This past Sunday we decided to head off to Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We’ve been to Harvard Square before, but it’s been at least a year since our last visit.
Cambridge is a bustling city located less than 4 miles from downtown Boston. Its central location and direct access to Boston via the MBTA makes Cambridge a high cost of living area, with the median home price currently averaging $849,000¹.
Cambridge is recognized for its advanced education being home to both Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), thus making Cambridge a very desirable place to learn, live, and work.
When we arrived in Cambridge the weather was perfect, 60 degrees and partly sunny, and parking was easy because we got there early in the morning.
As we began our walk toward Harvard Square we became keenly aware, yet again, of just how walkable the city is with its roomy sidewalks.
Our first stop was the Cambridge Common, open and spacious, rich in history, with an impressive monument sitting directly in the middle. Although we’ve walked by the monument many times before, we’ve never explored what the monument was all about.
The monument, sometimes referred to as “Soldiers Monument” or the “Civil War Monument” depending on who you ask, was placed back in 1870 – a short time after the Civil War ended. The top of the monument shows a soldier, the bottom shows Abraham Lincoln.
We were unable to read the inscriptions because of the sun’s glare, but if any of you can tell us what they say – we’d love to know! You can send us an email by clicking here.
If you wish to learn more about the Civil War we suggest you read “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work.
Next, we came across an interesting sculpture depicting the Irish Famine. The inscription on the sculpture showed that it was dedicated by the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, in July of 1997.
After our visit to the Cambridge Common, we continued our walk toward Harvard Square. Along the way we saw an old burial ground and a church that dates back to the 1600’s.
As we continued along the way, we encountered a gentleman who appeared to be down on his luck. He told us that he had been on the streets for a few days.
The gentleman proceeded to tell us about where he goes to sleep, and where the free meals were. Then he expressed his gratitude for the services Cambridge offered.
Afterward, we came across a bookstore called “The Coop”, which brought back memories from when my father used to take me to Harvard Square. The Coop was his favorite bookstore, so it was always the first stop on his list.
Next, we made our way over to Flour Bakery & Cafe. We heard that Chef Joanne Chang, the owner, beat Chef Bobby Flay from Food Network with her famous sticky bun recipe, and I couldn’t wait try one!
The bakery was inviting and had a wide selection of baked goods on display. I ordered an iced coffee and a sticky bun, of course – while Billy went rogue and ordered a piece of chocolate cake.
The sticky bun was served warm, with a caramel glaze, and topped with a generous amount of pecans. The bun wasn’t overly sweet and it tasted buttery, like brioche. My Verdict: Get the sticky bun.
Billy enjoyed his chocolate cake, but I do think he was jealous of my sticky bun, so I gave him some to try. Billy’s Verdict: Get the sticky bun, and then order the chocolate cake to go.
After our sugar high we figured it would be a good idea to get moving again, so we decided to check out the local comic book stores – The Million Year Picnic and New England Comics.
En route to New England Comics we walked by the iconic Charlie’s Kitchen, which was the site of my parents first date 50 years ago.
Both comic book stores were closed because it was still very early in the day, but we’ll try visiting them again the next time.
As we walked around Harvard Square, we were able to see the influence of the arts and culture – which only added to our experience as we walked through the streets.
We decided to take a break and relax at the Smith Campus Center. I grabbed a freshly brewed raspberry hibiscus tea at Swissbakers, while Billy took off to use the public restroom.
After our short break we decided to check out this small shopping venue called “The Garage”. Inside was a Newbury Comics and handful of other unique stores.
We decided it was time for lunch, so we made our way over to Tom’s Bao Bao. They sell handmade steamed buns filled with various delights.
We ordered two lobster buns, one curry beef bun, and one chicken bun. Overall, the buns had great flavor, but we would have liked a little more filling.
After lunch we decided to head back to the car. We’re early birds and prefer getting out of dodge when things start to get busy.
We had a great time in Harvard Square and are already looking forward to going back! If we missed anything we would love to hear about it! You can send us an email by clicking here.
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