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The Hidden Diamonds of Belmont

By Joyce Gong and Ani Belorian :


Founded in 1849, Belmont, Massachusetts is our home. Therefore, we often think that we know every inch of this small town. In reality, it has many charming gems that are fascinating to discover. Here are our favorite hidden gems of Belmont.


The Vintage Tea & Cake Company


This simple yet chic tea room immediately earned our adoration because of its vintage features and resemblance to a classical English tea. It felt as though we walked straight into a high tea in Downton Abbey. We both absolutely loved the Traditional Scones served with jam, butter, and clotted cream.


The story behind this lovely tea room is just as sweet as the jam. Owner Adel Donegan has been running the Vintage Tea & Cake Company for the past ten years and has just recently opened for tea sittings. She spent ten years in England, where she worked in the film industry in London. When she moved to Boston, she knew she wanted to change course somehow. While she was working for MIT, her friends took her to a tea and she was inspired to pursue her passion for tea and cake as a side project. As she gained more and more publicity and popularity, it became her full-time job.


The Vintage Tea & Cake is most famous for their scones, which are in the English and Irish style. They have a variety of flavors, including plain, blueberry, cranberry, currant, and poppy. They also offer tea sittings, which include a tower of pastries, mini sandwiches, and, of course, scones! Reservations for the tea services can be made online.


Donegan is most excited to see the Vintage Tea & Cake become part of families’ traditions and help multiple generations spend quality time together, saying, “It’s nice being part of people’s special occasions.” Throughout the pandemic, she saw many small businesses closing their doors, and is proud that through takeout orders, selling to supermarkets, and outdoor event catering, she was able to keep hers open.


Whether it be for a special milestone or a simple Sunday outing, the Vintage Tea & Cake Company is a perfect place for anyone looking for a truly unique and wonderful experience.



Pine Allée


Al·lée (/əˈlā/) noun: an alley in a formal garden or park, bordered by trees or bushes.


This path was tucked away in the Lone Tree Hill area of Rock Meadow. It completely transported us into a different dimension – right through the television screen and into the world of Twilight.


Dark-barked trees lined the pathway; the world was silent, as the pine needles absorbed the footsteps of hikers and their dogs. We went on a day that was slightly misty, which only increased the mystery of the trail. Running approximately 921 feet east to west, the path boasts about 165 white pines. To learn more about the history of Lone Tree Hill and white pines, read here: https://www.belmont-ma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6831/f/file/file/lone_tree_hill_2015_-_pine_allee_assessment.pdf



Trinktisch


“I could eat eight portions of croquettes.” — AC


This new beer and food hall was created by the founders of Craft Beer Cellar, borrowing its namesake – Trinktisch – from the fusion of two German words “drink” and “table.” Trinktisch, located in Belmont Center, celebrates and unites our community!


Founders Suzanne Schalow and Kate Baker were influenced by their travels across Europe when curating the menu and layout of the space. From Germany, Belgium, Austria, France, Spain, and more, they took small bits of cuisine and incorporated them into a melting pot of flavors. The restaurant’s tables are set up in a “beer garden” fashion, so that the communal experience is able to shine through.


In an article published on the Trinktisch website, Baker says, “While I love helping make experiences incredible in so many different ways, I feel most comfortable doing so through food and feeding you.” The Trinktisch team values hospitality and the comfort of their guests above all else. Whether patrons stop in for a quick bite or a long feast, they receive care and attention from a knowledgeable group of people who want to create an amazing dining experience.


Some of Trinktisch’s most popular items for takeout are the Crispy Chicken Croquettes, the Currywurst – a German Bratwurst braised in apple cider, grilled and tossed with curry ketchup, which is served with seasoned potato wedges – and Warm Rustic Pretzel Bites.


