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How to Stay Fit in the Cold Weather

If you're like us, you're probably tempted to spend January in hibernation mode. After all, Brookline winters usually activate our hot-chocolate-by-the-fire genes. The onset of winter doesn't have to mean packing on the pounds, though. Kick off 2016 the healthy way with our tips for staying fit this winter.

  • Rediscover ice skating
  • Try Koko FitClub
  • Get creative!

Daughter & Father at Kirrane Ice Skating Rink in Brookline, MA Want a fun way to stay in shape? Relive your childhood with a trip to the ice-skating rink this January! This old-school activity offers impressive calorie-burning capabilities; a 135-pound woman burns 450 calories in an hour of skating at a moderate pace. Take the kids, pair up with a date or enjoy solo skating at Kirrane Ice Skating Rink. The rink is open seasonally through March 6th, 2016. Hours vary, so call first.

23 Newton Street Brookline MA 02445 617.879.4998

--- Working Out with Personal Trainer at Koko FitClub in Brookline, MA If going to the gym usually results in frustration, maybe it's time for something new. Our top pick for 2016 is Koko FitClub. This Brookline gym removes the guesswork from working out by creating custom fitness plans for each member. Your monthly membership fee includes a plan tailored to your needs for each and every visit, so there are no worries about racking up crazy fees for personal training sessions here. Simplicity and fast results explain why Koko made the Boston A-List's fitness category in 2014.

39 Harvard Street Brookline MA 02445 617.566.5656

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Need a budget-friendly option that fits your schedule in 2016? Use whatever resources are available at the time. Leave for work a little early and substitute the stairs for the elevator. Pick up some fitness DVDs or rent them at the library. Avoid the cold by walking at the mall. Squeeze in a quick, quiet, effective workout using resistance bands. If you're in good shape and your doctor approves, earn brownie points by shoveling a neighbor's driveway -- after you dig your way out of your own, of course. The possibilities are endless this January!

Whether you join a gym, enjoy some family-friendly fun or go DIY, staying in shape throughout the 2016 winter months is entirely doable. Take advantage of the resources available in Brookline, or get resourceful on the home front. You'll be glad you did when sweater season ends!

 

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Getting Out Without Children: Best Date Night Spots

Sometimes you need a little just-the-two-of-you time. This December, carve out a special date night at a romantic Brookline restaurant. Book a babysitter and get away for an intimate evening as 2015 comes to a close.

  • The Abbey
  • Taberna de Haro
  • Knight Moves

Enjoy small plates and Belgian-inspired bistro dishes in a cozy setting at The Abbey. Perfect lighting, great service and stellar food make it a popular date-night destination. Savor lamb lollipops, Bison Bolognese and other hearty comfort foods complemented by creative cocktails or a Belgian beer. Reconnect with your significant other on a chilly December evening in the comfy confines of The Abbey.

1657 Beacon Street Brookline MA 02445 617.730.8040

--- Crostini in Brookline, MA from Taberna de Haro Make Winter 2015 the most romantic season ever with date night at Taberna de Haro. There's nothing sweeter than sharing, so try this tapas hot soot this December. Share small plates of goat cheese crostini, garlic shrimp and other savory treats. The entrees are just as delicious, from roasted chicken to marinated pork loin. Spanish guitar music adds to the ambiance, so linger for a luxurious dinner experience.

999 Beacon Street Brookline MA 02446 617.277.8272

--- Backgammon Board Games & Refreshments at Knight Moves in Brookline, MA Escape to a simpler time at Knight Moves. Remember those fun-filled dates when you had hours of free time at your disposal? Leave 2015 behind with an evening of your favorite board games in a comfortable setting. Whether you stop here for dessert or spend an afternoon here, you'll love the pastries, cheese plates, fair-trade organic coffee and other refreshments.

1402 Beacon Street Brookline MA 02446 Coolidge Corner 617.487.5259

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From playing board games to sharing small plates, Brookline restaurants offer the perfect opportunities to get together with that special someone. December nights are so much better when you spend them reconnecting at your favorite destinations. Make the most of the 2015 holiday season by getting together at these amazing restaurants.

