Welcome to 43 Main Street in Peabody, Massachusetts at the heart of New England! For most of the visitors to Olio, it is your first time coming to this special, unique, and historic downtown just outside of Boston, so let me be the first to say WELCOME.
I'll be honest, I had never even been to the city of Peabody before I explored purchasing our building in the middle of its downtown to create an event space. Before purchasing the property, my partner (aka my mom Ellen Basch) and I did a ton of research on the city and location to determine whether our business could succeed. Not only were we satisfied with what we found, we were delighted! Read on below to learn about downtown Peabody and you'll see why.
xo, Sarah - owner, Olio: Modern/Industrial Event Space
Geographic Location and Proximity to Boston
With my vast wedding planning experience (hi Without A Hitch) and my mom on board to start a venue with me in 2016, we looked at properties in a huge geographic area in eastern Massachusetts, everywhere from Marlborough to Fitchburg to Newburyport. When we landed on this unique property in downtown Peabody, it was as though it had been custom-made for our needs.
We love being 25-30 minutes from downtown Boston and Logan Airport. Many of our couples are living in Boston or the communities directly surrounding the city, so our location is convenient to access.
We are just 5 minute off the intersections of Route 128, 95, and 1, which means that there are many ways to access the property and driving through miles of backroads is not required. This is important for guests and visitors, but also for vendors and suppliers.
We are just 5 minutes from downtown Salem, Massachusetts, which is an international tourist destination (see below) and home to a commuter rail station and direct-to-Boston ferry.
We are just 10-15 minutes from several other gorgeous coastal communities (hello Beverly, Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Marblehead, and Swampscott).
We are just 30 minutes from the New Hampshire border.
Because we are located in a bustling downtown, it's easy to grab a rideshare or cab at any hour of any day, which guests love.
Note: there is a Logan Express in Peabody for super easy access to the airport.
Must-have for us was a close walkable community that had photo opportunities and **OH BOY** did we get that in spades. Within a few minutes of walking from our front door, there are endless backdrops for gorgeous portraits. A few ideas.... (note these are subject to change over time as downtown landscapes and storefronts change)
A painted red brick wall and a sweet, quiet street.
East End Veterans Memorial Park
All the greenery that you can imagine, cute walking paths, and adorable lamps.
Some couples choose this park as their ceremony space with Olio as the backup rain option. Win/win! The park is easily reserved through the city's recreation department.
Peabody Institute Library
Photos on the library steps and in the courtyard are always popular, just across the street from our business.
Middle of Main Street
Isn't your wedding day the perfect day to stop traffic?!
Storefronts and the Square
Your photographer will have the perfect vision of where to pop in to grab memorable portraits.
Wonderful Neighbors in Peabody's Downtown
Where to start with our incredible neighbors? Here are a few within close walking distance (5 minutes or less):
Weekly theme parties, brunch, late night drinks, and live music.
Our order: giant drink jar for sharing, and anything to eat.
Townie bar/restaurant with fabulous food and drink options. Serving until 1am seven days a week (note: they are closed for renovation until spring 2024).
Our order: all the burgers.
Consistently the best sushi around with a full bar.
Our order: any specialty roll, but especially the Firecracker.
Delicious Mexican food in an awesome space with delicious margs and a super late-night vibe.
Our order: chorizo bowl with both beans, no cilantro.
The brewery on the street! Stop in for a beer, any one of their incredible events and food trucks, or grab a six pack of cans to go.
Our pro tip: they happily host buy-outs for rehearsal dinners and after parties.
Family-owned and operated award-winning Italian. Eat in or take out.
Our order: eggplant parmesan sub or any of their daily specials.
Homemade Greek and American cuisine.
Our order: amazing breakfast sandwich or spanakopita.
Right nextdoor. Made-to-order deli and pizza/pasta to go.
Our order: Roman Holiday sub.
The newest hot spot on the street is the best place to buy your loved one (or yourself) a gift. Stay tuned to their opening to support another micro business!
Yummy Chinese/Vietnamese with a great vibe for eat in or take out.
