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On my way back home from my Dad’s birthday gathering in Upton where we visited Northbridge, I had a little bit of daylight left and thought that I had enough time to actually visit another town before it got dark. In looking at my route home and figuring out which towns I hadn’t visited yet, I set my sights to go through Hopkinton and visit Ashland.
I managed to find the town center, as it’s not on a numbered route, and found a really cool town clock/sculpture that was in the middle of town. Just as I was about to take my picture with it, the railroad crossing signs started flashing and ringing, and a huge train came through town. You can see it in my picture behind me. It wasn’t a commuter train, but an long haul working train. There was a cool little train station that had been converted to doctor’s offices, so I can image a time when the trains came through and stopped for people. I don’t know if you can still get a commuter train into Boston from here, but I’m pretty sure that somewhere in Ashland the MBTA has a stop.
It was a nice downtown, with a lot of while buildings. Not terribly busy on a lazy summer evening at dusk, but you had your standard pizza shop and municipal buildings. There were kids riding there bikes, and while there was a decent amount of traffic, it didn’t seem that busy. Again, this was a town center that was not on the main route to somewhere else. Next to the library, there was a cannon and a monument to a time capsule that they had buried at the town’s 150th anniversary in 1996. It was to be reopened on the 200th anniversary in 2046.
So, when have you planned for the future that you don’t think you’ll see?
On a beautiful summer’s day, I went over to my brother’s house in Upton to gather for my father’s 80th birthday. It was a very nice day and we went out for ice cream with the family at a local ice cream stand. My nephew, who’s six, really enjoyed it. Now, I got to Upton fairly frequently for family events, and as we were all there and already in the car, I said that it might be nice for us all to go and see the place where my father’s mother was born in the village of Whitinsville, which is not far from there in the town of Northbridge. It was also another opportunity to check off one more town on my list.
I had been to Northbridge before, at another time, and found the address of the house where my grandmother was born and lived as a young girl. Her family had moved to Maynard, Massachusetts (my home town) from Newfoundland around 1890, and her two brother’s were born there, but they moved to Whitinsville just before my grandmother was born, and then moved back to Maynard where she met and married my grandfather.
Whitinsville is the biggest of the many villages of Northbridge, and it’s where most of the town offices are. It’s not on a main route (you have to take the Main Street off Route 146 to get there), so it’s not really on the way to anywhere in particular. The mill there used to be very large and supplied spindles to other mills. It’s another one of the places that used to be quite prosperous when the mills where in full swing, but now is looking to reinvent itself. It’s in the Blackstone Valley National Historic Corridor, and you can see many sites from the start of the Industrial Revolution in the area.
So, have you ever visited where your family came from?
After the busy hustle and bustle of Provincetown, I wanted to get some exercise and a bike ride in before it got too hot, and as Provincetown is at the end of Cape Cod, the only place to go was to the next town of Truro.
North Truro, actually. Truro is very long and skinny, and it was about a 12 mile round trip to North Truro, and given that this would be the longest I had biked in many years, I didn’t want to over do it. It’s beach are and mostly flat and exposed to the sun, so I didn’t want to burn too badly, so I figured I’d take it easy. There were many cottages and complexes along Route 6A, and I could feel a much different pace from Provincetown. I was thinking that this is the Cape that most people think about when they come here. It’s quiet, non-rushed, and nothing to do but sit on the beach. I stopped at Beach Point and just sat and watched the waves and seagulls. As I’m really working on being more present and to slow down, this was a great practice for me. I’ve found that I need to be in vacation mind more, where there’s nothing much to do, and I don’t feel like I’m on the way to anything. This was where I was then, although I know I had to bike back.
I think that we all need those places where we don’t have to do anything.
So, where do you get vacation mind?
A video blog of my trip this summer to Provincetown!
I just had a great time in New Brunswick and Mount Desert Island, Maine on a trip to find some family roots. I had a lot of plans, and was recommended by a good friend (Thanks Scott!) to be more in the moment. Here are my thoughts on that in video form.
So, have you gotten a great opportunity just because you were present to it?
I was on my way up to New Brunswick to do some family research, and because of dentist appointments and other things, I didn’t get to leave until 5 p.m. on the day before the July 4th holiday. As you can imagine, the roads were very crowded with people heading up to New Hampshire and Maine to vacation. I knew that the highways would be a parking lot in the Greater Boston area, so I figured I’d try to go the back roads to get around them. I went through Medford, Melrose, and then finally snaked my way up to Saugus. I’ve passed through there on Route 1, which is another of your typical big box store type highways, but I’d never been to any other part of the town. As I was just driving part of the way to get to my hotel, I wasn’t in a hurry and figured that I’d stop to get a feel what the town is like.
I stopped in the center of Saugus, and had a long conversation with a friend who needed to discuss a family issue. After that, I got out and walked around. In the center of town, there’s a big monument with streets going around every side of it. There are your typical churches and other municiple buildings, in addition to the ubiquitous pizza places and other non-chain store fast food places. It was actually pretty busy as far as traffic, and I don’t know if that is because of the day or if it’s normally like this. It was a beautiful sunny day and the pace seemed to be both busy and laid back at the same time.
I left the center and found my way out to Route 1, which was surprisingly close with the Square One Mall right there. It was back to the hustle of the drive!
So, Where have you found yourself both busy and laid back?