3 Favorite Brookline Bakeries

A chill in the air can bring out comfort-food cravings in even the most disciplined among us. When the mood for mouthwatering munchies hits this October, bakeries in Brookline have you covered. Satisfy your sweet tooth at one of our favorite picks for 2015:

  • Clear Flour Bread
  • Japonaise Bakery and Cafe
  • Kupel's Bakery

Unless you're going low-carb in 2015, there's no reason not to head to Clear Flour Bread when your next craving for warm, crusty goodness strikes. Stone hearth-baked breads are made from simple, authentic Italian and French recipes. German rye, challah, whole-grain, sourdough and olive breads are also among the offerings -- all made with unbromated, unbleached flour. Rolls, pretzels, sesame sticks and other varieties round out the list of conditioner- and preservative-free bread items you can proudly serve at dinner time -- or happily devour on your way out the door. Pastries, tarts, cookies and other sweets are also available.

178 Thorndike Street Brookline MA 02446 617.739.0060

Creme Brulee Dessert from Japonaise Bakery and Cafe in Brookline, MA

Japonaise Bakery and Cafe offers pastries, cakes and other goodies for those who like their sweets a little less...sweet. Their azuki cream croissant is a fan favorite, and TV chef Ming Tsai counts it among the world's best French baked goods. Looking for something savory instead of local faves like Japanese cheesecake? Try the curry donut for a uniquely delicious experience. Croquettes, creme brulee and the milk-based Calpico beverage are just a few of the other international goodies available at this Brookline culinary destination.

1020 Beacon Street Brookline MA 02446 617.566.7730

Salmon Lox Bagels from Kupel's Bakery in Brookline, MA

Many say Kupel's Bakery offers the area's best bagels. If Sunday-morning lines at the kosher bakery are any indication, they just may be right. A wide variety of rye and challah breads, rolls and pastries tempt visitors alongside the many bagel and cream cheese selections. Plain, chive, and salmon (lox) tofu cream cheeses are also available. The rugelach is popular here, and the reasonable prices and fair-trade coffee keep locals and visitors coming back for more.

421 Harvard Street Brookline MA 02446 617.566.9528

With so many choices in 2015, it can be hard to decide where to get your sugar fix. Whether you're out for an October stroll or specifically in search of pastries, breads and other baked goods, we suggest giving these Brookline favorites a try.

4 Reasons Brookline is a Great Place for Families

When it comes to raising a family, Brookline consistently ranks well in study after study. Many factors come into play when assessing quality of life for families, and our community ranks well across the board. Whether you're already a local or considering a move here in 2015, these findings provide either food for thought or a source of civic pride.

  • Mother and child outdoors in Brookline, MAThriving economy
  • Safety
  • Housing
  • Recreation

Brookline is a great place to launch and nurture a career. Proximity to Boston, an educated population and consistently low unemployment contribute to the area's robust economic climate in 2015. Jobs in research, medicine, education and other fields abound in nearby Cambridge and Boston. Small businesses also employ many locals and provide a diverse range of products and services.

Our community boasts excellent police and fire protection teams. Response times are fast, and the departments constantly strive to improve service. In addition, crime is low and residents feel safe walking in Brookline at night. The town was ranked safer than 64 percent of US cities by one data provider, and experiences little violent crime in particular.

If you're looking for quality housing this September, you'll find it in Brookline. Renters and buyers can choose from condos, apartments and houses in a wide range of diverse architectural styles. Neighborhoods are lovely, and residents and leaders work to maintain a sense of community. You'll usually find your neighbors in their yards when weather permits, providing a close-knit community feel in 2015.

Children playing at the park in Brookline, MA

From puppet theater shows to parks, you'll find plenty of family-friendly activities in Brookline. There's plenty to do this September, both outdoors and inside. You'll also find a number of amazing restaurants, including a variety of world cuisines and healthy options.

