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The Only Lakeside Town Common in Massachusetts is Located at Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield

Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Wakefield is the only lake town in the inner Boston suburbs.
The Lower Town Common at Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield.

Article and photos by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/4/2018.

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It's hard to believe that tranquil Lake Quannapowitt, in Wakefield, Mass., is just off manic Route 128. The Lake offers numerous recreational opportunities, including a lovely four-mile walk around the scenic body of water. A pretty town green, open park land and a playground offer additional scenic and recreational opportunities at this jewel in the middle of northwest suburbia not too far from Boston.

Near the center of town, the Lower Common surrounds a part of Lake Quannapowitt and is actually the only common in Massachusetts with a lakeside location. Beside it's waterfront location, the most striking attraction is the old-time bandstand that dates back to the late 1800s.

1800s bandstand at Lower Town Common overlooking Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, Massachusetts.
The historic bandstand at Wakefield Lower Common.

The Lower Common connects with the Upper Common -- the latter which has more history, having been established in the 1640s.  The Upper Common once accommodated a schoolhouse, blacksmithing, cattle grazing and military training. Along with the Lower Common and most other town commons in Massachusetts after the separation of church and state, the Upper Common now offers a park-like, community setting near the Lake with spring flower beds (and brilliant foliage in the fall), period lighting, benches, and well-maintained paved walkways and several dedication monuments.

A stroll through the Wakefield Upper Town Common during the fall in Wakefield, Massachusetts.
A stroll through the Upper Common in Wakefield.

The Festival by the Lake––held by the Wakefield Center Neighborhood Association––is a popular Lower Common event held the second Saturday in June, featuring crafters, artists, musical entertainment, local organizations, and food.  Also, don't forget the 4th of July celebration -- the second largest in New England next to Bristol, R.I.! The Lake setting is a beautiful setting for the fireworks display.

Lake Quannapowitt is most pleasant during the spring, summer and fall, but winter has its shining moments, too, as long as it is not too cold!

Lake Quannpowitt, Wakefield, Mass., in the winter time
Winter scene at Lake Quannapowitt.

Wakefield also has a nice, old-fashioned downtown with charming, old brick town buildings, beautiful old homes and churches, independently-owned local shops and convenient parallel parking.
Downtown Wakefield, Massachusetts.
Downtown Wakefield.

For a town with a population of around 25,000, the Lake and small-town downtown make it seem like a much smaller town!

A stroll from the lake to downtown Wakefield, Massachusetts.
Lakeside at the Upper Common.

Want to learn more about the Wakefield Upper and Lower Town Commons? Read my book, Massachusetts Town Greens, which celebrates the history of local town commons, including Wakefield!

Wakefield, Massachusetts during the fall foliage season.
Beautiful fall scene at the Lake.

Nearby in Wakefield: Fred's Franks, a phenomenal, seasonal hot dog stand by the lake.

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Wakefield, Massachusetts features beautiful Lake Quannapowitt, making it one of the few lake towns in eastern Massachusetts.

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