The Jamaica Plain Community – The Eden of America

Carefully tucked in Boston, Massachusetts, the Jamaica Plain community is a neighborhood measuring approximately 11 square kilometers. It began as a farmland and part of Roxbury town occupied by Boston puritans. Later on, it seceded from Roxbury and became part of West Roxbury in 1851. Finally, in 1874 when West Roxbury town was annexed, it became part of Boston and that is what it is up to this day. In terms of population, the 2010 census reported a figure of 37,468.

A Historical Overview of Jamaica Plain

When Jamaica Plain became part of Boston neighborhood, it experienced tremendous growth characterized by triple decker houses and commercial blocks. There was an influx of people into Jamaica Plain for business and permanent residence.

Breweries were the major employers during the mid-19th century all the way to the early years of the 20th century. There were lots of Irish and German immigrants into this neighborhood most of whom had come seeking for jobs.

In the year 1900, a huge shoe factory billed as the largest factory for women shoes in the world at the time, set base in the Jamaica Plain. It employed about 5,000 workers and continued operating until 1976 when its operations ceased.

The Present Day Jamaica Plain

By the beginning of the 21st century, the Jamaica Plain neighborhood had a large community compromising political activists, college-educated professionals, and artists. There is a significant Spanish-speaking population from Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

The real estate market stabilized in the 1970s and this saw the re-development of the Southwest corridor. Older homes in places like Summer Hill, Pondside, and Parkside have dramatically increased in value with some of them being converted into condominiums.

Structures that were formerly vacant are now being converted to residential use so as to cater for the bulging population.

Some of the neighborhoods worth mentioning in Jamaica Plain include:

  • Brookside
  • Egleston Square
  • Forest Hills
  • Hyde Square
  • Jackson Square
  • Jamaica Hills
  • Sunnyside among others

Education Facilities

Students who school in Jamaica Plain are under Boston Public Schools network which serves the entire city of Boston, Massachusetts. Also, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston runs a network of Roman Catholic schools in Jamaica Plain. There are also lots of private schools in the area responding to the different education needs of residents.

The Transport System in Jamaica Plain

The whole of Jamaica Plain is under the Massachusetts Bay of Transportation Authority which provides both bus and rail services.

The Needham line of commuter rail, the “E” Branch streetcar service, and the bus service which pries South Huntington Avenue, South Street, and Center Street, offer excellent transportation services to residents in Jamaica Plain.

There are lots of bicycle paths and municipal parking lots for those who prefer biking and drive private cars.

Jamaica Plain has lots of green spaces making it the greenest neighborhood in Boston. The Emerald Necklace Park system which was designed by Fredric Law Olmsted borders the community.

 

A Chef’s Guide – Where to Eat in Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain is one of the neighborhoods in Boston that evokes a special kind of verdant gateway from the hustles and bustles of the towns in the north. Thanks to the idyllic Jamaica Pond and the Emerald Necklace system of parks, this place is a pleasant respite from the city.

The vibrant population of political activists, musicians, writers, and artists has made Jamaica Plain a unique and warm community. Also, the diverse Indie shops and boutiques have taken control of business from the big chain stores.

When it comes to dining, it is indisputable that Jamaica Plain has some of the finest dining and casual restaurants serving all sorts of ethnic and international cuisines. Some of the restaurants that you must visit for a fine dining experience, a quick bite, or a casual takeaway meal include:

JP Seafood Café

This is a value for money. As a matter of fact, no Jamaica Plain restaurant list would be complete without JP Seafood café. Initially, a small storefront stood where this café is currently located. In the recent past, they purchased additional space next to the café and expanded it into a modern bar with a large community table. The foods served here is excellent especially their sushi and sashimi, deep-fried green beans, mackerel nigari, and caterpillar roll. JP Seafood Café is located on 730 Center Street.

Wonder Spice Café

This is an excellent choice for both take out and eat in. They prepare a lot of stir noodle dishes such as drunken noodles and pad Thai One of their superfoods is called crispy fish which is simply super fried white fish pieces that are served with broccoli and green beans in a garlicky sauce.

