Natick tourist info

Doug Hagerman, DEC, 508-841-2145, reply-to: hagerman@mail.dec.com 02-May-1997 1043 hagerman at starch.enet.dec.com
Fri May 2 07:43:29 PDT 1997


* From the SCSI Reflector (scsi at symbios.com), posted by:
* "Doug Hagerman, DEC, 508-841-2145, reply-to: hagerman at mail.dec.com  02-May-1997 1043" <hagerman at starch.ENET.dec.com>
*
Tourist Guide to Natick, Massachusetts

In case there are some members of the the committee who are considering
touring the Natick area, here is a brief list of suggestions. This is
not very well structured; more like a list of random info on the area.

---

Each month Horst Truestedt's wife Jeanne sponsors an informal "support
group" of significant others and hangers-on which meets at 9:00 in
the hotel restaurant to decide what to do that day. Horst tells
me that she will be in Natick next week.

---

Natick, pronounced with a long a, is located about 20 miles west of
Boston. There are two circumferential highways around Boston, state
Route 128 (pronounced "root") and Interstate 495. Natick is located
about halfway between them. There are two main roads from Boston to
Natick state Route 9 and Interstate 90, a toll road (aka "the Mass Pike").

The fastest way to get here from Boston is on the Pike, but it's not
that much slower to go by Route 9 and you get a better feel for the
surrounding community that way. The hotel is on Route 9 just by the
border between Natick and Framingham.

I believe the official announcement tells you how to get to the hotel.

---

If you choose to travel on Route 9 you will pass through the following
towns:

Boston, the hub of the universe (traditional Bostonian saying).
Brookline, home of the prototypical limosine liberal, Mike Dukakis.
Newton, upscale inner suburb.
Wellesley, very upscale suburb.
Natick, not so upscale.
Framingham, a small city (defined by governmental organization).

---

The hotel itself is near the center of a large shopping mall that
extends into both Natick and Framingham. There are two good large
bookstores, a giant showcase cinema, numerous mall-type stores, and
several generic restaurants.

---

Driving in Massachusetts. Because of the narrow roads and heavy traffic,
driving here can be an experience. Speeding fines escalate rapidly; I've
found that a 10% leeway over the posted speed is generally safe. Speeds
are generally low compared to most other parts of the country.

Watch out for oncoming traffic turning across in front of you. This is
particularly common when the light turns green; the protocol is to allow
two or three oncoming cars past and then nose out into the intersection
to bully your way across.

---

I'm not a big restaurant expert; my favorite in the area is The Villa
on Route 30 about 1.7 miles east of Speen street. This is not a very
fancy place.

There are a number of ethnic and generic restaurants in the
Natick-Framingham area; I would ask the hotel for info.

---

History. Natick's most famous historical citizen was Puritan clergyman
John Eliot, who, in 1651, established a settlement for Christian Indians
(native americans) on the Charles River in what is now South Natick. The
detailed history of this community is interesting, particularly in regards
to the attitudes and relationships between the various groups. Eventually
14 such communities were established in Massachusetts with about 1100
members, or about a quarter of the native population. Eliot translated
the Bible into the Algonquian language after first learning the language
and then inventing a notation for it.

A more recent arrival is the Army's Natick Labs, where k-rations and
napalm were invented. There are tours.

All of the surrounding suburban Boston towns were originally farming
communities. In the early 1800s it became obvious that farming was
much more sensible in the mid-west, and this area was left to go
to seed. Thus the trees you see everywhere are actually all second
growth forest, and while New England now has the largest amount of
forested area it has had since the Colonists, the trees are not
the gigantic white pines that were needed for the King's navy.

Originally in Massachusetts you couldn't start up a town until you
had an Orthodox Puritan minister (generally educated at the official
state college, Harvard) and a meetinghouse. Town meetings were held
in the large white churches found on each town square. "Disestablishment"
separated the government from the church in about 1830, and town
meetings are now held in high school auditoriums. These annual events
are where town budgets are decided and various bylaws are argued about.
However, the state has gradually reduced the power of the meetings to
the extent that they are in large part ceremonial.

Most towns still have official offices for tree counter, fence viewer,
and other archaic functions. 

Waves of immigrants have continued to come to this area, and many towns
have a flavor that is somewhat dominated by one group or another. This
trend continues, and Framingham in particular has a large number of
recent immigrants from both eastern europe and asia. Inter-group
relations are on the whole good.

---

Weather. Unlike certain popular western states, we have weather here.
Yesterday it was 43 degrees and rainy, while today it's about
75 and sunny. Be prepared for both possibilities.

---

The local hospital is the Leonard Morse Hospital, recently listed
as one of the 100 best in the country.

---

Points of interest. In Natick, besides the mall, one can find the
Broadmoor Wildlife sanctuary (in South Natick), and Lake Cochituate
state park (on Route 30). 

The Wayside Inn, made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and reputed
to be the oldest inn in the country, is located nearby in Sudbury. Also
in Sudbury is the school attended by the Mary of "Mary had a little lamb".

Concord and Lexington are about 10 miles to the North. Concord, of course,
was home to the Transcendentalists--Emerson, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau,
etc. There are a couple of interesting small museums in the area.

Cape Cod is really too far to drive to, about 1.5. hours to the South. 

If you're not from the area I would strongly encourage a tour of
Boston.

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