The Boroughs are a collection of three towns (Westborough, Northborough, and Southborough) in the Worcester County region of Central Massachusetts in the United States of America. The area is home to around 45,000 people.
The traveler is not likely to end up in the Boroughs while on vacation, unless simply passing through. They are primarily suburban in nature with many residents commuting to either Boston or Worcester. However, the three towns are home to many large corporate headquarters or other offices, especially Westborough, so many people will end up in the area on business travel.
Despite being located in Central Massachusetts, the Boroughs have more in common with the neighboring Metrowest (actually located to the east). The three towns are among the most affluent in Massachusetts and couldn't be more different from the rural western part of the region. Until the second half of the 20th century, the Boroughs were an agricultural area. There was never much industrial development in the area, so it is not pockmarked with abandoned mill buildings. The few mills that were built have been converted into luxury condos or office space.
The Boroughs were originally part of the town (now city) of Marlborough, located to the northwest. In 1717, the "west Borough of Marlborough" split off and become Westborough. 10 years later the "south Borough of Marlborough" split off and became Southborough. Finally, in 1775 the "north Borough of Westborough" split off and became Northborough, later annexing some territory from Marlborough. This explains the confusing geographic/name relationships among the towns since Marlborough extends further north than Northborough, Northborough extends further west than Westborough, and Westborough extends further south than Southborough. The historical context makes the seemingly odd naming more sensible. The most famous resident of the area is probably Eli Whitney, who was born in Westborough and later went on to invent the cotton gin.
The Boroughs are easily accessible by car as they are located at one of the major highway nodes in New England. The Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and I-495 intersect in Westborough, providing access from east or west. I-495 runs north-south and has exits serving all three towns. Massachusetts Route 9 runs east-west through Southborough and Westborough, intersecting I-495 in Westborough. Finally, I-290 provides access to the northern parts of Northborough.
MBTA Commuter Rail serves Westborough and Soutborough (Cordaville station); however, neither station is located within walking distance of any attractions, major offices, or hotels. Public transit options are limited, so one would have to arrange a ride from the station.
A car is a necessity for getting around the Boroughs. Public transportation is nearly non-existent, and the three towns are quite spread out, making walking impractical. MA Route 9 (east-west) and I-495 (north-south) are the major highways that are useful for traveling within the Boroughs. Traffic on both is very heavy at most times and can come to a standstill at rush hour. As most people will come here on business, these roads are almost unavoidable.
There are no major tourist attractions located in the Boroughs. Away from the strip mall infested highways, the three towns can be quite pretty. Westborough has an attractive historic town center with a large number of listed buildings. Southborough is fairly bucolic and doesn't really have a center. Northborough is a mix of the other two, with a much smaller village than Westborough, but more open land.
- Assabet Reservoir (Westborough).
- Cordaville Triangle Park, Southville Rd. (Southborough). This memorial site commemorates the location of the Cordaville Woolen Factory, the largest Southborough factory in the 19th century.
- Nourse Farm, 70 Nourse St (Westborough), ☏ . Pick your own berries or buy something at the farm store on this farm that's been around since 1722. Nourse also carries a line of its own jams and pies as well as a few other locally produced packaged foods.
- Tougas Family Farm, 234 Ball St (Northborough), ☏ . Pick your own strawberries, blueberries, apples, and pumpkins.
- Founder's Day (Southborough). This annual festival is held throughout town on Columbus Day Weekend. Food stands, local business tents, and live entertainment contribute to a quaint atmosphere.
- Skyzone Indoor Trampoline Park, 290 Turnpike Rd, Westboroug, ☏ . Freestyle trampoline, dodgeball, and even fitness classes.
- Westborough Wildlife Management Area. Large wildlife reservation located between a state office complex and Chauncey Lake. You can walk around the lake, but you are not allowed to use the beach unless you are a resident of Westborough or Northborough. The area is crisscrossed with trails. There is a parking area of Route 135 near the Northborough town line which provides access to the far western side of the park. The park terrain is fairly flat, although there are some small hills that you could choose to climb, the biggest just leads to the office complex. The area is mostly forested, but MassWildlife purposely cuts back areas so they can run ecosystem studies so parts are open field and scrub land.
