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The weekly Tour de Turtle bone ride series continued this week as we explored the towns and cities of northern Worcester and Middlesex County. Join us as we rank the crapability of the following nine places we visited in order: Leominster, Lunenburg, Shirley, Ayer, Groton, Pepperell, Townsend, Ashby, Fitchburg.
Honestly, we didn’t think going into this that Lunenburg would get the top spot. Just the name itself sounds kind of dumpy. But seriously, the town is fantastic. Wherever you drive it’s pretty much as pleasant as you get.
It’s got a lot of rural areas so you don’t have to live directly next door to some dooshnozzle neighbor
And the center of town is picturesque
We had no idea Lunenburg was this nice.
How bout this neighborhood? Anyone recognize this land?
It’s nice looking and all, but I almost wanted to cry driving through it. Because here on this very land some 20 odd years ago, the Turtleboy family was having a whale of a time where these nice looking condos now sit.
It’s depressing to realize that Turtleboy Jr. will never experience the joy of seeing this sign in Leominster:
He will never experience the terror of his first roller coaster experience looking like this:
I don’t know why Whalom Park went out of business. Maybe it’s because it was named after a whale but yet for some reason their mascot was a bear with a blond afro wearing a vest and a leprechaun hat.
All I know is, these are two of the saddest images these eyes have ever seen.
Not the turtle!!!
Oh well, if Lunenburg were like the majority of towns in this state, they’d just let Whalom Park sit there, rot, destroy property value, and become a junkie’s paradise. But instead they bulldozed over it and turned it into a yuppie factory. Nevertheless, the legend of Whalom Park lives on.
If your town wins state championships in soccer it means one of two things. Either you’re a wealthy, liberal town filled with people who don’t want their kids playing a blue collar sport like football. Or you’re living in Worcester and your team is being carried by Ghanian, Albanian, Polish, and Colombian immigrants. Groton is the former. Plenty of nice digs in G-Town
Downtown does kind of have an older feel to it, but it’s not like Warren or Spencer old. It’s actually quite lovely.
There’s no bad parts of town or anything like that. Sure you get some of this once in a while
And you gotta watch out for runaway tractors
But all in all Groton is a nice little town.
A pet peeve of mind is when people from Leominster try to act like hardos. As if Leominster is the hood or something. It’s not. It’s just an overgrown suburb that borders Fitchburg. Granted there is no shortage of abandoned factories in Leominster
Or run down vacant buildings
Or random guys walking down the street talking to themselves
But some people act like Mechanic Street (which is the Leominster equivalent of Main South) is this place that hardens you up and turns you into a bad ass. It’s really not that bad.
The downtown is bustling
Some of the abandoned factories have been converted into YMCA’s
This is what happens when your city is run by an Italian guy. This is how Leominster doesn’t turn into Fitchburg. Turtleboy would have zero problem settling down in Leominster. First of all, Turtleboy Jr. is gonna be a football star, and Leominster is always good at football. I mean, there’s families in Lunenburg who have literally spray painted racial slurs on their own home in order to get their 1/4 black sons onto the Leominster football team. Plus it’s right off Route 2 and I-190 and there are TONS of neighborhoods that look like this:
Everyone has their own taste, but to me, this is what the American dream looks like. This is the type of neighborhood you’re supposed to ultimately wanna move to.
Townsend is one of the most forgettable places we’ve been to. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just not that good either. It’s basically the same thing as Pepperell except with less trailer parks. It’s essentially one main road
that everyone lives on
Downtown is a whole lot of what it is
There’s not really a lot of neighborhoods, just random streets with not much going on
There’s a lot of fine dining, such as Cliff’s Cafe
And there are some newer developments
And safe neighborhoods where the kids can frolic
But it’s also up on the New Hampshire border, and there’s pretty much nothing to do there. It’s not a bad place, but the Turtleboy family needs entertainment and Townsend is just too boring.
First of all, Pepperell is a pain in the ass to get to. Secondly, the whole town is just a double yellow lined road that leads you nowhere.
Usually we look for neighborhoods in these towns, but Pepperell doesn’t really seem to have that many. It’s just a collection of trailer parks
Streets with no sidewalks
And the occasional new developments on busy roads.
