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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Meet with History in Merrimack Valley

Just a short drive northwest of Boston, the Merrimack Valley is one of Massachusetts’ most vibrant regions, where colonial history, literary landmarks, beautiful hotels and New England scenery blend into one destination. The area sits close to three major interstates as well as the Boston Logan International Airport, making it a choice location for meetings and events.

 “We’re part of Greater Boston but half the price of being in downtown or being on the waterfront. We’re seeing a lot of folks that are saying, ‘Why am I going to Boston when we have these beautiful and unique meeting venues at the fraction of the price?’” said Tom Fitzmaurice, executive director of the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Travelers will discover a broad range of sights and attractions throughout Merrimack Valley’s 21 towns. In Lexington and Concord, groups can trace the footsteps of literary legends like Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Less than a few minutes’ walk from the Old Manse, an 18th-century Georgian home where Emerson and Hawthorne once lived, groups can stroll across the first battlefield of the American Revolution at Minute Man National Historic Park.

Another national park, Lowell National Historic Park, resides at the center of Lowell, Massachusetts’ fourth-largest city, merging scenic canals and riverwalks with historic buildings, shops and restaurants.

“Downtown Lowell has a unique urban core that doubles as a national park,” said Fitzmaurice. “It was the first urban park of its kind in America.”

Lowell was founded during the early 1800s as a manufacturing town, and remnants of that heritage can still be seen today. By the 1840s, the Lowell mills employed more than 8,000 textile workers, serving as the first example of industrial revolution in the United States. Many of the tall brick mill buildings have since been converted into museums, shops, art studios and condos.

Major Meeting Spaces

The Merrimack Valley has several hotel properties with extensive meeting space. Right off Interstate 495 near the University of Massachusetts and Lowell Memorial Auditorium, the Radisson Hotel and Suites Chelmsford-Lowell offers a 20,000-square-foot conference center with flexible meeting and banquet space. Planners can take advantage of the hotel’s 24-hour business center, complimentary parking and free weekday shuttle to surrounding attractions.

There are two Regency properties in the region. In Boxborough, the Boxboro Regency Hotel and Conference Center features over 30,000 square feet of space as well as complimentary shuttle service within a 15-mile radius. A short distance down the interstate, the Westford Regency Inn and Conference Center provides a more intimate setting with 18,000 square feet of meeting space, including two grand ballrooms, several smaller breakout areas and 6,000 square feet of seasonal outdoor space.

Attendees can enjoy luxurious amenities for attractive rates at the Boston Marriott Burlington, a full-service, 418-room hotel in Burlington. Up to 1,000 guests can meet or dine in the hotel’s 14,570-square-foot conference center. Additionally, the hotel houses the award-winning Chopps American Bar and Grill, one of the finest steak, seafood and cocktail venues in the area.

Notable Venues

Lowell is home to three of the Merrimack Valley’s most notable venues: Lowell Memorial Auditorium, the Tsongas Center and the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. Built in 1922, historic Lowell Memorial Auditorium can seat up to 2,800 guests and provides a beautiful, classic backdrop for concerts, family shows, conferences and corporate seminars. Nearby, the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell is a state-of-the-art, 7,800-seat arena that hosts everything from hockey games to trade shows and concerts.

“The arena is absolutely beautiful,” said Fitzmaurice. “It’s one of those unique arenas across the country that’s just big enough to host these large-scale events but small enough that if you don’t fill it, it doesn’t feel empty.”

The UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center is also based on the University of Massachusetts campus and holds over 15,000 square feet of versatile meeting space.