Spotlight: Jamaica Plain

by Madison Cebular

Photography courtesy of BU.edu

As exciting as the fast-paced urban life of Boston is, it can be draining. If you’re in need of a retreat from city life, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts is the perfect place for you.

 

With large portions of the neighborhood included in the Emerald Necklace—the system of parks created by Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 1800s—Jamaica Plain offers one of the best green spaces near Boston.

 

“I love walking or running around the [Jamaica] pond,” said Jamaica Plain resident Teresa Frappaolo (CGS ’15/SAR ’17). “It’s very easily accessible to anybody and just a really nice bit of nature in the city.”

 

Visitors can also use the facilities for sailing and rowing.

 

Another option to experience the natural beauty of Jamaica Plain is the Arnold Arboretum. Though the Arboretum grounds are open all day and every day of the year, it hosts Lilac Sunday once a year, where visitors are allowed to picnic on the grounds. This year’s Lilac Sunday will take place on May 13.

 

If you would rather explore the historical aspect of Jamaica Plain, then visit the Loring Greenough House. Originally built in 1760 by Joshua Loring, a commodore in the English Colonial naval forces, the house was used as a military hospital during the Battle of Bunker Hill. In 1924, the house faced demolition when the owner at the time tried to sell it, but the Jamaica Plain Tuesday Club, then an all-female organization, purchased it to preserve Jamaica Plain’s history.

 

“Their mission was to have a space for social activities, community meetings and intellectual and cultural happenings,” said Amanda Lomax, an employee at the house. “We still try to keep that mission in mind in our modern community and all of its diversity.”

 

After your history lesson, head over to Centre Street to choose from a variety of local restaurants. Bukhara Indian Bistro is exactly what it sounds like—the perfect place for authentic Indian food.  JP Seafood Café is the go-to for sushi cravings, Tres Gatos is a traditional Spanish tapas restaurant that doubles as a book and music shop and the Galway House is a hidden gem for inexpensive, good bar food.

 

For dessert, don’t forget to check out the original J.P. Licks. Opened in 1981, the ice cream shop is a must for unique flavors and signature cow statues.

 

Finally, before your Jamaica Plain adventure comes to an end, fit in a quick shopping trip. On the same Centre Street, Boomerangs is a thrift store owned and operated by the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, where the proceeds go toward preventing new cases of HIV and improving the lives of those currently living with HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts.

 

Another store that gives back is local gift shop On Centre. The store boasts a wide selection of Jamaica Plain-inspired items along with their in-house designed and made ‘Pins for a Cause.’ For each pin that’s sold, 50 cents is donated to a variety of organizations, such as Planned Parenthood and Black Lives Matter.

 

“We realized that even though we were a gift store, we could start a conversation,” said Philip Celeste, owner of On Centre.

With less than an hour T ride, and a simple switch from the Green Line to the Orange Line, Jamaica Plain is the perfect escape for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, food connoisseurs and shopaholics alike. 

 

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