Tag Archives: Hidden Gems Boston

Hidden Gem: Martini Junction in Needham


Martini Junction: A Miniature Railway Village in the Forest

Outside of Boston, in a small but densely wooded forest in the town of Needham lies a world populated by miniature locomotives, people, plastic superheroes, pigs, and dinosaurs. Known as Martini Junction, the miniature railway, consisting of over 120 feet of tracks that wind through the trees was created in the early 2000s by Jim Metcalf, a retired design engineer.  Over a decade ago, Jim and his wife, Evelyn, discovered the small wooded habitat near a brook on one of their many hikes. Thinking that it would a nice place to relax and have a martini, Jim built a bench and a table so he and his wife could picnic at the spot. Hence the name Martini Junction!

In the ensuing years, Martini Junction has grown in popularity and many visitors have left random toys for others to play with. The train is only in action when Mr. Metcalf is there to run the train.

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Image and Source Credit

Hidden Gem: Boston's First Italian Cafe


Image Credit: Atlas Obscura

Well known to those that live in or frequent the North End, Caffe Vittoria is a hot spot featuring stellar cappuccinos and delicate pastries. Caffe Vittoria was established in 1929 on Hanover Street as Boston’s first Italian cafe and remains in the same location to this day, next to the ever popular tourist destination Mike’s Pastry. The cafe specializes in delicious coffee drinks, Italian pastries, gelato and some interesting spiked coffee beverages and hot chocolate’s. In 1995, the longtime owners opened a cigar parlor and bar by the name of Stanza dei Sigari in the cafe’s basement which was reportedly haunted until a visit from SyFy’s Haunted Collector in 2013 resolved the issue. In a previous life, the cigar bar was once a prohibition speakeasy and the owners report it is “alive with all the mystery and glamour of it’s original “underground” setting”.

Caffe Vittoria is open 7am-Midnight Sunday-Thursday and 7am-12:30am Fri-Sat

Stanza dei Sigari is open noon-1am 7 days a week

Copyright: R.W.Rideout

Copyright: R.W.Rideout

Copyright: R.W.Rideout

Copyright: R.W.Rideout









Copyright: R.W.Rideout

Copyright: R.W.Rideout




















Sources: Wikipedia and Atlas Obscura