Whitman, Abington and Holbrook. November 26, 2022

Day/Date:  SATURDAY -11/26/22

Towns visited: Whitman, Abington & Holbrook
Had we ever been to any of these towns before?   No
Drive to 1st town:   24 miles    Time spent today in these towns:   6 hours

What did we do in the towns/area?  

Three little towns

Today we visited three small towns south of Boston and Quincy that are practically stacked on top of each other (at least, that’s how it looks on the map). We started at the southernmost town and worked our way north. 

 WHITMAN: We started the day at Restoration Coffee, a local coffee roaster with 3 locations (Bridgewater, E. Bridgewater & Whitman). We learned about them when we went to Plympton in October at the Mayflower Market days fair. We were so glad to discover them as the vibe of the place was lovely, and the coffee was dee-licious! It was located in the old downtown part of Whitman, complete with an old-timey drugstore called Duval’s pharmacy. With our coffees in hand, we walked to the town hall and to the large local park near the center of the town. Whitman Park is on the National Register of Historic Places, designed by the Olmsted Brothers. It was a little windy, so we had to cinch up our hoodies for our walk! Later we walked by the Emerald Isle Shop, a store full of ‘all things Irish,’ and we were intrigued and just had to go in. It was a great little shop with friendly staff. One of them asked us if we had been to Ireland. Jo said, “Yes,” and Jenny said, “No.” To this, she responded, with a smile, “Not yet!” We purchased some creme cookies and some fig bars. And Jenny scored a great wool sweater from the sale bin for less than $35!  

Our last stop in Whitman was a sign marking the Toll House Inn (its location, next to a Wendy’s parking lot, was kind of funny). It was here that the “toll house cookie” was invented in the 1930s. Ruth Wakefield, a baker at the Inn, ran out of nuts for her basic butter cookies. So, she chopped up a Nestle chocolate bar and put that in instead. Voila! A wonderful creation was born! 

Before the town of Whitman split off and became known as Whitman, it was once a part of the next town we planned to visit, Abington.

ABINGTON: Our 2nd and most populous town of the day was Abington, to the North of Whitman. The Town Hall, Public Library, Middle School, High School, and a Pre-K school are all in the same area, a bit out of the main part of downtown. We went into the lovely library, where after spending a little time working on a puzzle, we struck up a conversation with Jill, one of the librarians. We told her about our town visit project and asked if she had suggestions for things to see in Abington. Jill told us about Island Grove Park, a local favorite. Intrigued by this place that hadn’t been on our list, we decided to drive over there immediately! What an interesting park; it’s kind of on a peninsula jutting out into a lake. As with the park in Whitman, it was also designed by the Olmsted Brothers. There are picnic areas, trails, and a sand-bottomed, perfectly round, outdoor swimming pool. There were also some small wood-framed buildings nearby, one with a red cross on it (for the lifeguards?) and probably a snack bar, making it feel like a camp. It seems like it would be enjoyable to come and swim here in the summer or ice skate in the winter. We walked the trails, noticing a very decorated house for the holidays and an interesting memorial along the way. This memorial, in a pine grove in the park, marked the meeting place of abolitionists in the 1800s.  A very cool place indeed. Thanks for the recommendation, Jill!

Having worked up an appetite, we decided to grab some subs or “grinders” from a spot that we had driven by earlier called Submarine Galley. They were pretty yummy. Then, we went for a short hike at Ames Nowell State Park. The trails hugged the shore of Cleveland Pond. This park area seemed to be popular for hiking, fishing, and mountain biking.  

HOLBROOK: Heading northeast, we visited the small town of Holbrook. Holbrook used to be part of Braintree and then part of Randolph. We happened upon a house with a historic marker on it that said “John Adams House 1770”. We pulled in to see what it was, and it turned out to be a private hairdressing business. Knowing that John Adams was born in what is now known as Quincy, we searched for some more information about the house but, we couldn’t seem to find any information online about the history of this house or who lived there, but it does seem like former president John Adam’s younger brother, Elihu, was born in the area now known as Holbrook, so maybe it’s related to that (as their father’s name was John).

Next, we visited the downtown area’s town hall and library. Looking at the map, we realized Holbrook is surrounded by four cities (Brockton, Braintree, Randolph, and Weymouth). Although the smallest in population of the three towns we visited today, it definitely had the busiest roads.  

Our final stop was a hike in the Cranberry Pond Conservation area; a tucked away spot on the Holbrook/Braintree border. This sweet little hike was the perfect end to our 3-town day. Now it is off to our nephew’s piano recital back in Newton!

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Wampanoag, Massachuset, Pokanoket

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