On the Road in Boston

This salon is nestled right in the heart of higher education but retains a down-to-earth feel. 

<p>The clientele at Rondi's Salon runs the gamut from female college stuents (always willing to try new products) to well-heeled Boston society women (seldom risking adventurous beauty fashions. I guess I fall somewhere in between -- an out-of-towner with highly visible hands in bad need of a manicure.&nbsp;</p>This is a new occasional column to NAILS chronicling my visits to salons around the country during my travels.

When I was in college, I hardly had money for the weekly rent at my dorm, let alone spare cash for a weekly manicure. But according to Monica Peterson, a nail technician at Rondi Salon in the heart of Boston and in close proximity to esteemed institutions of higher learning, a weekly manicure is a high priority expense for these college women. Monica figures that, although the students are currently enjoying the luxury on their parents’ credit cards, they will be harder pressed when they enter the working world. The salon’s clientele is rounded out by working women and well-heeled, old money Bostonians (who “favor conservative reds and French,” says Monica).

Rondi’s was recommended to me by Terri Taricco of R.G. Shakour’s Nail Connection. The salon, owned by Rondi DiRedo and her sister Rosemarie Briere, is housed on a second story walk-up that was formerly the home of Filene of the famous Filene’s department store (whose Filene’s Basement is world-renowned for its bargains —my mother bought her wedding dress there!). The salon is on the very busy Commonwealth Avenue, a main street that runs parallel to the Charles River and overlooks Kenmore Square. It’s just a stone’s throw from MIT, Harvard, and Boston University. Rondi’s itself offers nail and skin care (on the main floor), but an adjacent salon, run by Rondi’s husband, Giacomo DiRedo, is next door and offers hair care.

For me, Boston was a nostalgic trip. I visited both of my grandparents’ old neighborhoods and their gravesites and had dinner with a cousin I hadn’t seen since my high school graduation. Rondi’s was the last stop on my trip before flying out. The salon has a big-city feel, but the staff is small-town friendly. They went out of their way to make my very brief visit pleasurable and helped me navigate my way through Boston’s rush hour traffic to the airport, in time to make my flight with only minutes to spare.

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