Local Gems: Wellesley

I'm thrilled to share another Local Gems post today (be sure to check out the Arlington Center, Back BayBeacon Hill, Easton, Jamaica Plain, Lexington, Medford, and Watertown features)! Today's Wellesley recommendations come from reader Melissa, a five year resident of Wellesley, mom to an adventurous toddler son and soon-to-be-kindergartener daughter, and patent law attorney with Wolf Greenfield. Thanks for sharing these 13 local gems in Wellesley, Melissa! 

1. Weezie’s Garden at Elm Bank. This enchanting natural play space includes a giant red chair, a koi pond, a tree house, a sand play area, and enough nooks and hiding spots to keep kids lost in their imaginations for hours. My daughter likes hosting tea parties at a table so well-hidden within the draping branches of a tree that it took a couple visits to discover.

2. Wasik’s. Wasik’s is a cheese lover’s happy place. Turophiles from all over greater Boston travel to this 35 year-old family run shop for its friendly, knowledgable service and wide selection. Having trouble deciding? Ask for a recommendation!

3. Ollie Turner Park. I’m charmed by secret spaces, so there is something special about kicking around a ball at this secluded field tucked away at the far end of Longfellow Pond. Yet what appeals most is the journey to get there - a serene hike along the Longfellow Pond Trail.

4. Cafe Mangal. My favorite date night restaurant in town, Cafe Mangal has the ambiance of a Turkish friend's house. Don’t forget the bottle of wine - it’s BYOB!

5. The Margaret C. Ferguson Greenhouses at Wellesley College. Looking to escape the cold or rain? These interconnected greenhouses are my favorite of the many gems that Wellesley College offers. Whether I’m cultivating my inner botanist or snapping candids against the lush backdrops, I always leave feeling a bit more Zen.

6. Little Bits Toys. Shop while the kids play at this thoughtfully stocked toy store, or take advantage of their priceless (yet free!) call ahead service: Tell the friendly staff what you’re looking for and they’ll wrap it and even run it out to your car.

7. Centennial Reservation. A popular spot for dog walking, Centennial Reservation offers trails that are great for kids as well. Highlights for my little ones include Bezanson Pond, which teems with tadpoles and bullfrogs, and a scenic hillside meadow that has the perfect grade for skipping downhill at full throttle.

8. Green’s Hardware. This extraordinary hardware store is like having a handy uncle around the corner. After being greeted at the door, tell the gentlemen your home issue, and they’ll find the items you need, explain how to use them, and bring it all to your car. 

9. Tutto Italiano. Pick up some top-notch meatball subs at this quaint corner Italian grocery/deli, then head across the street to the picnic tables at Morton Park where the kids will enjoy watching the ducks swim in the pond and the geese brazenly approach.

10. Healthy Habits Kitchen. Whenever I’m short on time or inspiration for dinner, I’ll head to Healthy Habits Kitchen and stock up on their pre-packaged meal kits. With all of the ingredients and directions for healthy and kid friendly meals, their kits make dinner prep a cinch.

11. Hills Branch Library. The book selection is not vast; I frequent this single-room branch library because I love the historic ivy-covered stone building with its church-like interior. The library recently added a coffee, tea and cocoa station, adding to its homey charm.

12. Jammin' with You. The most popular class at this music mecca is JamBaby, which features sing-alongs to songs by kindie rock artists Josh and the Jamtones and a mid-class jam session to adult faves from the likes of Pharrell and Robin Thicke. Classes led by Jamtones frontman Josh fill up fast.

13. Warren Park. This busy playground has it all - tables and fields for picnicking, playground equipment for all ages, bathrooms in the adjacent Warren building, a hill for sledding in winter, and a prime Marathon viewing location.

Do you have other Wellesley 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.