Story Ideas

The Greater Merrimack Valley is not only packed full of fun, exciting, educational, and interesting things to do; it is the birthplace of our nation's independence and America's Industrial and Literary Revolutions.   For further information on any of these story ideas please contact our office at the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, 978-459-6150 or events@merrimackvalley.org

Bike Through History:

The town of Lexington offers 82 miles of bike paths on 14 different routes. Pack a picnic lunch and spend an afternoon cycling through scenic, historic Lexington and its surrounding towns. And for the ambitious cyclist, take the ten-mile route right into Boston!  For more information contact the Lexington Chamber of Commerce: www.lexingtonchamber.org

The Wonder of Walden Woods:

Walden Pond is perfect for swimming and boating and the surrounding woods make an ideal setting for hiking and/or a picnic lunch. Walden Pond offers a perfect combination of serenity, history and natural beauty. Come see what inspired Henry David Thoreau to write Walden.  Helpful Links: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/northeast/wldn.htm

River Adventures:

The Concord River in Lowell offers white water excitement with both Class III and IV rapids. The less adventurous will also enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and sailing down the Assabet River in Concord and the Merrimack River in historic Lowell.  Helpful Links: http://www.lowelllandtrust.org/White_water_rafting.html

History and Culture:

Battle of Lexington/Concord Reenactment:  The entire battle, including the retreat of the British Troops, is reenacted each Patriots’ Day on the Lexington Battle Green.
Helpful Links: www.battleroad.org 781-862-0500

Lowell Celebrates Kerouac:  Each October this festival features tours of Kerouac’s Lowell haunts including many of the places described in his books.  Included in the weekend-long festival are a road race and lectures by Kerouac scholars.  Events held at locations throughout the city.  See link or phone for exacts dates.
Helpful Links:  http://lckorg.tripod.com

Doors Open Lowell:  Over 40 of the city’s most beautiful historical buildings and artists’ lofts are open to the public every May.
Helpful Links: http://www.doorsopenlowell.org/

Lowell Summer Music Series:  Each weekend from July to September Lowell hosts a wide variety of popular, nationally acclaimed artists at its beautiful Boarding House Park.  
Helpful Links: www.lowellsummermusic.org

The Greater Merrimack Valley as a Destination for Modern and Contemporary Art Lovers:  The Greater Merrimack Valley is an important resource for fine art in Massachusetts.  The region is home to several museums and galleries including:  The Brush Art Galleries, Lowell, The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, The Revolving Museum, Lowell, The Whistler House, Lowell, as well as many other private artist galleries and lofts.  Contact:  Deborah Belanger, Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureaudbelanger@merrimackvalley.org

Fantastic Professional Theatre Close to Home:  Theatre lovers no longer have to drive into Boston or Cambridge to experience great, professional theatre productions.  The Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell offers several excellent shows each season as well as a children’s summer theatre program.  Contact:  Merrimack Repertory Theatre, www.merrimackrep.org, or Deborah Belanger, Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau dbelanger@merrimackvalley.org

Our Historic Cities and Towns:  The Greater Merrimack Valley region is rich in history. From Lexington and Concord, where the Revolutionary War began, to Lowell, the home of the Industrial Revolution in America.  Our region was also home to some of American history’s greatest writers, artists, and thinkers including Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Jack Kerouac and James McNeil Whistler.  For great story ideas on the history of the area check the following sites:
Lowell Historical Society: http://ecommunity.uml.edu/lhs/lowell_history.htm 
Lexington Historical Society: http://www.lexingtonhistory.org/
Concord Historical Society: Concord Historical Commission
Lowell National Historical Park: http://www.nps.gov/lowe/
Minuteman National Historical Park: http://www.nps.gov/mima/
American Textile History Museum: http://www.athm.org/

Festivals and Celebrations:

Lowell Folk Festival:  For 3 days each July the Lowell Historical National Park presents the largest free folk festival in the United States:  music, food, dance, crafts, parades, and more.
Helpful Links:  www.lowellfolkfestival.org  978-970-5000

Merrimack Valley Jazz Festival   The region's only jazz festival features live music from bands hailing from across the U.S. Taking place each August, the festival is held outdoors against the backdrop of the Merrimack River in Lowell. 
merrimackvalleyjazz.com

Lowell’s WinterFest Celebration:  Each February on the weekend following Super Bowl Sunday the city of Lowell hosts WinterFest, a celebration of the winter season. The festival includes the Soup Bowl Competition featuring entries by some of the city’s finest restaurants, the nationally-covered and wildly entertaining Human Dog Sled Competition, live music, great food, and ice skating in the nearby Paul Tsongas Arena.  
Helpful Links:  http://www.lowellwinterfest.org/

Southeast Asian Water Festival:  Each August Lowell hosts this festival featuring traditional Southeast Asian dance, music, fashions, foods, arts & crafts, games & activities, and traditional boat races on the Merrimack River.  
Helpful Links: www.lowellwaterfestival.org

Greek Festival:  Lowell’s Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church presents a 3-day Greek Festival each June.  The festival includes traditional Greek food and entertainment.  
Helpful Links: www.tranchurch.org/grecianfestival/grecianfestival.htm

Fine Arts and Crafts Festival:  The historic town of Lexington hosts this festival each September, featuring the works of fine, local artisans.  See link for exact dates.
Helpful Links: www.lexingtonchamber.com

Lowell Quilt Festival:  In August Lowell hosts this biannual celebration of this American art form at various venues throughout the city.  
Helpful Links:  www.lowellquiltfestival.org

Sports:

Local Sports Teams:  The Greater Merrimack Valley is home to the exciting sports action of the Lowell Spinners minor league baseball team (Red Sox Class A) http://www.lowellspinners.com/ whose games have been sold out for the past 6 consecutive seasons.  

Also, don’t forget the University of Massachusetts at Lowell’s Riverhawks hockey!  The Riverhawks’ games are played throughout the winter season at the Paul Tsongas Arena in Lowell.  http://www.goriverhawks.com/

Off the Beaten Path:

Having fun all Winter Long in the Merrimack Valley:  The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln offers exciting snowshoe tours of their park all winter long, including hot cocoa and seasonal treats in their café.  First class skiing and snowboarding can be enjoyed at Nashoba Valley in Westford, both day and night, and don’t forget The Winterfest Celebrations in Lowell and Chelmsford for even more winter fun!

For more information:  Brent Sverdloff, Decordova Museum and Sculpture Park, bsverdloff@decordova.org, Nashoba Valley Ski Area, www.skinashoba.com

A Unique Place for Weddings: The Greater Merrimack Valley is home to one of Massachusetts’ most unique wedding venues:  The Butterfly Place in Westford.  Here couples can state their vows among the museum’s 50 butterfly species, their ceremony officiated by the Butterfly Place’s owner, Sylvia Lesie, who is also a justice of the peace.  For more information:Sylvia Leslie, The Butterfly Place, Bflybut@aol.comwww.butterflyplace-ma.com