Saturday, May 16, 2009

Strolling in Somerville

An email popped up in my inbox this week advertising the Somerville Green Festival. It advertised some know-how workshops on bike maintenance. Since my bike is in extreme disrepair (flat tires AND jammed brakes), I was so there! So on a gorgeous Saturday morning, I stepped out onto the sidewalk and crossed the city line between Cambridge and Somerville. Which basically means that I just walked two steps to the house next door to my building and I was in Somerville. Want to walk with me and have some fun? Let's take a stroll to Somerville!

Wonderfully wide sidewalks..just steps from Cambridge yet so much more of a suburban feel from the crowded brick sidewalks where I live. I almost feel like we're back in my hometown in New Hampshire. And how great are these sidewalks for a leisurely run? Can't wait to try.

Somerville is Cambridge's grittier cousin. Cambridge has its own charm..and history..and even a little ritz but Somerville has no pretense. It's cool and hip like Cambridge but there's pride in the rough and tumble of its less pretty sides. These little dinerettes are pretty common and you can get a super cheap and unfortunately not vegan breakfast or lunch for just $3.

Somerville has always been a big immigrant community and with it there's a certain showiness that appears in the landscaping and's not uncommon to see triple deckers with greek columns or stone lions..whatever reminds the owner of their native lands I guess! The Somerville Arts Council has a special tour around the holidays for seeing the town decorated in the most unbelievable holiday decorations EVER. This town is big into lawn decorations let me tell you.

Lots of yard sales along the way..we browse, looking for cheap cookbooks or dishes but nothing really catches our eye..except maybe some disco gear but we decide that is probably not that practical...well, at least not for work! Actually, I take that've been a little reticent about just exactly what you do for work..for all I know, you are a professional disco queen or king!

The Somerville Armory for the National Guard is no longer used for the military and is now instead a yoga studio and community space. How fitting!

Local artists can cheaply afford storefront space that would otherwise be super pricey in Cambridge. We check out this window display of a local potter and I daydream of repotting that massive succulent that I have at my office. I offer to give you a few baby plants for your place. We discuss how cool square containers and how we'd really like to get some.

We see a new start-up for cloth-based diaper delivery service..very cute. We don't wear diapers right now (and hopefully never again!) but like the idea of cloth ones for cuties.

More statues..and tons of seems that every other yard has some sort of statue..mainly religious. We comment that this one is a little different..almost a little flirty!

A little city that is big on pride..Somerville has its own museum. We make a note of that for another day...

The greening of Somerville is obviously at City staff'ers use Smart cars to get around town. We discuss how cute Smart cars are but how practical are they really? We're not sure...

Okay, here we are. Google Maps was right on with the time estimate. We're really excited that Google now gives directions and time estimates for walking! We left my house at 10:03am and it's now 10:33..exactly 30 minute walk. Now, we enter Somerville High School to check out the Living Green Festival.

Lots of booths to check out..almost all local volunteer groups for gardening, recycling, and more. This climate action group, 350, uses cookies to demostrate the effects of global warming. Um, cookies? We're so there. Whoops..not for eating. For illustration purposes only. Chocolate chip cookies baked at 350 degrees are perfect..try baking them at 450 and you get overcooked, hard, and dry cookies. The idea is that our planet thrives at the equivalent of 350 degrees..push up the temperature and well, our cookies are toast.

We make a $5 donation and enter their raffle..lots of cool local prizes. I hope you win! Okay, I hope I win too =)

This woman is gives us some extra large metal tins for container gardening and some seeds. you want green or red leaf lettuce seeds or dandelion greens seeds? And let's make sure we get some of the sunflower seeds she offered. We stop and daydream about what we want to grow...

I heard about this little machine, Soda Club, from the Nutrition Diva..make your own carbonated sparkling water so you don't need to buy any plastic bottled water. I admit that I still occassionally buy sparkling water 'cause I love it so I'm pretty excited to check this out. Less plastic bottle waste!

Speaking of going vegan, we stop by the Worcester Vegetarian Society's table. Yeah! Worcester is a city about 50 minutes from Boston. Strange that none of the Boston groups are here but we're excited to meet the Worcester group and thrilled they are there. Tons of great books and materials. We're really excited to see the vegetarian message out at this event. So often green events totally miss the boat on reminding people that vegetarianism IS the best way to stop global warming. We chitchat with other vegetarians here for a bit.

In trying to find the bike demo, we stumble into a cooking demo. They are cooking quinoa..let's check it out!

Quinoa with asparagus? OH...we're hooked...

We wonder why the quinoa is so dark compared to what we find in Whole Foods..the presenter tells us that there is no difference but I notice that the quinoa is a little bitter.

Free food! We're so there...local restaurants have there anything vegan for us?

A lovely vegan tempeh sandwich..oohhh sooo good. And we even get to eat it in a high school cafeteria! How often do we get to do that??

And finally, we spot the sparkled raisin gingerbread..which is vegan! We're excited but there's just one piece left..I say you should take it, being polite but you say I should, also being polite. And then we laugh and decide to split it before someone else grabs it!


Jenn said...

Oh, wow you totally make me miss Summahville. I lived on Munroe St across from the castle up the hill from Union Square.

Anonymous said...

What a fun outing! I loved all the pictures, too.
How cool is it that the armory is now home to yogis! Love it - and Smarts are pretty cool here in Europe- especially when you have to park! They are small by U.S. standards, but I love how little they consume! (Unlike me who would have consumed all those goodies!)

Jes said...

What a fun little festival! Boston's just so cool :)

Sarah said...

Your beautiful writing. I felt like we were on one of our early morning strolls....ahhhhh.

Felicity said...

Very cool walk through Somerville. Just out of curiousity, how is "Worcester" pronounced over there? Here (England), it's "Wooster"... just wondering if the pronunciation stayed the same after the trip across the pond!

For the Love of Guava said...

aww... I feel like I was right there with you strolling the booths!! I love outtings I can stroll through at a leisurely pace. Looks like you had a blast!

Amanda said...

Felicity--yes, we pronounce it "Wooster" too and sometimes "Wuhstah" if doing a local Massachusetts accent! It's fun to spot the out of towners because they always say "Wor-chester" =)