A short drive from big-city Boston is a place offering a small-town New England atmosphere. Come here for a welcoming, rustic, and historical experience.

While its clapboard houses might look modest, Woburn’s history is pretty remarkable. Sitting nine miles north of Boston, this small city was one of the first towns to be incorporated in New England, back in 1642.

Woburn and the surrounding area is steeped in history. One of the clapboard houses belonged to Benjamin Thompson, a famous physicist who also designed warships and ended up overseeing an army in Bavaria. Drive a little out of the city to find more links to local legends. In Concord, to the west, you can tour the house of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott. Walden Pond State Reservation is also close by; this is where Henry David Thoreau packed up and disappeared to in 1854 to write his seminal book Walden. There’s even a replica of his one-room cabin to explore.

Back in Woburn take the family to Horn Pond Recreation Area for walking, biking, and picnics. Rent a boat to go fishing on the water. For nature on a bigger scale, head over to the Middlesex Fells Reservation. This mix of lakes, woods, and hills covers more than 2,500 acres of wilderness. Hit the hiking trails – there’s 100 miles to cover, from easy introductory loops that cover a gentle mile to more challenging day-long trails taking in rocky outcrops and the fells.

Woburn has two large malls to the north west, Burlington Mall and Woburn Mall. Between them, they have all your retail therapy needs covered. Family-friendly restaurants aren’t hard to find in town either. Choose from fine dining options, pizzerias, seafood spots, and cafés. And of course, this being New England, there’s always a craft brewery nearby too.

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