Boroughs

The center of Southborough

The Boroughs are a collection of three towns (Westborough, Northborough, and Southborough) in the MetroWest region of Central Massachusetts in the United States of America. The area is home to around 45,000 people.

Understand

The traveler is not likely to end up in the Boroughs while on vacation, unless simply passing through. They are primarily suburban in nature with many residents commuting to either Boston or Worcester. However, the three towns are home to many large corporate headquarters or other offices, especially Westborough, so many people will end up in the area on business travel.

Despite being located in Central Massachusetts, the Boroughs have more in common with the neighboring Metrowest (actually located to the east). The three towns are among the most affluent in Massachusetts and couldn't be more different from the rural western part of the region. Until the second half of the 20th century, the Boroughs were an agricultural area. There was never much industrial development in the area, so it is not pockmarked with abandoned mill buildings. The few mills that were built have been converted into luxury condos or office space.

History

The Boroughs were originally part of the town (now city) of Marlborough, located to the northwest. In 1717, the "west Borough of Marlborough" split off and become Westborough. 10 years later the "south Borough of Marlborough" split off and became Southborough. Finally, in 1775 the "north Borough of Westborough" split off and became Northborough, later annexing some territory from Marlborough. This explains the confusing geographic/name relationships among the towns since Marlborough extends further north than Northborough, Northborough extends further west than Westborough, and Westborough extends further south than Southborough. The historical context makes the seemingly odd naming more sensible. The most famous resident of the area is probably Eli Whitney, who was born in Westborough and later went on to invent the cotton gin.

Get in

By car

The Boroughs are easily accessible by car as they are located at one of the major highway nodes in New England. The Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and I-495 intersect in Westborough, providing access from east or west. I-495 runs north-south and has exits serving all three towns. Massachusetts Route 9 runs east-west through Southborough and Westborough, intersecting I-495 in Westborough. Finally, I-290 provides access to the northern parts of Northborough.

By train

MBTA Commuter Rail serves Westborough and Soutborough (Cordaville station); however, neither station is located within walking distance of any attractions, major offices, or hotels. Public transit options are limited, so one would have to arrange a ride from the station.

By plane

There is no major airport in the area. The best airport options are Logan International in Boston and T.F. Green in Providence Both are located about an hour away.

Get around

By car

A car is a necessity for getting around the Boroughs. Public transportation is nearly non-existent, and the three towns are quite spread out, making walking impractical. MA Route 9 (east-west) and I-495 (north-south) are the major highways that are useful for traveling within the Boroughs. Traffic on both is very heavy at most times and can come to a standstill at rush hour. As most people will come here on business, these roads are almost unavoidable.

See

Mill Pond Sunset

There are no major tourist attractions located in the Boroughs. Away from the strip mall infested highways, the three towns can be quite pretty. Westborough has an attractive historic town center with a large number of listed buildings. Southborough is fairly bucolic and doesn't really have a center. Northborough is a mix of the other two, with a much smaller village than Westborough, but more open land.

Do

Hiking

Golf

Buy

Westborough and Northborough have many strip malls offering the usual selection of chain stores. The largest shopping center is Northborough Crossing.

Eat

From the major highways, it might appear as if the only eating options in the Boroughs are the soul-crushing number of chain restaurants. Fortunately, there are much better options than Subway and Ruby Tuesday once you venture off the main roads.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Chains

While there are plenty of unique places to eat in the Boroughs, there are a number of chain restaurants for weary travelers who want something familiar. There are plenty of the ubiquitous chains (McDonald's etc) as well as a few listed below that aren't in every town.

Drink

Breweries

Bars

The Boroughs are not a nightlife destination. There aren't really any dedicated bars, but most sit-down restaurants serve alcohol.

Coffee

Coffee is another story. You are probably close to several Dunkin Donuts, a Starbucks, or a Honey Dew at any given time in any of the three towns. There are also a few local coffee options worth checking out.

  • 20 Worcester Rd, Southborough (north side of Route 9),  +1 508 485-7220. This location also has a food menu.
  • 205 Turnpike Rd, Southborough (south side of Route 9),  +1 508 481-9556. This location also has food.

Sleep

The Boroughs have a chain hotel option to suit every budget. No, they're not very interesting and most are right on Route 9, but they are reliable. If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, try one of the locally owned places in Westborough village.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Stay safe

There is very little crime here. Driving is the biggest hazard. Drivers on Route 9 are particularly aggressive and speeds of 15-20 mph over the speed limit are somewhat common. Winter in Central Massachusetts can be quite harsh, with even the major highways becoming impassable during big snowstorms.

Go next

Routes through Boroughs

Worcester Shrewsbury  W  E  Marlborough Ends at
Worcester Shrewsbury  W  E  Marlborough Boston
Worcester Shrewsbury  W  E  Framingham Boston
Bolton Marlborough  N  S  Hopkinton Milford
END Worcester  W  E  Ashland Boston


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.