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  • Writer's pictureWelcoming Newton

June in Newton

It sure feels like summer! And there are lots of great summery opportunities coming up in Newton this month. Read on below for summer concerts, ways to cool off at Crystal Lake and Gath pool, a Juneteenth celebration, and much more. Special thanks to our village guide for this month, Sue Faccenda Peghiny, who takes us on a tour through Auburndale. Welcoming Newton's parent organization - Newton Neighbors - has worked closely with Sue and the Rotary Club of Newton throughout the pandemic, so we are grateful for her leadership in our community and that she took some time to share her tips with all of us! Want to stay connected between monthly emails? Please consider joining our partner project, the Newton Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook group, and following us on Instagram.

June Village Guide: Auburndale

Each month, our newsletter features a local resident or two taking us on a tour of one of Newton's 13 villages. You can see some of our past village guides on our website.

This month, Sue Faccenda Peghiny takes us on a tour of Auburndale.

Tell us about your ties to Newton: I grew up in the house I currently live in, although I moved away at 18 and returned 44 years later. When I was all of 14 years old, my first job was at the stamp and coin store on Auburn Street, that used to be next to the Knotty Pine. Then at 16 I worked at Keyes Drug (when it was on Auburn Street in what is now Breadsong Bakery). I still don’t know how much either of them paid me hourly (I was afraid to ask!).

My father, Jim, and I own the Clock & Watch Shop on Commonwealth Avenue in Auburndale. We closed during the pandemic and decided not to re-open to the public (although we still do some trade work). Dad turned 95 in February 2021 and finally decided to retire.

My most important connection is the Rotary Club of Newton. I joined because after 44 years away I didn’t know anyone anymore. But, after 8 years in Rotary I know WAY more people in town than I did after 27 years in our previous town. I’ve held almost every position in Rotary and done pretty much anything a person can do for an organization (president, public image, memberships, etc). Rotary welcomes everyone (not just business people), and our motto is “Service Above Self”. We do lots of hands-on volunteer projects, meet a couple of times a month to socialize and hear an interesting speaker, network for our businesses, and generally try to have fun and be doers of good deeds. If you want to learn more you can email

Favorite thing about your village:

My favorite thing about Auburndale is the park which starts on Commonwealth Avenue at Lyons Field and goes along the river all the way into Waltham (the bike path actually continues all the way to Boston). You can access the back end of the park from West Pine Street too. It’s an oasis in the middle of where Rt. 95, Rt. 30, and the Mass Pike meet. So many people use the park for walking, biking, family picnics, boating or skating on the cove, playing baseball and cricket, or just having fun on the playground. It’s great to take a few minutes from our daily dog walk to watch the little league games at Lyons Field.

I also like that in Auburndale I can easily get anywhere I want in any way I want. I can walk to pretty much ANYTHING I need (groceries, a pharmacy, the post office, banks, restaurants, dentist, gym, and more.) Or, I can take the bus, MBTA, or train into town, and if I want to head further away all the major routes are easily accessible.

One other thing that’s very special about Auburndale is that it’s very eclectic and has a wide socio-economic mix of people. We have plenty of long-time resident elders, families, singles, couples, immigrants, apartments, double-deckers, older small single homes, low-income housing, and a few big new houses. Our shops aren’t fancy but they’re friendly. Auburndale has a very “regular guy”, unpretentious feel to it. Your favorite place to get coffee or a snack:

