Wilmington. April 9, 2022

Day/Date:  SATURDAY -4/9/22
Town visited: Wilmington
Had you ever been to this town before? Yes /No 
Drive to 1st town:   31 miles   Time spent in town:   5 1/2 hours

What did we do in the town/area?  
We brought our friend Lynn on our town visit today to Wilmington. What a treat to have her tag along!

We have to admit, we knew the weather was a little “iffy” today as scattered rain was in the forecast, but it seemed like it might be just some passing rain at some point. However, we intentionally made the Wilmington Town Forest hike our first stop to get that in before any rain started, hopefully. We noticed a historic site before we reached the forest, so we pulled over to check it out. It was the Joshua Harnden Tavern/Wilmington Minutemen Hdqtrs. It’s a preserved 18th-century tavern where Harnden, a colonel in the Revolutionary, once lived. Next door is an old building with a sign that says Headquarters for the Wilmington Minutemen. Outside on the building’s shutters are painted wooden apples and with a peek in the window, one can see a long table and chairs. The museum/tavern, unfortunately, is only open Tue and Thu – which meant that we didn’t get to go in and see the tavern. So, we moved along.

We made it to the forest, and we did succeed at staying dry for the most part. We trekked up to the top of a hill where there was a water tower and continued to follow the blue trail til it looped us back to our car. It was about a 2-mile hike: and it did start drizzling at the tail end of our walk, but it wasn’t so much that it would deter us.

We thought it would be a good idea to get some food next, so we looked up a sandwich spot on Upton St. This area, in general, seemed to be pretty industrial. We passed by a few industrial parks, including the distribution center for New England Coffee (which was very big!). The sandwich place that Jenny had looked up was eluding us as we drove around this industrial park. We finally moved on to the place Jo wanted to go to anyway; a place called “As Good As It Gets Cafe.” (We later learned that the place Jenny was looking for closed down in 2019- so no wonder!) On our way there, we stopped at a very old burying ground (1731) near a church and investigated the ornate etchings on the gravestones; cherubs, skeleton faces with angel wings, and more. These are the kinds of things you don’t see anymore in cemeteries. Plus, they had a stone structure that said “Town pound.” Town pounds were historically structures where stray animals stayed, waiting for their owners to come and pick them up. In Wilmington, the one we saw is a replica of their original town pound.

We pulled into the strip plaza where the “As Good As It Gets Cafe” was. There was a little wait to be seated, so we perused the menu in that downtime, trying to decide between breakfast and lunch. Places like this are always tempting with their all-day breakfast menus. Our yummy meals really hit the spot, and the cafe staff were all so very nice. Our waitress, Jen, was attentive, down-to-earth, and personable. After we ate, Lynn hit up their “to-go” area and grabbed a few muffins to take home. 

The rain had picked back up again, so we drove towards the Town Hall. The town hall was not in the town center area but instead 2 miles away. When we reached town hall- we were surprised to see a one-story-perfectly round building that looked like an elementary school. We drove around the building and grabbed some pics. From here, we went to the Shawsheen River Aqueduct. 

Aqueduct: An artificial channel (or water bridge) that is constructed to convey water from one location to another.

The Shawsheen River Aqueduct was constructed as part of the creation of a canal in order to allow the use of the waterway to expedite the transfer of imports and exports. The stone structures that remain there now are relics of the working structure that existed between 1803 and 1851.

It was really raining when we happened upon the Aqueduct, but we got out of the car anyway, took some pics, and walked around trying to imagine it when it was in use. Then we hopped in the car and drove a few miles before reaching the border of Billerica and turning around. By the time we drove back through the area with the Aqueduct, just 5-7 minutes later, there was hail hitting our windshield and hail pellets lightly covering the road and ground. Outside it was 50 degrees. It was the weirdest 10-15 minutes of weather we have experienced in a long time!

By the time we got back to the center of town, the rain had lightened up enough for us to quickly check out the historic town center with the 4th of July Hdqrs (we don’t really know what that is), the Gazebo, and small green area, and the Memorial Library). Then it started back up again, adding in some occasional thunder.

We went to Elias Country Store and bought some treats and then drove to the Town Beach at Silver Lake in the rain! Too bad we couldn’t go swimming because it looks like such a lovely little spot for folks to go and enjoy some recreation. 

Good job, Wilmington!

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Pawtucket, Massachusett, Agawam

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