Tres Gatos

Located on 470 Center Street, Tres Gatos has become a landmark for Spanish meals in the neighborhood. They serve carefully chosen wines and their food is delicious. Since Nevin Taylor took over the management of Tres Gatos, he has been doing a phenomenal job.

Some of the favorite finger-licking dishes served here include stewed pork with tomato and egg and lamb bocadillo served with cilantro salsa verde. They also have one of the best tortilla espanola in the entire neighborhood.

El Oriental de Cuba

As its name suggests, this is a Cuban restaurant located on 416 Center Street. They have great Cuban sandwich which is crisp and crunchy on the outside and on the inside, it has porky, hammy, and mustard.

Ula Café

This café is owned by Korinn Koslofsky and is located on 284 Amory Street. When you walk in here, you must taste her popovers, sandwiches, and pastries because they are out of this world. This joint always runs creative seasonal drink specials and their staffs are really kind. For the best bites in Boston, try Ula Café especially their breakfast sandwich; it’s unbelievable!

If you are a Scott or love traditional Scottish food, The Haven located on 2 Perkins Street is a must visit. Their scotch egg is also excellent.

 

 

Jamaica Plain – Things to Do and See

Jamaica Plain colloquially referred to as the Eden of America is one of the most beautiful and distinct neighborhoods in Boston. It has a string of connected parks and other must-see sites all of which make Jamaica Plain an entertaining place to visit or live in. As a matter of fact, many guests coming to Jamaica Plain enjoy its many activities including walking, skiing, bicycle riding, and jogging in its beautiful surroundings.

In addition, there are lots of restaurants and shops and a brewery which you can tour in the area. If you love architecture, you will be spoilt for choice because this part of Boston has lots of historic buildings which are all within walking distance. Among the must-see locations in Jamaica Plain include:

Jamaica Pond Park

As its name suggest, this is a roughly circular pond which is surrounded by a well-kept and beautiful path. The community gathers around this park which is oftentimes a center for events from theater to outdoor concerts to the annual lantern parade.

According to history, Jamaica Pond came to be as a result of a kettle hall formed by the impact of a break away glacier. The pond is fed by natural springs and it was the first ever reservoir in America. To date, it is the largest water body in Boston.

The Arnold Arboretum

This is a beautifully manicured botanical garden measuring 265 acres. Botanists approximate that the arboretum contains approximately 14,000 woody plants, trees, and flowers drawn from all over the world particularly Asia. It was established in 1872 and happens to be the oldest University Botanical garden in America.

It is administered by the Boston Public Park system and Harvard University. In the arboretum, visitors can bike and do cross-country skiing 365 days a year free of charge.

The Franklin Park Zoo

This is the largest park and the crowning jewel of Franklin’s achievements in Boston. The zoo sits on a 527-acre countryside land with broad meadows and rolling hills. Apart from the zoo, the site also offers hiking tracks, picnicking, and for the golfers, there is an 18-hole public golf course. The zoo has a huge collection of more than 150 animals, a waterfowl pond, an outdoor bird aviary, as well as a wetland pond.

The Forest Hills Cemetery

This is arguably one of the most beautiful spots in Boston. It brings together a multitude of Victorian mausoleums and tombstones and sculptures done by famous artists. The cemetery is a resting place of some famous and interesting people such as Anne Sexton, Francis Cabot Lowell, Eugene O’Neill, and some Massachusetts governors.

Shops and Restaurants

Bed and breakfast guests in Jamaica Plain do not wander far on arrival because there are lots of interesting shops and restaurants. It doesn’t matter how complex your taste buds are, you will find a variety of ethnic foods that you will truly enjoy. JP Licks is famous here for its best ice cream and frozen yoghurt.

In addition to the above sites, there are others such as the Sam Adams Brewery, the Eliot School, the Footlight Club, and the Olmsted Park that you can’t leave Jamaica Plain without visiting.