Independence Day, 2015 Celebrations!!

From this week’s Messenger:

Ashby July 3rd, Band Concert, Barbecue and Bonfire at Allen Field
Gates Open at 4:00
Chicken Barbecue 5:00, contact Ken or Kathy J. at 5502 for tickets, $10.00
Band Concert at 7:30
Bonfire Following Concert (approximately 9:30)

Ayer July 4, 2015
Parade from St. Mary’s Parking Lot to Pirone Park starting at 3:00 p.m.
Party, Concert & Fireworks at Dusk at Pirone Park

Bolton July 4, 2015
The Bolton Parks and Recreation Commission together with Bolton Loco are planning a fun 4th of July Celebration! The event will include the traditional bike and doll carriage decorating while adding some new activities like a Family Field Day and lawn mower races! Please join your community for a day of fun races, competitions and games! Check out for more info.

Brookline NH July 4, 2015 July 4th Parade (9:30 Start Time) and Family Fun Day with free hot dogs and hamburgers and tons of family friendly games at the Brookline Ball Park on Francis Dr. Fireworks over Lake Potanipo at dusk. Rain Date July 5.

Clinton Independence Day Fireworks Saturday, July 11, 2015
Rain date is Sunday, July 12th
The fireworks start when it get’s dark, around 9:00pm.
Fireworks are shot off at the Veterans Athletic Complex on rt. 110 across from the High School.
Most families will sit and watch the show from the High School & Middle School. The Varsity baseball and Softball fields will be closed to the public during the event.
For more information contact the Clinton Fire Department.

Fitchburg Block Party: July 3 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
A variety of children’s activities at the Kid’s Zone, music, artist displays, performances, and events for people of all ages. With over 70 vendors selling a variety of art, jewelry, local food, and services there is something for everyone in the family to do. The event culminates every year with a fireworks display launched off of Rollstone Hill. More info at

Groton Town Fireworks July 6, 2015. Rain date Tuesday Evening July 7th
Town Field, Playground Road, Groton Mon Jul 6 – Tue Jul 7, 2015

Harvard Fireworks & Concert at Fruitlands July 3, 2015, 5 p.m., Cost… $20/car
Join us on the Fruitlands hillside for the Town of Harvard annual fireworks display. The fun starts at 5pm when the museum grounds open for al fresco picnicking. Bring a basket of goodies or buy dinner from a variety of food vendors, and settle in for a lineup of local bands during an open-air concert. Then, when the sun has set, celebrate Independence Day with a spectacular fireworks extravaganza! All proceeds benefit the Town of Harvard fireworks display. Rain date is July 5th.

Pepperell July 4th, 2015
Parade steps off from town hall at 12:30
Fireworks behind the town field at Dusk

Southside of the Border

Swept aside by the march of mall evolution, the Border Grille & Bar was a stinging loss to blind corporate bureaucracy that seeks to put a CVS on every corner. It was a great place for food, service, atmosphere and location that enjoyed wide popularity and success, the wound to the small business community has yet to fully heal. The remedy for what ails former Border enthusiasts in Leominster is Happy Jack’s (of Nashua River Brewers Festival fame) but up in Gardner, hey, there’s the Southside Grille & Margarita Factory. This place has a similar feel to what the Border had and many of the old favorite menu items like fried ice cream!

The fried ice cream is oh so deliciously made to order!
The fried ice cream is made to order!

The dining room atmosphere at Southside is comfortable and oriented well for families, classic rock’s pumped out of speakers just loud enough to drown out any undesirable noise from the bar side. Unless it’s an evening graced by the musical performance of

The waitstaff in the dining room at Southside are excellent, like Lena pictured here. But what is that massive    multi-tiered masterpiece  on sourdough she's serving up?!
The waitstaff in the dining room at Southside are excellent, like Lena pictured here. But what is that massive multi-tiered masterpiece she’s serving up?!

some top local talent like Scott Babineau, who plays there frequently, or Lizzy Marquis.

The waitstaff is quick, professional and courteous without being overly attentive and a big kudos is due to the unseen heroes in the kitchen!

A full menu is at and there are many shining examples of what makes it so deliciously unique, like The Colossus One Pound Burger! (the name pretty much says it all)



The Colossus One Pound Burger!
The Colossus One Pound Burger’s intimidating size defies the gastronomically ambitious to clear the plate!

