A wealthy suburb on the North Shore, Lynnfield is 14 miles north of Boston, and is known for an upscale outdoor shopping center.
MarketStreet Lynnfield has upwards of 80 stores, restaurants for all palates, and in the winter has a cute little skating rink.
For history, you can make for the town common, which was laid out in the 1710s, a century before Lynnfield broke away from its neighbor, Lynn.
The original meetinghouse from 1714 is still standing here, and is New England’s third oldest Puritan meetinghouse still in situ.
In Lynnfield you’re never far from a scenic freshwater lake, and something unique in the town is Reedy Meadow, the largest expanse of freshwater cattail marsh in Massachusetts.
1. MarketStreet Lynnfield
Something that puts Lynnfield on the map is this plush outdoor shopping plaza, opened in 2013.
Like many of its kind, MarketStreet Lynnfield is designed like a small town, with big sidewalks, street furniture and public gathering places.
One such space becomes an outdoor rink during the winter months. A few of the brands awaiting you here include Apple, Banana Republic, Sephora, J. Crew, Gap, Hollister, Levi’s and Pottery Barn.
Food & drink choices run the gamut from Legal C. Bar and Davio’s to Starbucks, Panera, Wahlburgers and Yard House. There’s also a branch of King’s Dining & Entertainment, an adult-oriented bowling experience.
2. Meetinghouse Common District
You can trace Lynnfield’s roots at the triangular town common, home to the original meetinghouse, built in 1714.
At that time Lynnfield was a part of Lynn known as Lynn Farms. The common and meetinghouse saved a long journey for Lynn Farm’s residents to the church in Lynn.
Since the 18th century the Meetinghouse has served many different purposes, including as a fire station. From 1960, until recently the building was home to the Lynnfield Historical Society.
Opposite, the Centre Congregational Church dates back to 1832, with a sanctuary that was reconstructed following a fire in 1979.
Next door, the Colonial Revival public library building is from 1904. The common continues to be a mainstay of community life, hosting outdoor events in the summer, including a concert series in July.
3. Partridge Island Trail
More than 500 acres of Lynnfield’s land is occupied by Reedy Meadow, which is the largest parcel of freshwater cattail marsh in the state.
This is an important habitat for many endangered and rare plant, bird and amphibian species, and has been designated a Rare Wetlands Habitat by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.
Isolated in the marsh is Partridge Island, which was once the site of a Native American camp. This piece of raised ground can be reached along a boardwalk with observation decks over Reedy Meadow.
The trail sets off from the intersection of Main Street and Heritage Lane, and after crossing the marsh, loops around Partridge Island and its smaller neighbor to the south.
4. Rotary Park
As pretty as it is unfrequented, Rotary Park is a narrow strip of greenery along the Summer St shore of Pillings Pond.
The town has put a lot of work into this small space, removing invasive plants, and planting hardy, native shrubs to keep the shoreline healthy and suitable for recreation.
In the shade of hardwood trees there’s a paved trail lined with benches blessed with lovely views over the ponds and its wooded shores, punctuated with lakefront houses.
For fishing, there’s a boat launch and a small dock, and the lake has good counts of panfish and bass.
5. Beaver Dam Brook Reservation
The town owns an array of conservation areas that are open to the public for passive recreation.
The most ecologically significant of these is the Beaver Dam Brook Reservation, covering almost 200 acres on the floodplain of the namesake brook.
This property encompasses most of the watershed and recharge areas for well fields of the Lynnfield Center Water District.
So the wetlands and temperate forests here are absolutely essential for the quality of local water. You can amble next to the brook and into the surrounding forest on a warren of trails, accessible on the south side from the end of Grayland Rd.
6. Lynn Woods Reservation
Established as long ago as 1881, Lynn Woods Reservation is the second-largest municipal park in the country, and can be reached from Lynnfield via abutting conservation land in the southern part of town.
The main property on the town line is the Bow Ridge Reservation, on the old Kallenberg Quarry, with magnificent vistas of the Boston skyline from the ledges at Skull Rock.
Paths here, and along Route 1, lead south into Lynn Woods, linking with a trail system more than 30 miles in length. From the north, you’ll soon come to the shores of Walden Pond, one of three active reservoirs in the park.
7. Lake Quannapowitt
In neighboring Wakefield, this 250-acre great pond is a wonderful asset for the town and neighboring communities.
Lake Quannapowitt is fronted by a line of public parks, and you can stroll around the entirety of the lakeshore along a paved 3.2-mile trail.
On the east side, the view along Main Street is stunning at sunset. On the western shore, one of the area’s best farmers’ markets takes place on Saturday mornings, mid-June through October.
Finally, on the south side, the town operates a kayak and pedal boat rental service in the summer, open to non-residents.
8. Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
The first integrated ironworks in North America was established a few short miles south of Lynnfield in Saugus.
Dating back to 1646 and operating for around 25 years, the Saugus Iron Works was established by John Winthrop the Younger (1606-1676), with facilities powered by water, and loading its iron onto ocean-going vessels via a wharf on the Saugus River.
The factory was lost until an archeological survey in the 20th century uncovered telltale signs, including a 500-pound hammer and water wheel that drove the blast furnace.
Now a National Historic Site, the complex has been reconstructed, and you check out the blast furnace, forge, rolling mill, shear, slitter, and giant trip hammer.
One element still standing since the 17th century is the First Period Appleton-Taylor-Mansfield House, thought to have been the residence for the works’ ironmaster.
9. Jordan’s IMAX Theater
In 2004 the New England-based retailer Jordan’s Furniture opened an IMAX theater at their Reading location, a few minutes from Lynnfield Common.
This enormous screen measures 80 feet by 60 feet and is in an auditorium that can seat 500 people. If you want to see a first run epic-style movie on the big screen, this is the place to go.
What you get are dazzling, laser-enhanced 4k visuals, mind-blowing audio courtesy of a 12,000 watt sound system, and “butt-kickers” in the Tempur-Pedic seats, to round off a totally immersive experience.
10. Beanstalk Adventure Ropes Course (It at Beantown)
Another of the major attractions at Jordan’s Furniture in Reading is a gigantic indoor high ropes course.
The main course for adults is on two stories and features 30 exciting challenges, from standalone beams 24 feet in the air to angled rope ladders, spaghetti hand lines and zip lines.
As with all ropes courses, it’s a good idea to bring a pair of gloves with you. Smaller adventurers can take on the BeanSprout course, especially designed for kids 48” and below.
11. Breakheart Reservation
If your appetite for nature is still unsated there’s another remote patch of hardwood forest and lakes not far west of the Lynn Woods Reservation.
Something to mention about Breakheart Reservation is its rocky topography, with peaks affording views for miles, down to Boston’s skyline and up to New Hampshire.
Another thing going for this property is the long, paved road, looping around both the Upper and Lower Ponds, and perfect for gentle walks and bike rides.
On your way you’ll be tempted to explore the branching trails leading up to summits like Ash Hill and Eagle Rock.
In the summer, there’s a beach on the north shore of Pearce Lake (Upper Pond), while the visitor center by the entrance has exhibits covering the rich natural and human history of this place.
12. Independence Greenway Bike Route
Starting on the Lynnfield-Peabody line, a multi-use trail is gradually taking shape, cutting eastwards across the North Shore.
Phase One of the Independence Greenway Bike Route was completed in 2010, and when we wrote this article, the main section ran as far as Lt. Ross Park in West Peabody.
This is a scenic journey, with lookouts on the south bank of Ipswich River, long stretches through the Norris Brook Wetlands and Crystal Lake Conservation Land.
At the time of writing, you needed to use the sidewalks between Lt. Ross Park and Peabody Rd, to get to the next section, which led as far as the Northshore Mall.
Plans to connect the two main sections, and extend the trail east to Salem were already in the design or construction phases when we wrote this list.
13. Sagamore Spring Golf Club
Founded in 1929, Sagamore Spring Golf Club is a public daily fee course that prides itself on its affordability and accessibility for all.
The golf experience here is easy going and no-nonsense, and if you play on a weekday you’ll pay no more than $40 for 18 holes.
There are also specials for early birds and rounds at twilight in summer. The landscape is mature woods, with some impressive changes in elevation.
The par 4 #7 is nothing short of spectacular, while the par 4 #13 will catch many players out with its dogleg right and internal OB.
For practice, there’s a ten-station driving range next to the 1st tee and a practice putting and chipping green by the clubhouse and 9th green.
14. Cedar Glen Golf Course
Embedded in evergreen woods on the north side of the Breakheart Reservation, this 9-hole course has been open since 1928.
This is the closest nine-holer to Boston on the North Shore, and is known for its casual atmosphere and a forgiving layout that suits players of all standards.
All of the holes are straightforward and free of big water hazards—the main challenges come from the elevation changes and the encroaching woods, which can be tight on hole #2, #7 and #8.
The course also has the distinction of being open all year round, depending on the weather.
15. Lynnfield Concerts on the Common
Throughout the month of July there’s a series of weekly outdoor concerts in the picturesque surrounds of Lynnfield Town Common.
Organized by the Lynnfield Rotary Club, these shows take place at 6pm on Wednesday evenings, and appeal to a wide range of tastes.
Every year one of the dates is set aside for the Reading Community Concert Band, founded in 1994. The concerts are free, and you’re invited to bring your own snacks, as well as a lawn chair or picnic blanket.