The New England Quilt Museum is made to order for those who study, collect, or otherwise admire the American quilts. There are exhibitions scheduled for the Red & Whites.... Free Motion Masterpieces...Man Made, and Quilted Cuisine. There is a quilt design for everyone. You can find tradiitonal as well as contemporary quilts here. I know someone...more
Jack Kerouac was a writer born in Lowell, Mass. You can GOOGLE his name and learn much about his books and his life. There are video clips available where he discusses his work.In Lowell, there is a monument to him and you can find his books in the museum stores. Kerouac was born in 1922 and died in the late 60's.... he expressed the epitome of...more
Although Kerouac died while living in St. Petersburg, Florida he was buried in Lowell, MA, where he was born and grew up. His grave is located in Edson Cemetery on Gorham Street, about two miles outside of the main part of the city. The grounds keepers will provide visitors with maps of the cemetery and directions to Kerouac's grave site--something...more
The house where Jack Kerouac was born and grew up is located on Lupine Road in Lowell's Centralville neighborhood, on the north bank of the Merrimack River. Kerouac lived in the house until he left the city to attend Columbia University, after his graduation from Lowell High School; his family continued to live there for many years afterward. His...more
An affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, Lowell's minor league hockey team, the Lowell Devils, play at the Paul Tsongas Arena from October through March. The games are very inexpensive and family friendly. The Arena has its own parking garage; parking is also available in nearby lots. Check website for schedule.more
One of the really impressive things about Lowell was the number of 19th Century buildings that have survived. The Lowell Institution for Savings building was built in 1845 to encourage thrift among the women workers.There were so many good and interesting buildings that I think someone could do a town trail with a leaflet.In July 1993 the New...more
Here we see one of the looms which are still used in the American Textile History Museum. The thing I liked about it was that they not only show the history of textile making from the spinning wheel up....but they keep the old machines running, and you can buy the fabric made in this very mill.more
There is a wide array of products which are offered in the museum store. I like to support the museums I visit by bringing home some of their wares. On this trip I purchased some wonderful fabric made here at the mill..which will be ideal "home spun" curtains for my 1700's house. Picked up a couple of toss pillows covered in their traditional...more
Lowell museums tell the story of our society going from the Agrarian to industrial way of life. Hard times, giant successes....grinding out new Americans almost as quickly as the looms that weave the dishcloths of every American kitchen. Women came from the farmlands to work the mills...and later came the immigrants from far and wide. It was...more
Located right next to our Motel 6, was an IHOP. For those not familiar with this American icon, it's the International House of Pancakes.They had a terrific senior's menu. Hans and I both picked the Sernior's Pot Roast, which is a smaller version of tender pot roast topped with carrots. onions and rich gravy, served with vegetable, choice of potato...more
There's a reason the locals call this pit "Un-Fortunato's" -- ambiance, food quality, and service all suffer in this "italian" restaurant in Downtown Lowell. The menu selections are totally uninspired and includes a plethora of items we've all seen for about ten years running including fried calamari, fried ravioli, and salads drenched with...more
We were very pleasantly surprised by this cafe and the philosophy of the group of enthusiasts who run it. Wherever possible they were aiming for organic and Fairtraded vegetarian meals and drinks.I was amused when a couple of policemen dropped by whilst on duty to have a Live Alive Jubilant Juice. I thought the homemade soup was particularly good.more
The Gazebo Cafe in located in the lobby of the American Textile History Museum. It's a little jewel of a spot in what may seem to be an unlikely venue. While many museums have places where visitors can sip tea and eat dainty sandwiches, the Gazebo's menu is built around hearty homemade-style soups and generous sandwiches always made from fresh...more
This Italian cafe is located in a historic firehouse downtown. Decorated with authentic Italian imports, marble, and fixtures it offers superb coffee drinks, desserts, lunch items, and has a beautiful full bar specializing in a large variety of martinis. Sidewalk dining in warm weather. A nice, relaxing atmosphere to sit and talk with a cup of...more
This cute, little hole-in-the-wall cafe is a vegetarian's dream come true. All the food served here is 100% certified organic and almost all of it is vegan. They offer several meals containing such healthy ingredients as organic brown rice, smoked tofu, raw garlic, and quinoa as well as soups and stews. They have a smoothie and juice bar here,...more
The Downstairs Cafe is a casual, laid-back (but sometimes wild) lesbian and gay bar in downtown Lowell that attracts customers both gay and straight, young and older, and from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It's a "Cheers" for the postmodern era. There is a crowd most nights of the week, but usually not till after 11 PM. Thursdays...more
See live belly dancers and listen to live Greek, Arabic, and Armenian music every Thurs, Fri, and Sat night while enjoying authentic Greek cuisine. Also, if you send me $5 US I'll show you a video of me belly dancing at my friend's birthday party here! Ha! Sorry, just kidding! No one's seeing that until after I'm dead!more
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Lowell's oldest tavern is located in a historic house built in 1834. The tavern has been continuously serving food and drinks since 1898. The interior features the original 19th century bar, pressed tin ceiling, and the US's only remaining belt-linked fan system. Notable patrons include Jack...more
In January 1842 Charles Dickens came to Boston and in the last few days, in February, before he moved on to Pennsyvania, he was invited by Lowell to visit Lowell's cotton mills. In Chapter 4 of his book "American Notes", which he published later that year, he described the rail journey from Boston to Lowell. The orginal line to Lowell was built by the Boston and Lowell Railroad on granite blocks - it shook the engines and carriages so much and was such an uncomfortable ride that shortly before Dickens arrived the track had been relaid on wooden sleepers. When I made the trip to Lowell I felt I was reliving an 1842 journey.
