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, July 16, 2013

Being A Bit Lazy; Still In Vacation Mode

While away I received an email from with suggestions for me to follow up on since he had not seen anything written as of late.  I didn't address them then, because vacation takes precedence.  Naturally.

I've annotated my responses to the email in red.  It's a lazy mans way of responding, I know, but until I walk back into that building, I'm still on vacation.

Hello Wally. I haven't seen much posted lately, and I though I'd throw out a couple of tidbits for you.

FIrstly, did you see the equipment a couple of week ago at New Boston Road and Rt. 20?  There was a Ditch Witch along with some other equipment.  They left an additional pipe on either side of the road to add to the one that has been there since late last year.  Surely the town knows what's going on there, but I haven't seen a thing in the papers.

We all thought it may be traffic lights, but nowI think it is just a telcom link to the state police barracks, or something less exciting. 
Did you notice that the Mobil station at Rt. 20 and Rt.131 has closed?  I never would patronize the place  as I found the gas was way overpriced.  I believe the corporation that owned it was called Sladdin and Daughter.  I recall my wife telling me that "Sladdin" passed away last year.  Anyway, perhap a more reasonably priced station will re-occupy that location like Stop 'N Shop gas did.

I haven't bought a full tank of gas there in years.  35-50 cents over the cheapest gas in town was nothing more than gouging the residents, and tourists.  We have enough gas stations in town.  They should close it for good, tear it down, and turn it in to a park. 
Have you noticed that the Kiwi Yogut place has yet to open?  If they don't open soon, it'll be Fall and people will be looking for hot chocolate.  Regardless, I hate to be a prophet of doom, but I don't believe it will ever make it in our town.  I often wonder what possesses people to invest perhaps their life savings into a business that the public would take one look at, and say "forget it!".  Have you seen the store openings and closings along Main Street in just the past year?  Advertise people, advertise!

In some ways we are like the Cape.  LIttle businesses open, and close.  They try the waters, some make it, some don't.  Others don't intend to make it more than a season.  The frozen yogurt store may not open, or last longer than a month or two, but it's nothing new around here.  I did notice that the sign was not put in permanently.  It is attached to a platform and covered with mulch.  That does not have the ring of permanence to it. 
I took my visiting family to the beach at Lake Quacumquasit, aka. South Pond over the Forth of July weekend to get relief from the heat.  OK, it's not technically Sturbridge or Fiskdale but what the heck.  Clean, warm water, lots of people, but I suspect few residents.

South Pond is shared by both Brookfield and Sturbridge.  The shoreline of South Pond is 80% developed with ear round homes, and cottages.  It has more than a few residents.  It is a great place to go to beat the heat.  Streeter Point Beach is also a great place to bring the family, too.  
 FInally, I wish your column ( as I have said before) had more town gossip in it.  I'd love to see tidbits of news that don't make the paper or town news that the administration doesn't want to feed us.

I don't go ferreting around looking for news.  I stumble on it as I'm out and about town, someone may offer me a tip  (which happens a lot) , or I read something in the local papers.   Gossip is something I don't do.  I may venture a guess as to what may happen, what is being built, or how folks will react, but I don't gossip. That you can get from reading the comments posted in the Telegram.

Now, I still have twelve more hours of vacation left.  It's hammock time.


  1. Gateway Park WallyWednesday, July 17, 2013

    Take the Gas Station the State has and make a nice Gateway Park with Lights and all so everyone can enjoy it. Can be for Sports, Walking, Running, Picnics, & other events.

    Instead of having a fancy "Welcome to Sturbridge" sign next to this eyesore. Lets have Town Administrator get a grant similar to the other cities and towns that are doing the same Gateway Projects.
    Brewer was pushing Gateway Projects funding for smaller towns and there is some good funding available according to his statements in the paper a few months back.

    The can take the Mobil Station too as you suggested.

  2. Streeter beach closed, State chose not to open this beach, but open the long closed Dean Pond area deep in the heart of the Brimfield State forest instead.

    Tom C

  3. I patronized the mobil station almost daily for years. It was nice going into a gas station that was owned by a local. The conversation with everyone there was always good, yeah the gas was a bit more expensive but i did not mind since it was a local that got to see the profit. It was really sad to see it closed. As for it becoming a park, how bout a gas station with a drive through Dunkins. It would be nice having one on the way to the pike. Unfortunately, it will no longer be owned by a local, it will be some corporation.

  4. A 40 cent price difference was a bit too much to attract my business. I did frequent them at one time, but then Pilot, Cumberlands, and now, the new Stop & Shop station gave little reason to share my wallet with them. I figure that if you are in business as a local person, then take care of your own, or business will dry up. A corporation will take care of the locals, because they know the rules of a successful business. there is a differenc between making a bit of a profit, making more than a bit, and out right gouging.

    I was told that the Dunkins cannot have a drive thru because it is in a historic district. Go figure. Then the Southbridge Credit Union should close down their drive up, and nothing of a modern, convenient nature should be allowed in the historic district. How do places like Boston, Philadelphia, DC, deal with modern things amidst all that history, he said sarcastically.

    Time for an updating of the bylaws? Any takers willing to address this one?

  5. If you notice, it seems, historically, that all Mobil stations are priced higher than other brands, so that was probably not Sladdin's fault. It'll be interesting to see what happens to this property AND the beer license that went with it!

    IMHO a lot of this historic district stuff is sometimes hard to swallow. McD's and BK are cookie cutters and don't really fit in with their neighbors.

    Wish there was a light going in at the intersection of Rt20 & New Boston. Lots of dicey maneuvers try to get out of New Boston. Gotta watch both ways on 20 AND whoever's on your left or right!

    Also: Why is it no longer legal to make a right on red coming out of Hobbs Brook? Lots of cars waiting to make that turn while zero westbound traffic coming along Rt20. Someone suggested to me that it was a bit of revenge for the movie theaters finally coming in.

  6. Hi Wally,

    Welcome back!

    Yes, it's time to update the bylaws. There's a CVS trying to build at the Holland Road site of the old mill. The convenience for the seniors at Heritage Green and so many other people living in and driving through that area would almost be too much to hope for, at a time when most goods and services we really need are being forced to locate at the edges of town.

    BUT, some folks are already complaining that CVS is owned by a corporation. A corporation isn't a disease that is somehow going to ruin our lives.

    Some folks are saying that we have a by-law banning drive-throughs because "we want people to get out and walk." A drive through window service at a pharmacy is a huge help for those who cannot just "get out and walk."

    I also see no benefit coming from preventing Dunkin Donuts from having a drive-through. Wouldn't that open up some parking spaces while promoting more business?

    Dr. Rosenbloom doesn't make house calls and bring us medicine anymore, and Mr. Fish, the bread man, doesn't deliver the doughnuts. My mother says that she remembers Sam the Market Man from Worcester who used to also come door to door with all sorts of grocery market items. These hard working men who provided services for those who couldn't easily travel left us long ago, never to be replaced...

    So, I ask you, how have we progressed?


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