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

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Picture Post Set Up In The Tornado Zone

The Corps in Partnership with the Environmental Science Class at THS has allowed the placement of a 360 degree environmental awareness photo post along the Grand Trunk Trail in Brimfield, in the Heart of the tornado zone.  Students over the next few years will also be visiting the site and monitoring the photo's as this area recovers from the June 1, 2011 tornado.

Trail users are encouraged to stop and take photo's aligning their camera to the top of the post (instructions posted on the post) and submit their photos on line to

You can also add a picture post to our landscape so that scientists can monitor the environment.  For more information, go to the link listed above.

Photos and story submitted by Tom Chamberland

Monday, June 17, 2013

Celebrate Sturbridge

June 22nd & June 23rd

Help us celebrate the 275th anniversary of Sturbridge on Saturday June 22nd and Sunday June 23rd by entering to win $275.00 in gift certificates from the merchants of SturbridgeVisit one or all of the participating merchants listed below.  The more merchants you visit the better your chance of winning.

Alternatives for Health 426 Main St, Route 20
Briar Patch 541 Main St, Route 20
Cornerstone Creations 548 Main St, Route 20
The Handmaiden 538 Main St, Route 20
Paradise Found 559 Main St, Route 20
The Quilt & Cabbage 538 Main St, Route 20
Sadie Greens Curiosity Shop 283 Main St, Route 131
Sadie Greens Emporium 319 Main St, Route 131
Simple Indulgence Day Spa 598 Main St, Route 20
Susan’s Secret Garden 531 Main St, Route 20
Village Music 3 Arnold St, off Rte 20

Look for the


We went to the new Bentley's Pub on Rout 20 where the Picadilly Pub once was.

Same pub, different name.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


All; The Night Hike set for Saturday Night, June 8th at Heins Farm Conservation lands has been canceled due to weather. The predicted 2+" of rain as well as a forecast that calls for clouds well into the night will make the trail and area too wet and cloudy for hiking and star gazing.

The Officers of the Friends of Sturbridge trails (FrOST) are planning to reschedule this event later this year but no date has been set.

FrOST wants to remind everyone that the Mountain Laurel will, over the next week, reach full bloom, and encourages everyone to go out and hike the trails and enjoy this display of Mother Nature.

Please pass the word.

Thank you

Tom Chamberland
Night Hike Leader

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Where's Your Favorite Place To Get Ice Cream?

It's late spring, and after this past weekend, one would swear it was July.  With all that summer heat fresh in your mind, where is the best ice cream place in our area?  Is it someplace here in town, or a bit of a drive away?  Where do you take the kids, or just sneak away without them?

Let everyone know by leaving your choice in the comments section, along with the reason why you feel your choice is the best.  Is it because of their ice cream?  Is it homemade?  Is it the view, or the ambiance of the place?

Mary, and I have a favorite, the Westview Farms Creamery in Monson.  Sitting high on a hill it has a view to the west that is amazing especially at sunset.  Couple the view with the pygmy goats cavorting in the pen, and its an evening of cheap entertainment, and great ice cream.

Share your favorite place with the rest of us.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Free Admission For Dads At OSV

To view a 2 min. video of Music & Art Weekend at OSV, use a QR reader to scan this code with a mobile device:

Music & Art YouTube QR code

Music & Art Weekend at Old Sturbridge Village June 15-16
Dads get free admission on Father's Day June 16

(STURBRIDGE, MA) – June 3, 2013: More than 50 singers, dancers, musicians and artists will gather at Old Sturbridge Village to bring 19th-century cultural arts to life as part of the museum's annual Music & Art weekend June 15-16.  On Father's Day, June 16 dads get free OSV admission and will receive a free Village-made pottery flask (while supplies last).  Throughout the weekend visitors can see rare antique musical instruments on display, hear performances of African American spirituals, and learn to play a tin whistle. Art demonstrations will include sketching, watercolors, and theorem painting, and visitors can try their hands at marbling paper. Daytime performances are free with museum admission. Details: 800-SEE-1830;

Soprano Alika Hope will perform traditional African American spirituals throughout the weekend and will give the history behind these popular songs. The program includes songs like "Go Down Moses," "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho," and "This Little Light of Mine."  Hope, who is the associate host of the television show "Connecticut Perspective," will be accompanied by guitarist Ramon Morant.

