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“Lowell Folk Festival”

Lowell National Historical Park
Ranked #1 of 28 things to do in Lowell
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This park commemorates Lowell's integral part in America's Industrial Revolution.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

Have a great family day. Eat from a wide variety of menus. Hear great acoustic music. Unwind. This is an annual event late July and gets better each year.

Thank Irwin A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 29, 2013

Great place to visit and learn about the Industrial Revolution and our textile heritage. Films, demonstrations, pictures artifacts and a working mill from the 19th century.

Thank LarryBnh843
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

Being a history nerd, I really enjoyed this park (we went to Bootts and the VIsitor Center). The staff were all extremely pleasant and helpful. There was one woman working the looms and we had her to ourselves for about 10 minutes while we asked all kinds of questions about what she was doing and how the machines worked.
Tip: The exhibition on the second floor of Bootts is really large! We didn't know how large it was, so we didn't budget our time accordingly. Also, if you have kids with you: The second floor has a number of hands-on experiences to help explain how the looms work. You might want to try those out and then return to the first floor to see the machines in action again.

2  Thank Jenny_in_Palo_Alto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2013

It was a rainy day up in the Shire, so we decided to take a trip down to Lowell and visit the Lowell NHP. This particular Thursday, we had the place nearly entirely to ourselves. The staff were very polite and helpful and overall we had a very good experience. This park is focused on the industrial era of United States and has many examples of cotton mills and life during that time. I found it fascinating.

If you have very young children, you may want to wait until they are 8+ years old. There wasn't much in the way of activities for the very small kids and all the walking might make it a strain. Our daughter is 10 1/2 and she really enjoyed the experience.

Here are some tips to make it a day for you:

1. Start in the Visitor's Center. All the maps and information you need are there.

2. If it is a nice day, plan on a boat ride. Weather prevented us from taking this trip offered by the NPS, but it looked great. There are 1-hour and 2-hour options for touring the canals with a guide. Reservations are made in the Visitor's Center. We walked to a few places that would have been better experienced by boat including the "Industrial Canyon" where the canals run between the old mills. You may want to call ahead for tickets/reservations if this is something you want to do.

3. From the Visitor's Center, I suggest the trolley. We found the walk around the canal a bit seedier than we had expected. This would have been ok with just my wife and me, but our little family making our way through the urban jungle was a little more than we bargained for. At the end of the day when we rode the trolley back to the Visitor's Center, we unanimously wished we had ridden it over to start. If you want that urban experience, by all means take the walk.

4. We stopped at the Boott Cotton Mill next. This was the one place that required an admission fee. The immersive quality of this museum is complete with fully operating looms complete with ear protection to walk the production floor. I personally worked in a cotton mill in the South 20 years ago and can attest to the accuracy with which this facility is portrayed. The Weave room gave our daughter a gift of some cloth woven there and a wood bobbin. That was a nice touch. We bought some gifts for our family back home in the gift shop here. We spent just over an hour here.

5. It was lunch time and we walked back down to Lowell to grab a bite to eat at the Old Court Irish Pub & Restaurant. Check out my review there. It was good.

5. The Mill Girls house and history is across the plaza from the Boott Cotton Mill. The NPS Ranger was very informative and gave us a lot of background on what we were seeing. This is a multifloor exhibit and took about 30 minutes to tour.

6. She also shared with me the "Jack Kerouac" brochure that showed Jack Kerouac's Lowell. Try to find that brochure during your trip if you have any interest in learning more about him.

7. We took the trolley back to the Visitor's Center. From there we walked up the few blocks to the American Textile History Museum. It was well worth the trip. Check out my review. We spent just under two hours touring here which included a coffee.

We arrived at 10:30 and left around 4. It was a full day and I highly recommend it.

5  Thank Darryl P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2013

My daughter and I arrived at the visitor's center in the late afternoon just in time to look around a little and take the canal boat tour. We boarded a trolley to take us the few blocks down to the boat dock for our tour. Cost for the canal tour was $8/person or $4/person if you have a National Parks annual pass. This tour was well worth the cost. Emily, our ranger, was very knowledgable about how the canals allowed Lowell to become one of the 1st big factory towns in the United States. She discussed how/why the canals were built as well as pointed out areas of interest along the way. We even disembarked upstream to get a close look at one of the locks. Originally, we had planned to spend an afternoon in Lowell. After taking the canal tour, we decided to come back for a second day to see the rest of the park.

On the second day, we visited the Boott Cotton Mills Museum. There are lots of interactive displays and videos upstairs. The really cool part is found on the lower floor. As you enter the museum, you are transported back in time. You walk through a working textile mill as it would have appeared in the late 1800s/early 1900s. A number of the machines are working and making cloth just the way it would have been done back in the day. If you ever thought that the history of industrialization in the US was boring, you haven't been to Lowell. I highly recommend it...especially if you hate learning about history from having to listen to a long lecture or reading a really thick history text. Don't skip the movie on the second floor. Even though it is only a 'slide show", it is very well done and does a great job of explaining the difficulty we had as a country moving from a agricultural to industrial society.

By the way, it is easiest to park in the city parking garage when visiting the Cotton Mill since it is on the other side of the part from the Visitor Center. Cost for parking was only a few bucks...very reasonable. Be sure to stop and pick up a dish towel or two in the gift shop before you go. The towels are made on the working machines located in the Cotton Museum. Great place to spend 1/2 day and learn about our country's transition from a farming to manufacturing economy.

Thank Paul R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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