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Central Massachusetts has lots of rural and historic things to see and do

Central Massachusetts figures prominently in America’s past, and today it offers some of the most interesting family activities in New England. Explore Old Sturbridge Village’s 18th-century setting then stay and enjoy authentic New England cuisine, cozy rooms and fireplaces, and delicious sweets from Ye Old Bake Shoppe. The Ecotarium is one of the top science museums for kids in the country. Enjoy walking tours, special events and exhibits at the Tower Hill Botanic Gardens. Find a cozy hotel room or exert yourself on a bed, breakfast and biking vacation you won’t forget.

55 Salisbury Street Worcester, MA, 01609 Phone: 508-799-4406

Discover a great museum in central Massachusetts

This central Massachusetts museum is considered one of the finest mid-sized museums in the country. Follow history’s path through 50 centuries of the world’s antiquities, paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, decorative arts, arms, armor, and more. There’s an exciting arms and armor demonstration, Art Carts, and interactive programs for children and families. WAM features a 37,500-piece collection including works by Cassatt, Gauguin, Goya, Monet, Sargent and Homer. You’ll find floor mosaics from the ancient city of Antioch, a medieval Chapter House and cutting-edge contemporary art. Exhibits change regularly showcasing masterworks, gems, and important works on loan. Enjoy lunch in the Museum Café and unique gifts and mementos in the museum shop. For exhibition and program schedules, check the museum website.

College of the Holy Cross - 1 College Street Worcester, MA, 01610 Phone: 508-793-3356

A gallery with a mission

As a college art gallery, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery’s mission is to promote the intellectual and cultural life of the College of the Holy Cross and greater community by exploring the fundamental intellectual, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic issues encountered through the visual arts. Through a series of exhibitions throughout the academic year, enhanced by receptions, guest lectures, readings, and students’ presentations, you’ll always find something of interest. Current exhibition information and hours of operation can be found on the gallery’s website.

1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, off Route 20 Sturbridge, MA, 01566 Phone: 508-347-3362 Toll-Free: 800-733-1830

A trip to historic, authentic and tasty

One of Massachusetts’ 50 great things to do has 50 great things all its own to enjoy when you arrive at this celebrated living history destination, one of the nation’s largest. Settle in at the Old Sturbridge Inn or Reeder Family Lodges. Savor authentic New England cuisine, cozy rooms and fireplaces, and delicious sweets from Ye Old Bake Shoppe. Then step into the 18th century and watch and participate in what people did then. Costumed interpreters will guide your visit on foot, on a stagecoach or standing beside a potter’s wheel or the blacksmith’s forge, or meeting with farmers and their animals at work. The 19th century is here, too, in 40 antique homes, buildings and water-powered mills in this most scenic town. Open year-round. Seasonal hours may vary.

Walking Tours at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston hosts great special events and exhibits at all time of the year, but you can come for walks and tours held every weekend. A walking garden tour, included in the cost of admission, happens every Sunday at 2 p.m. See highlights like camellias in the Limonaia and subtropical plants in the Orangerie, and the beauty of bark and berries in the Winter Garden. Learn about the history of the Worcester County Horticultural Society and learn about the future plans for the garden. Also, the garden welcomes people to bring their dogs to wander the dog walking trail on weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where the Flowers Go Wild

Garden in the Woods at 180 Hemenway Road in Framingham is the botanic garden of the New England Wild Flower Society. Fifteen hundred native plants live throughout the gardens, along with two miles of paths meander under a canopy of trees past a pond, a wooded bog, springs, and a brook. You can come for guided tours and for classes and other educational opportunities. Bring or buy a boxed lunch for a picnic and browse the Garden Shop, with a charming selection of native plants, books, tools, gifts, and snacks. Check out the family programs, too. 508-877-7630.

Johnny Appleseed and Bay State Cider Masters

Johny Appleseed – a real person – was Massachusetts native John Chapman, who lived from about 1775 to 1845. A devoted arborist, Chapman planted apple trees from New England to the Ohio River valley. Raise a glass to J.A. when you enjoy the work of many Massachusetts cideries. A perfect time to enjoy this most perfect of all fruits is November 3-5 is at Franklin County Cider Days .
Here are some of the Bay State’s top places to taste and buy apples and cider: Downeast Cider in Charlestown, Bantam Cider in Somerville, Brooksby Farm in Peabody, Dartmouth Orchards in Dartmouth, Bear Swamp Orchard and Cidery in Ashfield, and West County Cider in Shelburne.