Old Sturbridge Village performers will present 19th-century songs and stories all weekend long and will display rare antique musical instruments from the museum's collection, including wooden flutes, parlor guitars, woodwinds, and lap instruments.  Visitors can also hear a concert on the Village's antique pipe organ and enjoy fife and drum music presented by the Sturbridge Militia. The Old Sturbridge Village Dancers will teach guests of all ages how to perform popular contra dances, jigs, and reels from the early 1800s.

According to Old Sturbridge Village historians, early New Englanders enjoyed more than just religious music.  In fact, popular songs in the 1800s included salacious and satirical songs, as well as songs about murders, executions and famous battles.

“Early New Englanders worked very hard, but they also loved music, art, and dance,” notes Old Sturbridge Village musician Jim O’Brien. “Families in early New England didn't go straight to sleep after dark – they liked to stay up singing songs and telling stories.”

People in rural towns learned four-part harmony in singing schools taught by itinerant instructors.  British ballads like “Barbara Allen,” were passed down from one generation to the next for hundreds of years. People also sang “broadside songs,” which were printed on single sheets in Boston and sold all over the countryside.

Dances in early New England were informal and were usually held in farmhouses or barns.  Young people in rural areas could learn all the latest steps at formal dancing schools taught by dancing-school masters who traveled from town to town.

One of the most popular art forms in 19th-century New England was theorem painting, or oil painting with stencils on white velvet. The stencil technique made it possible for amateur artists to create charming artwork for their own homes.

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. seven days a week.  OSV offers free parking and a free return visit within 10 days. Admission: $24; seniors $22; children 3-17, $8; children 2 and under, free. Woo Card subscribers get $5 off adult daytime admission; college Woo cardholders receive $12 off adult daytime admission. For times and details of all OSV activities or call 1-800-SEE-1830.

Main Street In The 1920's

Where is this?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Run Away

Selling our home, and finding another one in town would be difficult today.  The market has rebounded a bit since 2007, but not quite to where we were when we bought in 2006.  Almost, but not quite.  The type of home we are interested in is not available in Sturbridge at this time, but is in other towns.  There is very limited new home building going on, and what is being built, is like all the rest.  They are like those tract developments of the 1960's many of us grew up in.

I don't doubt the market will recover, but attracting more people to town to buy up existing inventory, and then for builders to supply new homes once the inventory becomes critically low will help drive home prices up to realistic levels.  Interest rates will rise some, and the market will even off and become less of a buyers flea market.  In the meantime, the towns debt, and tax rate counters new arrivals from settling here.

Things will get better, but it is going to take some more time, and it just may not happen in my lifetime.

Wells Beach, Maine
(c) 2012 W. Hersee
 In the meantime, since we felt selling, and buying locally, would not be in our best interest at this time we decided to get another place elsewhere.  It's the best of both worlds.  We get to keep the home we enjoy here in town for now, and escape whenever we can to  the coast of Maine.

Why another place?  Simple.  It is therapy.

It is a safe haven, a place to go to decompress, recharge, and start over again fresh.  This gives me strength to do what I do better, and clears my head.  Just pack up the car, leave someone in charge at home, and go.

Those are the grownup reasons, but the bestest one, the most important one, is child inspired: we get to "run away".  We always ran away for a weekend every few months, or so, and knew of the benefits, but now, we do it more often, and I am a better man for it.

Running away is something that we all need to do now, and again.  Leaving the daily whatevers behind, and emptying ones mind into a book on the beach, or just examining the back of your eyelids, is a great way of  making more room upstairs for improved insight into life back in the real world.

Just happens.

A few hours away in the mountains, or shore, acts as a cerebral flushing.  With no pressing issues in front of us, with no visual reminders, such as grass getting too tall, we loose all those stress inspired behaviors.

Late on Sunday, we return home, refreshed, and eager to begin our week.

Some unasked for advice:  run away.  Doesn't really matter where, just a place you will enjoy for a couple of days  Bring as little as possible with you, and as soon as the car door closes behind you in your driveway, let go, and don't think about anything from this world until you return.

When you do return all the same stuff will be here to greet you, but you will be in a better frame of mind to deal with it.

A couple of nights at a Hampton Inn every couple of months can change your world, and make it easier to deal with.

Now, get out there and recharge, let go, and decompress.  Your clear thoughts, and renewed strength are needed here in town if we are ever to take it back, and make it a better place.