Best Downtown Districts in New England -
DRIVEN DOWNTOWN: Dedham Square in Dedham, Massachusetts
Downtown Dedham Square.
Article and photo by Eric Hurwitz. Article
created on 12/2/2018.
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Dedham Square in downtown Dedham, Mass., used to be rather dreary,
downtrodden and depressing. Just a few years later, however,
Dedham Square has become a rising star, one of the darling downtown
districts in New England.
Following the National Trust for Historic Revitalization "Main
program as a template to prioritize historic preservation, commercial
prosperity and pleasing aesthetics, Dedham Square now combines an
appealing mix of dining, shopping and entertainment, as well as an
excellent seasonal farmers
market. Improved sidewalks and crosswalks have greatly improved the walkability factor, while appealing store signage and spruced-up historic brick exteriors result in a wonderful look.
Within the Route 128 belt, Dedham Square can arguably even hold its own against
revered established downtowns like Winchester, Arlington,
Melrose, Salem, Concord and Lexington. Kudos to
the Dedham Square Circle (DSC), a non-profit organization of residents
and Dedham Square business owners, and the Town of Dedham who came together the way communities
should (but often don't) to help create the new look and thriving
presence of its downtown. Your driven ambitions has thousands a week driving to Dedham Square for all
the right reasons!
Specifically, why is Dedham Square so special? First, Dedham Square is
one of the few small town central districts in Massachusetts to still have an
independent movie theater, the Dedham Square Cinema at 580 High
St. It's an authentic, old-time movie theater dating back to
1927. Like Dedham Square the Dedham Community Theater has been wonderfully
restored but still holds onto its retro charm. The Theater plays modern
movies, so no need to worry that what's played here is not as old as
the building. They offer popcorn with real butter (imagine that!) and
even beer and wine.
Dedham Community Theater.
The rest of Dedham Square follows the tenets of a classic downtown that
not only brings people downtown, but brings them together.
The cozy and inviting Big Bear Cafe & Espresso
Bar, at 3 Eastern. Ave., packs in the crowds for its excellent coffee,
food and hometown vibe. Restaurants saturate the downtown scene with
cuisine including traditional and contemporary American, Thai, Chinese, Sushi, seafood,
barbecue, Italian, Greek and Mexican. For dessert, Ron's Gourmet Ice
Cream, at 559 High St., serves some of the best homemade ice cream in
eastern Massachusetts. Book lovers will find an exciting chapter in
their quest for indie bookstores at The Blue Bunny Books & Toys, at
577 High St. Owned by mega-talented and super-nice children's book
author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds, Blue Bunny offers books,
toys, art supplies, cards and signed copies of Peter's books, prints,
posters and cards.
Blue Bunny also features the wonderful Mocha Java
Espresso Bar and Cafe for some yummy food, baked goods and coffee. Blue
Bunny comes across like a cornerstone business and the face of the new
but historic Dedham Square.
Blue Bunny Books & Toys.
Several specialty shops, including boutiques, add another layer of
downtown divineness -- almost like the type of central district
travelers love in a vacation town. Dedham, however, is not a vacation
town but rather a nearby residential suburb of Boston. Lucky for Dedham
residents that they have this gem of a downtown!
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Walpole, Canton and Foxborough -- You can do what Dedham Square did,
too. Your downtown districts have tremendous upside. Start the ball
rolling today to help make your central districts two of the best in
Massachusetts. I have talked with many residents in all three towns and
this is what they want!
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