- Cedar Hill. Large conservation area stretching across all three towns. Named after Cedar Hill, an easily hikeable small hill with views of the surrounding area. Access is a bit tricky since Cedar Hill doesn't have an address. You will find an access point off Lyman St in Westborough north of Route 9. Once you reach Westborough State Hospital, look out for a dirt road branching off across a field. At the end of the road is a parking area and a sign indicating that you are in the right place.
- Sudbury Reservoir (Southborough). This reservoir provides drinking water for several towns in the region. Stop by for shoreline fishing (permit required), hiking, walking trails, bird watching, picnicking, and, in the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
- Indian Meadows Golf Club, 275 Turnpike Rd (Westborough), ☏ . Public 18 hole golf course located off Route 9
- Juniper Hill Golf Course, 202 Brigham St (Northborough), ☏ . 36 hole golf course located in a rolling countryside setting.
- St. Mark's Golf Club, 32 Cordaville Rd (Southborough), ☏ . A 9-hole public golf course. Includes a small club-house with a pro-shop and snack bar with beer and wine available.
- Westborough Country Club, 121 W Main St (Westborough), ☏ . 18 hole public golf course with a popular clubhouse bar and restaurant.
- [dead link] Stonybrook Golf Course, 70 Valley Rd (Southborough), ☏ . 9 hole public golf course located near Sudbury Reservoir. No tee time required.
Westborough and Northborough have many strip malls offering the usual selection of chain stores. The largest shopping center is Northborough Crossing.
- Julio's Liquors, 140 Turnpike Road (Westborough), ☏ . Worth a stop for any beer or wine aficionados in the area. Huge selection of hard to find beers, wines, and whiskey. Julio's frequently wins awards for their beer and whiskey selections and holds frequent tastings. The beer selection is fairly U.S. micro brewery focused, although they do have a decent selection of German and Belgian options. The British selection isn't great. Julios also sells a large variety of hot sauces and cheeses.
- Wegman's, 9102 Shops Way (Northborough), ☏ . Massive grocery store that, while a chain, is relatively rare in New England and an attraction in its own right. Also has an onsite cafe with everything from sushi to subs and a very large wine, liquor, and beer section.
- Davidian Brothers Farmstand, 500 Church St (Northborough), ☏ . Large farmstand with everything from fresh vegetables to pies.
- Tatnuck Booksellers, 18 Lyman St (Westborough), ☏ . Large discount bookstore with an attached cafe. Tatnuck also has a large gift/trinket collection. Despite it not being a chain, this is a 35,000 square foot store with tons of options. It's not very well curated like most independent bookstores since they have plenty of space.
- Landry's Bicycles, 276 Turnpike Rd, Westborough, ☏ . One of the Boston areas bicycle specialists maintains an outpost in Westborough.
- Wayne's Western World, 276 W Main St, Northborough, ☏ . A western store in a New England suburb? Yep, Wayne's has cowboy hats, boots, and other essentials.
From the major highways, it might appear as if the only eating options in the Boroughs are the soul-crushing number of chain restaurants. Fortunately, there are much better options than Subway and Ruby Tuesday once you venture off the main roads.
- Beezer's, 277 Main St (Northborough), ☏ . Small hot dog stand co-located with a garden shop and ice cream stand. Beezer's specializes in Chicago dogs, but the menu has a lot of topping combinations to choose from. Only open in warmer months since there is no indoor seating.
- Ben's Deli, 5 Turnpike Rd (Southborough), ☏ . Delicatessen famous for their tuna sandwich, a local favorite.
- Eros Gourmet Pizza & Deli, 162 Cordaville Rd (Rt 85) (Southborough), ☏ . Formerly "Southborough House of Pizza - Station II," this pizzeria has since taken on its own "gourmet" identity.
- JP's Restaurant Pub, 166 Milk St (Westborough), ☏ . Divey bar and restaurant located in strip mall along Route 9. Not the highest quality food, but cheap with fast service. JP's has no windows and is almost exclusively regulars, but its not unfriendly. This is the kind of place where people come after work and order generous pours of straight liquor while watching golf. JP's has defiantly refused to embrace the yuppified airs of the rest of the Boroughs which you may find refreshing. Cash only.
