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Harvest Fest’s Home is Somerville’s Castle

Sep 22 2:52 pm

By Allison Baker


My first-ever glimpse of Highland Avenue was a clear, cold December night two years ago when some friends and I wussed out and drove around the corner from Summer Street (with some chagrin), toasting our buns on the heated seats of the Subaru until we reached the warming comfort of Highland Kitchen. As we passed all the two families and cute brick apartment buildings, it never occurred to me that if I looked west down Highland I might have seen a castle.

Somerville's very own castle - it belongs on a postcard!

The Armory at 191 Highland Ave, isn’t actually a castle, but it could play one on TV. Pot-bellied and turreted, with narrow, deep-set windows, it is easy to understand how this was a long-time home for and symbol of  some of Massachusetts’ local armed forces. Yet there is a friendliness to the structure. The Armory does not stand much taller than its immediate neighbors, and it is painted a joyful, blinding white, like the Santorini homes on the covers of Greek Travel guides.

The Armory is owned by the brothers behind the epic Cambridge music club, the Middle East. But it is curated by Arts At The Armory, a non-profit operating with the belief that “artistic expression elevates a civil society.” By providing live/work, office, studio, and performance spaces to local artists and cultural groups, Arts At The Armory is creating an active, culturally-inclusive arts center with deep roots in and strong relevance to the community. One of the jewels in their programming is a partnership with Somerville Local First to host Harvest Fest – a fun-filled nosh and sip in support of all things good and local.

Now in its third year, Harvest Fest brings together regional brewers, vintners, chefs and other artisans who are on hand to let you get to know their products and get to know them. The well-priced (seriously, $20!), ticketed soiree runs in two sessions, so that as many people as possible can enjoy the majesty of the Armory’s Performance Hall and the feel-good neighborhood party that also raises funds for Somerville Local First.

When you arrive on October 15th, you will find the inside of the Armory is a festive place. Make note of events at the Café (on your left as you enter), so you can start plotting reasons to return. Feel the spring of a well-made, well-used wood floor and listen to the report of your steps, they will soon be drowned out by the festive hubbub in the Performance Hall straight ahead. After you cruise the booths, chat up the vendors, and are feeling sated for the moment, climb the wide stair to the mezzanine for the best view of the house stage. Ponder the purple ceiling or the particular lustre of autumn light through the half-moon windows. Savor the warm glow that these are your friends and neighbors, then head back downstairs to join them for another round.

Filed under: Harvest Fest, Local First

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