travel schedule didn't allow him to see Carolyn before she left for Vermont yesterday, they had already met when Carolyn was in Paris in April and while we were in Boston in May. As the retired owner of an event and destination management company, Carolyn is an expert on her city and I'm sincerely thankful to her for taking the time to introduce me to such a wide variety of places, including Clear Flour for bread and Serenade Chocolatier for the most amazing hand-dipped ice cream bars. Stephane and I look forward to reciprocating her warm hospitality in the near future and to showing her some our favorite spots in Paris.
If living like a local and not like a tourist appeals to you, take a look at HomeExchange. With 41,000 listings in 150 countries, it's the number one home exchange club and how I met Peter, Mike and Carolyn.
Hip, hip hooray! Our August vacation has officially started.
|Clear Flour Bread - crusty baguettes, flaky croissants, amazing tarts and a sense of humor, too!|
|A sinfully decadent treat - hand-dipped ice cream bars!|