Lowell's Best Kept Secret


1878 Plan of the Mill Yard (University of Massachusetts Lowell, Center for Lowell History)

As a recent transplant to New England, there are a few things I knew about Lowell. It hosts a University of Massachusetts, is a terminating stop on a commuter rail line, and was somewhere I didn’t have much reason to visit without a car or a friend to visit there.

What I didn’t expect was for it to become a regular addition to Studio Raza’s show schedule.

Mill No. 5 is more an experience than a location. Originally a textile mill owned and operated by the Appleton Company, it is the last surviving of their mills. The rest were demolished after Appleton Manufacturing Company moved south in 1927. Today, the mill has been revitalized into a community space bustling with shops, conversations, and events.As Chris describes it in their blog Learning Lowell,”There’s an indescribable energy in Mill No. 5, as if one could turn a corner and find anything.”



Setting up shop there is a treat, no matter the traffic or the weather. On a beautiful day in February, the 5th floor was aglow with sunlight streaming through the large windows. I chatted with families pushing strollers and coralling small children, friends laughing over inside jokes and a beer, and yogis rolling out of class to continue their day. In April, my partner basked in the delicious scents wafting out of Coffee and Cotton on the 4th floor while he listened to stories from customers searching for gifts or deciding on the perfect design for their wedding rings.


If you’ve never taken the time to explore Lowell, I hope you will take the time to come up and visit. Studio Raza will be at A Little Bazaar in Mill No. 5 on May 11th and May 25th (2019). Make a day of it by strolling the marketplace, savoring lunch at Coffee and Cotton, and then heading across the canal to the sights and marvels of the Lowell National Historical Park. You can even take a canal boat tour starting May 25th for their summer season. What better place to rock that new pair of earrings you picked up at our table?




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