“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
When Boston cramps your style, slip into something more comfortable—like Brookline. This suburb rebelled against urban development schemes, and broke away from Boston in 1873 to preserve its country-village character. Brookline got top-notch professional help from Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted, who moved his landscape architecture practice to Brookline in 1883. Today Olmsted's office is a national park, and Brookline remains a pleasant seven-mile patchwork of tree-shaded town squares, flowering neighborhood parks and sociable pedestrian zones. On the south side, 250-year-old Allandale farm still sells Brookline-grown organic tomatoes at its urban farm stand, while on the north end, Zaftigs Delicatessen piles pastrami onto pumpernickel. Art-house movies screen nightly in the 1933 art deco Coolidge Corner Theatre, and Washington Square's Café Fixe keeps Boston University faculty steadily caffeinated. Although best known as the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, today's Brookline isn't an Irish-Catholic enclave. A third of Brookline's residents are Jewish and a sixth are Asian, and nearly a third of Brookline's schoolchildren speak English as a second language.