As you can see, Brookline covers all the basics and well beyond in terms of providing a wonderful place to raise children. Safe and inviting neighborhoods, impressive career options and plenty of recreational opportunities make this a place you'll want to call home in 2015 and for decades to come. Why do you love Brookline? Share with us in the comment section:

Dining with Children in Brookline

As any parent knows, dining with kids can be tricky. Challenges range from choosing a restaurant with a decent children's menu to finding a place where you'll feel comfortable with lively little ones in tow. Although restaurants in some cities have actually deemed their properties "child-free zones," many family-friendly options exist here in 2015. Give our top two picks a try this August.

  • Golden Temple
  • Anna's Taqueria

Lo Mein Dish from Golden Temple in Brookline, MA

The first time you take your kids to Golden Temple, notice the way their eyes light up. To little ones accustomed more to tagging long for takeout, the old-school opulence is even more surprising than it is to adults unaware of the grandeur of its golden statues, large open spaces and crisply attired waitstaff. They'll also love having their pick of myriad dishes based on various meats, seafoods, veggies and noodles. The classic standby for picky eaters, egg foo yong, is available as well. Parents concerned about MSG (as many of us are in 2015) will be happy to know it's absent on the menu at Golden Temple.

1651 Beacon St Brookline MA 02445 617.277.9722

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Taco Plate from Anna's Taqueria in Brookline, MA Looking for a convenient, budget-friendly dining option this August? Try the family-pleasing Anna's Taqueria. Children of all ages thrill at the opportunity to choose their own burrito, taco and quesadilla toppings and watch as they're prepared in minutes. Fresh, tasty ingredients and allergen-free options ensure a relatively wholesome meal for all. Portion sizes are generous enough for the average teenage boy, and most entrees ring up at under six dollars, making this an affordable dining-out option any day of the week. Parents in need of a quick meal for everyone between school, errands and after-school activities will also appreciate the speedy process of ordering at the counter and paying upfront.

Coolidge Corner 1412 Beacon Street Brookline MA 617.739.7300

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With so many restaurants at our disposal in 2015, deciding on the perfect solution for the entire family can seem challenging. We hope our top child-friendly restaurant recommendations will make eating out together a little easier for Brookline families this August.

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Eating Kosher in Norfolk County

Eating kosher is a pleasure in Brookline. All your summer meals can be delicious with a little help from local restaurants, grocers and delis. We've chosen our favorite Norfolk County spots for staying kosher in 2015.

  • Zaftigs Delicatessen
  • Cheryl Ann's Bakery
  • Inna's Kitchen

Zaftigs Delicatessen in Brookline, MA

Zaftigs Delicatessen is one of our top picks for kosher foods. Its lovely location and lively atmosphere make Zaftigs a joy to visit. Even better, this charming deli can always be counted on for fantastic foods ranging from omelets and sweet noodle kugel to smoked salmon quesadilla and cheese fries with turkey gravy. The menu is massive with portion sizes to match.

335 Harvard St Brookline MA 02446 617.975.0075

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If it's challah you're after, head to Cheryl Ann's. The Chestnut Hill bakery offers the area's best in 2015, in addition to fabulous cookies, mouthwatering cakes, a wide selection of turnovers and a number of other kosher bakery standbys. Parking is easy, and the friendly staff will always make you feel welcome. Due to extreme deliciousness, you may encounter lines, but speedy service ensures you'll be in and out as quickly as possible. Don't forget their amazing rugala, which is sold by the pound.

1010 W Roxbury Pkwy Chestnut Hill MA 02467 617.469.9241

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Chicken Wraps from Inna's Kitchen in Newton, MA

If you're looking for a comforting homemade meal this July, head to Inna's Kitchen in Newton. From the fresh-squeezed orange juice to the house-cured meats, everything at Inna's is made from scratch. Whether you're in need of soothing chicken noodle soup, spicy Shakshuka or scrumptious French toast, you'll find what you're looking for here. Vegetarian options are available, and many selections are free of allergens; these include gluten-free, tree nut-free and dairy-free choices.

