The water was high and silty as it flowed steadily through Lowell. Gliding along the Merrimack River, crewmen worked in rhythm. Meg and I walked around supporters from several colleges gathered in groups along the walkway calling out to their favorite rowers. The whirring of a small engine passed nearby and I was fascinated to see someone land a remote control helicopter ten feet away. The drone was being used to videotape/photograph the event taking place on the river!
All made for an interesting walk along the Vandenberg Esplanade and this part of the Lowell Heritage State Park. It was a beautiful 65 degree Saturday morning. We parked at North Campus and walked along the Merrimack River to the UMass Lowell Boathouse and back viewing some key pieces of the University expansion. A sleek new University Avenue Bridge reaches south across swift rapids of the Merrimack landing in front of the glass facade of the new University Crossing. On the north end of the bridge sits the Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center opened in 2012. The landscape has been renewed here as the University unfolds.
We took the sidewalk that hugs the river along Varnum Street/VFW Highway. Traffic wasn't heavy on this Saturday morning and once across Mammoth Road the sidewalk dips down staying with the river and moving away from the traffic. The river drops a few feet here as well. Falls and rapids were treacherous and loud but above the falls the river leveled and the water calmed. Families milled about, dogs got walked and runners ran in the park while the rowers raced up and down the river.
On our return we enjoyed a long view of the expansive UMass Lowell South Campus across the river. I fondly remembered my years there.
North Campus to Boathouse
- Date: April 19, 2014
- Distance: 4 miles round trip (mapmywalk above is off because I forgot to end it before when I drove away... Meg was distracting me with talk of tasty bagels)
- Weather: sunny, 65 degrees
- Fee: none
- Pets: yes, we saw many dog walkers
- What I liked about this walk: Lowell, UMass, mighty Merrimack River
- What I didn't like about this walk: The sidewalk along the river between University Ave and Mammoth could use some upgrading, hopefully part of the University's plan connecting the campuses.