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 17, 2008

Google Sturbridge

We see the traffic in town, and we know people from other places come to visit us, but wouldn't it be great if we could eavesdrop on what they thought of us after they got home? It would be a fantastic way to see ourselves through the eyes of others.

Well, we can, and I've been doing it for some time.

No, I'm not a Secret Agent, just an everyday goof with Internet access. Go to and at the top of the page is a selection of services. Click on the "More" button, and then select "Even More", or simply go to This will bring you to a page where you can make your own Google Email alert about any subject you want. Type in the keywords you want searched such as "Sturbridge", and then choose where to look for the word. If you choose "Comprehensive" it will search through all the choices for you. Next, choose how often to email you the results. I choose " As it happens".

Now, you're all set to receive the latest news, photo postings, blog entries, and anything else on the web where your keyword is mentioned. Of course, you will get some irrelevant stuff, like anything mentioning the word you chose, and they could be far removed from what you are interested in. Normally, the more keywords you put in, the finer the search results, but keep in mind, not everything that posts on the Internet will use some of the other words, and you may miss some of the great things that only use "Sturbridge", and not MA, or Massachusetts.

Once you begin to receive your alerts in your email, click on the ones that you are interested in and read away! Some of the best ones come from Blogs. There are a lot of Blogs out there. Most written by everyday folks and they all seem to have a particular theme: Single parent, home schooling, Catholic mother of nine, Outdoor Life in Central Mass, History, Quilting, Road Trips.
You name it, there is a Blog for it. When you click the link to the posting, and read the posting you will be sharing what the writer has to say about "Sturbridge". Coming from a source not connected to the town, except by a visit, makes the post a little more meaningful. It will tell of their impressions, and how their day went, but not much more.

Insight is more valuable than hindsight.

Many of the Blogs will read the same. The writer will talk about Old Sturbridge Village being a place representing American life in the 1830's with lots of old houses, and costumed people, and their impression of the place. Recently I've been reading some Blog postings by a group of foreign exchange student from Spain. Each one had a different opinion of how they spent their day using their limited English, but it was good to see how they interpreted our history. One Blog in particular wrote of visiting King Richards Faire in Carver, Ma, and Old Sturbridge Village. The person was amazed that there was the flag of the old Franco Spanish government hanging from a "castle" at the King Richards Faire. The writer could not understand why this was done since it is so far removed from being medieval as the faire portrays itself.

Interesting, and their comments about OSV were just as good.

So, if you "just gotta know" everything there is about a certain subject, sign up for those Google Alerts.

We can learn just as much from another persons experience as we can from our own.

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