Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Friday, October 16, 2015

Time To Step Back, Pause, and Re-think The Plan

Marketing is a field that is not in my wheelhouse.  Oh, I can sell you something you may need in order to  live a normal life, or to just to continue living.  Nurses do that.  But, when it comes to marketing a companies image I am clueless, unless that marketing is based on common sense, then I may be able to offer something.

CVS Pharmacies is a massive company.  They have on their payroll a whole bunch of pharmacists, but a whole lot more marketing, and PR people.  They have to.  They want to be the best, and the biggest pharmacy in the United States.  Currently, they are number two after Walgreen's.  CVS would like to be the pharmaceutical equivalent of Starbucks.

In recent history, CVS has attempted to place a store in Sturbridge at the junction of Route 20, and Holland Road without success.  Something about the construction, and eventual building would adversely affect the Quinebaug River. How it would adversely affect the river more than the ruins already on the site is beyond me.  Again, not in my wheelhouse.

Currently, CVS is hoping to plant itself in front of the Host Hotel, on Route 20,  in the spot occupied by the Exhibition Hall.  The Exhibition Hall houses Bentley's Pub.  The building is one hundred and forty seven years old, and was once the main building at the Sturbridge Fairgrounds.  It is in excellent condition, and is historic.  CVS would prefer to have a new building on that spot after the Exhibition Hall is torn down.

I don't believe the town will allow that to happen.  There is a process in place to determine if a building warrants saving due to its historic significance.  I hope that all the town departments will act in concert to save the building when the time comes.  At present, CVS has asked to submit their site approval plan at a later date. This could mean that CVS is either thinking things over, or they are pulling out.

I have an idea.

We want to encourage large companies to come to Sturbridge, and all they need is a little guidance on just how to fulfill their plans for expansion without causing the communities, like us, from having a conniption when a piece of their town is threatened.  What if the  CVS architects took the existing building, and used it to house their new CVS store.

It would be a design challenge, may cost a bit more, but it would speak very loudly not only to the town, but to all the future towns it would like to build in.   Imagine CVS saving an historic building in historic Sturbridge, Massachusetts so that it may be used in a new way.  The good press that would generate would be a marketing departments dream, and it may even set a precedent for future building by CVS, and other companies.  The goal of building a new store is met, and is met with smiling approval of the locals.

What could be better?

Can't thing of a thing.  Just common sense.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

One More Time

I have been down this road before, but like any good traveler, I am willing to go there again with hopes of seeing something I may have missed before.

I have oodles of old Sturbridge stuff busting out of boxes here at this old house that needs to be in the hands of those that are willing to archive it for the future.  I have had the previous two town administrators stop by the house to check out the maps, and documents with the intention of taking them off my hands for the benefit of preserving town history.

Didn't happen.

Don't know why, but maybe it has something to do with the town  not having a place to display the empherma.  In the meantime, I rescued it from the landfill, the internet, and a lot was given to me with the purpose of preserving it.  No sense in preserving something if it can't be seen by the public.

I've had much of the collection for fifteen years.  I'm still waiting on the town to step up, but I can't wait for ever.

Currently, I am packing up a lot of accumulated stuff, and I came across the town reports, and assessors reports for the Town of Sturbridge from 1902 through 1912 pictured below.

They need to find a home.

If you are a school, or a library, a historian, or a student just interested in local old stuff, please contact me, and I will be happy to put these in you hands.  I have some doubles, and like baseball cards, that means there are a lot to go around.

As far as the other historic documents go, well, I don't know.  I contacted the curator at Old Sturbridge Village years ago, but there was little interest. The town is not interested, and the Historic Commision has passed as well.

After fifteen years of keeping the documents safe, and no interest to take over the duty, it may be time to use Ebay to get them into the hands of collectors.

Can't say they never came home again.  They just weren't wanted.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Where The Heck Have I Been? Glad You Asked

Hello. It's me.

Sorry, I've been distracted by life for the past six months.  Distracted in good ways, enough to forgo sitting in front of the Macbook, and typing.

Another reason I have been a bit scarce is that when I first started writing this blog in 2007 I had a specific purpose that was enhanced by a lot of negativity here in town.  A major source of negativity left the stage a couple of years ago.  I felt like taking a hands on my hips stance, and proclaiming , "My work here is done", but I hung on just in case there was a reincarnation, or a copycat on the horizon.

There wasn't.

I may be wrong, and I may be totally ignorant of the current pulse here in town, but I believe we are in a better place, a more positive, happy place, than we were in just a few short years ago.  No, we don't have a train station in East Brookfield, or a faster east - west route through town, an entertainment venue, a sports complex, or a fancy visitors center on I-84, but there are those that just don't care, and are moving on.  The folks at the Publick House are blowing me away.  The landscaping, that became very intense a few years ago, signaled the "All's well" on the common.  The tented function venue behind the inn, the granite curbs, and paved driveway, and now the wonderful renovation, and addition to the house beside the inn all show that no matter what the Publick House is invested, committed, and happy to still be here after 200 plus years.

They are reaping the harvest from the seeds they have sewn and cultivated over the past few years.  Sorry about that lame gardening analogy, but it fits.

I know, there may still be some gross negativity in town, but either it is petty, or I am totally oblivious, but I am happy it is not in my face constantly as it once was.  We can move on.  I did not like addressing issues of malcontent.  I have always known that no matter what, the dark side would eventually see the light, from either having an epiphany, or having a spot light pointed at their head, and life would go on.  And, it did, and it has.

Let's keep it going.

