Local Gems: Jamaica Plain

I'm thrilled to share another Local Gems post today (be sure to check out the Arlington Center, Back BayBeacon Hill, Lexington, Medford, and Watertown features)! Today's Jamaica Plain recommendations come from my rad friend Casey, who writes about her city adventures with her wife and daughter over at Life with Roozle. Thanks for sharing these 10 local gems in Jamaica Plain, Casey!

+ + + + +

1. Arnold Arboretum. Dog walks. Bike rides. Hikes. Sledding. A view of the July 4th fireworks. Arnold Arboretum has it all. Not only is the Arboretum easy to get to (accessible by both the Orange Line and has loads of parking), once inside, you feel like you've stepped out of the city and into a magical green space.

2. The Dogwood Cafe. The Dogwood is a staple in Forest Hills. When I first moved to JP 11 years ago the pizzas were square and named after trees -- perfect for our big roommate meetings, as we had a lot of roommates in a large Victorian house overlooking the nearby Forest Hills Cemetery. Now, the pizzas are circles, but still named after trees. We've exchanged our late nights of beer and baseball and pizza at the bar for my daughter's favorite giant $3 pancake at brunch and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

3. Fazenda Coffee Roasters. There are two things I love most in the world (besides my family, of course): writing and coffee. Fazenda is a coffee shop and bakery in Forest Hills that brings my two loves together. Well, my three loves often too, as it's one of my daughter's favorite spots as well. At Fazenda, the wifi is strong (and never shuts off!), the tables are big enough to work, but not too big that any space is wasted. People stay for hours drinking coffee and writing or reading or working, but the turnover is always just fast enough to never have to wait long for a table. Sandwiches are tasty and the lattes are perfect. It's my favorite.

4. Salmagundi. You might not know you needed a hat. Or a fancy bow tie. Or all the fancy things. But when you enter Salmagundi, you become aware of all your needs. You suddenly need a lot more fancy in your life.

5. City Feed and Supply. Do you need a fair trade latte and a few groceries? Look no further! City Feed is the place to be! Local produce, Equal Exchange coffee, Batch ice cream, amazing sandwiches (including my favorite, the Farmer's Lunch), and now even beer and wine make City Feed a one stop local shop.

6. Bikes Not Bombs. JP is known for being progressive, hipsterish, and full of families. And what do all progressive hipster families need? A refurbished bike from Bikes Not Bombs! My family has a bit of a bike hoarding problem, thanks to BNB. Bikes Not Bombs rules as a non-profit, of course, but is also a bike retail shop, and the best place in JP to stop in to get that sidewalk sale bike you picked up for your kid all fixed up with purple grips. I'm speaking from experience here.

7. Southwest Corridor. The Southwest Corridor is a bike path that runs all the way through JP. It splits in several places with walking sides too, great for jogging or walking. We love to playground hop our way through on our bikes as there are six playgrounds along the Corridor.

8. The Brewery. The Sam Adams brewery is a staple in JP. Boston invented awesome. And beer. Or we can pretend. The brewery building isn't just beer, though. Ula Cafe, Bella Luna, Mike's Fitness, Tony Williams Dance Studio, and the Sam Adams Brewery are just a few of the great spots in the Brewery building. Parking is a bit of a disaster, but the ramp out front is my 5-year-old's most favorite place in all of JP.

9. Hatched. Hatched is JP's own eco-friendly children's shop. They carry cloth diapering supplies, wooden baby toys and books, and the most adorable children's clothes ever.

10. Vee Vee. No neighborhood is complete without a perfect date night spot. Vee Vee is it. For our date nights, I tend to be a vegan-leaning wine drinker and my wife enjoys oysters, steak, and seltzer. Vee Vee is perfect for both of us. We both leave happy every time. Especially since we stopped trying to share dessert. You definitely each need your own here.

Do you have other Jamaica Plain gems you love? Feel free to share in the comments below! And if you want to pen a Local Gems guest post, contact Christine at editor@bostonmamas.com to check on availability.

Image credits: all images via linked websites or associated Facebook pages