This two-river town has made the most of its liquid assets for generations

TOWN: Amesbury
WHAT:A small factory town with a rich past and promising future
WHY:Stroll Riverwalk, shop local stores, order a sampling flight at a brewpub

Like a lot of river towns in New England, Amesbury downtown is surrounded by lovely old brick mill buildings. While the mills have gone silent over the years, the city resisted the urge to tear them down. The result is a compact downtown area with imaginative local shops and restaurants, many located in old brick mill buildings that have been repurposed in creative ways.

Just off the central square you'll find the Industrial History Center, which occupies the first floor of Mill 2. The small museum fronts on The Mill Yard, a pleasant area that includes seating for a small amphitheater and accompanied by a pleasant soundtrack of rushing water in the background. A pedestrian path, Riverwalk, follows the Powwow River and provides visitors access to water falls and sluices that once powered old mills. 

Not far from the center of town you'll find the Merrimack River, fronted by large colonial homes and a still-active boat building shop.

The town's low-key charm can be easily experienced at an outdoor concert in Mill Square, a visit to one of its many independent shops and restaurants or while sampling the wares at one of its four brew pubs.