I’d say Breadsong Bakery or Wally’s Wicked Good Ice Cream (depending on the kind of snack you want). Breadsong has yummy coffee and a nice selection of baked goods. Wally’s ice cream, sorbet, and other frozen treats are a delight. Your favorite restaurant: Boca Bella without a doubt. Anthony & Carla Vega run a friendly and cozy restaurant that really feels like “the local place”. Their menu changes and you can get anything from a BLT to a delicious entree. A cocktail at the bar with the front window open (or at any of the outdoor tables) is a delight. Be sure to try their pastries - and keep an eye out for the live music nights they occasionally present! A fun playground or park: The Cove on West Pine Street. Designed for families and friends, there are two playgrounds (one for younger children and another for older) that were renovated a couple of years ago. There’s a tennis court where pickleball seems to have become popular, a basketball court, a workout area, and a baseball diamond where you might see a little league or pickup baseball game or a bunch of friends playing cricket. There are two large, shaded picnic areas with stationary grills, tables and trash cans, and “the hothouse” that has bathrooms (in the winter you can change your skates there if skating is open). All of this sits on the shore of a cove of the Charles River where there are swan families, geese, and plenty of ducks. In anything resembling nice weather it’s the place to be (there’s actually lots of activity there in the winter, too). Annual village events to watch for:

PorchFest! Introduced a couple of years ago, PorchFest matches performers with homeowners so friends and neighbors can walk (or drive) around and hear all KINDS of free, outdoor music. It’s usually on a Saturday in early June so keep an eye out for it!

While not an official event, at the holidays be sure to drive down Islington Road to see the beautiful lighted balls that the entire peninsula makes and hangs. It’s really magical. (Hint: when you reach a small park, Islington Road turns right and goes down a hill – be sure you follow the road all the way down to the end). Insider village tips: If you have kids or like books in a small, friendly environment, definitely check out the Auburndale Community Library. This is an independent, non-profit library run by volunteers that has story times, hosts talks, and at least once during the summer hosts a free evening of outdoor music.

Also, be sure to get your flowers, wreaths and trees from Ken’s Flower Café located right next to Starbucks on Commonwealth Ave. Ken and his wife have been selling flowers in Auburndale for….longer than I know. They live right next door and are really nice. Their offerings vary throughout the year, and sometimes include local produce. They’re easy to miss but don’t!

The local Star Market was renovated a couple of years ago and has a very good organic section, a good fish & meat counter, a nice specialty cheese section (located next to the deli), and quite a few gluten free selections that are mixed in with everything but clearly labeled as gluten free.

Finally, if you’re new to the area do some research on Norumbega Park – it’s pretty much why Auburndale is here. It was an amusement and animal park located where the Marriott Hotel currently sits. The Totem Pole Ballroom was world famous and hosted all the big 1940 swing bands. If you go through the fence and into the park right behind the Marriott parking lot (actually called Norumbega Park on Google Maps) you can still see remnants of some of the attractions. You can also access this area at the end of Woodbine Street, just beyond Commonwealth Veterinary Hospital. This is a favorite off-leash dog park too.

Summer-long events:

Crystal Lake & Gath Pool:

The Crystal Lake beach and Gath Pool will be re-opening again at the end of the month. More details on Crystal Lake here and more details on Gath pool here.

Summer in the Highlands at the Hyde Center Bandstand:

Summer concerts at the Hyde Center Bandstand are our favorite part of summer in Newton! We are so excited they are back this year. Summer 2021 will feature a wide range of performances at Hyde Bandstand including bands, movies, plays, storytelling, and cultural performances.

More details: Farmers Market Tuesday and Saturday Farmers Market schedule for the summer:

Tuesday Market Cold Spring Park, 1094 Beacon Street, Newton June 29th – August 31st 1:30 PM- 6:00 PM

Saturday Market Newton North High School, 352 Lowell Ave, Newton, 02460 June 26th- October 16th 9:30 AM- 12:30 PM

June events:

Here are just a few of the many wonderful events happening in Newton this month. To find more events and activities, scroll to the bottom of this email and follow the various links to other organizations & newsletters that share events throughout our city. Take a Plant, Give a Plant at Historic Newton’s Mary Morganti’s Plant Swap

Dozens of local gardeners will share the bounty of their spring gardens at Historic Newton’s Mary Morganti’s Plant Swap on Saturday, June 12 from 10am-12pm at the Durant-Kenrick House & Grounds (286 Waverley Ave, Newton). Rain Date is Sunday, June 13.

