I’m often asked if we are happy with our choice to move to the suburbs after a decade of living a car-less and kid-free life in the city. I was incredibly sad when we knew it was time to move. I knew I would miss the Boston skyline I had come to love so much, the daily commute through Copley Square, the multitude of restaurants within feet of our home, and the salty ocean breeze.
While I do still miss Boston, I have continued to be surprised and delighted by the finds in and around our new neighborhood. On the anniversary of our move to the suburbs, I give you my favorites to date; because, as the unofficial tagline goes, “Natick — there’s more to us than the mall…”
Family owned for more than 40 years, this adorable ice cream shop right in the center of town has been a staple on our family evening walks since day one. Our daughter would drift off to sleep, and it was a time my husband and I could wind down after the work day while enjoying a cone and the beautiful golden hour of summer and fall. The first ice cream cone (and definitely not the last!) I shared with our daughter was from Park Street Ice Cream Shoppe once she figured out we were eating the good stuff! This will be a family summer staple for years to come.
I never knew I was someone who would love a year-round farmers market, but honestly, what’s not to like?! Farmers markets in the city were always so hard to get to because they would be in the middle of the week. Now, every Saturday vendors come from all over bringing fresh produce, meats and fish, flowers, baked goods, crafts, and some form of entertainment. I’ve picked up teachers’ gifts, fresh flowers as host gifts, delicious fresh bread, and a variety of produce to try. Even if I don’t need anything, I love walking around and sharing in the vibe of the community.
Located in downtown Natick since 1927, Casey’s Diner is a true blast from the past. Come for the structure — a 10-stool diner car — and stay for the steamed hot dogs and classic diner menu. Casey’s diner is on the National Register of Historic Places and is filled to the brim with old photos of Natick. As an amateur historian, I love looking at old photos of our town, finding buildings that are still standing, and envisioning what the town felt like back in the day. With outdoor seating, everyone in our little family (dog included) has found something to enjoy!
Things you can’t find in Boston: a farm less than 10 minutes away from your house. Bonus points for a farm that brews its own beer and has amazing food! Lookout Farm has everything, and we’ve only begun to explore it! No matter the time of year, you can head to Lookout Farm for a meal and some drinks. In the winter, a huge covered greenhouse keeps it nice and warm with enough space for kids to run around. We’ve celebrated random Saturdays and my birthday in March there. We will be heading back this summer to enjoy pick-your-own fruit, live music, and more delicious beer and cider. As a born-and-bred New England girl, I know a good cider donut when I see one, and Lookout Farm is absolutely on my top five list of best cider donuts.