19 Pelham St Newton MA 02459 617.244.5345 --- From bagels to brisket, Norfolk County eateries offer access to an impressive array of high-quality kosher foods. Make it a point this July to try these and other Boston culinary destinations. You just might find some new favorites for 2015!

 

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Summertime Favorites in Brookline

Looking for something to do this June? Whether you're flying solo, teaming up with a friend, planning a date or spending time with the family, there's plenty to do in Brookline. Line up your 2015 warm-weather activities with a little help from our list of summertime favorites.

  • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
  • Brookline Farmers Market
  • Puppet Showplace Theater

Arnold Arboretum, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, MA

Renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted founded the nation's first firm dedicated to his profession right here in Brookline. Pay tribute to Olmsted and get a glimpse of his home and work life at theFrederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site. During the summer months, the site operates free ranger-led tours, and June is the perfect time to take advantage of this fantastic educational opportunity! Make 2015 the year you learn more about a man who was instrumental in designing New York City's Central Park.

99 Warren Street Brookline MA 02445 617.566.1689

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Brookline Farmers Market in Brookline, MA

Nothing says summer like fresh fruits, veggies and preserves. Browse row after row of fantastic local produce and other goodies at the Brookline Farmers Market. From authentic European bread to crisp hard cider, you'll find a diverse range of locally sourced items. This conveniently located farmers market is a great place to discover exotic fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Produce, beverages, condiments, prepared foods and handmade items are all available here.

Coolidge Corner Centre Street Parking Lot Brookline MA 02446

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Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline, MA

The Puppet Showplace Theater offers family-friendly entertainment and so much more. Artists in residence put on puppet shows using "actors" built on-site. Kids love seeing shows designed for the younger set, and adults appreciate the opportunity to instill a love for live performance in their little ones. In addition to appreciation for theater, children learn proper theater etiquette. Manners are alive and well in 2015 as kids see firsthand the importance of remaining quiet and seated during shows. Make this June a time for your young family members to develop their social skills and enjoy others' creative efforts.

32 Station St Brookline MA 02445 617.731.6400

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Best Delis in Brookline

May is the perfect time to try out a new deli; the weather is perfect for a picnic or outdoor work lunch. Brookline has an impressive number of delis offering a wide variety of flavors to please every palate. Make Spring 2015 the season of the deli by trying out these and other amazing delicatessen options:

  • Virginia's Fine FoodsVirginia's Restaurant in Brookline, MA
  • The Butcherie
  • Michael's Deli

At Virginia's Fine Foods, fresh, unique deli items are the order of the day. Flavors like lime chili or sundried tomato and eggplant comprise their more inventive spreads, while twists on good old mayo and other traditional condiments liven up classic deli sandwiches for 2015 palates. Vegetarians and meat lovers alike will love the varied menu, and tempting breads from Clear Flour represent the best in freshly made European-style foundations for your favorite sandwich fillings. Breakfast, hot paninis, appetizers, salads, dips and platters are also available.

8A Cypress Street Brookline, MA 02445 617.566.7775

The Butcherie - Deli in Brookline, MAEven New Yorkers who consider Boston their rival city give The Butcherie a nod of approval. Shelf-stable items, wines, candy and other imports from Israel are available at this kosher meat shop and grocery store, in addition to a number of fresh deli items. Even vegans are impressed by shelves lined with meat- and dairy-free foods like whipped cream, meat substitutes, frozen entrees and faux-meat ramen noodles. Passover, Shabbat and catering menus are available. From halva to lentil patties, you'll find everything you need for holidays and everyday shopping at this well-stocked kosher supermarket.

428 Harvard St Brookline, MA 02446 617.731.9888

Michael's Deli in Brookline, MAMind-melting Reubens, custom-made sandwiches and chopped liver that's good enough to convert even the most timid diners have helped Michael's Deli earn a door full of award stickers. Generous portions, affordable prices and friendly service seal the deal for those who visit regularly for salads, knishes and other fresh deli fare. The meat for their delicious New York-style sandwiches is delivered from the Bronx and cooked on-site every day. Whether for outdoor May lunches, snacks or post-work dinner pick-ups, tasty deli treats are a given at this local favorite. Michael's closes early in the evening, so check their 2015 hours for details.

