Tag Archives: Cambridge

Freedom of a Zipster

I’ve owned a car since I was 15 years old. My dad was about to trade in his  ’85 Oldsmobile Calais when at the last minute he decided to give it to me, since I was about to turn 16. I was beyond ecstatic and spent many days out in the driveway washing its silver paint until it sparkled and dreaming of all the places I would soon be able to go of my own accord.

To this day I am addicted to owning a car, and tend to view it almost as an extension of my being.  I would like to give up the habit someday if I end up staying in the city indefinitely.  I do feel a little guilty about it for the whole “carbon footprint” aspect, and also know I’d get a heck of a lot more exercise without it. And there’s really no reason to own one living in a place with so many options: trains, buses, cabs, Enterprise Rent-A-Car for those occasional longer trips to see family… and Zipcar, to get around locally at a price so much more affordable than owning a vehicle.

So at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I think a blog about Somerville should include a shout out to Robin Chase and Antje Danielson, Cambridge residents who founded Zipcar right next door about a decade ago. When the weather is lousy and you just don’t feel like walking to the laundromat or grocery store, with a one-time membership fee of $50 you can rent a Zipcar for $8 per hour (or $66 per day). Gas, insurance and maintenance are included.

I’ve heard a lot of raves about Zipcar from friends and co-workers over the years. If I do end up getting rid of the car this spring, which I’m highly considering, I’ll definitely be signing up. If you have Zipcar and agree or disagree with anything I’m saying, you’re welcome to add your thoughts by commenting below.

Looking toward Cambridge/Somerville from Boston.

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DAILY TRIVIA: The famed pirate Captain Kidd once hid from the law at Ten Hills Farm and was rumored to have buried treasure somewhere on the property.

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Murals II

We speak for those who can’t.

This is my favorite local mural. It’s right on the Somerville/Cambridge line and may be technically in Cambridge, but I drive by it nearly every day and have always wanted a reason to pull over and take a picture of it.

Painted by muralist Be Sargent

Though this mural is a “wall of respect for animals” and sponsored by organizations including Massachusetts Network for Animals and Abolish Primate Experiments and Slavery, I like that there is also an infant in the painting. It sends a very powerful message.

Two more murals from around town are below; please click photos to enlarge:

There was once a train that went down Broadway... more about this in an upcoming post!

Union Square; also by Be Sargent.

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DAILY TRIVIA: General Charles H. Taylor, editor and founder of American Homes Magazine, the first 10-cent magazine in this country, lived in Somerville. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To Catch a Flick

Over the past hundred years, Somerville has been host to at least 14 different theatres around the city.  The Somerville Theatre opened its doors in 1914, and remains the last one standing.

Located in the heart of Davis Square, the theatre is a great place to catch a movie or a concert; the view of the screen/stage is impressive from wherever you are sitting. Movie ticket prices are extremely low, ranging from $5-8, and there are only five minutes of ads and previews preceding the feature. You can buy beer or wine at the concession stand too, which makes the theatre a nice alternative to hitting the crowded bars on a Friday night.  Don’t forget to come early and check out the Museum of Bad Art in the basement.

The Lost Theatres of Somerville, based on a past exhibit at the Somerville Museum, goes into much detail about the many theatres of Somerville – it’s a great site chock full of info and history, so do click on the link to read more.

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DAILY TRIVIA: President Obama lived on Broadway in Somerville during the late 80s and early 90s, while attending Harvard Law School.

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Not Quite Spring Fever

Rising from slumber this morning to see little snowflakes falling from the sky made me want to burst into tantrum, retreat back into my warm blankets and hibernate until spring weather is officially here to stay.  In my own personal protest against winter weather in mid-March, I’m going to write about something today that reminds me of spring: biking.

Pretty much anytime after April 1 (and usually before) cyclists can be seen everywhere around Somerville and Cambridge, two of the most bike-friendly communities in greater Boston. People here bike for exercise, fun, commuting purposes, and to minimize their carbon footprints.

The Bike Stop on the Minuteman Bikeway in Arlington, circa 2007

The Somerville Community Path begins at Cedar Street and connects to the Minuteman Bikeway just beyond Alewife station, which makes it possible to ride all the way from Somerville to rural Bedford without having to worry about biking alongside cars and traffic. From my apartment it ends up being a 28 mile round trip, and a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The Bike Stop circa 2010, painted a dreary shade of gray (?)

The Friends of the Community Path is an organization hard at work advocating for the extension of the path in an effort to connect with Boston and the bike trails along the Charles River. If you are someone in the community who loves biking, please be sure to click on their website for the most recent status update, and to find out how you can become involved. They need our help and support!

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DAILY TRIVIA: The earliest highway in Somerville was known as the “Highway to Newtowne” and connected Charlestown Neck to Harvard Square. It was already in use when Boston was settled in 1630.

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