Second World is a small shop in downtown Lowell, so small in fact that you might miss it as you pass by. But in spite of its small size, Second World does a large job. They specialize in the sale of artwork and handcrafted items created by the indigenous people of underdeveloped nations. The profits earned by the sale of these items goes back into the economies of the people who created them, helping to sustain their families, communities, and ways of life.
What to buy: Among the items for sale at Second World are paintings from Brazil, quilts from Peru, handcrafted jewelry from India, and many Native American and Guatemalan craft items. Second World also sponsors cultural events in the city featuring musicans from around the globe, foreign films, folk dancers from Ireland and Africa among other far flung locations, and urban Amercian rap and perfomance artists. They have a performance space below their store. Some of the events are held outdoors as well.
About 25% of Lowell's population is Southeast Asian, mainly Cambodians who came to the city as refugees from the Khmer Rouge as well as their children and grandchildren. Most of them emigrated here in the 70's and 80's as part of a massive rescue effort by local non-profit organizations, but today many people still come to Lowell from several countries in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand) who are attracted by Lowell's well-established Southeast Asian community or who have relatives here.
The Cambodian New Year, which is observed in mid-April every year, has become a city-wide celebration. There are dances, parades, and festivals open to the public as well as many, many private parties and events. Cambodian people will often set out altars at the New Year in honor of thier ancestors. These usually contain things that that ancestors like to eat and drink as well as candles and other small items. The altar pictured here is one that my neighbors put out every year. They were nice enough to allow me to photograph it.
Though Lowell has come a long way since the early 90's when drugs, gang violence, and prositution were common, it is a city and like in all cites occasional crimes take place. It is best not to carry large amounts of cash and to remember to always lock your car, even if you will only be gone for a minute. Walking to and from downtown parking garages late at night is best done in pairs. Police patrols are frequent in all parts of the city, especially on weekends.
Like many cities in America, Lowell goes all out decorating for the December holidays, including a big Holiday Parade every year on Thanksgiving weekend. But perhaps my favorite, and the most unique of all of our December decorations, is the Smokestack Christmas Tree. The "tree" is lit up each year at the Holiday Parade and kept until after the new...more
Jack Kerouac Park is located on Bridge St. just off of the main part of the downtown. It is a small park consisting of enormous chunks of polished granite which have been engraved with excepts of Kerouac's writing. There are benches to sit and relax on and the Eastern Canal runnning behind the park for a pretty view.more
There are many books that mention the City of Lowell, Kerouac's work the most prominent among them, but here is a new one. His first novel, former Lowell Sun jounalist Mark Arsenault has written a riveting tale of murder, drugs, and betrayal set in the Mill City. It is a great read that any mystery lover will enjoy and Arsenault's descriptions of...more
Luther Ladd was a 19-year old private in the 6th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry at the start of the Civil War. As the regiment passed through Baltimore en route to Washington on April 19, 1861, a riot broke out, shots were fired and Ladd and three other soldiers were killed, making them the first casualties of the Civil War. Ladd is buried in...more
The Merrimack Canal is a canal that runs through Lowell. The canal which was dug in the 1820's, begins at the Pawtucket Canal just above Swamp Locks and empties into the Merrimack River. The MERRIMACK CANAL was the first major canal to be dug at Lowell exclusively for power purposes.Lowell's 5.6 mile canal system which weaves through the downtown...more