Monday, May 24, 2010
Newburyport was my favorite town in our excursion this time. It was such a nice little coastal town, with a very warm and inviting small town feel. We first went on the docks to look at the boats and ocean. Then we went over to the town center, where we came across a friendly police chief named Sargeant Reiss told us that his favorite restuarant was a place called Grog. Grog is a cool looking restuarant that serves sailors and townsfolk alike! We ventured to a wonderful little store called Richdales, which offered 25 cent hot dogs, and a whole lot of tourist items and other odds and ends. I really liked it there, and I hope that I can make my return sooner rather than later, when its sunny and warm!
Newbury is an old town on the coast of the North Shore. It is mainly residential now with many beautiful antique houses, and views of the water. There are also abundant marshes, and very green areas. While driving, we passed by the Governor's Academy, which apparently, was originally called the Governor Dummer Academy. The school changed their name in 2006 to avoid taunts from other schools, and also to propell the schools name further and get more exposure. I think it's pretty funny that a school established in 1763 would have such a fuss over the name nearly 250 years later.
Oh Danvers! I was told to come here many times by many awesome people, and on this adventure, we spent the least amount of time here! Danvers is a town with a lot of history. Danvers was very involved in the Salem Witch Trials of the early 1690s, and the house of executed with Rebecca Nurse still stands to this day, and can be visited! Danvers is also known for its legendary "Danvers Lunatic Asylum" which I have been DYING to check out. It's supposedly built on the site of the house of John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials, and great-great-grandfather of Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of the House of the Seven Gables and the Scarlet Letter. I only passed through this time, but I plan on a full on visit to this town in the near future.
Boxford is a town nestled in the forest, filled with cute, old houses, and people! It is home to the Tyler Homestead, also known as WITCH HOLLOW FARM! The Tyler Homestead is a very famous haunted house, where a supposed witch from Boxford named Rebecca Eames said she was bewitched near. It's also home to the Boxford Community Store, known as "Jack's" or "Wayne's" depending on who you ask. Boxford is a small little town with a very decentralized population, the kind you see out in western Massachusetts. We stopped on the side of the road next to the river to take this picture, and we were terrified of the traffic coming up so closely! The sign here, if you can tell in the picture, is an old wooden town sign, as opposed to the newer metal ones. You can tell by the significant wear and tear on both sides.
Rowley is a nice little town on the North Shore with a lot of history. It was settled as a plantation for a few families. This place, I think is pretty cool, because it's supposedly right next to Innsmouth in the famous H.P. Lovecraft story "The Shadow Over Innsmouth". It's a pretty rad that this town borders the ruined, decrepit, Cthulu-loving town of Innsmouth. Rowley was rather quaint as well, and I learned of a diner there called the Agawam Diner. Now being a fan of diners, and food, I will eventually have to make a stop here and interview the workers. This diner is famous for its food, and history. Elvis Costello even shot the video for his song "45" here! What a lovely little town!
Elvis Costello "45" (Diner Version) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esTuz55bQe0
Ipswich is a coastal town on the North Shore, with a long history of being a seaport for northern Massachusetts, as well as manufacture. The town looks very prosperous, and it's a fun place to be.
We got a little confused looking for the signs leading to the different towns, but we eventually came across a sign for Ipswich. I have been to Ipswich a few times, and all of those times have been pleasant. Ipswich is noted for having excellent schools, and excellent people. Lindsay and Jamaica told us that Marty's Donut Land was a good place to eat, and by the looks of it, I would have to agree! The Downtown Area of Ipswich was a very quaint and vibrant section of town. The buildings and architecture were very pleasant, and most all of the shops were open, and working. I also have a few good friends in Ipswich, and they're all wonderful people!
Topsfield is a town on the North Shore of Massachusetts, which is bordered by a total of SIX towns! Topsfield has a lot of history, dating back to the colonial period, of rapid progress and change; yet it maintains its old, and small town appeal with its architecture and atmosphere. Topsfield is also home to the Topsfield Fair, that I wanted to go to last year because the Village People were playing! Unfortunately we wouldn't have made it in time, seeing as I live about an hour and a half away, on a good day.
