Newton Upper Falls
An insider’s guide to Newton Upper Falls from Jerry Reilly, Upper Falls resident since 2009.
This guide was published in November 2019.
Newton Upper Falls is a unique corner of the city. The waterfall where the Charles River flows through the spectacular Hemlock Gorge was one of the earliest sites of development in the city. Most of the neighborhood of Upper Falls was built in the mid-1800s as housing for the workers who worked at the mills there. Because of this early history, Upper Falls doesn't look like the rest of Newton. Everything was built prior to zoning rules so the neighborhood is full of all sorts of quirky buildings and houses.
Favorite Thing About Your Village: Echo Bridge. This massive bridge across Hemlock Gorge was built to bring water to Boston in the 1800s. If you have never been, it's worth a trip to Upper Falls just to walk across the bridge 100's of feet above the river and to explore the parkland below.
Your favorite place to get coffee or a snack: The Depot Coffee Shoppe (corner of Chestnut and Oak). Stop in for coffee, baked treats, or a sandwich at this family-run business. Henry and Kim will set you up with something good.
Your favorite restaurant: Dunn Gaherins Pub & Restaurant (Eliott St). In the time between buying a house in Upper Falls and moving into it, everybody I met who knew Upper Falls had one tip - Dunn Gaherins ... and they were right. This friendly always busy neighborhood spot has great food, friendly staff, great selection of beer and they do know how to pour a proper pint of Guinness.
A fun playground or park: The Upper Falls Greenway is the newest public park in the city. A few years back, one mile of abandoned railroad track was transformed into a neighborhood park and walking trail. For the past two summers, it has become an outdoor sculpture walk from June - Sept with art all along the way. Go for a stroll, a jog, walk your dog, or stop by to play bocce.
Annual village events to watch for: Feast of the Falls in June is without a doubt the biggest annual event in Upper Falls. 350 guests sit down at one very, very long table for a gourmet dinner cooked on-site in Hemlock Gorge. Our elected officials and other dignitaries serve the food and the residents of Upper Falls are the guests. The free tickets are handed out on-line to Upper Falls residents on a first-come-first-serve basis and people set their alarms and wait by the keyboard to get them.
Insider village tips: Be sure to subscribe to the Upper Falls News email newsletter to keep up with everything happening in the neighborhood. Go to UpperFallsNews.org to subscribe.