Cambridge Gardening Company

Cambridge Garden on Harvard Street

Cambridge Garden on Harvard Street

We passed this exquisite garden on Harvard Street in Cambridge during our weekly tour of new listings today.  It’s a glorious living advertisement for Cambridge gardening company, Talbot’s Creative Gardening.  Check out their website for info about who they are and what they do.  What they do is magical if this garden is any indication.

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New Porter Square Art Gallery

Opening Reception at New Porter Square Art Gallery

Opening Reception at New Porter Square Art Gallery

New Porter Square Art Gallery   There’s  a wonderful new art gallery in Porter Square – From Russia With Art.

 

Owners Olesya and Jerry Koenig recently opened the gallery at 1977 Mass Ave at the corner of Beech Street.  The Koenigs moved to Cambridge from Moscow earlier this year. Long-time art collectors, their gallery allows them to showcase their favorite Russian artists.

 

The two-level gallery is a light and beautiful space to display their collection.  Here you’ll find paintings, prints, sculptures and more from artists whose work has been difficult to find in the US before now.

 

From Russia With Art Owners - Jerry and Olesya Koenig

From Russia With Art Owners - Jerry and Olesya Koenig

There’s a range of prices so you’re sure to discover a piece to add to your collection or the perfect gift for that special someone. 

 

The opening reception at From Russia With Art was a huge success this week.  The gallery is now open daily and special events are planned to give visitors the opportunity to meet some of the artists.  Check the From Russia With Art website for more information.

 

Stop by the new Porter Square art gallery – From Russia With Love – at 1977 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140.

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Sergi Farm in Belmont

Sergi Farm Belmont MA

Sergi Farm Belmont MA

Did you know that there’s a working farm in suburban Belmont?  Sure enough, Sergi Farm in Belmont, MA is a working five acre farm close to the Cambridge line.

One of the area’s best kept secrets, the folks at Sergi Farm sells vegetables, herbs and flowers that they grow themselves.

We stopped by on Wednesday after our weekly tour of new listings. I bought some fresh picked broccoli for supper.

Check out the Sergi Farm website to find out what’s fresh and for sale in the stand, info about volunteer opportunities, and their blog that will keep you up to date on what’s going on at the farm.

See you in line when the corn’s in!

Sergi Farm is located at 34 Glenn Road, Belmont, MA. Take Blanchard Road to Glenn Road and watch for the sign.

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Where to Buy Quality Wallpaper Near Cambridge

Reproduction of an early 1800s pattern I used in my old house

Reproduction of an 1800s wallpaper pattern I used in my old house

Where to Buy Quality Wallpaper Near Cambridge    I’m a big fan of wallpaper – good wallpaper – and while on the Marblehead house tour this month I was delighted to see beautiful, historically accurate wallpaper in house after house.

Wallpaper has a bit of a bad reputation among home buyers unfortunately. In Cambridge you’re far more likely to see walls painted in the latest designer colors.

Granted, there’s plenty of bad wallpaper out there.  We went through a long spell where much of the mass produced wallpaper was borderline tacky.  As with paint you have to be careful to get it just right.

Wallpaper done right is a joy – whether it’s the perfect antique reproduction pattern for your old house or quality papers selected by a designer. And vintage wallpaper is an instant draw for me – I’ve bought more than one house after falling in love with the intact old wall paper.

I’ve been on a wallpaper quest ever since I bought my first old house and have spent hours poring over pattern books, chasing down patterns spotted in decorating magazines, always on the lookout for new sources of quality wallpaper. I’m a purist – only paper wall paper will do – no vinyl for me no matter how appealing the pattern.  And that cuts out at least 90% of what’s available today.  Luckily some European companies and a few specialized American manufacturers are still producing patterns on paper.

So I’m always interested in finding new sources to feed my fixation. And when I saw all that beautiful paper in Marblehead I figured there had to be a local store.  Sure enough our guide filled me in on the place to go on the North Shore.

Best Places to Buy Wallpaper Near Cambridge

Norman Wallpaper and Paint in Vinnin Square in Swampscott, MA came highly recommended by our gracious host. And judging by what I was seeing on the house tour this store has top quality options.  The store’s telephone number is 781-596-0345.

A real estate agent in my office turned me on to Waltham Wallpaper and Paint when I was obsessing over a pattern I spotted in a Somerville Victorian.  Sure enough, the fine folks in Waltham were able to track it down for me. When I’m finally ready to paper that bedroom it’s Waltham I’ll go to. They’ve got an excellent selection of companies’ books on their shelves – “the widest selection of wallpaper books in New England” – and are very helpful.  Their phone number is 781-893-3732.

