Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Two Framingham Finds: Danforth Museum and B and R Artisan Breads
The Danforth Museum in Framingham is one of those gems that once you find, you ask yourself, "How did I ever miss this?" Since my son was little we have done art projects, which often means gluing pieces of paper to...pieces of paper. But he definitely enjoys it. Recently I discovered an amazing series of books called "I Spy" by Lucy Micklethwait. These aren't your traditional "I Spy" books as Micklethwait includes paintings from Warhol to Picasso, from Himalayan Prints to Dutch Paintings. We had read these books for a few weeks, and I also knew that the fabulous Faith Ringgold was on exhibit (I had actually assigned extra credit to my 8th grade students who went to her exhibit.) Finally, the Danforth is part of the Bank of America free weekend series. So, I knew that Raphael and I could go on the first weekend of the month, and if melt down struck, no money was lost. But I was also optimistic that I could play "I Spy" with him through the museum.
And, in fact, it was a success all around. As soon as we walked in we were warmly welcomed and handed a pencil and a sketchboard for Raphael to draw. The kind docent also pointed out that there was a children's room on the second floor, as well as a reading room. I loved the intimacy of the museum, the fabulous exhibits (currently mixed media textiles, Ringgold and more) and was also impressed by their permanent exhibits which includes Gilbert Stuart, Whistler, Bierstadt and Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller. And while I can't say I was able to enjoy the art as much as I normally am, it was a pleasure to see Raphael reacting to the colors and shapes of the paintings and sculpture. And the reading room was fun, too-full of art books designed for children. Finally, I was excited to realize that they have relatively inexpensive art classes for kids and adults.
Our other stop of the day was one we have visited many times: B and R Artistan Breads. This is truly a hidden jewel. In fact, I have sent more than one friend out to find it and they have come back empty handed! I will admit that I am a French Bread snob. While Clear Flour in Brookline comes close to those of Paris, B and R's version is even better. The baguette has that incredible balance between a crisp crust and soft, airy and moist inside. It has just enough salt. But what sets it above the rest is its pure taste. This is no supermarket french loaf! You need to eat it that day as its airiness really makes it only good for croutons or bread pudding by day 2. But we never have any left. They do have other delicious breads (whole wheat, rye, etc.) and some good cookies and scones. But I go for the baguette and I never regret it.