Longsjo Classic Left Unsponsored by Unitil

Monopolizer of the Fitchburg, Lunenburg, Townsend and Ashby electricity distribution market, Unitil, has not been a sponsor of the Longsjo Classic these last two years that have seen a revival of the second oldest cycling race in the US. Longsjo was cancelled in 2011 due to complications concerning safety in the area of the burned-out, not yet demolished Johnsonia building in downtown Fitchburg. In 2012, Longsjo was cancelled on June 11th (very close to the planned dates of the event) and organizers subsequently resigned, effectively killing the event until new life was breathed into it by a non-profit formed of new blood interested in resurrecting the race. Prior to this two year absence of the Longsjo Classic, Unitil was historically a primary sponsor of the event, its logo prominently displayed among the logos of other local businesses and organizations on banners, in newspapers and other forms of advertisement distributed all over north central mass and with significant exposure in Fitchburg. Despite consistent attempts by organizers to include Unitil in the roster of sponsors of Longsjo, there has been no involvement by the company that once even participated in sponsoring race competitors including former Unitil Senior Vice President George Gantz.

The first employee of Unitil in 1983, Gantz stepped down on April 1st, 2012 after nearly 30 years with the company. According to several online sources he still serves the company in a part-time consolatory capacity, helping with regulatory structuring.

Abe Waterman's "Sucker Punch" (won 4th Place & Sculptor's Choice)
Abe Waterman’s “Sucker Punch” (won 4th Place & Sculptor’s Choice)

Though costs of Unitil sponsoring Longsjo would be passed on to ratepayers (in one form or another), which may have had an affect in the decision to discontinue sponsorship, it was surprising to discover that Unitil continues to see it fit to sponsor other events such as the Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Classic, the costs of such advertising Unitil ratepayers in Mass should also expect to be paying for at least in-part.

Guy-Olivier Deveau’s “Entangled” won 2nd place at the 2015 Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Classic


An email to Fitchburg City Council President Hay concerning placing a non-binding advisory question on the local ballot in regards to the desire of Fitchburg residents to have municipal electric choice by the state legislature passing the Muni Bill into law has gone unanswered to date.

Still, Fitchburg residents do have the option of placing Unitil on public trial by completing the petition process for placing a non-binding advisory question on the local ballot. This type of ballot question would be the equivalent of the public, collectively and directly advising whoever replaces Rep DiNatale next year to raise the Muni Bill banner, as Rep DiNatale has, by filing the bill in as many sessions as necessary until it becomes law enabling Fitchburg to get out of the Unitil monopoly by purchasing existing Unitil territory infrastructure and forming a non-profit municipally owned electric company which would return all unused profits to the owning municipalities.

The Longsjo Classic continues this weekend with the Worcester Criterium on Saturday and on Sunday in Fitchburg with the Classic Criterium. More info may be found at

UPDATE: Fitchburg City Council President Stephan Hay responded on Thursday, July 2nd as follows: “Sorry for the delay in responding, I would have no problem with a nonbinding question on the ballot. I would like to know the specifics its impact would have on the city besides getting rid of Unitil and their high rates before I decided my position.”


Looking For Americana Comfort? Townsend House

In business 41 years, the Townsend House Tavern & Restaurant has quietly been one of the best spots in the region for local Americana IMG_5370fare. Located at the intersection of Depot St. and route 13 just south of Townsend center, the T House (as it’s locally known) offers Americana comfort food served by a friendly not overly attentive waitstaff in an atmosphere filled with local history.

The sole proprietor, Bobby Dickhaut, enjoys the signage of local businesses and collects signs and other antique items of local origin for the purpose of decorating his establishment. This can’t be too difficult with West Townsend being an “antiquing village” that contains internationally known dealers and experts at Hobart Village, The Settle Shop, Antique Associates at West Townsend, Delaney Antique Clocks and the newly opened My Mother and Me.

The site of the building that houses the business dates to 1870, originally constructed by the B. & A. D. Fessenden Company that was at one time the largest barrel making company in America.

From a 1922 National Coopers' Journal (digitized by Google), this photo pictures a display of the products manufactured by the Fessenden Co.
From a 1922 National Coopers’ Journal (digitized by Google), this photo depicts a display of the products manufactured by the Fessenden Co.

A barrel very similar to those pictured at right sits near the tavern entrance of the Townsend House and these days the interior is outfitted with  new floors and lighting, locally made wooden booths and 4 very large flat-screen TVs.

What most people likely come out for though, is the food and drink. Four draught taps, one of which is a selection from Wachusett Brewery, along with a large variety of other thirst quenching beverages are available from 11:30am til’ close every day of the week except for Sunday when the Townsend House is closed all day.

The newly overhauled website at features a complete listing of items on the menu.







Ashby Townwide Yard Sale Vendor Spots Available

The Ashby Town-Wide Yardsale takes place June 27th from 9am-2pm

There will be Vendors on the Common and there are still spots available. Residences hosting yardsales will be highlighted on a “take-with” Map of Ashby.