When I went on my first wallpaper quest Phillips Hardware in West Concord had a fine selection of pattern books and was where I bought the paper above. Nowadays the store is no longer a full-service hardware store and instead is called Phillips Fine Paint and Wallcovering. Their telephone number is 978-369-3606.

If you know more places where you can buy quality wallpaper near Cambridge please let me know!

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Best Places To Buy A Christmas Tree Near Cambridge

Best Places to Buy a Christmas Tree Near Cambridge   Judging from all the trees I saw on car rooftops this weekend many people have already bought their tree. But if you’re still looking for that perfect Christmas tree here are a couple of my favorite places.

Everybody wants a bushy Christmas tree - Walgreen's in Arlington

Everybody wants a bushy Christmas tree - Walgreen's in Arlington

The Boy Scouts have a lot at the corner of Cameron Ave and Mass Ave in Cambridge.  They used to set up at the end of Day Street where Pemberton’s was eventually built.  They’ve lost that high profile site so I was glad to see they have some large signs directing people to this year’s location. They’re set up by the bike path behind the new apartments on Mass Ave next to the end of the streetcar line in North Cambridge.

There’s also a nice selection set up at the front of the Walgreen’s parking lot in Arlington center.  That’s their sign above- “bushy trees” – just what everybody is looking for. It’s the sign from 2009 – there’s a fancier version this year.  I can also attest that they sell very fragrant trees – and a Christmas tree that smells like a Christmas tree is high on my list for sure.

My tree came from “Bushy Trees” today. It is gorgeous. 

The Christmas tree lot at Walgreen’s is open seven days – Monday to Friday from 11 am to 8 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 8 pm.

Last year my tree went up on December 24th. I’ve resolved to do better this year but time’s a fleeting.  See you at the tree lot!

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Bye Bye Brigham’s – Restaurants Closing

Belmont Brigham's Still Open

Belmont Brigham's Still Open

Brigham’s Restaurants Closing   The abrupt recent closing of the Brigham’s in Boston’s Financial District didn’t seem to bode well for the the rest of the chain’s restaurants.  Sure enough, the Arlington Brigham’s shop on Mill Street has been shuttered and the Globe reported that many of the other locations will be closing.

 

Bummer! While Brigham’s hasn’t been what it used to be, with local shops offering a limited version of the restaurant, it’s still a decent place for a burger finished off with the tastiest of ice cream – Mocha Almond.  And the Financial District restaurant was my old stomping grounds – when I worked in Post Office Square I’d get my lunch there – tuna on white, a lemonade, and vanilla ice cream – an all white meal before we knew that wasn’t necessarily a good thing – but it sure hit the spot.

Brigham’s is a long time local favorite – the company started in Massachusetts over 90 years ago and the ice cream was manufactured in Arlington.  HP Hood has owned the ice cream operation since last year and will continue to sell the prepackaged ice cream in supermarkets. 

Turns out, according to an employee behind the counter, that the Belmont Brigham’s by the Oakley Country Club is independently owned so will remain open. Hurrah! They make a great burger, there are lots of booths, and the hand scooped ice cream is delicious.  And a reader alerted me to the fact that the Arlington Heights Brigham’s has the same owner so that bodes well for our other local hangout.  And restaurants that serve Brigham’s ice cream, like Colleen’s in Medford Square, won’t be affected by the chain’s difficulties.

When I stopped by this weekend the Belmont shop was busier than ever – I think people were stopping by for what they thought was their last cone or hamburger. Keep coming back – support your local Brigham’s!

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Halloween Costumes In Cambridge

Halloween Costumes In Cambridge   Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  I’ve been a gorilla, a lobster, a chicken, a bag of grapes…  So I’m always on the lookout at this time of year for a good costume store.  Luckily Cambridge has two.

Wondering Where to Buy or Rent a Halloween Costume in Cambridge?

Great Eastern Trading Company

Great Eastern Trading Company

Great Eastern Trading Company has a dazzling collection of costumes and accessories for sale.  The sequined tutus hanging outside caught my eye and I was overwhelmed when I walked inside. The shop is chock-a-block full of funky, sparkly, unusual, creative costumes. It’s a vintage clothing store so you can put together something yourself or choose from the racks that are jam packed with costumes ready to go. There are wigs, masks, and all the accessories you’ll need to put your look together.  When I’m looking for the perfect costume Great Eastern Trading Company will be my first stop.

Great Eastern Trading Company is in Cambridgeport near Central Square at 49 River Street at the corner of Auburn.  Open Monday through Saturday at noon, Sunday at 1 pm.