As for folks dining in, they tend to gravitate towards other menu items: the warm and hearty Chicken Zooi, a flemish stew; the Pork Schnitzel, lightly breaded and pan-fried to crisp perfection; and the house Mac & Cheese, made from a blend of asiago, cheddar, fontina, parmesan, and romano and topped with buttery pretzel breadcrumbs. Salads are also popular – these include French Country Salad topped with delectable goat-cheese croutes, Curry Chicken Salad, and Cous Cous Salad.


To end this spectacular meal, Warm Belgian Waffles are a solid bet, topped with fresh whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and powdered sugar.


Overall, there’s no better way to spend an evening than at Trinktisch, where quality service and delectable food choices compete in excellence and a great time is guaranteed.



Benton Library


This hidden gem is truly hidden! Tucked in between the homely streets near Cushing Square, Benton Library is an independent library run by volunteers and supported entirely by donations. Upon entering the space, it’s hard to know where to look first: the shelves packed with books, the communal work tables spread throughout the interior, or the charming arched Gothic window in the far wall. One can’t help but wonder about Benton Library’s fascinating history.


This independent community library was originally designed as a chapel; it was constructed in 1892 for the Belmont School for Boys. By 1899, the school was combined with Milton Academy and the chapel fell into disuse. However, in 1903, Colonel Everett C. Benton and his family moved into the Belmont Estate. The chapel became used for public meetings until the death of the Colonel in 1924 and the demolition of the mansion in 1929. His wife and children gave the chapel to the town as a gift, to use as a branch library.


The town of Belmont made the necessary renovations to convert it to a library and officially opened it as the Benton Branch Library in June of 1930. The Benton Branch was in use until 2009, when it was closed due to budgetary difficulties within the town.


The building itself is a masterpiece of late 19th century Gothic styles. The carefully laid stonework, oak-timbered entrance door with hand-wrought hardware, and arch-shaped interior beam work show care and attention to detail in architectural design.


The Benton Library is the epitome of Belmont’s rich history. This building holds a very special place in many Belmont citizens’ hearts; in fact, one couple who met as children in Benton eventually renewed their vows at this library. Elizabeth Gibson, the president of the Friends of the Benton Library, remarks, “When we have thirty-year-olds who come back, or thirty-five-year-olds who come back to visit, they can walk in the building and it’s like they flashback to when they were [little], and they can tell you where they sat” when they visited the library as children.


The library is still in use today and is run completely by volunteers, so if readers are interested in helping out, please find further information on their website: https://ecbentonlibrary.org/.


Benton Library is and will always be an important piece of Belmont’s history, bringing people together from the day it was first created. We experienced this welcoming sentiment when we visited Benton Library and saw the community come together to celebrate the holiday season by watching Belmont High School’s own Madrigal Singers perform. This loving community (in combination with the hot chocolate) brought us a sense of warmth. We felt incredibly grateful to learn about Benton Library alongside the community that it supports.



Members of the BHS Madrigal Singers perform

Restoration Project


The Restoration Project Resale Shop is not your typical thrift store. Of course, it has incredible finds ranging from Gilbert O’Sullivan and Beatles records to delicate jewelry to vintage high-end boots. However, beyond the incredible finds, this resale shop is special because it’s a nonprofit supporting the Restoration Project.


The Restoration Project is an award-winning vocational rehabilitation program serving adolescents and adults with mental illnesses and brain injuries. Their mission is “to help individuals with neurological impairments achieve self-sustaining lives by offering remedial, transitional employment and facilitating their integration in the community,” according to Founder and Director Eloise Newell in a statement published on their website.


The Restoration Project Resale Shop is always looking for donations and good-quality products. They pride themselves on their antique furniture, kitchenware, household goods, table lamps and ceiling fixtures, tableware, records and CDs, books, clothing, eye-catching fashion accessories, jewelry, and much more.


This shop offers the fun of thrifting as well as the element of surprise in the small town of Belmont. People come from neighboring towns to experience the thrill of the find! One volunteer left us with some advice: “The main thing is if you don’t buy it the day you find it, it’s not going to be here.”



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