Postcards From Jamaica Plain
Jamaica Plain is the most charming little tight-knit neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts filled with serene green spaces, locally owned family restaurants & coffee shops, neighborhood markets, and many adorable shops. I love the diversity here. And I really feel like it has a similar vibe to some San Fransisco neighborhoods that have my heart. For those of you know me well--San Fransisco is my fave place on earth so it was quite easy to fall in love with this gem in Massachusetts. And trust me, I am totally not discrediting Jamaica Plain as it really does have it's very own special unique vibe in the world.
Lin's son and daughter-in-law just had the cutest little boy named Quin (Lin's very first grandson) and live in Jamaica Plain or JP as locals call it. And I absolutely fell in love with the area. I am so excited for their chapter here. It's so close to the train station too so they feel like they really got lucky. And there is such a sense of community here, especially for new parents. We had such little time there as we stayed in Cambridge and still had so much of Boston proper we wanted to explore further. We went last year and barely scratched the surface. You can catch all my faves from that round here. And stay tuned for my post later this week on the most instagram worthy spots in Boston. It's going to be sooo good.
I really could spend an entire month here just eating. There are tastes of Cuba, Scotland, India, Lebanon, Cambodia, Japan, and other international fare. And I am on a mission to keep trying new things from different cultures so JP sounds like the perfect place to get started on a foodie tour. I loved just strolling around on foot with a camera--the architecture is incredible as you will see everything from Queen Anne Victorian to Georgian and Greek Revival. And if you are a nature lover and love to opt outside-- Jamaica Plain has so many parks and outdoor activities. At the Arnold Arboretum, stroll through 281 acres of meadows, forest, and ponds, and see its collection of more than 15,000 plants. In the Hunnewell Building at the Arborway Gate you’ll find a visitors center, changing art exhibitions, and a horticultural library. Or join the bikers, joggers, and walkers circumnavigating the 1.5-mile path around Jamaica Pond, a pure glacial kettle hole. A boathouse provides facilities for sailing and rowing.
Stroll through the 275-acre Forest Hills Cemetery, an open-air museum with Victorian architecture, a bronze angel created by sculptor Daniel Chester French, and burial sites of prominent Americans such as abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, playwright Eugene O’Neill, and poets Anne Sexton and E. E. Cummings. SWOON. I am such a fan of Edward Estlin.
So I totally wrote a love note to JP. Your adorable Victorian houses on quiet tree-lined streets, the smell of freshly baked Cuban bread around every corner, yellow "Porchfest" signs posted on fences and doorways--the ponds and flowing flowers---you guys!! I just adore it so much.
And yes you all have to check out the Porchfests...I linked it here and think this is such a rad idea. I would love to see something like this happen in Tulsa.
So here is your JP travel guide---(of course all the places above in bold type are musts)
City Feed and Supply: There are two locations. We visited The Boylston location tucked away in the neighborhood ) This is the most adorable little market and deli supplying the neighborhood with a fine selection of Natural Foods. They have local and organic fruits and veggies, regional artisan cheeses, local meats and free range eggs, fresh bread and pastries, and they have really great fair trade organic coffee from Equal Exchange. The sandwiches and soups are divine!
Pikalo: This Dominican-fusion counter-service spot in Hyde Square emphasizes inventive empanadas (like the eggplant- and seafood-stuffed Big Papi), enchiladas and patacones (fried plantain sandwiches), plus intriguing beverages like virgin mojito lemonade and oatmeal smoothies. The bright-orange space is outfitted with cork stools at a bar for diners who choose not to grab and go.
Oriental de Cuba: They serve the best authentic Cuban food and fresh tropical fruit drinks in Jamaica Plain, MA.El Oriental de Cuba features Cuban dishes like Ropa Vieja, authentic cuban sandwiches, delicious cuban coffee and more.
Centre Street Cafe: Enjoy an Italian meal featuring house-made pasta and fresh, locally-sourced meats and veggies.Enjoy pairings from their carefully selected and Italy-focused wine list: from smoky reds grown in the volcanic soils of Mount Etna in Sicily, to the ever-inviting palate pleasing feast wines of Tuscany, to the noble subtleties of the great Piedmont varietals.
Tres Gatos: Boston's first full-service restaurant, book, and music store. The goal is to provide an unparalleled dining and shopping experience based on an innovative menu, friendly and knowledgeable service, and a neighborly atmosphere. Tres Gatos is founded on the belief that sharing good food, music, and books is essential to a happy life. And who could resist delish tapas?!
Salamagundi: I have talked about this gem before in my Boston guide as they have a location in The North End--but visit the JP location as well. I am a major hat girl and these hats are just everything!
40 South Street: Vintage lovers---don't miss this!
J.P. Licks: Located in a former Victorian fire house-- you can enjoy homemade ice cream, fair trade house-roasted coffee, hot chocolate, and baked goods.
Jamaica Plain Library- Connolly Branch - This beautiful Jacobean style branch in the Hyde Square section of Jamaica Plain offers popular books and other materials in Spanish for both adults and children. I love the architecture.
I just cannot wait to get back here and visit Quin and of explore more of JP's hidden secrets.
Have you been ?! What must I see?!! Tell me in the comments so I won't forget.
And OMG..enjoy these pics of the new little Bacon addition down below.