This past weekend we visited Winchester, Massachusetts. Winchester is a small, quiet suburb located less than 10 miles from downtown Boston.
Its convenient location and short commute to Boston makes Winchester a high cost of living area, with the median home price averaging $1.2 million dollars.
The weather was beautiful, 60 degrees and sunny, parking was easy to find, and the people were friendly and outgoing as they went about their business on Main Street, which runs through the center of town.
In fact, at times we felt like we were in a Hallmark movie.
We saw an older gentlemen cross the street and almost get hit by a car. The owner of the car rolled down his window to apologize, and then the two engaged in some friendly banter and appeared to become fast friends.
The outcome surprised us given that most people probably would have reacted angrily to almost being hit by a car.
But again, we were in Winchester.
As we walked along Main Street, we couldn’t help but notice how clean and well-maintained the town was. The businesses were tidy and the sidewalks were in good condition.
Our first stop was a comic book store called “The Book and Board” which sells mostly comics and games. The store was on the small side, but had an excellent selection of $5.00 discounted trades and hardcovers.
Unfortunately, Billy couldn’t find what he was looking for, but he wouldn’t hesitate to go back because of the store’s friendly atmosphere.
After our visit to the comic book store, we continued to walk along Main St. and take in the variety of businesses.
We came across a pizzeria that looked enticing, and fought against the delicious smell of freshly baked bagels emanating from Bruegger’s – which brought back memories of my once carb-loaded work lunches of turkey pastrami on an everything bagel.
But we were troopers and resisted the temptations.
Our next stop was a little bookstore called “Book Ends”, which is located in a U.S. Historic District and is part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The bookstore was quaint and inviting, and offered a very nice selection of books despite their smaller inventory.
When we left the bookstore, we decided to loop around and head toward the water.
Winchester has a river called the “Aberjona River” which snakes through part of downtown Winchester, most of Woburn, and then empties into the Mystic Lakes.
Aberjona River¹ became nationally known for its role in the movie “A Civil Action”³ released in 1998. The movie, based on the non-fiction book written by Jonathon Harr, starred famed actors such as John Travolta and Robert Duvall. It was about a highly publicized case that was tried in Woburn, MA back in the 1980’s. Two companies in particular, Riley Tannery and W.R. Grace were named in the case.
According to Wikipedia¹ by the year 1865, Woburn (the town next to Winchester) was home to 21 tanneries. It was alleged that the tanneries used the Aberjona River as a dumping ground for their toxic chemicals.
The toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE)² was believed to be the culprit behind a rare leukemia, and other cancers, some of the residents in Woburn were inflicted with. And back in 1995, a study¹ still showed high concentrations of chromium, copper, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and zinc. Today, portions of the Aberjona River in Woburn are still listed as a superfund site.
Regardless of the history, walking around the Aberjona River was really enjoyable. We came across this delightful bridge, saw some wildlife, and was able to take in the nice scenery.
Hopefully, the area will continue to thrive because it definitely offers something for everyone.
On the way back to the car, we found more nooks and crannies to take in, and many unique stores. We even found this cute little alley way.
Overall, our visit to Winchester, MA was a lot of fun! The people are cheerful and the shops are quaint which made our trip worthwhile.