About 20 miles from Boston, the town of Wilmington still clings to its country origins. Home of the Baldwin — for years America’s biggest export apple — and onetime center of the largest hops-producing region in the country, Wilmington still attracts families who live off the land, at least in part.
Melissa Fasulo is the proprietor of Honey Pot Maple Farm, where she and her husband, Rob, produce honey and maple syrup. After starting their honey-jarring business, they began tapping the maple trees on the one-acre property they bought in 2012 and elsewhere in town.
“We know other people who keep bees here in town,’’ says Fasulo, “and quite a few who raise chickens.’’
But Wilmington is also distinctly suburban, with stops on two of the MBTA’s commuter-rail lines. Fasulo jokes that there seems to be a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner. “We’re driven by caffeine, apparently,’’ says Fasulo, a teacher and mother of two young children.
First settled in 1665, the town has grown rapidly since the mid-20th century (from a population of 4,645 in 1940 to more than 22,000 today, thanks in no small part to the completion of Route 128), but it’s still the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbors.
“There’s no running in and out of soccer practice’’ without catching up, Fasulo says.
Number of monuments in the state celebrating the Baldwin apple, discovered in Wilmington around 1740. Noted for making excellent cider and pie and shipping easily, the Baldwin was named for Loammi Baldwin, a Revolutionary War veteran known as the father of civil engineering for designing the Middlesex Canal. The monuments are here in Wilmington and in Woburn.
Number of seasons the Bruins practiced at Wilmington’s Ristuccia Memorial Arena. Boston’s NHL franchise left town for a new facility in Brighton.
Wilmington has grown into a classic suburban community of predominantly single-family homes (the average listing price as of press time was $507,725, according to Trulia.com), and the town common hosts summer concerts, holiday gatherings, and more.
Once a rural farming community, Wilmington has an overabundance of chain businesses, some residents contend (“I wish we had more mom-and-pop stores,’’ teacher and farm owner Melissa Fasulo says), and Walk Score describes Wilmington as a “car-dependent’’ community.
James Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @sullivanjames.