What is it like to live in Littleton?

Buying Location, Location, Location
Birds warm themselves atop silos in Littleton. Cheryl Senter for The Boston Globe

Cathy Bowles marked an important milestone this past summer: She has been a resident of the same community near the juncture of Route 2 and Interstate 495 for 50 years.

When Bowles and her previous husband started their house hunt, they were living in Arlington with a second child on the way. “Littleton happened to be the closest community we could afford at the time,’’ Bowles said. “Also, a couple of relatives were already living in Littleton, which gave us a little network.’’

They bought a house off Littleton Common, where Bowles, who worked at Emerson Hospital in Concord for 36 years, still lives today with her husband, Allen, a former police chief in Lincoln who’s now retired. It was a great place to raise kids: “If you weren’t watching [your children] closely, someone else was, almost throughout the whole development — and it’s still that way,’’ she said. Two of Bowles’s eight grandchildren also live in town and, like their parents, attend the highly rated public schools.

When Bowles’s children were younger, she frequently took them to Littleton events, including the July Fourth festivities, the Veterans Day parade, and Little League games. Long Lake was a family favorite, too, and Bowles now regularly walks the trails there and in other wooded areas in this proudly rural town. She also appreciates Littleton’s commercial areas, which allow her to complete much of her shopping without venturing beyond the town’s borders. She enjoys cultural activities and dining out locally when new restaurants open. Littleton also has its own commuter rail stop, making it convenient to hop on a train to spend a day in Boston.

Bowles is proud of how Littleton’s places of worship collaborate. “There’s a supper every Tuesday night, sponsored by a different church each week, that welcomes anybody,’’ including those who can’t afford a meal, she said.

Her family has passed on opportunities to move elsewhere. “It still has a small-time feel,’’ Bowles said of the town. “We decided Littleton was the place to be.’’

Cathy and Allen Bowles of Littleton. —Handout



The weekly “tree-sitting’’ cost for a bonsai less than 18 inches tall at Bonsai West on Route 2A, which nurtures and sells the small trees on its tranquil grounds and offers courses for the bonsai-curious


The year Littleton was incorporated. The community was settled in 1686 and was the location of the sixth “Praying Indian’’ village established by John Eliot, called Nashoba Plantation, on land between Lake Nagog and Fort Pond. It is said that the name Littleton was given as a compliment to George Lyttleton, one of the commissioners of the treasury, and he sent a church bell as a present, Herbert Joseph Harwood wrote in his history of the town. But there was an error in the spelling of the community’s name, and the person in charge of the gift, saying there was no town called “Lyttleton,’’ sold it.


The cost to rent a sailboat from the Parks, Recreation, and Community Education Department at Long Lake Beach. In addition to sailboats, visitors can rent stand-up paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, and sailboats.


The number of acres of conservation land in Littleton dedicated to hiking and exploration. The Littleton Conservation Trust, a private nonprofit working to preserve the town’s rural character, conducts environmental, educational, and land-stewardship activities.



Arts and culture

For a small town of about 9,000 people, Littleton is dedicated to the performance arts. Littleton Lyceum, established in 1829, hails itself as being the longest continuously operating lyceum in the United States. Indian Hill Music is a nonprofit center for music education and performance.


High property taxes

When you take the fiscal 2017 tax rates for Littleton and the six towns that surround it, you get an average of $17.31 per $1,000 in valuation. Littleton’s comes out higher: $18.15.

Rachel Lebeaux can be reached at Subscribe to our newsletter at