Today was a clean-up, stay-at-home kind of Saturday. My folks left at first light, and I was left with a tired family and a pile of ignored chores. I realized on my fourth or so errand that today proved what an awesome town Stoneham is. Even though I took a car for one of these (due to heavy loads), everything I describe here is an easy walk from my house. So here you go.
11:00 am – Kushala Sip
I was ready for a little more than my usual morning coffee, but not quite a whole pot. What to do? Go down to the brand-spanking-new coffee shop that is now open on Stoneham’s Main Street – right across from the green. (Ample parking in back – just go in behind the Bank of America.) I brought my boys with me. I enjoyed a mocha while they had frozen hot cocoas (which they also enjoyed!) The staff is still learning the ropes of their new trade, so they’re figuring out hours, shifts and practicing their drinks. They’ll have a big grand opening when they feel ready, but until then they’re operating with limited hours.
11:30 am – Book Oasis
As long as we were down here anyway, Thane needs book #40 in the Magic Treehouse series. So perhaps a quick stop by the Book Oasis is what the doctor ordered. I should know better. There is no such thing as a quick stop. But both boys and I got books. If you live nearby and you’ve never been, you should absolutely make the trip. They have more titles than a big box store (like Barnes & Nobles) and excellent advice besides! Park behind Kushala Sip, grab a coffee, go the extra block to pick up something to read, and plop yourself on the common for a few chapters!
1:30 pm – O’Brien’s Farm Hill
My bleeding heart was totally done, and my columbine had gone to seed. Time for some new bedding plants. I’d noticed that O’Brien’s Farm Hill had just put up their plant sale sign, and stopped by. They had some really excellent planters at super reasonable prices, and I picked up a pair (plus some snapdragons and daisies) to refresh the front yard. They even dead-headed them as they loaded them into the car for me.
2:00 pm – Round’s Hardware
I also needed some mulch, so on my way back I stopped at Rounds and picked up a big bag of red mulch. They offered to put it in my car for me, but I told them that since they wouldn’t be around to take it out of my car, I’d better be able to manage it myself. I also tipped them off about Kushala Sip being around to meet their caffeination needs.
3:00 pm – City Cycle
My chores complete, it was time for a family bike ride! I’d dropped my bike off earlier to have a warped real wheel fixed, and I needed a new water holder for Thane’s bike. I had been there only the night before when they’d done a last minute repair to the brakes on my dad’s portable stool thingy. They had my bike ready in back, and installed the water holder for free. They’ve been prime enablers of our bike riding habit.
3:30 pm – Middlesex Fells Reservation
The Fells is only about a mile from our front door. For the first time ever, we started a bike trip without a bike carrier. Most of the roads between here and there are very local (we are not experienced road riders), so it wasn’t too terrifying to get to the Bear Hill trailhead. All of us are on road bikes, so even the bike trails on the Fells (which are unpaved) were a bit much. But we proved to ourselves that it could indeed be done.
5:00 pm – Dairy Dome
Having braved much on the roads and in the Fells, it seemed only meet to reward the stalwart adventurers with ice cream. We often walk here in the evening, but it was novel and exciting to stop on our bikes for some ice cream. Thus fortified, we returned home.
That, my friends, is a pretty great day in the Town of Stoneham. A friend accused me the other day of being a home town junkie. In truth, Stoneham isn’t my home town (and never will be). But it is my SON’S home town – the one I picked for them. And it’s a pretty great little town – only getting better with things like the Greenway, and the Stoneham Farmer’s Market. (I totally have a date on Thursday with a bunch of my parent-friends to meet up at the market next week and get pizza for dinner and listen to the free concert.) And there’s the parts of Stoneham that have been awesome for a long time, like the Youth Room in the Carnegie-built Stoneham Library which serves as our base for Library Pizza Night (now in it’s fourth year!)
After weeks of adventures, I’m glad to be right back here.