Peabody. October 6, 2022

Day/Date:  THURSDAY -10/6/22
Towns visited:  Peabody (City) Had we ever been to this town before?  No
Drive to town:  31 miles    Time spent in town:   4.75 hours

What did we do in the town/area?  PEABODY:  
Do you ever have that feeling when you find out you have to work on Saturday, the day that you were planning on exploring, and you look at the weather app and see that the weather is gonna be awesome on Thursday, so you decide to play hooky on Thursday and venture north for some fall fun? 

We had that exact feeling, so that is what we did. Luckily, we had the flexibility to make that happen, and we are so glad because our visit to Peabody for apple picking and more turned out to be a delightful time.

As we always look to see who is selling the good coffee in the area, we were super stoked to learn that there is another Massachusetts coffee roaster that we hadn’t already known about! Capito Coffee is located in the Mills58 building (a cool renovated mill building with a food court and other small businesses) in Peabody. We bought some beans and enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee there.

The Mill58 building also featured some interesting photos showcasing the leather-making history of the building.

Happy with our coffees, we headed over to the downtown area with City Hall, the District Courthouse, and many businesses. Walking along a pretty narrow street, we noticed train tracks in the middle of the road but with no train track gates or warning signals or anything. And then we heard a train. It was moving slowly, but we were curious to see how this would pan out as the road it was about to cross was open, and a few cars were coming and going. As the train got closer to this tiny intersection, a man in a yellow vest jumped off the train with a flag and held off the car that had just pulled onto this road. Once the train had begun to cross the road, and it was clear to all cars that it was passing, the man jumped back on the train, and we all waited there until it finished crossing completely. It seemed like such an old-school style of train crossing, although it is probably common in many places.

Back in the day (in the early 1920s), Peabody became known as “leather town” due to its status as the largest producer of leather in the world. In our explorations, we noticed several old tannery buildings and a memorial to the A.C. Lawrence Leather Company. As we understand, this particular memorial was part of an original 200+ foot smokestack chimney on the grounds of the renovated mill building, which is now an apartment building.

We had brought our bikes with us because we had learned about a bike and walking trail in Peabody called the Independence Greenway. So we parked at Lt. Ross Park and rode 6 miles on this scenic trail that follows part of the Ipswich River and crosses over Crystal Lake. At Crystal Lake, we found 2 Adirondack chairs to rest upon with a scenic view. We also got a little history lesson. Along the trail was a “Peabody Witch Trials Legacy” marker with details about residents who had been martyred as part of the 1692 “Salem Witch Trials.” Note: The City of Peabody was incorporated in 1855 but was originally part of Danvers (which had originally been the part of Salem known as Salem Village).

After our bike ride and some lunch that we had brought, we journeyed on to the Brooksby Fram, a farm owned and operated by the City of Peabody. We bought our medium-sized “pick our own” bag and headed into the orchards for some picking. It didn’t take us long to fill it with Cortland and Empire apples. There is also a barnyard at the farm, so we put our apples in the car and visited the emu, goat, pony, white turkeys, and chickens. The goat and emu were in fierce competition for any treats that some kids were trying to feed them! Our last stop at the farm was in the store, where we got some yummy treats, including a can of cold brew coffee from Atomic Roasters, who we learned now have a roaster in Peabody (as well as one in Salem). We never tire of bringing home some “town visit food,” and this trip gives us a reason to make some apple sauce and apple crisp!

On our way home, we passed the Smith Barn and the Nathaniel Felton House, which is, apparently, the oldest house in Peabody (circa 1644).

All in all, a pretty excellent hooky day!

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

The city was named after George Peabody, a man who would become know as the ‘father of modern philanthropy’. His philanthropic efforts included providing education and housing for destitute children and poor laborers. He also founded the Peabody Institute in Maryland (which includes a music school, art gallery, and a library at John’s Hopkins University) and his Peabody Education Fund. You can read more about George Peabody here.

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