Local Gems: Lexington

Following the fun features on Medford and Beacon Hill, today’s Local Gems spotlight is on Lexington, a pretty town 11 miles northwest of Boston. I’m grateful to my brilliant friend and colleague Morra Aarons-Mele (mom of two adorable sons and a digital tour de force via Women Online and The Mission List), who shares her Lexington faves today. Thanks, Morra!

1. Wilson Farm. It's expensive and the traffic can be maddening but Wilson Farm is a magical place in my book. My boys love to go visit Belle the llama in her barn and see the fish in the garden shop. The fresh produce and plants are fantastic (as are the fresh made cider donuts, shown above), and I always buy a fresh turkey at Wilson's for Thanksgiving. My #1 favorite thing, though, is to take my sons on the spooky hayride around Halloween time!

2. Willard’s Woods. This is the most beautiful place to walk your dog. It's leash free on weekdays, which is fantastic. Park in the main parking lot and explore! Also great for kids' walks and mini hikes.

3. Arlington's Great Meadow. Despite the name, Arlington's Great Meadow is in Lexington! I sneak in behind the Waldorf School and onto the bike path. The Meadows are vast and beautiful -- you feel very far away even though you're about 15 feet from civilization. It’s great for little "hikes" for kids.

4. Revolve. Revolve offers incredible women's clothing consignment! Great designers, fair prices, and a good selection. I try to stop in once a week to see what's new. Belmont also has a Revolve but I prefer the Lexington shop for selection.

5. Ride Studio Cafe. OK, you may feel you've stepped into an episode of Portlandia, but the coffee is worth it, I promise. If you're a cycling enthusiast, this place is your hub.

6. Sweet Thyme Bakery. This little café near the Lexington Common is replete with fresh baked bread, scones, and other treats -- all beautifully presented and wrapped. They also offer a small sandwich menu.

7. Rancatore's Ice Cream. Originally established in neighboring Belmont, Rancatore's (aka Ranc's) occupies a prime spot in the heart of Lexington Center. The flavor roster changes daily and includes sweet picks such as cinnamon nutmeg, gingersnap molasses, and callebaut (Belgian) milk chocolate. Also, try the homemade hot fudge!

8. FORTHCOMING GEM ALERT: Il Casale. Nourish was originally on my local gems list, but sadly, they have since closed. The good news? Belmont's Il Casale is opening a sister bistro in Nourish's space this spring. Assuming the Lexington spot mirrors the tastiness of the Belmont location, this will be a fantastic addition to the Center!

Do you have other Lexington gems you love? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Image credits: all images via linked websites, with the exception of Willard's Woods, sourced via Lexington Patch