Just a half-hour drive to the north and west of Boston lies the Greater Merrimack Valley. No matter what the
season, the Valley has a beauty all its own. The changing seasons add to the vibrancy of the region and with
these changes come certain unmistakable attractions - skiing, biking, fishing, canoeing, white water rafting,
strawberry picking, hayrides and concerts under the stars. There is an undeniable spirit in the Greater
Merrimack Valley - the same spirit that gave birth to our country.
Each of our towns and cities has its unique charms. That's why your getaway in the Valley can be made to order - whether you're looking for comfortable and cozy, vibrant and active, or fun and educational. Whatever kind of getaway you're looking for, adventure awaits you here.
Acton is a suburban community located 25 miles northwest of Boston. The town has retained much of its rural New England character, as evidenced by the traditional town center and green, with fine examples of historic architecture, and the stonewalls and tree-lined country roads. A wide range of retail stores and services, a community theater, various types of commercial recreation and the Children's Discovery Museum and Science Discovery Museum can all be found in Acton.
The Town of Ashby is a small rural community with a friendly atmosphere, located in the north central section of Massachusetts. It is a residential community that retains many of the farms and orchards that have enhanced the residents' pride in its beauty. The town's historic burial grounds provide testimony to this. In the pre-Civil War era, the town was a station on the Underground Railway for slaves going to Canada.
The Town of Ayer grew up around the railroad industry in the 1840's. The railroad continued as a major force in shaping Ayer's economy through the early 1900's. Railroad switching yards, tanneries and mills prospered as a result of railroad transportation in the area. This is now the Central Business District, which offers a variety of shopping and dining choices. Ayer is served by commuter rail service today and is within easy access of three major roadways, I-495, I-290 and Route 2.
Bedford is located 15 miles northwest of Boston. The town was founded in 1729, and has retained both natural and architectural beauty. Visitors to Bedford find an attractive historic district and town common in the center, the famous Bedford Flag on display in the library, the 1790 Job Lane House and several national historic landmarks.
Billerica is located 20 miles northwest of Boston and borders Lowell to the south. The remnants of the historic Middlesex Canal are now part of a renovation project to bring back portions of this important canal that once traversed the town from north to south. Visitors to the Middlesex Canal Museum can discover more about the canal, which was the superhighway of its day. The town is also well-known for its Yankee Doodle Homecoming Weekend in September, which celebrates Billerica patriot Thomas Ditson, who is believed to be referred to in the classic American song, "Yankee Doodle Dandy." The Concord River is a major regional water feature while the Shawsheen River meanders through the southerly part of town.
The Town of Boxborough's rugged, hilly terrain shows the effect of glacier scouring in its geological past. It is a small upland community with a hill top town center retaining well-preserved Federal period houses. Much of the community retains its period character. Boxborough has an early agricultural history, which expanded to include orchards and grazing for milk production.
The Town of Burlington was formed in 1799 and is sited on the watersheds of the Ipswich, Mystic and Shawsheen Rivers. It is now a suburban industrial town at the junction of the Boston-Merrimack corridor, but for most of its history it was almost entirely agricultural, selling hops and rye to Boston. Today visitors enjoy a variety of shopping and dining choices at the Burlington Mall, an upscale center featuring four anchor stores and more than 155 specialty shops.
The Town of Carlisle offers peaceful residential living located within a short ride of Boston. Carlisle maintains a rich tradition in the preservation of open space and scenic ways. Nearly 20% of the town's 15 square miles is dedicated conservation land. The town serves home to the only working cranberry bog in Middlesex County. More Info
Much of its present area was contained in a so-called Praying Town, established as a preserve for Christianized Indians in 1653. Chelmsford was a community of agriculture and grazing, with dairying and orchards as specialties. Chelmsford today is a suburban community, which offers country-like charm and atmosphere while providing access to modern infrastructure, abundant educational and cultural opportunities, a mix of retail establishments and restaurants, and a stable and prospering business environment. Chelmsford's historic town Common hosts large celebrations during the Fourth of July and Winterfest.
Named in 1635, Concord is an old historic town on the western axis of suburban Boston. Located at the junction of the Concord/Sudbury/Assabet Rivers, Concord was settled early by the English as a frontier outpost of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was the first interior, non-tidal water town in Massachusetts. The community had also been the site of seasonal Indian camps because of the plentiful runs of shad, salmon and herring. Concord still retains many well-preserved colonial houses, nine of them on or near Concord Green. In the historic Battle of Concord, which ushered in the Revolutionary War, a column of British infantry was badly mauled by colonists during a 16-mile long running battle. 273 British and 95 American soldiers died.
