Needham. January 15, 2023

Day/Date:  SUNDAY -1/15/23
Town visited: NEEDHAM
Had we ever been to this town before?  Yes
Drive to town:  8 miles    Time spent in town:  3 hours (plus many other visits)

What did we do in the town/area?  
We have a few friends living in Needham, so we’ve been there several times. Our friend Carie and her son, Matthew, live there, and we have had a few of Matthew’s birthday dinners at the Needham Bertucci’s and a couple of Carie’s birthday dinners at the restaurant- Blue on Highland. And, I must say, my meal at Blue just this past October (the Thai steak salad) was fantastic.

We’ve walked through neighborhoods, have been to the public pool, and even had a drive-by birthday party during Covid. 

Today, we went for a pastry from French Press Bakery & Cafe, which has homemade croissants, danishes, scones, and more. It was delicious!

We also walked around the neighborhood and the field at Memorial Park, just behind Needham High School. 

And we took a peek at the small but sweet Needham Bowlaway, where kids were having a small birthday party and bowling their little hearts out.

For our walk, we took a 2-mile stroll at Cutler Park, which is on the Needham- Dedham border. We walked along the power lines path, taking in occasional graffiti art along the way. 

Before leaving town, we stopped and grabbed a treat from Volante Farms- a local farm and store that has been in Needham for over 100 years. Our friend and local Needham resident, Molly, has worked at Volante Farms on and off for over 20 years. She says they are really good people who have made a lasting contribution to this town. And, we must say the place was stocked with so much yumminess; prepared foods, fresh breads, lots of fruits and vegetables and an array of locally made products.

Molly also knows a lot about flowers, and she told us that pansies were developed in Needham by a man named Denys Zirngiebel, dubbed the “Pansy King.” The flowers are a spinoff of a cute viola you may be familiar with, called Johnny-jump-ups. Zirngiebel developed a few pansy varieties, and one popular one was called the Giant Swiss pansy. We think it is interesting to note that this man who developed the pansies also happens to be the grandfather of the painter and illustrator NC Wyeth. (NC was the father of the painter Andrew Wyeth.)
Anyway, Needham celebrates Pansy Day every April with activities, exhibits, and, of course, flower sales.
Want some more fun facts?

There are 4 Commuter Rail Stops in the town of Needham and many buses that go through town.  

The astronaut, Sunita Williams, is from Needham, and the town named the beautiful (and very big) new elementary school after her. Our recently retired Governor, Charlie Baker, is also a Needham native.

While we didn’t get a chance to go there- word on the street is that Cafe Fresh Bagel is the place to go when in Needham.

We enjoyed our afternoon learning about Needham and seeing it in a different light than we usually do.

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Massachusett, Pawtucket

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