In and Around Fitchburg, Massachusetts

This blog was created to discuss some of the positive aspects of living in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, that are often overlooked by outsiders and residents alike.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cornerstone's Restaurant

Nothing beats outdoor dining in the summer. I make it a habit to eat every breakfast, lunch, and dinner possible on my deck at home, and I’m always looking for new restaurants that offer the same option. I therefore decided that Cornerstone’s Restaurant in Leominster would be the place to start on my quest to visit all of the members of the newly formed Independent Restaurant Collaborative (earlier post here) that I’ve not already tried.

My husband and I arrived at Cornerstone’s around 7:00 on a Saturday night. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was in the mid-70s – perfect conditions for dining outdoors. So we were completely shocked to find ourselves all alone on the deck! Throughout the evening, a few patrons from the bar wandered out to enjoy the fresh air, but we essentially had the place to ourselves.

Thanks to a mid-afternoon barbeque we’d attended at a friend’s place, we unfortunately weren’t hungry enough to try a full meal. But the chicken quesadilla appetizer that we shared was wonderful. As is evident by glancing at Cornerstone’s menu, there are a wide variety of appetizers from which to choose. Our server initially seemed to forget that she had a table out on the deck, but she subsequently provided excellent service. The highlight of the visit for me, however, was the discovery that Cornerstone’s features Blue Moon on draught. What could be better than sipping a fresh glass of Blue Moon, munching on appetizers, and enjoying a summer evening outside? I’ll definitely be back.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Fitchburg Longsjo Classic & Civic Days

Several years ago, when I told a friend I was moving to Fitchburg, she began babbling excitedly about something called “Longsjo.” I had no idea what she was saying. I’ve since learned that Fitchburg is home to the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, a well-known cycling race that has hosted such athletes as Lance Armstrong. A recent Fitchburg Pride article gives a great overview of the history of the competition.

I typically go away for the Fourth of July weekend and therefore hadn’t been around to watch any of the Longsjo races. But with the holiday falling on a Wednesday this year, my husband and I decided to stay home and take advantage of the Fitchburg Longsjo and Civic Days celebrations. I’m so glad that we did!

We started off the weekend on Friday night with the Amazing Duck Race on the Nashua River. There was quite a crowd at Riverfront Park waiting for the rubber ducks to make their way from Circle Street down to what was dubbed “heartbreak bend,” at which point they were visible for the journey under the iron footbridge to the finish line. The announcer kept everyone updated regarding what ducks were front-runners and encouraged the children to “quack” as the ducks approached. It was an energetic, enthusiastic group, and we had a great time.

On Saturday, we attended the Revival of the Arts exhibit, also held in Riverfront Park. The event was conceived and organized by a recent Fitchburg High School graduate, and she deserves a lot of respect for pulling this together! To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the caliber of artists represented proved to be quite impressive. I particularly enjoyed viewing the oil paintings of Diane Walsh of Fitchburg, whose work encompassed both scenes from abroad (including some from a barge journey through France) and from close to home (such as outstanding images of Coggshall Park that, sadly, were not available for purchase because the artist’s daughter had commissioned them for herself!).

Sunday featured the Longsjo Downtown Criteria races. Participants completed multiple laps around a Main Street loop at impressive speeds. We walked around a bit to enjoy multiple vantage points, from the curves to the final sprint at the finish line. There was a very collegial spirit among the racers and spectators, which was something I didn’t necessarily expect at such an important competition. Downtown was a very picturesque setting for the event! Fitchburg really does have a beautiful Main Street with some amazing architecture – it was nice to see a number of “coming soon” signs in storefront windows.

Fortunately, Civic Days still has more to offer. A full event scheduled can be found here. I’m eager to check out the international food court at Tuesday night’s downtown block party, to be capped off with a fireworks display. There will also be a parade on the 4th. Hopefully I’ll see many of you there!

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