Quantcast
 
 

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.
Christmas Campfire - Old Sturbridge Village - Sturbridge, MA - Photo Credit John Collins Photography
Old Sturbridge Village

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

See history’s crafts, daily life come alive at this interactive outdoor museum

Step back in time – but step lively – at Old Sturbridge Village, where the 1830s come to life in 40 original buildings that form a rural New England town. But the early 19th century was a busy time, as you’ll see when you visit the blacksmith shop, or watch an oxen-driven plow in the field, or watch one of the village’s authentically costumed staff hand-dip candles or make dinner on a hearth. Activities include everything from learning a historical craft like textile-making to taking a trip in a stagecoach or, in the winter, in a horse-drawn sleigh. Holidays are magical from fireworks on the Fourth to Christmas by Candlelight in December, with a roaring bonfire and strolls around the decorated village.
Grivet Monkey - Southwick’s Zoo - Mendon, MA
Southwick’s Zoo

2 Southwick Street Mendon, MA, 01756 Phone: 800-258-9182

This zoo is full of animals, adventures, activities – and so much more!

Southwick’s Zoo is really more than a zoo: It’s a zoo-plus. The plus includes a carousel, a rainforest maze, a Skyari sky ride to give you a bird’s eye view of the African Plains, a Woodland Express train ride, pony and camel rides, a place where you can mine for gems and fossils – even a two-seater zipline! And have they got animals, from lemurs and lions to snakes and sloths. Feed a parakeet in the aviary or a deer in the 35-acre deer forest, interact with pygmy goats in the petting zoo, feed a giraffe or enjoy one of several live-animal presentations and educational exhibits. Lots of dining options, from burgers and wraps to New England tavern meals.
Atrium & Roman Mosaic - Worcester Art Museum - Worcester MA
Worcester Art Museum

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

In this museum, there’s more to do than admire paintings (tho the paintings are amazing)

There is far more to do at the Worcester Art Museum than walk through the galleries, although considering the museum’s varied and extensive collections, from ancient to contemporary art, that may be your top priority. Interactive elements in the reimagined medieval galleries means you can explore the world through tales of castles, monasteries and trade routes, or contribute “alternate labels” via iPads to Old Masters. Check out a rare suit of jousting armor in the chivalric arms and armor collection or listen to a presentation on what Roman soldiers wore into battle. For children, art carts and touch carts allow them to draw and, yes, touch things. There are also tours and scavenger hunts. Check the website for updates, timed-admission information and safety protocols.
tubing at ward in shrewsbury ma
Get Tubing at Ward!

To say the TubaSlide at Ski Ward ski area in Shrewsbury is “fun” is an understatement! Tubing is a great activity for all levels. It is affordable, easy to do, and requires no special equipment (tubes are provided). So grab a tube, hold on and have a blast. Ski Ward offers five tuba slide lanes with two lifts. Tube users must be age six or older and at least 42 inches tall. Phone: 508-842-6346.
johnny appleseed trail
Johnny Appleseed Trail Through Picturesque Towns

Johnny Appleseed, born John Chapman in 1774 in Leominster, Massachusetts, was a pioneer nurseryman who introduced apples to large parts of the Midwest. Today’s Johnny Appleseed Trail in north-central Massachusetts runs along Route 2 between the Freedom Trail and the Mohawk Trail, or from about Turner’s Falls at the western end to Lancaster at the eastern end. Spring, summer, and fall are perfect for exploring this region of farms, orchards, and beautiful small towns. Start at the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center on Route 2 West in Lancaster. It’s full of helpful brochures and locally made crafts, books, jams and jellies, gifts and souvenirs.
antiques in central ma
Prowl for Fashionable Objects of the Past

Prowling shops that showcase cool old stuff of bygone times (some of it cycling into fashion again) is a fun indoor winter sport. The towns of central Massachusetts have plenty to offer style archaeologists. Sadie Green’s in Sturbridge creates and sell vintage reproduction jewelry. Metal is embossed with original dies from the 1920s and jewelry is hand assembled. Find beautiful and unusual jewelry of sea glass, hand-wrapped glass, florals and shells. Perfectly unique! In Worcester, Sweet Jane’s Designer Consignment fills your sense with just the clothing treasures that the shop name promises. The shop promises to deliver “curated designer resale [goods] for the huntress, fashionista, and style queen in all of us.” Off the Common Antiques in Grafton has many vendors selling antiques, furniture and home décor. Welcoming to dogs and strollers, too.
Fruitlands Museum
Fruitlands Is Home to four Fascinating Museums

In 1843, Bronson Alcott, father of the writer Louisa May Alcott and himself a writer, founded a utopian community called Fruitlands, near the town of Harvard. Later, from 1914 to 1945, the four Fruitlands Museums opened on the site of Alcott’s village, at 102 Prospect Hill Road in Harvard. The 210-acre landscape now includes a Shaker Museum, a Native American museum, a fine art gallery of Hudson River landscapes, changing exhibits, and trails through woodlands and meadows. A visit is inspiring, educational, and beautiful, with plenty of potential for outdoor walks on the trails. Lots of special events for adults and kids. Open daily, May through October.
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery

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.