Donald Black likes that he doesn’t have to go far to eat out at a nice restaurant, pick up fresh vegetables at the farmers’ market, take a long hike, or even visit with his grandchildren.
Black has lived all 66 of his years in Groton, a North Central Massachusetts town of about 10,800, because it has what he likes and needs — a thriving Main Street, miles of trails, and lots of relatives.
Black and his wife, Alicia, have two grown children who live in town, and a third is moving back. Black also has two brothers and a sister who live in Groton.
“That says something for it,’’ said Black, who built homes for 42 years and now works for a real estate development firm. “There’s something for everyone.’’
Like many quaint New England towns, Groton has historic homes, farms (Blood Farm, a slaughterhouse and retail store; The Herb Lyceum at Gilson’s; and Kirk Farm for organic vegetables), and acres of conservation land.
“If you’re out for a weekend drive, Groton is a breath of fresh air,’’ Black said. “You’re away from the hustle and bustle and congested highways in and around Boston.’’
But what sets Groton apart from other communities, Black said, is its busy Main Street and town gatherings, like the free monthly community dinners and the annual Grotonfest arts and crafts fair.
“It has a very attractive Main Street,’’ Black said. “It’s well defined, so you know you’re in the center of something when you drive through. When you get to Groton, you can say it’s nice and special.’’
BY THE NUMBERS
The amount of land in the community permanently protected by the town, state, or through private organizations or trusts — 8,938 acres in 14 square miles
The number of trails and also the number of miles those trails cover in town. The network includes paths for mountain biking, dog walking, camping, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing.
Number of private boarding schools. The Groton School (founded in 1884) serves students in the eighth through 12th grades; Lawrence Academy (founded in 1793) is a high school.
The number of square miles that make up Groton, the largest community landwise in Middlesex County, according to the town manager
PROS & CONS
Groton is known for its acres of open space and extensive trail system, including a bike path (Nashua River Rail Trail) that goes through town to the New Hampshire border.
The small number of commercial properties (and two tax-exempt private schools) puts the tax burden primarily on homeowners. For 2016, the rate is $18.78.
Despite its rural character, Groton has a vibrant Main Street with several small businesses, a private school (Lawrence Academy), and restaurants. The Groton Inn, one of the nation’s oldest in operation when it burned down five years ago, is being rebuilt. The oldest part of the inn dated to 1678.
Jennifer Fenn Lefferts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.