New England with Mandy – 2 days in Lowell


We say goodbye to Boston, which we all loved, and head to Lowell to visit the New England Quilt Museum. Fancy a coffee stop and a quilt shop on route? Yes please we all shout, and so Quilters Common at Wakefield it was to be.


As we drive into Lowell, we know it’s going to be a special day. The architecture is of a historic textile producing area with lots of tall mill and warehouse type buildings, canals and railroads. I even spot a real diner, sadly closed during our stay.

Imagine our hearts delight when we spy this in the parking lot! The New England Quilt Museum was established by a group of local enthusiasts in 1987 and host exhibitions of both old and modern quilts.

Whilst having lunch in Lowell, I took a book from a shelf to read and caused mayhem as they all fell to the ground! As I picked them up, I found this – a postcard of Harriet Tubman! I reckon she knows we are coming! Back to the quilts…


As you will soon guess my love of the older quilts will shine through and the contemporary and art quilts do not give me goosebumps or make me cry! The colours were just beautiful as was the handcrafted workmanship.

This exhibition was called The Gilded Lily, all the quilts had some surface decoration. My favourite? This one…


Odd Fellows coffin cover, wool and cotton, Forget the coffin bit and just look at the details, I could gain inspiration for years with the details in this piece.

For the male contingency in our party of avid quilters and for my Redwork club members, we found this beauty outside the museum…


In 1832, a company in Lowell imported a steam locomotive from it’s inventor Robert Stevenson in England, and by 1845, 75 copied trains were on the New England railroad. Wow!

As we have breakfast there is a buzz in the air. We are packed and off to New Hampshire to a huge shop ‘Keepsake Quilting’. On our journey, we drive through beautiful scenery and see the wonderful New England towns and houses with their verandas and weatherboard homes. The weather has been incredibly warm and mild and, as the locals say the trees haven’t ‘popped’ yet, we wait in anticipation.



Keepsake Quilting is in Centre Harbour sited near a lake. After lunch in a truckers diner (a real taste of America!) and a wander around the lakes, we head back to our hotel for our first official workshop. We had already started part of our quilt top on the plane journey so we cut, made and prepared the next blocks, and, of course dinner and wine followed in downtown Lowell! In amongst all this excitement we do sleep, eat and drink very well!!!