About Carlisle, Massachusetts 01741 with links to Cahlise-centric info (ideal for New-to-Town-Folks)
In “downtown” Carlisle, all five main roads converge in the center at a traffic rotary. From here you can follow Rt. 225 East to Bedford and Lexington or West to Westford & Littleton or take one of the other roads to neighboring Concord, Lincoln, Acton, Chelmsford or Billerica. And it’s pretty hard to miss that the rotary is graced by a large marble statue, called Goddess of Liberty, that was dedicated in 1885 to honor local Civil War heroes.
However, it’s a bit of a stretch to call Carlisle’s hub “downtown.” The traffic island is virtually the only indicator that you’ve arrived at the commercial and social hub of the town. You won’t find any traffic lights in Carlisle – no siree. Next to the extremely busy rotary is an ATM machine residing in a low resting building alongside a local real estate office. Across the street is a long, turn of the century building with a dentist office at one end of the block and an adjacent building housing an insurance office and yet another upscale real estate office vying for a piece of the local market where many homes often push past the $1 million mark.
Directly off the other side of the traffic circle Ferns Country Store proudly stands in a two-story yellow building with green trim and an outdoor piazza. While there have been numerous stores around town since the mid-1700’s, all are long gone. Except our particular location, which has had an operating store since the mid-1844.
Settled in 1650, the Town of Carlisle has very much remained a quiet country town. Rolling fields, winding roads, extensive woodlands and intermittent old, rustic, weathered barns dot the landscape. Only 15 square miles, approximately 32% of the land is designated conservation property, which illustrates the commitment the residents have to maintain Carlisle as a bucolic haven.
Sitting directly on Route 225 within close proximity to Routes 128/95, 495 and 3, the Town is a short, 40 minute drive northwest of Boston making it an ideal commuter community. However, unlike its adjacent neighbors of Concord, Bedford, Acton, Billerica and nearby Lexington, Carlisle has minimal commercial business and even less opportunity to add any in the future. Upscale, rural residential is its decided character. And with a population a tad above 5,000, its overall tone remains that of a quaint, yet affluent New England village.
The Town has managed to quietly go about its business without succumbing to suburban pressures for over 200 years. In keeping with its rural atmosphere, two acre zoning is the standard and town services are minimal with no town water or sewage systems. Nor is there any trash pickup. Rather, residents happily (mostly) cart their trash and recyclables to the town Transfer Station where they enjoy the social camaraderie with neighbors. In fact, the transfer station is one of the only two places in town where folks can bump into one another. The other hot spot is Ferns Country Store which, we like to think, has a decidedly better ambiance then the Transfer Station. Especially in The Smiling Duck Café or outside in the bricked piazza.
During 2004-5, the big doings around town was watching the team from This Old House construct what was dubbed “The Carlisle Project.” They took an old, run down farmhouse in Town and transformed it into a luxurious home for the 2000’s. We enjoyed serving as their “Official Production Caterer” during the year-long project. And then once the project was completed, we then enjoyed working with WGBH-TV during their Designer Open House which attracted 15,000 people from around the world! We’re proud to continue working with the team as their caterer. In fact, our chili remains a This Old House team favorite!
Most certainly, we enjoyed having Tom Silva, Norm Abram, Kevin O’Connor and the film crew stop by for their morning coffee and lunches. And we sure did enjoy when the came to Ferns and shot a segment… we’ve been advised to not quit our day jobs… They’re a great bunch of folks!
Carlisle still practices the old New England style Town meeting form a government that ensures community representation (though many question it’s effectiveness). Here, the citizens continue to maintain a proud independent Yankee attitude. Active discourse over a myriad of issues is commonplace, yet while townsfolk may disagree with one another, the sense of community prevails at the end of the day.
Our news comes to us through Carlisle’s only newspaper called The Mosquito. And yes, the name has to do with our Town Bird. The Mosquito is mailed weekly to every household in town for free on Fridays. Those wanting a jump on the news can pick up a copy at Ferns on Thursday afternoon for a buck. Of course, our own Pickle Barrel E-News has become the alternative news source about town.
That’s it. That’s Carlisle, Massachusetts. Quaint, comfortable, and home to Ferns Country Store where we like to say “We’re right heah in the village center.”
Carlisle Transfer Station Info includes where to get an annual sticker, hours, and a layout of the Transfer Station
Carlisle.org The Unofficial Carlisle website with all-things Carlilse. Whether you’re new to Town or been heah awhile – bookmark this site.
Veterans’ Memorials in Carlilse A description of the various Memorials dedicated to Vets in Carlisle.
Carlisle Historic Society HQ at The Heald House on Concord Road, the Society has an outstanding display of Carlisle artifacts. It also is home to one of the world’s largest private Gettysburg Collections!
Town of Carlisle Our Official Town website with basic info including forms, applications and important stuff. It doesn’t get updated very often – including being short on meeting minutes and calendar info.
Gleason Public Library Our Town’s Library is much more than a library! An aht center, a youth center, a pre-school center… they offer all sorts of stuff – run by a great staff!
Carlisle Colonial Minutemen Recreating the music, noise, fun and fellowship of our bygone ancestors
Carlisle Garden Club Among their many activities, the Gahden Club hosts the biannual Carlisle Garden Tour… they also maintain the beautiful plantings on the town rotary.
Carlisle Public School K – 8
Carlisle School Building Project See the latest on the project
Carlisle Concord High School 9 – 12
– – Lester Scruggs