Cambridge In the Revolution Cell Phone Tour

Jonathan Sewall's House on Tory Row

Jonathan Sewall's House on Tory Row

Cambridge In the Revolution Cell Phone Tour    After growing up in Concord I have to confess it’s easy to lose track of the impact of the American Revolution on other Massachusetts cities and towns. 

Lately, most recently at the Cambridge Discovery Days in August,  I’ve been learning more about Revolutionary War events in Cambridge.  Cambridge was occupied twice by troops – first by the Continental Army and then by the British.

Now it’s possible to learn about Cambridge in the Revolution any time you want.  Thanks to a project of the Cambridge Historical Society  a cell phone tour of Cambridge sites impacted by the Revolutionary War is available.

You can download the tour map online and then while walking past the Cambridge sites call the tour number – 617-517-5990 – from your cell phone for recorded narratives about each site and its role in the Revolution.

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New Book About Design Research

Design Research Building in Cambridge

Design Research Building in Cambridge

Today’s Boston Globe has an excellent article about a new book about Design Research, the innovative store that opened in Harvard Square in Cambridge, by Jane Thompson, wife of the store’s founder, architect Ben Thompson.

The newly published book, Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern American Living to American Homes,  is written by Jane Thompson and architectural historian, Alexandra Lange. According to the Boston Globe article it is packed with photos of people and products that were sold in the store.  

 

Design Research History Exhibit in Harvard Square Last Year

Design Research History Exhibit in Harvard Square Last Year - Click for a larger view

I knew that the store was originally further down Brattle Street but wasn’t sure just where until seeing the Globe photo of 57 Brattle Street, the original Design Research location.

 

Crate and Barrel, with wares that clearly were influenced by Design Research, occupied the iconic Harvard Square building for many years.  The store was briefly used to display Design Research memorabilia last year – it almost seemed a tease of sorts to many who hoped that somehow the store would be resurrected.  But as the Globe reports, an Anthropologie store is due to open in the D/R building later this year. 

 

The new book about Design Research, Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern American Living to American Homes is published by Chronicle Books and available at local bookstores.

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20 Things To Do In Cambridge When It’s Hot

It’s been a hot summer in the city. If you’re looking for ways to cool off – or just to get your mind off the sweltering heat – here are Twenty Things To Do In Cambridge When It’s Hot.

East Cambridge view of BostonA walk by the river is a cool way to spend some time on a hot day.  Stroll along the Charles River and take in the beautiful views of  Boston across the water.

On Sundays the walk along the Charles gets even better when Memorial Drive is closed to traffic. Rollerblade, bike, walk or run  –  the street is yours.  From the last Sunday in April to the second Sunday in November Memorial Drive between Western Ave and Mount Auburn Street is closed to traffic from 11 am to 7 pm.  

When it’s super hot you can always soak up the free air conditioning at the mall.  Head on over to the Cambridgeside Galleria on 1st Street in East Cambridge.

If you’d rather not shop, the Galleria is adjacent to the Lechmere Canal Park.  There are plenty of places to sit and catch a breeze over the water. Just watching the fountain makes it seem cooler.

Lechmere Canal park Cambridgeside galleria mall riverboatFrom the park you can take a Charles River cruise with the Charles Riverboat Company.  Cruises depart several times a day from late May to the end of October.

Rather take a boat out yourself?  Charles River Canoe & Kayak rents boats by the hour in Kendall Square.

Summer’s the season to spend some time in the garden.  If you don’t have space at home,  perhaps you’ve secured a plot in one of Cambridge’s many community gardens.   Just want to look?  Visit the community garden on Sacramento Street and wander the paths or catch some rays in the adjacent field.

The good folks over at Sergi Farm in Belmont (just over the Cambridge line) have been toiling in the fields despite the heat. Head on over to the farmstand to pick up some fresh as can be produce.

Sacramento St Community GardenToo hot to garden? I know that’s my excuse.  Instead, why not spend an afternoon at the Glass Flowers exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The collection includes over 3000 glass flower models created by father and son glass artisans, Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka from 1887 to 1936.

