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, May 28, 2010

Muster Day at Old Sturbridge Village on June 12

Appearance by 1812 Marines from the U.S.S. Constitution; 50% admission discount for active Military

STURBRIDGE, MA (May 28, 2010) – Old Sturbridge Village will celebrate an old-fashioned military “Muster Day” on Sat., June 12, with a special appearance by the 1812 Marines from Boston’s U.S.S. Constitution, who will march, drill, and demonstrate field maneuvers alongside the Sturbridge militia. Active military personnel get a 50-percent admission discount, and members of their party get 25 percent off admission.

Fifers and drummers will play martial music, and children can “join the militia,” learn to march and drill, and make a militia hat to wear and take home. Visitors can enjoy early 19th-century base ball, French & English (tug of war), and crafts demonstrations, head to the farm to meet the baby oxen, lambs, and piglets, and help the farmers with late spring work. For details:; 1-800-733-1830.

In early New England, the militia was somewhat similar to today’s volunteer firefighters, and its ranks were filled by farmers, craftsmen, and other male citizens in town. At least once a year, these folks were “called to muster,” and spent a day in training.

“The 1830s were peaceful years in New England,” notes OSV curator Tom Kelleher, adding that muster days also offered festive recreation, including a way to skirt the temperance laws banning the sale of alcohol in the 1830s. Those thirsting for liquor could pay a few cents to enter a tent to see a “striped pig,” and also get a “free” shot of rum. Muster Day visitors to Old Sturbridge Village can see a real pig, striped just for the occasion, and get a free glass of lemonade as a stand-in for the rum.

Old Sturbridge Village celebrates New England life in the 1830s and is one of the largest living history museums in the country. The museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and offers free parking and a free return visit within 10 days. Admission: $20; seniors, $18; children 3-17, $7; children under 3, free. Active military personnel get a 50% discount on admission by showing their ID and members of their party get 25% off. For information: or call 1-800-733-1830.

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