256 Harvard St Coolidge Corner Brookline, MA 02446 617.738.3354

Do you have a favorite Brookline deli not mentioned above? Please share with us in comments below.

Top Points of Interest in Brookline

Brookline is a great community. A wealth of activities vies for our attention, from yoga lessons to tours of historic sites. Whatever your interests, be sure to get out and enjoy all there is to offer this April. Here are just some of our top picks for things to do in 2015:

  • John F. Kennedy National Historic Site
  • Coolidge Corner Theater
  • Museum of Bad Art

President John F Kennedy PortraitThe John F. Kennedy National Historic Site is the birthplace and early childhood home of President Kennedy. Knowledgeable park rangers provide fascinating information and stories about JFK and other family members. The home, which has been restored to reflect the period in which the Kennedys lived there, is situated on a lovely tree-lined street and looks the same in 2015 as it did when JFK, Jr. was a little boy. Tours are free of charge and include a video centered on Rose Kennedy.

If you're going to see a movie this April, you may as well do it in style. The Coolidge Corner Theater lets moviegoers enjoy beer and wine while taking in classic and independent films. The theater's majestic Art Deco look and old-school feel alone are worth a visit.

Art of a sunset and various colorsNot in the mood for the latest art films? Take in some culture of the lowbrow variety at the Museum of Bad Art. Although this Brookline museum displays art in expected formats -- portraits, landscapes, nudes, still life -- it comes from unexpected perspectives and unconventional approaches. Though the artists may not be skilled in the traditional sense, their work always comes from a passionate, exciting place.

Though these three attractions are just the tip of the iceberg, they represent some of the fascinating options available in Brookline. Take time to appreciate all that our community has to offer and please share with us below.

 

Brookline's Best Parks and Playgrounds

Spring 2015 has finally arrived! Brookline has plenty of amazing green spaces for getting out and enjoying the fresh air. We've compiled a list of some of our favorite parks, so pick one or more and head outside!

  • Amory Park
  • Corey Hill Outlook
  • Larz Anderson Park

Amory Park is an excellent spot for Brookline pets and their parents. Let your well-behaved dog run wild and socialize with his or her canine counterparts while you chat with other pet owners. Although not enclosed, the dog park is located at the back of the park at a safe distance from the street. The park is also perfect for a game of tennis or a last-minute picnic on a relatively warm March day.

Amory Park 45 Amory St. Brookline, MA 02446 617.730.2336

Corey Hill Outlook offers one of the best views of Cambridge. Whether you want a great workout destination, pretty reading perch, picturesque picnic spot or fabulous sledding base in the winter, join the Brookline locals who make the trek up the hill whenever possible. From the November Project running group to pet owners looking to help active dogs burn off some energy, everyone can find something to love at the charming green space this March.

Corey Hill Outlook Summit Ave. Brookline, MA 02445

Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, MA

Larz Anderson Park offers something for everyone year-round. From March walks to June wedding photos and December outings at the outdoor skating rink, this Brookline park lets you enjoy the best of every season. With its abundant parking, fantastic city views and helpful park rangers to rentable grills and picnic tables for summer barbecues, Larz Anderson is the perfect place to enjoy almost any outdoor activity in 2015. There's even an on-site Museum of Transportation for days when the weather just won't cooperate.

Larz Anderson Park 23 Newton St. Brookline, MA 02445 617.730.2069

Whatever your budget, fitness level or favorite activity, you'll find a number of lovely parks to enjoy this March in Brookline. Pledge to make 2015 the year you make the most of available green spaces in our community.

Do you have a favorite park in Brookline not mentioned above? The dentists at The Dental Partners of Brookline would love to hear from you. Please share with us below in our comment section.