Local Gems: Easton

I'm thrilled to share another Local Gems post today (be sure to check out the Arlington Center, Back BayBeacon Hill, Jamaica Plain, Lexington, Medford, and Watertown features)! Today's Easton recommendations come from my delightful friend Christina, who writes at The Fairly Odd Mother and Cool Mom Picks. Thanks for sharing these 10 local gems in Easton, Christina! (And if you want to submit a Local Gems feature, see details here!)

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Right next to the busy city of Brockton, Easton is a pretty, historically rich, tree-filled town I've called home for the last 14 years. It's a wonderful spot for kids with lots of safe outdoor spaces in which to roam, great schools, and a not-too-long drive to either Boston, Providence, or Cape Cod. Here are some of my family's favorite spots:

1. The Village Toy Shop. This is my go-to stop for all those birthday gifts my kids need for their friends, and also for awesome holiday shopping too. With free gift wrapping, it's clear how much this store is loved by all the matching gift wrap piled up at any child's birthday party.

2. Hilliards House of Candy. There is no bigger treat than a stop at Hilliards House of Candy, where my kids can scoop out their own assortment of goodies into bags while I check out their delicious boxes of salted caramel chocolates, roasted-on-site nuts, or adorable holiday chocolate lollipops. It's a great spot to stop in summer for a scoop of their own yummy ice cream too.

3. The Children's Museum in Easton. Easton's old historic fire station makes a wonderfully playful spot in which kids can explore, climb, learn, and play. Getting to the top of the old fire pole is a challenge for little arms, and their outdoor play space, The Wild Place, let's kids explore nature and maybe even get a little messy.

4. The Farmer's Daughter. The "it" place for breakfast or lunch on Main Street, The Farmer's Daughter works with local growers to create delicious masterpieces that have people lining up to experience. I like that even their kids' menu takes into account their focus on fresh and local ingredients.

5. Borderland State Park. The former stopping grounds of the rich and famous (notably, the Ames Family who donated much to the town), Borderland is truly a gem for everyone in the state. The park offers great hiking and biking trails, a sprawling disc golf course that is open to everyone, huge lawns for tag, a fun sledding hill, and picnic tables for when it's time to refuel.

6. Natural Resources Trust of Easton. Otherwise known as Sheep Pasture, the NRT exists as an educational center for the town, with chickens, sheep, and other livestock on site for kids to see, as well as easy walking trails to explore. The NRT puts on Spring Family Night Hikes, summer camp for kids, and a huge Harvest Fair in October that seems to bring the entire town to their grounds.

7. Easton Town Pool. Opening this week, this town pool is the best spot on a hot summer's day with little kids. The pool is more like a small pond with filtered water, a sandy beach, and lots of lifeguards on hand to help keep an eye on beginning swimmers. 

8. Maguire's Bar and Grill. Massachusetts' oldest independently owned and continuously operated restaurant and bar, I don't think Maguire's ever closes -- we've made the short drive during a snowstorm! Maguire's is a great place to stop for a juicy burger, blackened shrimp pasta (my favorite!), or one of their special seasonal offerings. My kids love the lively, informal atmosphere as much as I do.

9. Ames Free Library. Check out one of the town's many historic buildings, this one designed by the famous American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. A spacious children's room and pretty outdoor gardens make the Ames Free Library a great stop for books, movies, and video games.

10. The Marketplace at Simpson Spring. Take a field trip to the oldest independent bottling plant in the US and try some of their delicious old-fashioned soda flavors like Cream Soda and White Birch. The Saturday marketplace also brings together local farms and food producers, crafters, and other locals businesses into a bustling year-round indoor market. If you can catch a tour, do it---totally fascinating for both kids and grown ups.

Do you have other Easton 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: thumbnail via Maguire's; all images via linked websites or associated Facebook pages with the exception of Borderland State Park, via Wikipedia.