I worked in the factory for a few years and fell in love with the design and history of the Watch Factory. The factory employees many local residents and produced watches between 1854 - 1950's. After our company moved out in 2004, a complete renovation has begun, creating new retail, commercial and residential space. The developers maintain a very small display of the history of the Watch Factory, which is open during normal business hours. The Waltham Museum and Charles River Museum of Industry also maintain exhibits about the Waltham Watch Factory, but visiting this one room exhibit is the only opportunity to step inside this magnificent factory. Take a walk behind the factory to enjoy the views of the Charles River. There is plenty of free parking across Crescent Street.
See the history of our great city - featuring textile, steam power, watches and transportation historic exhibits set inside the 1814 Boston Manufacturing Company textile mill along the banks of the Charles River. Hands on exhibits including the Boston Manufacturing Company, The Orient Bicycle and Metz Automobile, the Waltham Watch Factory and more. There are also temporary exhibits and events throughout the year. Meter parking nearby at the lot behind Embassy Theatre. No dogs allowed in the museum.
A little green space in the heart of the Watch City - the Common is on Main and Moody Streets. Grab a bite to go at one of the numerous local restaurants and pull up your blanket on the common. You can sit in the gazebo or on a bench and people watch. Bring a frisbee and get some exercise! Don't miss the Veteran's Memorial. You can also pick up the Charles River Walk right at the Moody Street bridge, or feed the ducks from the bridge. Metered street parking.
During summer months the Waltham Arts Council offers free concerts on the Waltham Common on Tuesday evenings at 7:30 pm. Call for event schedule. Free
Our favorite walking trail in the city. The stretch from Watertown Square to Prospect Street in Waltham has mostly paved walking trails that take you past the dam on Moody Street, with wooded river banks and historic buildings. After Prospect Street you will travel behind the Waltham Watch Factory, with a view across the river to Mount Feake Cemetery. The dogs love this walk with plenty of interesting sights, smells and sounds. For a different perspective, rent a canoe or kayak and paddle up the Charles River (See out Newton, MA review of Charles River Canoe and Kayak for details).
Please kee pyour dogs leashed along this walk, as it crosses city streets. The paths are used by joggers, cyclists, roller bladers and walkers so an off leash dog could get hurt.
The exteriors of the buildings are classic. The carriage house is still in tact, but no doubt used for offices nowadays. The exterior of the greenhouse is that wonderful tiny brick. The views in all directions are cool and serene.
The driveway curves between old stone walls on the way out to the parking area.
Such grace and style....if only we could afford things like this today. The Lymans were a very fortunate family... and I guess generous. Thankfully the property will be cared for and protected under the watchful eye of Historic New England.
For more info about Historic New England, you can go to HistoricNewEngland.org or call
The grounds of the estate are wonderful. There are probably more areas to be seen, but we concentrated on the greenhouses and plant sale today. We did walk around the mansion, which can be booked for weddings and special events. It was closed today, but I would like to see the interiors some time. Looks like a great place for a party. Marvelous porches on the back.
There was an ancient Copper Beech tree near the greenhouses. It was one of those trees with roots lifting up from the ground and some of its branches look like an elephant's trunk. There was a white flowering tree that created great contrast to the red of the beech.
The lawns and rhododendrons and extensive and I imagine it's wonderful when everything comes into bloom.
The greenhouses are constructed of small old brick and wooden windows...with cast iron pipe carrying the water throughout. They may have some modern day sprinkler systems, but they were not evident to me.
There is one section filled with the most sensational orchids I've ever seen in one place.
Another section houses the ancient grape vines, while still other greenhouses have the collection of Camellias.
The Bouganvellia in one of the buildings was absolutely fabulous.
The buildings were very long and shallow to take advantage of full day sun.
Of course we gathered some herb plants while we were at Lyman's. I also brought home a Hosta I have been searching for. We exercised self control before filling my daughter's car to the top. Their prices were very reasonable and when the profit goes to a good cause like the preservation of greenhouses and historic homes like this, I really don't mind the expense.
Massachusetts is known for it's universities and it's important to note that not all the best schools are located in the immediate Boston/Cambridge area. Brandeis is in Waltham. Brandeis is the youngest private research university, as well as the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university in the United States.