Other than that Pepperell is basically a bunch of this:
I can safely say that this is probably the last time Turtleboy will ever step foot in Pepperell.
Here’s some of Turtleboy’s beefs with Ashby. First of all, it’s one of the oldest looking towns we’ve ever seen. If you live in Ashby you must feel like every day is another terrible field trip to Old Sturbridge Village.
Secondly, it’s in the absolute middle of nowhere. This is where people from Fitchburg go to dump a body.
Thirdly, I’ve seen better roads in Heath and Colrain.
Fourthly, this is what there is to do downtown.
Fifthly, this is what they have to offer for restaurants in Ashby.
So as you can see, if you’re hungry, you have to go to Fitchburg. What’s the point of living in a nice town if your daily routine involves going to Fitchburg? Because there are a lot of really nice homes in Ashby.
But when the closest form of civilization is Fitchburg….what are you supposed to do with that?
This is Ayer in a nutshell:
Ayer is where you move to if you’re from Fitchburg and you’re trying to move up in the world.
The motto of Ayer has to be, “At least we’re not in the ghetto.”
Because it’s a fine town, it’s just whole lot of what it is:
I mean, what’s up with the Caza Manor hotel?
It looks like a place where corrupt state representatives go to get blowjobs.
Ayer, Shirley, and Harvard all have this part of town called Devens, which had a military base in it until 1996. After that it was kind of built into a little village. It’s easily the nicest part of town.
Consequently the people of Devens looked to form their own town. We’re not that familiar with the politics up there, but we know that the independence vote failed. It passed in the Ayer and Shirley parts of Devens, but not Harvard. Not sure why, but I know that Harvard is a wicked nice town, and I’m assuming that people who live in the Ayer and Shirley part of Devens couldn’t wait to GTFO, while the Harvard people were like….nah, we’re all set.
There’s a reason they warehouse the most dangerous criminals in Shirley. Because if they escape they’ll think the apocalypse happened and they’ll run back to jail. The first thing that stands out about this town is the downtown. For some strange reason someone thought it would be wise to put train tracks smack dab in the middle of town that run parallel to Main Street:
It’s generally a rule of thumb that wherever the train tracks are in your town, that’s gonna be the place where drugs are sold. In Worcester we’ve got Cantebury Street. In Shirley they have downtown.
You just kind of get the feeling that you’re in a bootleg town. A lot of the places we’ve seen have Ford or Toyota dealerships. Not Shirley. Shirley has Mohawk Motors:
There’s just a lot of random stuff around town that looks like this:
I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s some nice looking areas:
But there’s also a lot of this going on:
I mean, it’s certainly not ghetto or anything like that. But when you drive around town, its just seems like a place that isn’t very much fun at all.
What else? It’s hilly. It’s dumpy. It’s a great place to buy drugs. It’s where dreams go to die. It’s the dirty Burg in all it’s majesty. When people think of Fitchburg they usually think of something like this:
And believe me, there is plenty of that to go around. I mean, what’s not to like about this?
and this is lovely
And here is one of the many glorious vacant buildings.
You gotta love how in Fitchburg even the streetlights look like they’re dying. Seriously, those things look like sad tulips in November.
There are plenty of vacant buildings for local vagrants to procreate in
The front porches are covered with satellite dishes, old appliances, and unfulfilled New Years resolutions:
The main roads are littered with boarded up places where people used to live back when Fitchburg was a place where you didn’t mind living.
There is some great property cemetery-front property, but it’s best to use tarps rather than curtains.
So like we said, these are generally the type of sights we associated with the dirty Burg. But there’s actually tons of Fitchburg that looks like this:
Which of course are ideal for a Fitchburg bone ride.
And there’s lots of nice homes up near Ashby and Ashburnham and Westminster that will make you say, “We’re still in Fitchburg??!!”
Homes like this are a million times cheaper than they would be in Lunenburg or Groton. Gee whiz, can’t imagine why.
Anyway, we hope you enjoyed our weekly segment. Join us next week as we explore new crevices of the Bay State. Where should we go next?
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Want to have your business advert seen by over 1 million people per month? Email us at Turtleboysports@gmail.com for more information, and check out our website about types of advertising we offer.