One of the important things about a livable community is a sense of place -- that it wasn't simply dropped from out of the sky, that it's not a carbon copy of a hundred other similar soul-less cookie-cutter suburbs. And whatever Framingham's planning faults, especially along the suburban sprawl nightmare that is Rte. 9, the town has retained important pieces of its history and still has neighborhoods that feel unique.
Two upcoming events celebrate Framingham's history and neighborhood pride. Sunday, May 16 is the Framingham House Tour, sponsored by and a fundraiser for the Framingham Historical Society. Eight historic homes and buildings are on tap for this year's event, including "a 26-room grand manor known as the "Owl's Nest" where Buffalo Bill Cody reportedly once partied. That cottage-style home from 1790 is the oldest home in this year's tour," according to the Milford Daily News.
Next month, Riverfest 2004 and Discover Saxonville Day combine for activities all weekend June 12-13 (you can see listings on the Framingham Historical Society site). There are lectures, hikes, canoe trips and A Day in the Park (Danforth Park, Saxonville) town fair 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 12.
Riverfest activities feature a nature hike on the Carol Getchell Trail in Saxonville with Audubon naturalist Gail Fenton (11 a.m. Saturday, meet at the Nature's Classroom by the Sudbury River near the Stapleton School). There will also be a ribbon cutting for the historic Danforth Street Bridge revnoation ("one of only two remaining pony truss bridges in the state," according to the Framingham Historical Society).
I do love the fact that there's a beautiful nature trail along the river now, even if I once emerged from the trail with more than a dozen mosquito bites. But I still dream about a walking path along the river on Water Street, instead of that chain link fence barring nearby residents from enjoying it there (the lone sidewalk is across the street).