Another museum to check out on a hot day is the Longfellow House on Brattle Street. Home to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his family, the house also served as headquarters for George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

Just feel like play?  Many Cambridge parks have water features. Here’s a map to find the 26 Cambridge parks with waterplay facilities.

Fresh PondNeed to get out with the dog?  Take a walk around Fresh Pond. The greenery and water views will take your mind off the heat and your dog will have plenty of canine companions to meet and greet.  Dogs registered in Cambridge can go off leash.

For a walk without the dog there isn’t a more beautiful setting than Mount Auburn Cemetery.  With more than 5000 trees, several ponds, and a hilltop observatory tower there’s plenty of shade and places to catch a breeze.  Bring some binoculars – it’s a great place to bird watch.

Movie theaters are typically air conditioned havens.  Check out the latest at the Kendall Square Cinema or the Brattle Theatre  (yes – it is air conditioned!)

The newly renovated Cambridge Public Library at 449 Broadway offers a cool spot to sit with a book or a magazine.

Hang out in Harvard Square.  On warm summer evenings the Square is always hopping. Street performers abound and there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops if you want a blast of A/C.  Try a game of chess in front of Au Bon Pain.  Trees provide some shade and the people watching opportunities are top notch if chess isn’t your game.

Chirstophers Porter SquareOutside dining opportunities abound in Cambridge. Whether it’s Christopher’s in Porter Square, the Harvest in Harvard Square, or the 1369 Coffee House in Central Square – plenty of Cambridge cafes and restaurants offer outside tables.

How about a morning tennis game? If you’re still up for exercising despite the heat then the public tennis courts on Pemberton Street are a fine place for a match.

Need to cool off afterwards?  Head down Rindge Ave to the public outdoor pool at 359 Rindge Ave or across town to the pool at Magazine Beach at 719 Memorial Drive. 

When all else fails duck into an ATM booth to soak up the cool.  The ATMs on Huron Ave have been icy cold oases this summer.

Stay cool!!  And if you have more ideas for things to do in Cambridge when it’s hot be sure to let us know.

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Fire Ants In Cambridge

In the middle of this summer’s drought it feels like the desert around here.  But maybe it’s the jungle.  Turns out we’ve got fire ants in Cambridge.  How weird is that?

Fire Ants In The Hot City

Fire Ants In The Hot City

The City of Cambridge website has an alert about the fire ants recently discovered in North Cambridge in Danehy Park and several Bellis Circle yards.  These are European Fire Ants – thought to have been brought to Cambridge in plants from Maine.

The Cambridge Chronicle reported today on efforts to eradicate the fire ants which, according to one homeowner who has colonies in his backyard, will “crawl up your legs and bite you” if you venture near them.  Eeek!!

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Cambridge Hawks on Concord Ave

Two Ca,bridge Hawks

Two Cambridge Hawks

Cambridge Hawks on Concord Ave   Lately one of my favorite things to do when I leave my Coldwell Banker office is to look up at the steeple on St. Peter’s Church on Concord Ave.

There’s a good view of the steeple from  our front door. 

A couple of months ago I spotted a hawk on the steeple.  But better yet – now there are often two hawks sitting on opposite sides of the cross.

My theory is that these are two hawk siblings from the hawks’ nest on Alewife Brook Parkway that caused such a stir earlier this year.  Why else would a hawk allow another on its perch?

I’m happy they’re together and have found a new hangout. 

I figure they can see me as they keep watch over the neighborhood so I sometimes give a little wave.

 

church with hawks

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Cambridge Real Estate Sales – July 2010

Welcome to the Cambridge Real Estate Sales Report

Welcome to the Cambridge Real Estate Sales Report

Here’s a quick recap of Cambridge real estate sales in July 2010

Cambridge Real Estate On the Market – July 31, 2010

On July 31, 2010  there were  366 residential properties listed for sale in Cambridge, down from 432 one month ago.  Inventory tends to be at a low point in mid summer.  Asking prices ranged from $182,900 to $4,000,000.  The median asking price was $499,000.  Properties had been on the market an average  of 107 days. 