Our Adventure this time started here, where I met up with my friends Jamaica and Lindsay, whom I met last year. They were wonderful tour guides, who showed us their favorite spots on the North Shore, as well as sharing many stories about things they've done. In Topsfield, we stopped at the Topsfield house of Pizza, where there was a very small, but usable bathroom. It was a cozy little place. After that, we went to this place called the Willowdale Estate, located in the Bradley Palmer State Park, which was a beautiful house that is apparently used primarally for weddings. I got out of the car and we took pictures in front of the house, but soon after, someone stepped out to see what was going on, and then we just ran away. Topsfield, from my experience, was a quaint, and very green looking town.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Lowell is the city in which I currently live and go to school. It was a key player in the American Industrial Revolution, producing textiles and other goods for much of the country. The city is home to many abandoned, and sometimes repurposed mills, scattered around the city. Lowell retains its mid-Industrial Revolution feel with its architecture and buildings, mainly in the downtown area. The Merrimack River runs as strong as ever through Lowell, almost acting as an artery that feeds it. Lowell is home to The University of Massachusetts Lowell, where I currently attend, and Middlesex Community College. I have far too many stories to do with Lowell, but most of them have to do with pure mischief, so I will keep it simple. One day I was walking back from my radio show in the snow, and I came across a very cold looking, snow covered man. His name was Adrian and he was looking for his girlfriends house in Dracut, but he couldnt tell the color of the bridge he needed to be on because it was a snow storm. I told him I knew where he needed to be and I walked him to the other bridge. He proceeded to tell me about his life and how he was going through a rough phase but he was making it, he just needed to figure out his life. And I told him that everything would be okay, and that the fact that he was living and breathing was a sign that he would make it. He was extremely glad to have found something warm in the heart of the blizzard, and he gave me a hug and left on his way. This was the first time I felt a strong connection to the city of Lowell.
PS, this picture is the most epic because Lowell is an epic city in my book.
Also, if you're looking for a fun and exciting trip into the realm of the unknown, try the Battambang Market located at 125 Church St. in Lowell. It's my favorite super market that sells a large variety of foods, including some wonderful Asian favorites and plenty of foreign foods for your pleasure! They also make their own food daily including egg rolls and wonderful vegan snacks including these cool waffle tacos that have rice and coconut inside. Sooo yummy! And my other favorite spot in Lowell is RRRecords. RRRecords was the very first noise record label in America, bringing many artists to this country that were unheard of before. Today its still a great place for noise records and tapes, and well as CD's and Records of many many other types of music, including a lot of rare vinyl presses of classic albums. I love this store so much, and one time while talking about doo wop and 60s girl groups, the store owner, RRRon gave me a 45 copy of "He's Sure The Boy I Love" by the Crystals! It was one of my favorite days! RRRecords is located at 219 Central Street in Lowell.
Tyngsborough is a town that I end up passing through to get to anywhere in New Hampshire. It lies right on the banks of the beautiful Merrimack River. Tyngsborough shares a border with Nashua, NH, and has a funny story behind its mall. Now the Pheasant Lane Mall is a mall thats located mere feet from the Massachusetts border, with the parking lot lying halfway into Tyngsborough. The story goes that the mall was planned to be built with the retail side lying in Nashua, where there is no sales tax, and the food court lie in Tyngsborough, where the food tax is lower, making it a taxless paradise. But the Massachusetts government decided that if that happened, all the stores would have to pay taxes to Massachusetts, even if a majority of the mall was in New Hampshire. Then, when the mall was finally built, the state lines were incorrectly drawn up, placing a small corner of JC Penny in Massachusetts. Because of this, Massachusetts declared the entire mall to be subject to Massachusetts sales tax. In response to the Massachusetts government, the mall had the store carefully rebuilt, leading to the stores pentagonal shape, with the edge of the store mere feet out of Massachusetts. Thanks Tyngsborough!
Dracut is a town just north of Lowell, sharing a border with the town of Pelham, NH. One of the first weeks of college, I got lost with my friend Harry and we wound up wandering Dracut at night. I was so suprised when we got to the sign, I didn't really know what to do. A few friends of mine hail from Dracut, and despite me currently living about a mile away, I haven't spend much time there. Nonetheless, Dracut is a cute little town.
Chelmsford is a town directly next to the city where I go to school, in Lowell. Chelmsford has the Walmart, and other good shops in the Drum Hill Plaza, but Chelmsford is home to something rather mysterious, The UMass Lowell West Campus. This is an abandoned campus that used to belong to Umass Lowell. I haven't been able to find any information regarding it, or any resources to investigate. It's a bit of a local legend among students here, as it looks exactly like the set of a terrifying horror movie. The buildings are beautifully built, yet they are overgrown with vines and plants, and the grounds have fallen into ruin. If anyone has any information it would be greatly appreciated.
This picture was taken in front of the French King Bridge, connecting Gill with adjacent town Erving. It was windy and cold when we got there, and we had to cross the high way without getting hit! We entered Gill and saw the amazing Turner's Falls across the way. So we quickly crossed a bridge into Montague to take a look. Gill is another town in the northwest of Massachusetts that is cozy, cute, and has breathtaking natural views. The Connecticut River passing through Gill is a sign to behold, and the mountain views from the higher elevations in Gill are quite amazing.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Color names are in this season, and this summer, this town is off the hook! For some reason, I always thought Orange was a city, but passing through it, it was just another town! To take the sign picture, we had to stop on a bridge that didn't allow parking, and we nearly got hit by speeding cars on the highway! I always love the bridges that connect the towns in Western Mass, because they are usually over something beautiful! When passing through Orange, make sure you hold your mouth open and try to make your ears pop, or you will feel pretty darn miserable in the pressure change! This was the last town we stopped for on our Mothers Day trip to Vermont, so by this point we were all exhausted and still had such a long ways to go. Fun Times!