Garment District and Boston Costume

Garment District and Boston Costume

The Garment District and Boston Costume also offer a combo of vintage clothes and Halloween costumes.  The Garment District, best known in these parts for its Dollar A Pound clothing buying opportunities (now $1.50 per pound every day but Dollar Friday), is upstairs and Boston Costume, which offers costume rentals as well as sales, is on the first floor.  The store is open until midnight from now until the 31st.

The Garment District and Boston Costume are located at 200 Broadway in East Cambridge. Hours through October 31st are 11 am to midnight every day but Saturday when the stores open at 9 a.m.

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Where To Buy Furniture For Your New Home in and Near Cambridge

Your real estate search is over.  You’ve found your new home in Cambridge or nearby and now you’re wondering how to furnish it.  Company’s coming and Mom and Dad aren’t going to be keen about sleeping on the couch – if you have a couch.  Buying a house or condo is expensive so you’re probably on a budget (who isn’t nowadays?) and looking for bargains.

Organic Furniture Cellar Cambridge MA

Furniture Stores in Cambridge MA

For new furniture in Cambridge you can head to Furniture Corner on Mass Ave at Putnam where you’ll find a number of furniture stores or to Circle Furniture near Fresh Pond.  Reside on Concord Ave near Huron Village is great for the modernist end of vintage furniture.  But if you’re searching for bargains you may need to look further afield.  Ikea has yet to come to Assembly Square in Somerville and a long time favorite haunt for vintage furniture lovers in Cambridge, the Organic Furniture Cellar in Cambridgeport, has closed its doors.  I took the photo above since I’m not sure how long the mural at the corner of Putnam Ave. and Pearl Street will last.   

Brimfield Antique Show is Close to Cambridge

Do you want that special antique piece to grace your new living room?  The first Brimfield Antique Market of the season is coming up – and it’s not much more than an hour away out the Pike.  If you’ve never been to the Brimfield flea market it’s not to be missed.  The main street through this small town (it’s actually Route 20) becomes one enormous antique show. People come from around the country and fill up their trucks with finds from the fields.  Brimfield is held three times a year – in May, July and September.  I’ve always thought that the May show is the one to go to since dealers have stockpiled great finds over the winter.  New England spring weather can be problematic but it’s nothing compared to the blazing heat in the fields during July.  2009 dates for Brimfield are May 12-17, July 14-19, and September 8-13. New fields open each day.  I’ll be hitting the postcard barn ( a whole barn filled with postcards!) in May for new old images like the one you see at the top of the page.

Antique furniture bought on craigslist in Cambridge MA

Craigslist for Furniture

Another great source for vintage or barely used new furniture is Craigslist.  It pays to peruse the categories regularly throughout the day since the great stuff or great bargains will go quickly. One of my favorite acquisitions is the antique secretary at right.  I think I paid $200 after finding it on craigslist.

Garage and Estate Sales Near Cambridge

Garage sales are another excellent source for newer and vintage items.  Just last weekend I came across a sign advertising a house sale in North Cambridge.  I picked up a couple of vintage bamboo tables or plant stands for $3 and $5 and a wonderful brass reading lamp for $5.  Watch for garage sale ads in Thursday’s Cambridge Chronicle and in the Boston Globe.  Craigslist has garage sale ads too but unfortunately has a high percentage of ads from over ambitious slackers who fail to get out of bed in time to start the sale at the advertised hour.  You also might want to try some suburban towns for garage sales since the quality of the merchandise can be significantly better.  I grew up in Concord and my old garage sale haunts of Concord, Acton, Lexington and Lincoln yielded many a great buy.  The Thursday Concord Journal is the newspaper to pick up for the sales in this area.  And remember – the early bird does get the worm at garage sales.

Estate sales are a secret source for the best in vintage and antique furniture at wholesale prices. If you’re at the front of the line at an estate sale your competition will be local dealers or scouts who supply area antique shops.  Typically, a local company has been hired by the sellers to price the merchandise, advertise, and staff a two-day sale that often includes most of the furniture, collectibles, and household items.  Two of my favorite estate sale companies are the Pink Ladies and Diana Sherman – both have been in the business a long time.  When you attend one of their sales you’ll be able to get on their mailing lists for notifications of upcoming sales. Estate sales in the towns around Cambridge are typically held on Fridays and Saturdays.   Plan to go on Friday for the best selection and Saturdays for some bargains if any remain. Sales are advertised in the classified section of the Boston Globe – usually on Sundays and on Wednesday or Thursday for Friday’s sales. Estate sales can be a super way to outfit your new home with quality pieces and bargain household items.

Hope to see you on the trail!

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