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Making Groton a ‘destination’ — Destination Groton Committee urges everyone to ‘enjoy the experience’

  • A view of Gibbet Hill in Groton on Wednesday, Feb....

    A view of Gibbet Hill in Groton on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Gibbet Hill is one of Groton’s many natural attractions that the Destination Groton Committee says has drawn increased visitors to town. (Shane Rhodes/Sentinel & Enterprise)

  • Cars drive down Main Street on a busy Wednesday morning...

    Cars drive down Main Street on a busy Wednesday morning in Groton on Feb. 22, 2022. As Groton has become a “destination community,” the Destination Groton Committee has done its best to assuage residents concerns, among others, of increased traffic in town. (Shane Rhodes/Sentinel & Enterprise)

  • The Groton Hill Music Center on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2022....

    The Groton Hill Music Center on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2022. The region’s premier venue which opened in 2022, the GHMC, in large part, was the impetus for Groton’s transformation into a “destination community,” a moniker the Destination Groton Committee says could prove a huge financial boon for the town and its residents. (Shane Rhodes/Sentinel & Enterprise)

  • The Gibbet Hill Grill on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2022. A...

    The Gibbet Hill Grill on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2022. A fine dining establishment, the restaurant is one of many businesses in town that has contributed to Groton’s transformation into a “destination community,” according to the Destination Groton Committee. (Shane Rhodes/Sentinel & Enterprise)

  • The Destination Groton Committee’s new logo, emblazoned with the tagline...

    The Destination Groton Committee’s new logo, emblazoned with the tagline “Enjoy the Experience.” Both are part of the committee’s newest marketing campaign, which kicked off at the end of January. (Photo Courtesy of the Destination Groton Committee)



GROTON — Slowly but surely, the town of Groton has initiated a transformation.

In recent years, the “quintessential New England town” has transitioned into a “destination community,” a hub that has promoted local business as well as the cultural, social and other prominent aspects of Groton and the region at large.

Of course, such a distinct and rapid transition can prove difficult to accept or understand for established residents and the town on the whole. Enter the Destination Groton Committee, whose purpose is to assuage concerns and maximize the power of that transformation for the town.

DGC Clerk Mairi Elliot said that, given everything it has to offer, it was easy to see why people flock to Groton, while DGC Chair Gregory Sheldon referred to the town as a “special attraction” for those unfamiliar with the region. Both stressed the committee would do absolutely everything it could to ensure a positive experience for residents as the town’s purview expands.

“Given the town’s growth, Groton has certainly become a special attraction for a lot of people,” Sheldon said. “With everything we have to offer, the town just fits people’s need to get out and enjoy themselves, whether that be through nature, history, culture, the arts or whatever else.”

“[Groton] is a very quiet, agricultural-oriented town that has so much to offer in terms of nature and ‘eco-tourism’ — the rivers, the drumlins, the vistas, the expansive views in this town are like no other,” Elliot said. “But we’re also a warm, welcoming community that has a lot going on that can truly bring people together.”

“Together, everything has created a buzz around town and drawn people to Groton, and we want to maximize that buzz to the benefit of the people in this community,” she said.

First convened in January 2022, the task of the DGC may seem simple on the surface but, in actuality, is anything but: members must prepare residents for and assist municipal leaders in a metamorphosis that is already underway. In doing so, they must maintain the town’s “rural charm” as they promote Groton’s continued growth, a difficult task as local businesses and restaurants continue to rebound post-pandemic and other social commodities, such as the new Groton Hill Music Center, continue to move into the area.

That said, Elliot was convinced that the DGC, members of which have lived and or worked in Groton “for years,” has the pulse of the town and is more than up to the task.

“I’d like to think that [members of the DGC are] pretty dialed into what’s going on around town, what residents want to know, what they’re excited about, what they’re worried about,” she said. “That’s what we’ve come to discern as our biggest talent — and I think we’re more than capable of providing that for the town.”

The DGC is determined to achieve those goals, in part, through a new marketing campaign. Launched in January, a redesigned public image, an increased presence online and on social media and a new slogan — “Enjoy the Experience” — are set to expand the committee’s outreach as they market the town to a growing population of out-of-town visitors.

Sheldon referred to the campaign as “essential,” while Elliot said it would prove “integral” to both the town’s future and the DGC’s work going forward.

“It’s just going to be a big part of what we’re doing,” Elliot said. “We want to sort of ‘brand’ Groton in a way that is equally shareable and enticing to people that love Groton as much as we do and people that have never heard of it.”

While the idea of a “brand” or increased traffic through town may scare some, Elliot made it clear that the DGC was not out to flood the town with “giant, big business.” Rather, she made it clear that the group has aimed to maximize the economic power of those that pass through town while maintaining its distinctive charm.

“That’s our focus right now, managing an influx of people and ensuring that influx is beneficial to everyone rather than detrimental to those living in town,” she said. “If we can sort of maximize or capture that potential revenue, rather than allow it to sort of disseminate into surrounding towns, that could be huge for the local economy and, in turn, residents.”

“We’re not a Disneyland kind of destination — what we want for Groton doesn’t necessarily equate to tour buses and crowded streets. It’s going to be a constant trickle rather than a deluge of visitors, but even a trickle could stand to benefit the town massively,” she said.

Sheldon largely agreed and said he felt “confident” that the town’s current zoning restrictions would prevent “overgrowth or any unwanted, unsightly development.”

“At this point, it’s not an either-or position for Groton, this change is going to happen, it’s been happening,” Sheldon said. “We’re doing everything we can to turn an increase in visitors that are already coming to town anyway into an economic asset while, at the same time, preserving the beauty of the town and the pride or charm people have come to expect from Groton.”

“We’re a bedroom community, we’re not going to have a lot of new business or industry relocating in town,” he said.

While that may seem Groton-centric, Elliot stressed the DGC’s goal expanded beyond the town itself. In fact, the ultimate aim of the DGC is to see Groton become a hub for the region a la Boston or Cambridge — a destination that can lead others to the “incredible experiences” that Middlesex County and, in a larger sense, central Massachusetts have to offer.

“We’re actively in partnerships with a lot of nearby communities, our surrounding Chambers of Commerce — we want to get everybody connected and engaged,” she said. “We want to be that hub, a community where we invite everyone to share in Groton and everything we love about it, but then direct those that might be unfamiliar with the area to the best it has to offer.”

When pressed on issues posed by an uptick in traffic through town, both Sheldon and Elliot made it clear the DGC has actively sought out feedback from “town stakeholders” — local businesses and nonprofit entities, town leaders and residents — and has incorporated that feedback into their work as they hope to address infrastructure and other potential issues before they “become too painful” to deal with. Elliot also said the committee has prioritized “discrete accessibility” so as to not disrupt locals and create a “harmonious” environment for everybody in Groton.

“We want to get out in front of some of these expected challenges, come up with solutions before issues become too big to handle,” Sheldon said.

With that in mind, Elliot praised her fellow committee members for their work and, to those that remain concerned, said the DGC has truly taken Groton’s best interests to heart.

“We’re not paid — we’re just volunteers -– but, everyone on this committee is serious in their commitment to the town of Groton,” she said. “And, in my experience, each and every one of them has truly taken the best interests of the townspeople and the town to heart.”

For more information on the DGC, visit