Wendell is a very small town where only 986 people call home. The only real thing I did here was become very confused at the fact that the Orange sign popped up, then a few feet down became Wendell, and then back to Orange again. It was perplexing at how small this town was, so I feel I have to write about it. I feel that my visit to this town wasn't sufficient, so a revisit must be planned in the future. For now, it's slogan for me is "Wendell-Blink and you miss it!" Prove me wrong!
Now I know that Turner's falls isn't actually a town, its a village in the town of Montague. I couldn't find the sign to Montague when I was passing through it, but I did see the wonderous and giant sight that is Turner's Falls. The little downtown area leading up to the falls was very quaint and friendly. Walking over towards where the falls are is quite the adventure. There was a smaller steel bridge over a very high flowing canal that was channeled off from the Connecticut River. My family and I crossed the canal to view the falls from the banks of the river. They were very large looking from where I was, with what looked to be a hydroelectric plant settled underneath. There was a giant steel structure in between the falls that looked to me like a giant robot holding up the water. If you ever get a chance to stop by this, take a look! It's quite amazing!
Erving is small town in Northwest Massachusetts that is less industry and more wilderness. I hadn't ever heard of the town until I was on the French King Bridge in Gill, looking at the sign. Erving is a cozy town nestled into the Mohawk Trail, with many old worldy aspects to it. My mother and I have a nasty habit of drinking lots of tea or water, and then having to pee every 5 or so miles. One of our stops was here in Erving, at the French King Restaurant. It was a really nice place from what I could tell. It looked like an old 18th century tavern that was still being used. There were very few lights, as it utilized natural light well, and the people inside looked like the type of people you would expect to find in a remote mountain tavern. The atmosphere of the whole town was wonderful, and the view of the Connecticut river along the border is a sight to behold.
I love to look at maps a lot. I love to look at borders and small forgetable places and wonder what life is like there. Gazing upon the Map of Massachusetts I always wondered what our extremes were. From my town of Plymouth, Williamstown seems like it should be the furthest away from me, as it is the town on the Northwestern most tip. Williamstown is a beautiful town at Northwest corner of Massachusetts. Its bordered by New York to the West, and Vermont to the North. Its home to this rad art museum known as the Clark Art Institute. I went there once while touring colleges, and I thought how awesome it was that such a cool collection of art was located in a very remote place, as if you had to climb a mountain to see awesome paintings! William Wootters, the guy who proved the No-Cloning theorem lives here, as well as our old governor, Jane Swift!
New Ashford a cute little farm town that is nestled between Mount Greylock and Saddle Ball Mountain. On the way north, a river ran alongside the road that appeared to be running BACKWARDS up the hill! My entire family was baffled by this as the river was pretty much level with the road, which was going slightly downhill, and we were driving along and noticed that the river was going the opposite direct of us! The view of the sky in between the mountains is one of my favorite views in the entire world. There were many small farms filled with animals dotting the highway. I hope I can find myself in this part of the state again sometime soon!
Lanesborough was one of those towns I had simply never heard of. My experiences with this side of Massachusetts are very minimal. The Lanesborough/Pittsfield town line is situated next to a beautiful and very large lake. Stopping near it and gazing on the water was one of the best sites I had seen on our trip, with the mountains and hills running off into the horizon. Lanesborough contains the start of the highest mountain in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock, the summit of which I saw from the top of the Bennington Battle Monument, a giant stone obelisk all the way in Bennington, Vermont. Lanesborough is a beautiful town! I can't wait to visit again!
Moving along, we came across the city of Pittsfield! Pittsfield is a wonderful city nestled along the Berkshires, full of beautiful buildings, with a wonderful display of the mountains behind it. Many of the buildings in Pittsfield were very old in appearance, while still looking well kept and cared for. The high school looked like a capital building, and many other buildings throughout the city looked very official. In 1902, during a presidential visit to Pittsfield by Theodore Roosevelt, a trolly crashed into the Presidential carriage, killing one secret service agent (which was the first secret service agent ever killed on presidential detail) and injuring President Roosevelt!
Lenox is another town out in the beautiful Berkshires of Massachusetts. My experiences with Lenox, while brief, were very rewarding. Driving through Lenox is like driving through a picturesque small town, the houses were cute and the trees with mountains behind them were breathtaking. Lenox is home to Tanglewood, which is where the Boston Symphony Orchestra vactions in the summertime. Also, my favorite cellist Yo Yo Ma lives here! Hopefully one day I can watch him play the Davidov Stradivarius cello!
For Mothers Day 2010, my family and I made an action packed trip to Vermont! On the way there, we took the the scene route up the Western side of the state. Right off the Mass Pike, we came across the lovely little town of LEE! Lee is a town that was founded on the paper making industry, for which it still plays home to today. While passing through Lee on the way to Vermont, we went through the very beautiful looking downtown. The architecture reminded me of early 20th century small towns, and definitely expressed that homely feel. Lee is also home to Debra Jo Rupp, the actress who plays Kitty on that 70's show! Yeah!