Haute Secrets: Singer/Songwriter Paula Cole Shares What She Loves Most About Boston

Paula Cole became an almost overnight sensation when she debuted her mega-hit singles “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don’t Want to Wait” (which became the theme song for Dawson’s Creek) off the album This Fire more than 20 years ago. Throughout her career, she has performed with everyone from Peter Gabriel to Amy Lee of Evanescence and sold more than three million albums.

Last month, the Rockport, Massachusetts native and Grammy award winning singer/songwriter released her latest album “Ballads” on 675 Records. The 20-song collection is a tribute to her father who instilled a love for music in her from a young age. The double album was self-produced by Cole, like much of her discography, and was mastered by longtime collaborator Bob Ludwig.

Paula ColePhoto Credit: Tim Llewellyn

We caught up recently with Cole to find out what she loves most about Boston.

Where were you born: Manchester, CT

How long in Boston: I’m from Rockport, MA and now in Beverly. After 12 years in NYC and 4 years in Los Angeles, I’m back to Massachusetts (just like the old Bee Gees song.)  All told, about 29 years on The North Shore.

Neighborhood: Beverly Farms

Occupation: Singer-songwriter, Professor, Berklee College of Music, Boston

Favorite Restaurants: Oleana in Cambridge, Anmol in Beverly, Henrietta’s Table in Cambridge and Davio’s in Boston.

Best desserts: Cupcakes at Half Baked in Beverly Farms, apple crisp from Russell Orchard in Ipswich.

Best place for a romantic date: Bravo at The Museum of Fine Arts.

Best Sunday brunch: Cityside Diner in Beverly, George’s Coffee Shop in Gloucester, Charlie’s Sandwich Shoppe in Boston.

Best place for a power business meeting: For a walk & talk: Good Harbor Beach Gloucester, or along the Charles River, either side.  For focused conversation over a meal in a quiet, wood-paneled setting, Cygnet in Beverly Farms (or if available to you, The Harvard Club on Commonwealth.)

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? My house.

Favorite shopping venue/boutiques: The Stock Exchange in Manchester-By-The-Sea & Todd Farm Antique and Flea Market in Rowley for antiques and unique home items.  Also, Newbury Street Boston and Lynnfield Market Street for general shopping and strolling.

Favorite Charity Event: Wellspring House’s luncheon every May for Women honoring Women.

Favorite Cultural Events: The Greasy Pole at Saint Peter’s Fiesta, Gloucester, apple picking at Russell Orchards in Ipswich, Beantown Jazz Festival, The Topsfield Fair.

Favorite Cultural Institutions: Wally’s Café Jazz Club, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Club Passim Cambridge, Berklee Performance Center, Shalin Liu Performance Center Rockport.

Best Steakhouse: Been a vegetarian since age 14, recommend it wholeheartedly.

Best Pizza: A longstanding family restaurant and part of the fabric of the North Shore; Prince Pizza, Route 1, Saugus.

Best Lunch: Life Alive, Salem, MA

Best Afternoon Tea: Wenham Tea House, The Four Seasons Boston.

Best Massage: Wendy Rose Kotob, Manchester-By-The-Sea

Best Bookstore: The Bookshop of Beverly Farms

Best Museums/Exhibits: I’m a member of the Museum of Fine Arts; I go frequently, especially to their modern/current exhibits.  Also, I love The Gardner Museum in Boston and The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem.

Describe Boston in three words:  Walkable.  Intellectual.  Strong.

Favorite historic/legendary places to see or explore:  The North End, Faneuil Hall, The Harvard University campus in Cambridge.

All-around favorite spot in Boston: Newbury Street and walking along the Charles River.

Best Aspect of Boston:  Our winters are tough but they cultivate our fortitude.  We are strong.