Our order: Vermicelli bowl, no cilantro.
Gorgeous space for Persian cuisine. Family owned/operated.
Our order: falafel plate.
Eat in Italian with a private event room
Our order: any of the homemade pasta.
Not-for-profit coffee shop that fuels our day. Small café menu too.
Our order: iced mocha latte all year long
And here are a few that are a bit further out (5 minute or less driving):
Full bakery, deli, and amazing wedding cakes!
Family owned and operated treats.
World-renowned steak tips. Seriously.
Best on the north shore.
Ritzy AF flavor won best in the nation.
Note: this is not an exhaustive list and there are so many wonderful places to visit nearby.
Nearby Accommodations to Downtown Peabody
Here's the truth that some rural wedding venues don't want you to know: it's so important to be close by to your guest accommodations! There are dozens of hotel and accommodation options within 10-15 minutes of our location, which makes choosing a hotel a breeze. Some couples select a hotel in downtown Salem, which is super fun for guests to explore throughout the wedding weekend. Others choose a budget-friendly option like the Peabody Marriott or Hampton Inn. Due to the density of the area, there are tons of AirBnB and VRBO options nearby.
Coming soon to our very own street: The Bell Inn is just a 2 minute walk and will boast 8 immaculately-finished guest suites, abundant natural light, and a world-class restaurant on the first floor with a late-night speakeasy in the basement. Can you say afterparty?!
Booked clients: check your client portal for a helpful list of nearby hotels and inns!
Nearby Amenities in Downtown Peabody
In addition to accommodations, there are so many local amenities that are drawing visitors into the region. They will surprise and delight your guests and make for a fun-filled wedding weekend! Here are just a few close by to check out:
A Main Street Community of Advocates
A big selling feature for us on this downtown was the Peabody Main Streets community, a volunteer group of local advocates who care deeply about the city's downtown businesses and residents and overall vibrancy.
Pro Tip: One of the best days of the year to visit downtown Peabody is for International Festival, held the 2nd or 3rd Sunday in September annually. The streets are closed to traffic and filled with food, art, entertainment, and crafts.
Local Government Support
While many doubted the feasibility of the project we undertook in building Olio, City Hall in Peabody remained steadfast in their support of and belief in our vision. The historic building we purchased had been mostly abandoned for many decades. Bringing in a high-capacity, high-visibility venue like ours meant not only that the city was able to see a wonderful old building in the center of the downtown restored, but tens of thousands of new visitors are visiting the city annually.
A Few Downtown Peabody Tips
As of this writing, the city is not monitoring any of the downtown parking meters or lots. In fact, many of the meters are broken and the lots have poor signage. This means you can park anywhere, anytime! Upgraded credit card meters with phone integration are coming (estimated fall 2023) and those of us who are operating business are delighted. Having functioning and clearly signed meters will be helpful for all of our out-of-town visitors, and will free up more spots for business-goers as residents move out of the meters. We'll be sure to clearly communicate any/all changes on our website and social media.
In the last 8 years, downtown Peabody has changed dramatically. City Hall has implemented a new traffic pattern, flood mitigation, purchased additional property for parking and paths, and installed all new lighting. In early 2018, before we purchased the building when we stood before Peabody's City Council pitching our idea for our special permit, we listened to the Council's feedback and concerns. One councilor had a particularly poignant comment directed to us: "all of those millions of dollars we spent reconfiguring the square were for this, in hopes to attract an investment like yours."
The city, with state and foundation investment, is in the final design stages for a River Walk which will be built behind the library, starting directly across from the main downtown parking lot. We are delighted to see this development happening, as it will be an ideal space for photos and exploration!
Our special downtown continues to attract new interest, and we expect to see exciting opportunities and shops popping up over the upcoming years. Keep an eye on our social media!
So what do you think? Ready to make a day of it and come see downtown Peabody for yourself? Comment below with your favorite local spot or book a tour to see our space in person.
P.S. Sharing an amazing gallery of Main Street photos below!