If you have plants or other garden items you’d like to swap, bring them to the event and take home something new in exchange. Please bring something to carry the plants you are taking home. If you don’t have plants to trade, you can still take home something new. If you don’t want to take home something new, you can still donate plants. You are still welcome to attend if you really just want to come for the outdoors and spend time talking with other plant people.

Masks are required at this outdoor event at the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds.

Newton Open Studios, June 26:

June 26, 2021 11am-5pm [rain date: June 27] NOS is OUTSIDE this year! 75 artists, Out in their yards, all across Newton. Explore, Buy, Browse!

Check artist pages for extended hours and exhibit days. Contact artists to check handicap access; Some yards are more wheelchair friendly than others. Juneteenth Weekend Celebration

Celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, with Newton area speakers, musical performances, local artwork, and a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Historic Newton will have a table with literature on the history of Juneteenth. Masks and social distancing will be required. Rain date is Saturday, June 26. Co-sponsored by the Newton Cultural Council, Newton Community Pride, FORJ, and the Harmony Foundation. Register here. Note: this year, Newton Public Schools will be closed for Juneteenth (observed Friday, June 18th.) The 2021 NPS calendar is available here.

Good to know:

Service Stars After School Service Stars will be running an After-School Program this fall! The program will be a combination of fun community service projects, outdoor time, and team-building games and activities. Click here for more information and to get on the pre-registration list:

Visit the new Newton Community Pollinator Project garden on the City Hall grounds

There is a new pollinator garden project in town! The Newton Community Pollinator Project is focused on creating pollinator pathways around Newton through demonstration, municipal, home, and business native plant gardens. They have new pollinator gardens at City Hall and in Kennard Park. For more information:

City News

Via Green Newton:

We have a new registration requirement for commercial landscapers who use leaf blowers in Newton. Starting on Labor Day, these companies will need to register with the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) before working on properties in the City.

The leaf blower noise ordinance was passed into law by the City Council four years ago and among other things prohibits the use of all leaf blowers at or above 65 decibels. (There are no exceptions.)

Additional information about leaf blower regulations can be found at

These new changes, passed by the City Council this week, require landscapers to register with ISD, provide contact information, and attest that they understand Newton’s bylaw. The landscapers will also be required to post registration information on their company vehicles. The registration fee is $50, and companies can be fined for violations. Multiple fines could result in a suspension of operating privileges in Newton.

Homeowners please know that the changes include a provision that they can be held responsible and fined if an unregistered landscaper violates the noise ordinance at their property. The City will post a list of registered landscapers this fall so homeowners will know who is in compliance with the ordinance. (We will remind everyone in late August.)

Please remember that gas-powered leaf blowers are prohibited from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Find local events & learn more about what’s happening in town:

There are lots of great resources to find out what's happening in Newton - check out some that might interest you below!

We’ve created a landing page for those new to town, featuring important apps to download and helpful email lists to sign up for, including Mayor Fuller’s newsletter. Check it out here:

In addition, visit the following web pages and subscribe to these newsletters to find out more info about what’s happening in town - events, important city discussion and decisions, and more.

Need support?

Food assistance: information on the three food pantries, grab and go, and moreavailable on the city's website here.

The Horace Cousens Industrial Fund is a charitable trust, established in 1930, which gives financial help to Newton residents who are faced with a temporary but severe financial problem. Grants are for one-time specific needs.

Welcome Home, Inc. is a home goods pantry based at Trinity Church in Newton. Want to shop? Email to schedule an appointment. Newton Neighbors Helping Neighbors has a Facebook group to connect community members to support one another and share resources for people who live, work, pray, play and/or learn in Newton. Join here. Support the work of Newton Neighbors Welcoming Newton is a project of Newton Neighbors, Inc. You can now make tax-deductible contributions to us! Thank you to Newton Community Pride, our fiscal sponsor. If you would like to make a donation, please do so here. Or mail a check to: 1294 Centre Street, Newton 02459

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