Changing seasons add to the vibrancy of the Greater Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. Plus, there is an undeniable spirit in the Greater Merrimack Valley, the same spirit that gave birth to the United States.
“Based in Lowell, Massachusetts, the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the Greater Merrimack Valley,” says Rick Lofria, executive director of the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are designated by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism to market the region as a premier travel destination for domestic and international travelers; group tours and bus tours; meetings, conferences, and conventions; and sporting events. We are group friendly!”
Here are some itinerary stops for a student-focused tour in the Greater Merrimack Valley:
At Lowell National Historical Park, students discover the Continuing Revolution. Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation—including immigrant families and early female factory workers—into an uncertain new industrial era. Nearly 200 years later, the changes that began here still reverberate in the shifting global economy. Boat, trolley, and walking tours teach the history of industry and labor, and include textile mills, worker housing, canals, and 19th-century commercial buildings.
Lowell Memorial Auditorium is an indoor facility located in downtown Lowell, and it is an ideal venue for concerts, family shows, conferences, conventions, trade shows, corporate seminars, and much more. The 2,800-seat venue, constructed in 1922, is managed by Lowell Management Group.
Inspiring the greater Lowell community with quality musical performances since 1987, the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) continues to provide audiences with lively classical and pops music each season. The orchestra provides casual, lighthearted concerts, making audiences of all ages feel comfortable and engaged. Comprising passionate semiprofessional and amateur musicians, the LPO not only offers an outlet for local talent but also fosters future generations of musicians and music lovers by actively encouraging area youth to become involved with local music.
During the one-hour tour of the Lexington Battle Green, students explore the many notable sites surrounding this National Historic Landmark. It is considered consecrated ground, both for the blood shed on it and for the Minutemen who are interred here. It was here, on the morning of April 19, 1775, that “the first blood was spilt in the dispute with Great Britain,” as George Washington wrote in his diary. In this first skirmish, 77 Lexington militia, often called Minutemen (local Colonists who had volunteered to be first responders to military and other threats), faced British Regulars. Eight Minutemen lost their lives, and 10 were wounded. Two British soldiers were also injured. After the battle, Samuel Adams exclaimed to John Hancock, “What a glorious morning for America!” The Minute Man Statue—by Boston sculptor Henry H. Kitson—is a life-size bronze figure of a Colonial farmer with a musket. It stands at the southeast corner of the Lexington Battle Green, facing the route of the British advance.
Located 20 miles west of Boston, Concord is a picturesque New England community. Concord, signifying agreement and harmony, was incorporated as the first inland settlement in Massachusetts through a grant from the Massachusetts General Court dated Sept. 12, 1635. Concord supported Native American activity long before the European settlers arrived. The area was inhabited by the various Nipmuc groups, and the village of Musketaquid, which means “reedy river,” was established as a principal center of the Massachusetts tribe. Concord’s North Bridge is part of the Minute Man National Historical Park. Ralph Waldo Emerson referred to it as the location of the “shot heard round the world,” and it is where the American Revolution began. Walden Pond in Concord was made famous by transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” the account of his experience living secluded in natural surroundings for two years. It is now a state park where a day can be spent swimming, walking around the pond, boating, or visiting a replica of Thoreau’s cabin.
For 32 years The Lowell Summer Music Series has presented national recording artists in a beautiful outdoor setting near a historic textile mill and boardinghouse in historic downtown Lowell.
Credit: Greater Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau