Enjoying spring, exploring my town (finally!)

Forefathers Burial Ground, Chelmsford, MA

Man, what a long winter. One blizzard after the next. I can’t really complain. Being snowed in made for some productive indoor days. Now, with spring finally here, I look outside longingly at the sunshine, thinking, “I should be out there!” Today is wet and gray, which is fine. April showers bring May flowers. Especially if you’re in Plymouth, MA – badum tsh!

Like every spring, I have this crazed restlessness to explore new places. Here in MA, the trees aren’t even blooming yet, and there are some lingering nasty snowbanks (more dirt than snow?!). It’s still sort of ugly out, and I’m getting ahead of myself. So instead of venturing any place worth a real spring/summer visit just yet, I’ve been out getting to know my town a little better!

I’ve been living in Chelmsford for less than a year, and admittedly my general attitude towards it has been “it’s that awkward place between Lowell and Westford.” Lowell = hip hangouts, historic mills, experiencing a mini-renaissance. Westford = farms and rich people houses. Chelmsford = ?!?!

Well, I take it back. And here’s three words why: Forefathers Burying Ground.

Let me just say it: how the hell have I been living here for nine months and never yet explored this absolutely amazing colonial cemetery in the center of Chelmsford?! Shame on me. I’ve driven by it so many times, but never seeing anyone near or inside its gates, assumed that it was off-limits or something. Apparently it is open to the public, so how come it seems vacant all the time (although I definitely felt like a trespassing creeper)? Founded in 1655, it has some of the oldest, most unique, and in-tact headstones I’ve ever seen in New England.

Forefathers Burying Ground

This is my kind of Chelmsford

Forefathers overview

Apparently the colonials were not concerned with symmetry…

Forefathers marker

Broken headstone transformed into grave marker…

Quite chummy

Quite chummy, no?

Dora, Forefathers Burying Ground

Poor Dora, overtaken by a tree

There are so many interesting stories to be found here. Just a couple gems of many:

levi and nathaniel marshall, chelmsford

Brothers Levi and Nathaniel Marshall, “occasioned by the explosion of the Powder Mill in Chelmsford, Dec 5 1820.” What?! Chelmsford had an explosive powder mill? “They were pleasant in their lives, And in their deaths they were not divided.” And still conjoined nearly 200 years later…

Madam Bridge

Woah, Madam Bridge, you are very spooky

Awesome. I’m eager to get back and explore some more. Another nice feature is that it’s walkable from the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, so I don’t have to deal with driving Chelmsford’s wacky “intersection from hell” to get there (is it a traffic circle? a triangle? a teardrop? I mean, seriously). Also, the delicious Java Room is right across the street. Good coffee and burial grounds. That’s all I need to be happy. Alright, Chelmsford, you’re pretty cool.

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2 responses to “Enjoying spring, exploring my town (finally!)

  1. Cemeteries have a strange, quiet beauty to them. It’s fascinating that so much history is laid to rest there. (btw, your “May Flower” joke/pun coaxed a chuckle out of me 😉 )

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