Geocaching the Towns of New England: Lowell, Massachusetts & Vicinity

New Year’s Day was my last one-day shot working on finding a geocache in every town in New England. The problem is that the towns I have left are all at least a two-hour drive away. With it getting dark as early as it does up north in the winter, that really cut into how much time I had each day for geocaching. I don’t drive as well in the dark anymore, so I try to get home as close to sunset as possible. With everyone having been up late to bring in the New Year, I correctly assumed I’d be able to move about pretty freely in northern Massachusetts.

I’d passed through Lowell, Massachusetts many times in my life. It was the city we used to get off of I-495 and onto Route 3 when we’d travel to Lake Winnesepaukee every summer. I’d seen the mills along the river, all the way up along Route 3 into Manchester, New Hampshire. I’d seen them abandoned as well, and now revitalized. I never realized what a big mill town Lowell had been. Fortunately, there has been a lot put into preserving it. I will definitely go back there another time to investigate it more thoroughly.

The area on the upper left is now part of a National Park that depicts what life was like in these mill towns and cities throughout New England, Lowell being one of the larger ones. Any place that was near a river back then was central to industry as rivers mean power and energy for operating the machinery.

Lowell, Massachusetts was also the birthplace of legendary author Jack Kerouac, as well as where he was buried.

Bette Davis was also born in Lowell, Massachusetts. She spent some of her off-time in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire in the White Mountains.

As with any working-class town, many sent soldiers off to fight in the wars, and there are a number of memorials and markers around town that made me pause.

Finally, in the same cemetery that Jack Kerouac is buried in, there is the Chief of the Penacooks marker commemorating Passaconaway. He is not buried here, but it is a dedication to a Native American who was seen as a friend to the colonists during his life. The representation is also historically inaccurate, but still interesting.

It was a good day to geocache, even if I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked. I tend to get distracted by history when I explore, which slows me down. I love the places geocaching brings me, though.

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