Massachusetts city workers share their favorite places to go for culture, nature and relaxation in towns and villages they know so well. Do you want to see your favorite city or town featured? Let us know in the investigation below or by e-mail [email protected].
Belmont, a suburb of Boston, has plenty to do within its 4 1/2 square miles, said Ellen O’Brien Cushman, longtime resident and city clerk for the past 11 years.
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From its expansive green spaces to its many restaurants, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your time there, she said.
“Although we have a population of 26,000, we still act and feel like a small town,” she said.
Coming up, check out Cushman’s choices for where to go and what to do in Belmont.
Dine at a variety of restaurants
“I grew up in Belmont. We used to have a pizza place and we had a Chinese food restaurant and donut shop, ”Cushman said. “There weren’t really any restaurants here. And then in the early 2000s, all of a sudden, it burst out like a flower that has just blossomed. And now Belmont has become this gastronomic destination. “
Hungry visitors will find everything from breakfast cafes and upscale restaurants to ice cream parlors, she said.
“I think there are 13 restaurants in Belmont Center, which is less than a quarter of a mile long,” she said.
Here are a handful of places Cushman likes (the full list is considerably longer): Bakehaus and Vicki lee for breakfast and lunch; Linda’s donuts, where Cushman has eaten handmade treats since he was a child; by Savino, a Mediterranean Italian restaurant; Wellington for eclectic American cuisine, Thai Patou for Thai cuisine; and Italian restaurant He Casale, located in a converted fire station and “perfect for a festive dinner and sitting on their beautiful patio,” she said. Oh, and don’t forget the Mexican street food at La Victoria Taqueria, which just opened this spring.
Bellmont Cafe, which is open for breakfast and lunch, is a great place to meet a friend, Cushman said.
“They have great salads and great sandwiches and paninis, and the patio is open 365 days a year,” she said. “Everything is homemade. It’s incredibly cool.
For dessert, go Rancatore Ice Cream & Yoghurt, or “Ranc’s,” as locals affectionately call it, Cushman said. His reference? A micro sundae with vanilla ice cream, which she described as “a mini mini mini sundae with hot fudge and marshmallow to die for.”
Spend time at the historic Pine Alley
“Belmont’s hidden gems are our open spaces,” Cushman said.
His favorite is Belmont Conservation Land Lonely Tree Hill, which offers trails and over 100 acres.
“There’s just a really nice variety of ecological habitats ranging from grasslands to forests,” Cushman said. “This is a nice place to go to take in some great views and opportunities to see native plants and wildlife.”
Cushman, a justice of the peace, even married couples there in his historic Pine Alley.
“There is this beautiful feature on the property called Pine Alley, a very useful plantation in the mid-1800s with 300 white pines forming a great sort of driveway at the edge of the property,” Cushman said.
The terrain allows visitors to “walk on the wild side, even though we’re so close to Boston in a suburban environment,” she said.
Discover live music and art history
During the summer, visitors can listen to live music every Wednesday evening at the Payson Park Music Festival, a free outdoor concert and 30 years of Belmont tradition. Last year the festival had a shortened season due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and this year’s schedule has yet to be posted.
“People are going to put down their blankets and bring chairs, and the kids are playing on the playground equipment or running, and the music is always wonderful,” Cushman said.
It is also worth consulting the 1853 Homer House, where 19th-century American landscape painter and printmaker Winslow Homer once spent time and created art, Cushman said. It is now the seat of the Belmont Women’s Club, which saved the mansion from destruction in 1927 and hosts a series of lectures and other programs.
The house, which belonged to the artist’s uncle, was the inspiration for a number of his early illustrations and paintings, according to the Belmont Woman’s Club website.
Bring the children to a “magic pool”
The spray deck, a popular spot for families in the summer, also includes benches, a picnic area, and a play area.
“It’s like the kids are playing on rocks and they’ve just found this magical pool,” she said. “It’s really, really, really shallow – I think it’s only up to 3 inches of water collected – and the water gushes out of those rocks, and the kids are just running around and howling and laughing. . It’s just happy.
Cushman also likes the Undergrowth pool, which his family has enjoyed for generations. Visitors can purchase daily pool passes throughout the summer.
“They provide a nice kind of oasis for the kids,” she said of the two places.
What readers are saying about Belmont:
Readers had the following food and drink recommendations:
When it comes to things to do, readers recommended the following:
Finally, @ risakim97 came up with the following itinerary for those visiting Belmont: Get Greek yogurt at Sophie’sice cream by Rancatore, or pastries and coffee at Bakehaus, then enjoy a picnic on Lonely Tree Hill.
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