The Town of Dracut is situated on the periphery of Lowell and southern New Hampshire. Originally, in 1653, the community was part of the Wamiset Praying Town, one of the preserves set aside by the colonists for Christianized Indians. The town has several large ponds, bogs and swamps and numerous brooks. Its early economy relied on fishing, lumbering and the milling of lumber, which led in turn to the 19th century industries of paper making and cotton textile manufacturing. These mills attracted Irish and French Canadian immigrants. Some rural landscapes survive intact along the state boundary, as do some handsome historic houses. One of the better known is the 290-year-old Coburn/Cutter House, with its massive beams, huge center chimney and fireplaces. The building, dating from about 1700, has served as the site of annual crafts fairs in Dracut.
A rural community located just south of the New Hampshire border, Dunstable retains its New England charm and is the perfect setting for a Sunday drive. Its open fields and pastures recall its past as a farming community, and visitors are charmed by the old country stores.
The Town of Groton, incorporated in 1655, is a lovely New England village nestled on the banks of the Nashua and Squannacook Rivers and is the home of two well-known private schools. Majestic antique homesteads, faded red barns, rolling apple orchards, colonial stonewalls and family farm stands all contribute to Groton's charm. The community prides itself on the numerous acres within the town protected as conservation lands and on the open spaces for swimming, fishing, canoeing, hiking, riding and cross country skiing, as well as for being the center for several cultural groups and organizations.
First Settled in 1642, Lexington proudly preserves its rich colonial past and offers visitors a wealth of cultural opportunities. The events of April 19th, 1775 inscribed Lexington forever in the pages of American history as the Birthplace of American Liberty. The confrontation between the Lexington Minute Men and the British Redcoats is re-enacted every April on Patriot's Day. Three historic homes and the National Heritage Museum celebrate the town's unique place in American History. The Liberty Ride guided sight-seeing tour provides an entertaining and educational introduction to the history and sites. Excellent shopping and dining can be found in town.
The town of Lincoln is a small suburb west of Boston with a strong The Town of Lincoln is a small suburb west of Boston with a strong sense of place. It began as a rural farming community made up of pieces of land nipped from adjacent towns; hence its nickname was once "Niptown." The town also became a popular site for country estates, of which some have become schools, museums, town buildings or parks. Retention of open space and protection of its rural character against an encroaching age of urban development are extremely important to the community.
The Town of Littleton is a rural industrial town on the outer edge of suburban Boston. Part of the town was allocated as an Indian preserve known as the Nashoba Indian Praying Town. Settlement of Littleton was delayed by the frontier wars until the early 18th century when intense competition occurred over Indian lands abandoned when natives were deported to Deer Island during King Philip's war. By the 19th century some of the finest apple orchards in the state were supplying town cider mills, which in turn shipped their product to Boston. The cider factory, which also began making vinegar, expanded to become the modern Very Fine Apple Products plant. The town remains a significantly agricultural community with poultry farms, dairies and orchards and has preserved several 18th century center-chimney houses and unique brick cottages.
The City of Lowell is the fourth largest city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its strategic location at the intersections of Routes 495, 93 and 3, provides excellent access to all points of interest. The Massachusetts Commuter Rail service also provides an easy 40-minute ride to Boston's North Station. Residents claim Lowell's National Park as this country's greatest tribute to the Industrial Revolution and the textile industry that boomed in New England in the nineteenth century. Trolley rides, canal boat tours and several museums further complement the rehabilitated mill buildings. The 2,800-seat Lowell Auditorium hosts many of the country's best performers at affordable prices. The Merrimack Repertory Theater, which is also located in downtown Lowell, is one of the few self-sustaining repertory theater groups in the northeast. The Tsongas Arena is host to many fabulous shows and special events. This planned urban community is built around the Merrimack River and its diverse canal system, which provided power to the early manufacturers. Today the city is a revitalized urban center with cultural attractions and fine dining including a wealth of ethnic restaurants available.
Maynard is a geographically small (5.3 sq. mile) town. It is ethnically diverse with a history of industrial development. Maynard is both rural and suburban, with a well-defined commercial downtown and open space. A major landmark in the Town is the Old Mill clock tower. The wooden structure was built by a Maynard carpenter. The tower was refurbished in 1980 by then owner Digital Equipment Corporation. The clock has four faces, each nine feet in diameter. The faces are backlit with electric lights. During the Christmas holiday season, the faces are illuminated with red and green bulbs.
