FRAMINGHAM – A colorfully-dressed crowd traveled the streets of downtown Framingham by foot while learning about the area’s history and sampling local baked goods during the Cafe Crawl on Sunday, August 20.
The Cafe Crawl + History and Architecture Tour was hosted by Framingham Downtown Renaissance.
Citizens of all ages gathered in front of Amazing Things Arts Center at 9:30 a.m. to kick off the tour.
The tour was led by Courtney Thraen, the Executive Director of Framingham Downtown Renaissance.
The tour included stops at Tropical Cafe, Enzo’s Bakery, Neca’s Bakery, Miranda Bread, Depot Diner, Frescafe, Padaria Brasil Bakery, and Sofa Cafe.
The group headed north, first stopping at Tropical Cafe, 85 Hollis Street. As Tropical Cafe does not usually open until the afternoon, the bakery itself was closed. However, staff members were generous enough to set up a table outside where individuals were able to sample freshly baked goods and juice.
While at the Tropical Cafe, she informed the group that building next door used to be the Winthrop Hotel. The hotel, constructed in 1822, was a popular place for people looking to visit Framingham
A little further down the street, there used to sit an opera house, built by William H. Trowbridge. The opera house, built in 18893, caught on fire shortly after in 1898. The building was then replaced by houses and apartments.
The next stop on the tour was Enzo’s Bakery, located at 63 Hollis Street. Across the street is the Odd Fellows Building. According to Thaen, the Odd Fellow Building was the first commercial building to exist in the Town of Framingham.
While walking toward the next stop, Neca’s Bakery, located at 22 Irving Street, the tour stopped briefly at the Tribune Building. The Tribune Building used to house the Framingham Daily Tribune, the predecessor of the MetroWest Daily News. The most recent news postings used to be posted on the inside of the bottom windows so that passersby could read them. Eventually, the Daily Tribune and MetroWest Daily News merged in 1892. Today, in 2017, the building housed apartments.
After visiting five more stops, the walking tour concluded at Sofa Cafe, 181 Concord Street.
Participants left with a new knowledge of downtown Framingham’s history, an appreciation for the historical architecture, and stomachs full of delicious, locally-prepared baked goods.