So this past Saturday, Becky and I wanted to visit the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets. We also wanted to do something interesting and/or adventurous. Noting that Route 1A passes right by the Outlets, we decided to take a trip in the style of our previous exploration of Route 62: we explored the length of State Route 1A in Massachusetts, from its start in Salisbury to its end in Attleboro.
Getting To The Start
We started out by taking our friend, Route 62, over to Interstate 95. From there, we drove north into New Hampshire, since to take the full extent of 1A, we’d need to start on the portion of 1A in New Hampshire just north of the border. We drove to Seabrook, home of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. After getting off of the highway, we took a bit of a wrong turn, and ended up headed down the access road to the plant. Someday perhaps we’ll visit, but it wasn’t in the cards for the current day.
We got back on the right track by taking Route 1 briefly down into Massachusetts, onto Route 286, and back up into New Hampshire to the start of 1A. We stopped right at the border to record the starting mileage and take snapshots. Our starting time was 10:22 a.m., and our starting odometer reading was 208783.
The start of 1A in Massachusetts is in Salisbury, a popular summer beach destination. Route 1A proceeds along the Salisbury coast for four miles, then jogs inland and joins up with Route 1. After two miles, 1A crosses into Newburyport, and splits up with Route 1 (watch for the split – it comes up fast after crossing the bridge!).
1A runs through Newburyport for two fairly uneventful miles, then crosses into Newbury.
In Newbury, 1A runs for four miles, past several Historic New England properties: The Coffin House, The Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, and The Swett-Ilsley House. (Historic New England’s headquarters are the Otis House Museum, where Becky works.)
After Newbury, 1A crosses into Rowley for a stretch of three miles. Rowley is a quaint little town, filled with tree-covered lanes and road-hogging bicyclists.
1A next runs through Ipswich for six miles. Ipswich is home of the famous Clam Box seafood restaurant, as well as Crane Beach, one of New England’s best beaches.
Hamilton is the next destination on 1A. The three mile stretch of road passes the Myopia Hunt Club and the South Hamilton train station.
After Hamilton, 1A passes for two miles through Wenham. Wenham is home to Gordon College, our alma mater, though Gordon itself is not located on 1A.
After leaving Wenham, 1A travels four miles through Beverly. Our home is located in Beverly, and in fact, Route 1A passes within a couple blocks of our house! We waved as we drove by.
Route 1A crosses the exquisitely-contoured Beverly-Salem bridge, and proceeds to run through Salem for five miles. Salem is home to the new and controversial Samantha Statue, Salem State College, and our most frequently-visited Taco Bell (though it is not actually on 1A).
The tiny town of Swampscott is host to 1A for barely a mile. Not much to say about it, unfortunately.
Swampscott gives way to the urban sprawl of Lynn: “Lynn, Lynn, city of sin, you never go out the way you came in.” 1A passes for four miles through this bustling city, partially running along The Lynnway. It passes such sights as the sadly-defunct “Beef World” and Horizon’s Edge Casino Cruises.
The last city before Boston itself, Revere hosts a two-mile stretch of 1A. In Revere, 1A passes the famous Suffolk Downs race track.
Route 1A runs through East Boston for a few miles (I didn’t write down the exact mileage here). The primary point of interests here are Logan International Airport and the Sumner tunnel, previously the main tunnel leading from the airport into Boston. There is a $3 toll to enter the Sumner Tunnel.
Here’s where the trip got dicey. Very dicey. You see, as best we can tell, Route 1A stops at the Sumner Tunnel. When you exit the Sumner Tunnel, your choices are to take Interstate 93 north, Route 3 north, or exit to the Government Center area. 1A? Nowhere to be found. We had known this was the case ahead of time, and our plan was to try and get on to Washington Street, which eventually connects with 1A again south of Boston, in Dedham. If there was any street which could be analogous to 1A, Washington Street seemed to fit the bill.
So we set off trying to get ourselves onto Washington Street. One problem is that in a good portion of Boston Proper, Washington Street is one-way. So we jogged around a bit, looking for an entrance to the two-way portion, and found it right around Herald Street.
We followed Washington Street through such Boston neighborhoods as Roxbury, West Roxbury, Roslindale, Forest Hills, Hyde Park, and Jamaica Plain. All of them were indeed colorful, beautiful, and scenic… but alas, none of them actually contained 1A.
We spent about an hour and fifteen minutes, and approximately 21 miles, driving through Boston, getting to Washington Street, and working our way to…
Dedham, Westwood, Norwood
We finally reached Dedham, just south of Boston, and picked up Route 1A. Hooray! I didn’t track the mileage for this portion, but passing through the towns of Dedham, Westwood, and Norwood took just about 12 minutes and six miles.
After Norwood, 1A runs through Walpole for approximately four miles. We stopped in Walpole for lunch at McDonald’s. (Tip: They don’t take debit cards yet, but there is an ATM about a quarter mile past them in a shopping plaza.) Route 1A in Walpole is also home to one of the state of Massachusetts many fine correctional institutions, MCI Cedar Junction.
Norfolk and Foxborough
Two miles of 1A run through Norfolk and Foxborough. The previously mentioned MCI is on the border of Walpole and Norfolk.
1A runs through Wrentham for approximately five miles. Wrentham was also the location of our only planned stop, at the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets. Wrentham also has a ‘very cute’ town square, as Becky noted.
Two miles of Route 1A run through this rather, ah, plain town…
In North Attleboro, 1A once again joins with Route 1, and runs for five miles.
The end of our trip has arrived! 1A passes through Attleboro for three miles, and crosses into Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Becky’s Aunt Sue, Uncle Pete, and cousin Greg live in Attleboro, though not on 1A. We drove across the border and parked at Spumoni’s Restaurant to take our photo of the end of the road.
While we were navigating through Boston, I had received a call from my Aunt Joan, telling us that Kim was back in town for a bit and asking if we wanted to get together. So at the end of our trip, we drove to Shrewsbury to have dinner with Joan, Errol, and Kim. We had a good time catching up with them, since Joan had just returned from a month in Russia with Kim, and Kim was back in the US visiting for a short time.
All in all, it was a long journey and a long day, but we made it back to Beverly safe and sound. Our biggest question remains: Does 1A simply cease to exist inside Boston? What is the deal? Is Washington Street really the closest we could come? Inquiring minds want to know!
You can see the full photo gallery for the day.