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Friends Having Breakfast

A Day Away | Made in Lowell

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

By 4Squares Residential Group in Partnership with Judi 411

Happy New Year, and welcome back to 4Squares Residential Group's "A Day Away," where we feature fun places to spend the day across Massachusetts.

This month we're traveling northbound to Lowell, Massachusetts. You may be familiar with Lowell for its signature Folk Festival that takes place every summer, but we've discovered some other exciting things to do, places to eat, and stores to shop, no matter the season!

A Little Bit About Lowell

Like many cities in Massachusetts, Lowell is a mixture of old and new. In the 19th century, Lowell became known as "Spindle City" for its numerous textile mills and became a hot spot for immigrants traveling to America in search of work.

Today, many know Lowell as a college town and home to UMass-Lowell. While many mills are now converted to residences, Lowell has developed into a multi-cultural haven that offers plenty to see and do.

Something to See: Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center, 246 Market Street

Open daily from noon until 5 pm, Lowell's NHP Visitor Center showcases the stories of Lowell's community, from its early industrial days to modern times.

Kick off your visit and watch Lowell: The Continuing Revolution, a 19-minute video, which plays continually in the Visitor Center theater and highlights the industrial history of Lowell, from the early "mill girls" and engineers to the immigrant workers who shaped the city for decades.

Engineers of all ages can also hop on board an imitation trolley and learn about the history of streetcars in Lowell, while the smaller set can weave fabric on a handloom or create a gear system in the Children's Room.

Literature lovers will enjoy learning about the early life of the famous author and Lowellian, Jack Kerouac, in the Kerouac's Lowell exhibit and how Charles Dickens discovered Lowell.

Museum and history buffs won't want to miss a trip to the Boott Cotton Mills Museum on nearby John Street, which serves as a living testament to the water-powered textile mills that launched the nation into the industrial era.

Museum Entry Prices*:Adults - $6.00; Seniors (62+) - $4.00; Youths (6-16) - $3.00; Students (16+ with ID) - $4.00; Children (5 and under) - FREE

*Museum prices can be discounted if you have an America the Beautiful Parks Pass.

Somewhere to Shop: Mill No. 5, 250 Jackson St.

Once you've learned about the mills of the past, enjoy the reimagined space of Mill No. 5. An indoor streetscape of refurbished storefronts home to a host of eclectic, independent small businesses, Mill No. 5 is easily a place to while away an afternoon with friends or solo.

If your New Year's resolution involves more letter-writing, pop into Sweet Pig Press and peruse their card collection, including thank you notes, congratulations cards, wedding and birthday well-wishes, and vintage-style postcards. You can also find quotable quotes for display, including wise words from Walt Whitman and – of course – Lowell's most famous resident, Jack Kerouac. Or gather your own thoughts on the pages of a notable notebook.

Music lovers, especially those who collect vinyl records, will enjoy the selection at Vinyl Destination, where, "It's all vinyl, and that's final." A mom-and-pop record store celebrating vinyl spun at 33 and 45 pm, Vinyl Destination buys and sells vinyl and boasts an extensive collection of records, primarily pre-owned, all fabulous.

For those who play music and listen, The Tone Loft is a must-stop. Specializing in consignment instruments of all types, ranging from vintage instruments to locally constructed equipment and accessories, The Tone Loft is tuned in (pun intended!) to the local musician community and offers music lessons for guitar and bass percussion, vocals, and piano.

Book lovers will find refuge at The Lowell Book Company, an independent bookstore featuring new and used books in various genres, with a particular focus on Lowell-based writers. And if book-collection is your jam, be sure to stop into Serpentine Books, where you'll find treasures ranging from Milton's "Paradise Lost" to Marvel comic books.

Finally, if you've never met a gift shop you haven't loved, then be sure to stop into Hive and Forge, an artisanal haven of expertly-crafted goods, eclectic finery, unique antiques, and a wild collection of wares. You'll find handmade jewelry, small-batch candles, fashion designers, printmakers, an apothecary, and much, much more!

Someplace(s) to Eat

A full day of sightseeing whets the appetite, and Lowell has plenty of options to choose from.

Dine-in at Blue Taleh and enjoy Thai specialties like Chicken and Shrimp- Mango Curry, Duck Panang, and their irresistible Lettuce Wraps. Or take the chill out of your bones with a big bowl of Japanese Udon Noodle Soup and some crispy tempura vegetables.

Pop into the Old Court Irish Pub for excellent pub grub and enjoy hearty favorites like Shepherd's Pie, Bangers and Mash, and their award-winning Fish & Chips.

If you're looking to grab and go, you can't go wrong with Greek food from Athenian Corner, including beef, chicken, or lamb shish-kebabs, spanakopita (spinach pie), and of course, gyros galore!

Or if a farm-to-table experience is what you're craving, then swing by The Keep for plates to share (the Bavarian Pretzel is a 4Squares Favorite!), a simple soup and sandwich, or a heaping plate of gumbo, or their signature steak fries. Save room for carrot cake, or polish off your meal with a cocktail like the Buttered Old-Fashioned or one of the microbrews on tap.

What's your favorite Day Away in MA? Sharing Massachusetts lesser-known hot-spots is one of the many ways I help residents love the way they live in Medford and beyond! Reach out and share the local day trips that bring you joy!

Photo Credits: Bootts Mill and repairs at the Tone Loft (via their FB pages), and a journal from Sweet Pig (from their website).

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