For more info and an application contact Jamie Lasorsa at 978-870-7541 or email


June 27 Water Chestnut Pull Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are needed on Saturday, June 27, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to noon in Pepperell, MA, to help scout and pull water chestnuts, an invasive exotic weed, from the Nashua River in Pepperell. Gathering baskets and maps will be provided. Nashoba Paddler LLC in West Groton, MA will be providing a limited number of canoes for use at no charge on a “first call, first served” basis (see contact info below to reserve a canoe). Recommended: work clothes, shoes and gloves that can get wet (plants have sharp seeds), sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Volunteers may bring their own boat and equipment. PFDs (life vests) are required.

~ To reserve a canoe you must call Nashoba Paddler at 978-448-8699 before June 27th.

~ Put-in is located adjacent to the Kemp horse track, 120 River Road (Rte. 111), Pepperell. Look for sign on the road across the street from the Pepperell Town Forest access.

~ Advanced sign-up for the event is encouraged. Contact Martha at: or 978-448-0299 for more information and to sign up. Walk in registration on the 27th OK. Liability waivers must be signed to participate.

Partners in the project are the Nashua River Watershed Association, Nashoba Paddler, Ducks Unlimited, and the Groton Greenway Committee; the project is funded in part by a grant from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. Your help on June 27th will be much appreciated!

Townsend Common Fundraising Event

Saturday, June 13th, saw Townsend common filled with vendors, local non profits and town governmentals as it is most every good weather weekend of the year. This event was just one of several fundraising events planned for town common by the Townsend American Flag Committee according to committee member Tubby Boucher.

Townsend American Flag Committee member Tubby Boucher and a few associates enjoy some shade on Townsend common.
Townsend American Flag Committee member Tubby Boucher (left) and a few associates enjoy some shade on Townsend common during Saturday’s fundraising event.

The Flag Committee ‘promotes the purchase and display of American flags along the main streets of the town during appropriate holidays.’ Flags are displayed on utility poles owned by local electricity distribution market monopolizer Unitil. Tub mentioned that permission to utilize the Unitil utility poles for display of American flags was granted after a probable “flurry of phone calls” a nearby associate chimed in with “It’s the only way to get things done.” 

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections also participated in the event on Townsend common with a demonstration by multiple K-9 units which drew a fair crowd.K-9 police unit demonstration.

K-9 Police














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Share what’s happening in and around the Nashoba Valley area of Massachusetts. Whether you currently or formerly lived in the area or have information you want to share about our area, here’s your taxi!

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Pizza GAH

Gardner Ale House Brewery & Restaurant is the crown jewel of the small business community of G Vegas, hey. Just take a look at GAH’s online resume, between 4 and 4 and a half stars on all relevant sites (except for Yelp! 3.5) and thousands of reviews. The business model of combining a restaurant with a brewery that doubles as one of the hottest performance venues for the north central area group of musicians is unique in the region. GAH’s performance calendar is packed with great local musicians nearly every night of the week, the lengthy Sunday Brunch buffet is the best around and the atmosphere is improved upon by Jazz and American standards played live by harmonicist Chet Williamson and guitarist Jimmy Morrell. According to, ‘Downtown Live Jazz Brunch. Huge feed. $3 off between 9 and 10 AM. Music & brunch till 1 PM. Price includes Mimosa, bottomeless coffee, juice or fountain drink. That’s a deal.’ and it doesn’t even mention the chocolate fountain…

GAH’s menu is influenced by what’s available locally and changes with the season and the mainstays are always great, like the pizza and nachos.

One of the ale house's specialty pizzas with a mayo based white sauce, ham, and smoked Gouda rind.
One of the ale house’s specialty pizzas with a mayo based white sauce, ham, and smoked Gouda rind.


Alehouse Nachos







Market Basket Trap Falls

When it gets hot in north central mass it seems Trap Falls (and Damon Pond) in Willard Brook State Forest on route 119 in Ashby become very popular locations for people from all around north central mass, especially those seeking to escape the heat of the asphalt laden city.

With 90 degree weather heading our way many people are sure to be enjoying the cold waters fed by Willard Brook; but today, merely in the 80s, visitors were surprisingly sparse and who couldn’t admit that it’s always a pleasant surprise when there are little to no people when visiting one of the most serene locations in Massachusetts.

Under the water at Trap Falls
Under the water at Trap Falls

Having a spot like this all to oneself makes it easy to pick up the trash that others have left behind, beer bottles sitting on the rocks under the falls as if they were placed there with enough care so that they would be balanced under the weight of the falling water without moving, lighters, plastic baggies, empty cans of soda, etc. It also provides ample opportunity to enjoy a grill (there are several at Trap Falls) and more than one picnic table (of which there are also more than a few at the site). For preparation and cooking of Market Basket hot dogs and pepper jack wrapped in MB bacon it’s preferable to have plenty of elbow room.









Free in the Nashoba Valley