I have just discovered what may be my absolute favorite place to go off of campus. Though I am obligated to give a special second place shout-out to the Rail Trail, the trail where I walk/go birdwatching every Sunday in Spring Term with the esteemed Dr. Ross, the wise and wonderful Señor Fernández, and my close friend Jamie. (It’s a very lovely trail surrounded by the woods and crossing through a lake, if anyone ever wants a good place to bike or take a walk.)
But getting back to my new obsession.
First, I must apologize for deceiving you, poor reader. My title would lead you to believe that this place has an “indescribable charm,” but in fact, I am about to attempt to do exactly the opposite: describe its charm and hope that you will find it just as fascinating!
Last Saturday evening, my amazing advisor offered to take me and a group of my close friends to see a movie, Don’t Think Twice. We wanted to watch partially for Improv club, since it was a story about an improv troupe trying to succeed in New York, but mostly because we wanted to spend a Saturday evening watching a movie with great company. An unexpected perk was finding that the movie was being shown in a movie theater in Lowell, Massachusetts, a little less than 30 minutes away, called Luna. So the five of us, including my advisor Mr. Creamer, got into his car. Our trip was great fun, consisting of three parts meaningful conversation, six parts making up songs to my ukulele, which I had carried with me, and one part having “song-versations,” a combination of the last two. Needless to say, the excursion would have been a success even if we had ended it there. But it only got better after that.
Once we got to our destination, per the instructions of a GPS, we had a bit of trouble finding the exact location of the theater. A passerby showed us the entrance of the building where the theater was located, Mill No. 5. It was an old building that had once served as a mill. Once we got inside the building, we must have still seemed a bit lost, because two people leaving the building stopped and asked us: “Looking for Mill No. 5?”
As if they knew exactly what we were looking for. I felt like they were entrusting us with the location of this secret place, kindly pointing us toward the elevator and instructing us to go to the fourth floor. When the elevator doors opened onto the fourth floor of Mill No. 5, we were greeted by a soft, golden light and the smell of wooden floors. The fourth floor was a cavernous space filled with lots of miniature stores lighting the path to the other side of the building, where huge letters spelled out Luna. Walking through the fourth floor was like walking through a narrow street in some mystical, almost magical otherworld. The entirety of Mill No. 5 had a whimsical feel to it, and I got the feeling that, if anywhere, this was the place to get pulled into a fantasy novel. This was the place where you could have the coolest, wackiest odds and ends.
Each store was quite small, smaller than the size of my dorm room, and they catered to a very specific customer. One store had a collection of assorted British candies as well as books so old they could rival some of the Groton library’s books. This particular store also had a first American edition Peter and Wendy (also known as Peter Pan) by J.M. Barrie with exquisite illustrations that I spent quite a bit of time poring over. The mini arcade had machines that were free (yes, completely free, no coins to put in or anything) and each ticket had a heart shape punched into it. I was probably influenced by my awe at this point, but the popcorn tasted so much better than any other movie theater popcorn I’ve ever had. The theater itself was one of the nicest theaters I’ve ever been to. The seats were large individual red sofas and each person had a round table to put their concessions on. And, as if this place could not get any more perfect, the movie was quite good as well! Needless to say, our trip to the movies was an adventure of the greatest kind! It was definitely an evening of the most indescribably charming sort.