The urbane, classic New England town is located about 25 miles north of Boston via route 93. It is home to one of the most prestigious and oldest prep schools in the country, Phillips Academy, colloquially known as “Andover” to its preppy student body. The downtown sidewalks are lined with historic brick buildings and fitted with gas lights. The neighborhoods consist of clapboard colonial houses interwoven with large well-groomed federalists homes and Victorians with wrap-around verandas.
Andover is sometimes called the “Birthplace of America,” as Samuel Francis Smith wrote the patriotic song, “America,” while attending the Andover Theological Seminary. This Essex County town was originally settled by Cochichawicke Native Americans. Early European settlers incorporated the area in 1646 as Andover for the town in England that most of the settlers were from. Early prosperous industries included powder milling, paper manufacturing, and woolen mills. Now the town mostly serves as an affluent bedroom community.
Here is your day trip itinerary to Andover, MA to capture the heart of the New England spirit.
For those looking for some exercise and fresh air, kick-off your Andover adventure by walking around Ward Reservoir, Harold Parker State Forest, Deer Jump Reservation or Pomps Pond. For those who prefer two wheels, saddle up for a bike ride on the Bay Circuit Trail, which runs through Andover.
Enjoy a coffee at one of the local coffee shops. I prefer Ultimate Perk (96 Main St), which has both great iced and hot coffee. Windowshop the boutiques featuring quaint homegoods and preppy apparel. Stroll through some of the neighborhood streets to take in the artisanry on the beautiful homes surrounding the downtown and campus areas.
Take some time to stroll the 700 rolling acres of Phillips Academy,, which was opened in 1778 by Samuel Phillips. Two U.S. presidents, five Nobel Prize laureates and six Medal of Honor recipients call Phillips Academy their alma mater. The grounds have the feel of a college campus, rather than a a high school that educates 14-18 year olds. Enjoy a late afternoon at the Addison Gallery of American Art, which is located on campus. The gallery has frequent rotations and may warrant a few hours of your time.
End your day with fine dining at Samuel’s (4 Chapel Ave) at The Andover Inn, on the campus of Phillips Academy. The restaurant has recently been renovated and is far sleeker while maintaining its original grace. Samuel’s serves seasonal ingredients of mostly New England food. I highly recommend the clam chowder for a starter!
For those looking for a night cap, the new Oakland Iron Brewing Company (18 Red Spring Road), is located in a refurbished Riverbend Mill. They have an outdoor beer garden and celebrate a family friendly “Oktoberfest” every fall. The exposed brick and high ceilings harken back to its former use as a cotton, wool, linen, and most recently a textile mill, before its renovation preparing for the production of barley, hops and yeast. Cheers to a day in Andover!
If you enjoyed exploring Andover, you may enjoy A Day in Cambridge.