- Maruyama, 72 E Main St (Westborough), ☏ . Affordable Mexican/Japanese/Taiwanese restaurant. That probably doesn't sound like a workable combination, but Maruyama is a favorite with locals, despite its spartan interior. This isn't a fusion restaurant as the menus are kept separate from each other, aside from the "sushirrito" which is a sushi roll made with burrito ingredients.
- Mauro's Village Cafe Incorporated, 2 Main St (Southborough), ☏ . Located in the center of town, this diner offers excellent pancakes.
- Pickle Haus Deli, 276 W Main St (Northborough), ☏ . Small, very popular deli with a diverse selection of sandwiches and paninis. Everything comes with a free pickle.
- Pizza Nineteen, 150 Framingham Rd (Southborough), ☏ . A pizzeria known both for its pizza and for its large sandwiches and salads.
- Southborough House of Pizza, 5 Main St (Southborough), ☏ . Located in the town's old firehouse, this pizzeria is a staple of the Southborough downtown. Family owned and operated for over 40 years. Delivery available.
- Chop Kabob, 290 Turnpike Rd, Westborough, ☏ . Small stripmall Persian restaurant. Chop has a small menu focused on grilled meat skewers, but they do have a few vegetarian options like falafel.
- Bertucci's, 160 Turnpike Rd. (Westborough), ☏ . Yes, its a chain, but one generally confined to southern New England. Affordable Italian food and brick oven pizza.
- [dead link] Casa Vallarta, 45 Belmont Rd (Northborough), ☏ . Huge Tex-Mex restaurant located along Route-9. Gigantic portions at affordable prices with fast and attentive service. Tiles covering every surface and piped in Mariachi music. Casa Vallarta has all your favorite Mexican beers on tap.
- Sake Hana, 21 South St (Westborough), ☏ . Japanese restaurant and sushi bar located in downtown Westborough.
- Arturo's Ristorante, 54 E Main St (Westborough), ☏ . Italian restaurant.
- Romaine's, 299 W Main St (Northborough), ☏ . Well prepared American bar&grill food. Think steak-frite, salmon, burgers, etc. Cocktails, wine, and beer.
- Rose Garden, 1 Southville Rd (Southborough), ☏ . A Chinese restaurant on the border of Southborough and Ashland. Known locally as always having an empty dining room and a crowded bar.
- Sapporo Restaurant, 50 East Main St (Westborough), ☏ . Korean BBQ and sushi.
- Tomasso Trattoria & Enoteca, 154 Turnpike Rd (Southborough), ☏ . Classic upscale Italian dining with a vast wine selection and private dining available.
- Westboro Korean Restaurant, 7 East Main St (Westborough), ☏ .
- Tavern in the Square, 318 Main St, Northborough, ☏ . Big modern sports bar with an expansive menu and 40-50 beers on tap.
- Yama Zakura, 369 W Main St #3, Northborough, ☏ . Popular, but pricey sushi restaurant. Yes, it's located in a strip mall, but so are most things in this area.
While there are plenty of unique places to eat in the Boroughs, there are a number of chain restaurants for weary travelers who want something familiar. There are plenty of the ubiquitous chains (McDonald's etc) as well as a few listed below that aren't in every town.
- Chick-fil-A, 286 Turnpike Rd, Westborough, ☏ .
- Chipotle, 1 Oak St, Westborough (Intersection of Route 9 and Lyman St.), ☏ .
- Moe's Southwest Grill, 76 Otis St., Westborough, ☏ .
- Qdoba, 4104 Shops Way, Northborough, ☏ .
- Ted's Montana Grill, 400 Union St, Westborough, ☏ .
- Cold Harbor Brewing Company, 108 Milk St, Westborough. Tiny brewery with a nice range of styles to choose from. They offer free samples, full pints, and growler fills in their small taproom.
The Boroughs are not a nightlife destination. There aren't really any dedicated bars, but most sit-down restaurants serve alcohol.