In the meantime, we have enjoyed our time along the coast of southern Maine a great deal, and are about to close up the house for the season in October.  Good times, and fun have a way of pushing one away from the computer keyboard.  Next year we will open the cottage more to others to use so that we can enjoy other places that we love.  Feel free to drop me a line if you are interested in renting a cottage in Wells, Maine.  Have I got a deal for you.  :-)

We have also been busy since the end of July searching for a new home, and we have found one here in town.  In the meantime, our house on Brookfield Road is on the market.  Lots going on, and all have a way of making the time I sit in front of the keyboard less of a priority.

Life.  Gotta love it.

If you, or someone you know are looking for a new place to call home, have I got a GREAT deal for you!

Click here to take a peak inside our home.

Summer fun, and buying a new home are wonderful life events.  We are very happy, but the best event is yet to come.  My step-daughter Christine, is getting married to a wonderful man in November.  This is the very best.  Tony is a great guy, a loving man to Christine, and her son. Mary and I could not be happier.

So, you see now that I have shared our life for the world to see on the internet, life has not so much gotten in the way over the past six months, but we have just been blessed enough to live it.

That being said, I'll see you in March.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

An Autumn Mystery

When Mary and I moved into our home, at 60 Brookfield Road in Fiskdale in 2006, one of the small things we found was the tiny sundial pictured below.  I stumbled upon it this morning as I was packing up to move once more.  Not to worry, we are staying in town.

The sundial is made of bronze, and has a stand on the back. I imagine it would have been very comfortable sitting on someones desk years ago.

Also on the reverse is an inscription.  "Sturbridge  Lat 42D 7M - Long 72D 5M  JAN 1946".  Apparently, this sundial, and the location inscribed on the reverse held some significance for the owner.

The map below shows the exact location of the coordinates.  It falls in someones back yard.  The other map is from the towns website, and shows two properties on the corner of New Boston Road, and Preserve Way, but I don't think the mystery location falls on either parcel.  The town map shows two slivers of land running between the larger parcels, and those slivers are owned by the Town of Sturbridge.  Seems the town has had them since 2012.

What would be so important that its location was inscribed in bronze on the backside of a tiny sundial?  My imagination is telling me that it could be a lot of things.  Secret, treasure things, or just some memories buried by a veteran returning from the war.  Whatever the reason is, it is obvious that the location meant something to someone in 1946.

It's a mystery well worth some investigating, if for nothing else, so that we can all get some sleep tonight.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Memorial Day Schedule

The Sturbridge Veterans Council cordially invites all residents, youth groups and a special invitation to our Veterans to participate in the annual Memorial Day Parade.  The Parade this year will be held on Monday, May 25, 2015.  The parade will follow the same route as in the past; the parade will end at the Town Hall. The Honorary Parade marshal for 2015 is Sturbridge Resident Roland “Rollie” Hewitt a WWII veteran and survivor of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

 09:30 A.M.      Parade formation at the Old Fire Station at RT 20 & RT 148

 09:45              Parade Step-Off

 09:50              Parade Stops for ceremony at the American Legion Monument

10:00               Parade Stops in St. Anne’s Cemetery for service, reading of “In Flanders Field”

10:20               Parade Marches out of St. Anne’s to board buses

 10:45              Parade Reforms in front of Public Safety Complex

 10:50              Ceremony at Firefighters Monument

 10:55              Parade Step Off, 2nd part, proceeds to North Cemetery

 11:10              At North Cemetery, memorial service, reading of the Gettysburg Address

 11:25              Parade returns to Town Common for final ceremony

 11:30              Memorial Service for Old Cemetery, Decoration of Monuments, Replacement of                           the POW Flag, National Anthem and Flag raising

 12:00 noon     Open House at the American Legion, All parade participants and residents invited.
Bus transportation will be provided BEFORE the Parade, starting at the Town Hall at 09:00 A.M., Safety complex at 09:10 A.M., Senior Center at 9:20 A.M. Legion Hall at 9:25 A.M. at Old Fire Station for 9:30.  Bus transportation will be provided during the parade from the Senior Center to the Public Safety Complex, and after the parade from the Town Hall back to the Old Fire Station with stops at the Safety Complex, Senior Center and Legion Hall.  Any veteran, elderly or disabled person needing a ride for the parade is asked to call the American Legion Post 109 at 347-3248 by Friday May 22nd. 

For more information call Phil Courville @ 413-237-7879.

         STURBRIDGE Pre- Memorial Day ACTIVITIES

All Veterans are encouraged to attend any or all of the events listed.

Friday, May 24,
1: Annual Memorial Day breakfast and ceremony, 8:00 AM Tantasqua Regional Junior High School, All veterans invited, please call the Junior HS to confirm your attendance, 508-347-7381.

2: Annual Burgess Elementary School Memorial Day assembly, 1:30 P.M.
            3:  Veterans who want to help decorate graves are asked to meet the American Legion                       Hall at 6:30 P.M.

Sunday, May 26:

All veterans are invited the annual Memorial Day Sunday Service of the Sturbridge Federated Church.  Veterans are asked to meet outside of the Church at 10:15 A.M.

Monday May 27:

Annual Memorial Day Parade and Services.  Parade Forms at 9:30 A.M. at the old fire station, Corner of Rt. 20 and Rt. 148, proceeds to St. Anne’s Cemetery, for services at 10:00 A.M. then reforms at the Public Safety Complex at 10:45. Parade concludes at 11:30 on the Town Common.
Open House will follow at the American Legion Hall. 
Bus transportation is available before, during and after the parade.
Veteran’s needing rides are asked to call Post 109 at 347-3248. Before Friday May 24.

For further information call Phil Courville @ 413-237-7879.