Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow today, Feb. 2, which means spring will come early this year. With a high today in the 50s and a high that is supposed to hit 60 tomorrow, I think Phil might be right. Winter we hardly knew ye, and I’m OK with that.

Fresh Market

In the spirit of renewal, or new beginnings, the neighborhood is abuzz about the opening last week of The Fresh Market. You can find Joseph Persichetti’s story on the market’s opening on page 1.

Like nearly everyone else I spoke to, I was able to make it to the Fresh Market during its day-one operation. And while I’m not one to marvel at grocery stores, I have to admit it’s pretty impressive. With high ceilings, and a layout that is somewhat reminiscent of a farmer’s market, Fresh Market will probably become a favorite for Hillers.

There are good arguments to be made about whether or not Chestnut Hill needed another grocery store. With Weavers Way only two blocks away and the Farmers Market across the street, Chestnut Hill was not short on shopping choices.

That said, the effort and development smarts that went into bringing The Fresh Market to Chestnut Hill are really impressive. It’s the kind of development not seen in Chestnut Hill in a very long time. And judging by the number of shoppers I’ve seen coming in and out of the store, it’s one the neighborhood wanted. Kudos to Richard Snowden and Bowman properties for making it happen.

Iowa Caucuses

So the first contest took place in Iowa and many of us are probably shocked to learn that not only did Trump fail to win the contest among a very crowded field of Republican candidates, but that his 2nd place finish didn’t prompt him to erupt in a series of ad hominem attacks and insults that are, more than luxury golf courses, the real Trump brand.

So before spring breaks, the Republican field will focus on New Hampshire where the outcome will suddenly be less certain. Will far more secular and straight-laced New Englanders go for a newly rejuvenated Ted Cruz? Will they give Trump that first win he’s looking for? Or will they propel the candidate whose third place Iowa finish now has prognosticators favoring his eventual win: Marco Rubio.

And Democrats will also have a close contest. Hillary Clinton barely won Iowa and will have a hard time beating Bernie Sanders in his (quite literally) neck of the woods. A Sanders win in New Hampshire is entirely plausible. The Presidential race just got interesting again.

And finally, parking

The best part about the unseasonably high temperatures of this week is a swift melting of the nearly 20 inches of snow that covered the region just 10 days ago. If you were in Chestnut Hill – to shop or to work – you likely found parking to be an extraordinarily difficult thing to do.

Even with a permit for the Parking Foundation’s lots, I had to search for half an hour most days to find a spot. The Parking Foundation did a good job, with extra workers on hand to help motorists find spaces, if possible.

But parking is becoming an increasingly tenuous situation in Chestnut Hill, where more and more side-street blocks adopt permit parking to keep Avenue workers from taking up space. The snow magnified the problem. But it’s one that will not disappear with the melting snow.

— Pete Mazzaccaro