The small town of Pepperell is situated 35 miles northwest of Boston in rolling hill country at the junction of the Nissitissit and Nashua Rivers adjacent to the New Hampshire border. Pepperell is home to the only traditional covered bridge in the area. The town is known for its trout fishing which brings pleasure to Pepperell residents and visitors alike. Each fall the town plays host to the Pepperell Fall Classic Soccer Tournament that draws participants from the surrounding New England States.
The Town of Shirley is a rural industrial community located on the lowlands of the Catacunemaug River. It was considered the frontier when the handful of earliest colonists arrived in 1720 and settled on scattered farms in the town. Shirley was home to a thriving Shaker community from 1793-1908. Tours offered by the historical society introduce visitors to the architecture and lifestyle of the Shakers who lived in Shirley.
The Town of Stow is situated midway between Boston and Worcester and is a small residential community with rural aspects. The town boasts several apple orchards, which are a beautiful sight to behold in spring and which attract many people in the early fall for apple picking, as well as a public country club with two award-winning 18-hole golf courses.
Sudbury is a charming community located approximately twenty miles west of Boston, along the major highways of Route 20 in the south and Route 117 in the north, and bisected by Route 27. Rooted deeply in history, Sudbury is known for Longfellow's Inn, including The Redstone Schoolhouse where Mary brought her little lamb, the Grist Mill and the Martha Mary Chapel.
The Town of Tewksbury is a suburban community located on the uplands between the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. It is located on slightly rolling lowland terrain with large areas of bog and swamp throughout town. Tewksbury was gradually settled from Billerica during the early decades of the 18th century. Notable public sculptures in Tewksbury include, the Wamesit Indian Monument set on a granite boulder on Main Street and the Anne Sullivan-Helen Keller Monument also on Main. A bronze sculpture depicting the turning point in Keller's life is dedicated to Sullivan, a longtime Tewksbury resident. Artist Mico Kaufman created both sculptures. Tewskbury Country Club offers a fine 9-hole golf course that is open to the public.
Townsend's rich history dates back to the seventeen hundreds, having been incorporated in 1732. The first mill of the town was built in 1733 in "Townsend Harbor". The pond at Townsend Harbor came into existence in 1734 when the dam was built for the mill. The Conant House, Gristmill and Cooperage are places that can be visited today. The Town Common is host to fall fairs and art shows, as well as summer band concerts. The Squannacook River provides opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming.
Colonel Jonathan Tyng founded Tyngsborough, in 1675, and the Tyng Mansion House was one of the oldest homes north of Boston. During the founding period, settlers of Tyngsborough fought a series of small, but often bloody skirmishes with local Indian tribes. Several colonial era homes in town still have emergency passageways used during attacks. Tyngsborough is dotted with numerous streams, lakes and great ponds. Tyngsborough is long recognized as the 'gateway' to the White Mountains and located only thirty minutes from Boston along the Route 3 corridor.
The Town of Westford is a suburban community with rolling hills, lakes, and apple orchards. The area is ideal for biking. Incorporated on September 23, 1729, Westford has a beautiful state of the art library, a very active community center with offerings for all ages, an active recreation department, a ski area, and two town beaches on spring-fed ponds. Westford also offers a new championship 18-hole semi-private golf course.
The Town of Wilmington is a suburban industrial town occupying 17.2 square miles of the watershed of the Ipswich River. The town was part of an unstable Colonial frontier during Queen Ann's War. The Baldwin apple is supposed to have been discovered in Wilmington in the 1790's on Butters Farm. After some bitter disputes with other communities over whether that was the case, a bronze plaque duly commemorates the discovery. The Middlesex Canal was completed in Wilmington in the early 19th century and residents were able to ship their produce to market.
The City of Woburn occupies 13.1 miles of the Fells Upland and is a suburban industrial city located along the upper Mystic Valley. Incorporated in 1642, Woburn became an early manufacturing center; tanning leather and making shoes. Production was large enough so that during the King Philip's Wars, town taxes were partially paid in shoes. The smallpox epidemic of 1675 cut deeply into the town's population. The Middlesex Canal from Boston opened in 1803 and the Boston and Lowell Railroad in 1835. Woburn developed as an early English town settlement and has a notable early burying ground.
This symbol denotes a town that is part of the Massachusetts Freedom's Way National Heritage Area.