Discover Burlington — Boston's Buzzworthy Northwest Suburb
Twelve miles northwest of Boston lies Burlington, a booming suburb along Interstate 95 (aka Route 128) with approximately 25,000 residents. Settled in 1641 and once an agricultural town, Burlington bloomed into one of the fastest-growing towns in 1960s Massachusetts and has since stabilized in growth. These five facts about Burlington are a good introduction to this charming New England town.
1. Route 128
In 1800, Burlington was primarily an agricultural town with 74 homes. Farmers sold hops and rye to Bostonians, and several shoemakers called Burlington home. Assigned in 1927, the original Route 128 was called the Circumferential Highway, following existing north-south roadways in Boston suburbs. When the highway was completed in 1954, the area saw drastic industrial expansion and commercialization.
The town motto — “Where Technology Goes to Work” — is in part due to Route 128’s path through the town. By 1960, the population had quadrupled over the past 10 years to nearly 13,000. Today, nearly twice as many people call Burlington home. In the 1970s and 1980s, the town was known for its high-tech industry; now, it’s booming with the life sciences and pharmaceutical industries. This technological diversification has helped keep Burlington’s population stable, as well as its employment levels and home values up.
2. Landlocked Forest
With 270 acres of land situated at the junction of Routes 3 and 95/128 in Burlington, the Landlocked Forest consists of open space, meadows and forest land. Its 13 miles of well-marked trails and boardwalks make it an ideal getaway for those who like to walk, run, mountain bike, walk their dogs, snowshoe and cross-country ski.
While the Landlocked Forest provides a respite for Burlington residents and visitors, it’s also home to a myriad of animal species, including deer, foxes, coyotes, wild turkeys a variety of birds, owls, fish and chipmunks — and even a bear. Otters have been seen along the streams, and vernal pools provide habitat for many animals and plants.
According to the website of Friends of the Landlocked Forest, a volunteer organization with the goal of preserving the land, the Landlocked Forest was “taken by eminent domain for the protection of Burlington’s water supply and preservation of open space” and, as such, is protected under Article 97 of the Massachusetts State Constitution. The organization has been responsible for marking the forest’s trails, creating trail maps, building an information kiosk and constructing boardwalks that help protect the wetlands from foot traffic.
3. The Burlington Historical Museum
What started in 1855 as a grammar school and was turned into a public library in 1897 was also a temporary police station during the 1970s. Built on a quarter acre of land, the building was 28’ x 40’ inside, with a cellar and a cupola on the roof. It served the community well for more than a century — until national unrest manifested itself among the Burlington youth.
In August 1970, after the police took over the library as its temporary home while a new police station was being built, someone threw a fire bomb through a window. The resulting fire destroyed walls and the stairway, severely limiting police communications. The Historical Commission took over the building and began working on a complete renovation. In 1975, the onetime schoolhouse-turned library-turned police headquarters officially became the Burlington Museum.
Now restored and updated with electric lighting and bathrooms, the charming building contains artifacts of historical significance. Murals painted by local artists depict local history. The museum is open by request for school children and other touring groups.
4. Shopping in Burlington
There’s a good chance that if you looking for something in particular, you’ll be able to find it in Burlington. The thriving town is home to several shopping centers and malls, including these three popular destinations.
This welcoming, walkable shopping area is New England’s hot, new go-to district for unique shopping, distinctive dining and entertainment experiences. 3rd Ave also anchored by the region’s only Wegmans — a specialty foods store ranked as America’s No. 1 favorite grocery store — and home to the industrial-chic Archer Hotel (opening early 2018).
More than 30 shops, services and eateries make Wayside Commons a shopper’s delight. Several spa options include the Green Tangerine Spa & Salon, European Wax Center, Massage Envy and Nails & Co. The premier lifestyle center is home to West Elm, Coldwater Creek, LOFT, NYA Joe’s and The Capital Grille.
Anchored by Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sears and Primark, this upscale indoor shopping center has more than 185 specialty shops. Burlington Mall dining options include the expansive food court and such restaurants as Besito Mexican Restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, Legal Sea Foods and Johnny Rockets.
5. Archer Hotel Burlington
Coming soon to 3rd Ave in Burlington is the industrial-chic boutique hotel with serious buzz. With 147 lux guest rooms and suites, plus casually elegant venues, Archer Hotel Burlington provides thoughtful touches throughout each guest experience.
Paying homage to its new Burlington home, Archer has storied art from local artists adorning its walls and delicious, locally curated turndown treats. A lively cocktail bar and patio welcome guests and locals alike, and Archer’s Kitchen + Bar feature tempting recipes and flavors from around the world.
When planning a trip to Burlington, whether for a day trip, weekend special or longer, look to Archer Hotel for Favorite Finds — a collection of Archer’s favorite things to do in the Burlington area: arts + culture, events + festivals, food + drink, fun + adventures and (naturally) shopping.
We hope you’ve learned from these five facts about Burlington. Enjoy your time in this charming Boston suburb!