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

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

From Dixie With Love

For those of us living here in Sturbridge it all seems second nature. We have an Historic area in the center of town with antique homes and a wonderful Common. On the other side of town, in Fiskdale, we have an historic manufacturing district, and sprinkled throughout our town, we have thousands of acres of public land for hiking, horseback riding, biking, fishing, boating, swimming, and just enjoying the scenery. And, of course, there is Old Sturbridge Village.

Sometimes we have to go away for a bit, and return home to see all of what we have with a clear set of eyes. It must be a lot like what residents of Orlando feel, or those folks up in the White Mountains. We become desensitized to all the special things around us, but we still go on vacation, and many times look for those very same things.

I wonder how many of us ever think of what travelers think about our town when they are here? What parts of town they visited? Did they like what they saw? Did they enjoy themselves? How did we treat them? Were we good hosts?

For many traveling up from Connecticut, and on to the rest of New England, we are one of the first stops on the families itinerary. We are a tourist town, not only because of OSV, but because of our history, our location, and the amenities our town offers to the traveler.

The impression we make on those that visit us will either insure their return, or cause them to bypass us the next time around. Overall, we don't chase anyone away. Local businesses, cater to the traveler, and take very good care of them.

I still wonder what goes through the minds of those visitors while they are here, and after they have gone. Today, one can read about folks visits online, Countless blogs, and other web sites will mention our town, and the visits others have made here. Reading them gives one invaluable insight, and that information is priceless for improving what our town has to offer.

I received this message over the weekend:

"Please accept my donation for the "Tables on the Common" There is nothing nicer than to be able to relax in the common whether you sit on a bench and read or have a picnic with your family. The common is Sturbridge History and keeping it so all residents can enjoy is what this is all about. I hope to see these tables in place on my next visit hopefully this summer.
--Patti from SC"

Apparently, we are doing something right to encourage a return visit, and we must be doing something even better for a person that lives so far away to care enough about our Town Common to make a contribution for Tables on the Common, besides the fact that she is my sister.

Thank you, Patti. Hopefully, with the support of those here in Sturbridge, there will be those picnic tables on the Common this summer.

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