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Venture Out: Lowell

Revisit your younger days when you hopped in the car, started the engine and drove off in search of something fun. The Sunday Patch Passport maps out where you can go on a short drive from your home. You won’t want to miss these unique stops on our trip.

Lowell National Historic Park isn't like other national parks, where you expect to come across nature, creeks and wildlife. 

It's an urban park emblazoned in the middle of a city. Its nature is found within old buildings that were once used as factories and boarding rooms for mill workers. 

With a network of waterways, boats make their way across the canal waters and tour guides give participants a look into Lowell's past. 

Joann Marcos, a park ranger, said the canal tours are one of the most informative experiences the city has to offer. 

"We have many different sites throughout our city that are historic and tell our story," Marcos said. 

"They always say that Lowell was our laboratory," Marcos said, referring to it being one of the first successful industrial cities in the United States. 

Other industrial cities like Detroit have withered away after the decline of factories, she said. But not in Lowell. 

"I call this the continuing revolution," Marcos said, "We're constantly going through changes."

For Marcos, Lowell is a part of American history. 

"We have the story; it's right in front of us," Marcos said.

Across the courtyard from the visitor's center is the Brush Art Gallery and Studios. 

Gallery walls show spectators beautiful paintings of Lowell landscapes. One welcomes the visitor to the Lowell skyline at dusk. Another painting shows the skyline reflected in one of the city's many canals. 

The gallery also serves as a studio for 13 local artists. Some paint, while others sew scarves. 

One of the artists in residence is Penny Cox. Cox makes jewelry and has been a resident of Lowell for eight years. 

"The town is quite welcoming to artists," Cox said. 

The amount of public art is evidence of this. 

A few blocks away, at the Revolving Museum, students and teachers work together to finish the last of murals going up on Merrimack Street for the public to enjoy. 

Joe MacFadzen is leading the class and said that the city is focusing on art. 

"Art brings joy, happiness, color," MacFadzen said, "When a person sees art, it stimulates the same part of the the brain as when they feel love and I think that's a pretty good thing."

The Revolving Museum's mission statement is "Art builds community."  And in Lowell that seems to be the case. 

Check out Your Passport to North Andover.

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