Cambridge Real Estate Sales – July 2010

98 homes sold in Cambridge during July 2010.  Sales prices ranged from $178,000 t0 $2,250,000.   These properties had been on the market an average of 61 days.  July 2010 sales numbers were down significantly from July 2009 when 127 properties sold.

13 single family houses sold in July 2010 for prices ranging from $29`,000 to $2,200,000.  Average days on market was 69 and these houses sold on average for 96% of asking price.  The median sales price was $840,000.

76 condos sold in Cambridge in July for sales prices from $178,000 to $2,250,000.  The median condo sales price was $439,750.  Condos sold on average for 98% of the asking price and were on the market an average of 62 days.

9 multi-family houses sold in July. Sales prices ranged from $429,000 to $1,430,000.  Average days on market was just 39.

The total value of Cambridge homes sold in July 2010 was $61,766,050.

Information about the Cambridge real estate sales in July 2010  from MLSpin.

Last month’s numbers:

Cambridge Homes Sold in June 2010

SEARCH FOR CONDOS FOR SALE IN CAMBRIDGE MASS

SEARCH FOR SINGLE FAMILY HOMES FOR SALE IN CAMBRIDGE MASS

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Cambridge Homes Sold In June 2010

Welcome to the Cambridge Real Estate Report

Welcome to the Cambridge Real Estate Report

Here’s a quick recap of Cambridge homes sold in June 2010, the last month of the homebuyer credit:

Cambridge Real Estate On the Market – June 30, 2010

On June 30, 2010  there were  432 homes listed for sale in Cambridge Mass.  Asking prices ranged from $194,900 to $4,000,000.  The median asking price was $499,000.  Properties had been on the market an average  of 95 days. 

Cambridge Homes Sold in June 2010

126 homes sold in Cambridge during June 2010 as Cambridge real estate buyers took advantage of the last days of the homebuyer credit.  That’s an increase of more than 28% over last year’s sales when 98 properties sold in June.  Sales prices ranged from $182,000 t0 $4,250,000.   These properties had been on the market an average of 53 days.

20 single family houses sold in June 2010 – almost 3x as many sold in the month before – for prices ranging from $334,500 to $4,250,000.  Average days on market was 60 and these houses sold on average for 98% of asking price.  The median sales price was $915,500.

Condominiums sold briskly with 94 condo sales in Cambridge in June for sales prices from $182,000 to $1,155,000.  The median condo sales price was $455,250.  Condos sold on average for 98% of the asking price and were on the market an average of 53 days.

12 multi-families sold in June – four times as many sold in May. Sales prices ranged from $444,000 to $1,300,000.  Average days on market was 46.

The total value of Cambridge homes sold in June 2010 was $83,810,885.

Information about the Cambridge homes sold in June 2010  from MLSpin.

Last month’s numbers:

Cambridge Real Estate Sold in May 2010

SEARCH FOR CONDOS FOR SALE IN CAMBRIDGE MASS

SEARCH FOR SINGLE FAMILY HOMES FOR SALE IN CAMBRIDGE MASS

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Mind The Bump

Mind the Bump

Mind the Bump

Somerville and Cambridge are making a lot of “traffic calming” improvements around town.

Bumps, bulbs, islands in strange places – the idea is to eliminate straight-aways and get cars to slow down.  Not a bad goal but it can make urban driving even more of a challenge.

I thought the new street crossing humps / bumps / plateaus – whatever you want to call them – on Somerville Ave were pretty intense but nothing matches the big new hump on Cameron Avenue at the bike path crossing close to the Cambridge / Somerville line.

This can’t be the final version. Even though they seem to have done some road resurfacing the incline is still way too steep.

In fact, the new pavement makes the hump less obvious.  It caught me by surprise the other day – and even at a fairly slow speed – it’s right before the turn onto Mass Ave after all – the impact on my car was intense enough that I feared my next call would be Triple A – or the dentist – that bump packs a wallop.

Mind the Bump.

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