- JP's (Westborough). A popular bar with cheap, no frills drinks.
- Owen O'Leary's, 50 Turnpike Road (Route 9 Eastbound) (Southborough), ☏ . An old world style Irish Pub with two full service bars, Keno, pool tables, darts and a game room. Surprisingly well-prepared food.
Coffee is another story. You are probably close to several Dunkin Donuts, a Starbucks, or a Honey Dew at any given time in any of the three towns. There are also a few local coffee options worth checking out.
- Armeno Coffee Roasters, 75 Otis St (Northborough), ☏ . They've been roasting coffee at this old grist mill since 1994. Not really a coffeeshop, but you can taste some here and buy a bag of beans. Armeno can also be found served around the region.
- Lalajava, 290 W Main St (Northborough), ☏ . Tropical themed coffee shop with a large selection of lattes. There are also baked goods for sale and a few grilled cheese options.
- Red Barn Coffee Roasters, 17 South St (Westborough), ☏ . Very small local coffeeshop chain and roaster. The Westborough location only serves coffee and pastries. There is limited seating inside, but they do carry the full selection of beans for purchase.
- 20 Worcester Rd, Southborough (north side of Route 9), ☏ . This location also has a food menu.
- 205 Turnpike Rd, Southborough (south side of Route 9), ☏ . This location also has food.
- InHouse Coffee, 17 W Main St, Northborough, MA 01532.
The Boroughs have a chain hotel option to suit every budget. No, they're not very interesting and most are right on Route 9, but they are reliable. If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, try one of the locally owned places in Westborough village.
- Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, 380 SW Cutoff (Northborough), ☏ . Cheap hotel located at the intersection of Route 9 and Route 20. $75/night
- Motel 6, 115 Lawrence St (Northborough), ☏ . It's not exactly nice, but at $60/night you can't complain about much.
- Red Roof Inn, 367 Turnpike Rd (Southborough), ☏ . A cheap, but comfortable accommodation.
- Doubletree Hotel - Boston/Westboro, 5400 Computer Dr (Westborough), ☏ . This hotel is located in a large office park at the intersection of two very busy highways.
- Courtyard Boston Westborough, 3 Technology Dr (Westborough), ☏ , fax: .
- Westborough Extended Stay Hotels - This is not a typo, there are actually three identical hotels from the same chain within a mile of each other on Route 9. Pick which ever one is slightly more convenient/has a room. They're all around $100/night.
- Extended Stay America, 180 E Main St (Westborough), ☏ . Corporate extended stay place on the north side of Route 9.
- Extended Stay America, 19 Connector Rd (Westborough), ☏ . Corporate extended stay hotel on the south side of Route 9.
- Extended Stay America, 1800 Computer Dr (Westborough), ☏ . Corporate extended stay hotel, also on the north side of Route 9, but slightly further east.
- Westborough Inn, 4 Boardman St (Westborough), ☏ . 25-room family-owned inn.
- Hampton Inn Boston-Westborough, 15 Connector Rd (south side of Route 9, Westborough), ☏ .
- The Sleigh Maker Inn, 87 W Main St (Westborough), ☏ . Charming B&B.
- Residence Inn, 25 Connector Rd (Westborough), ☏ . Big chain hotel. Around $225/night.
There is very little crime here. Driving is the biggest hazard. Drivers on Route 9 are particularly aggressive and speeds of 15-20 mph over the speed limit are somewhat common. Winter in Central Massachusetts can be quite harsh, with even the major highways becoming impassable during big snowstorms.
- Worcester is the closest city, located about 25 minutes to the west.
- Boston is about 35 minutes to the east.
- Providence is about and hour away to the south.
|Routes through Boroughs|
|Worcester ← Shrewsbury ←||W E||→ Marlborough → Ends at|
|Worcester ← Shrewsbury ←||W E||→ Marlborough → Boston|
|Worcester ← Shrewsbury ←||W E||→ Framingham → Boston|
|Bolton ← Marlborough ←||N S||→ Hopkinton → Milford|
|END ← Worcester ←||W E||→ Ashland → Boston|