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 25, 2013

Being Prepared

Two years ago this week we were following the weather forecast that predicted snow.  Snow on, or about Halloween.  It didn't look good, and based on what we were seeing on the TV, we decided to take a ride to Sears in Auburn.

At Sears we said hello to our little friend, an eight HP, 26 inch wide brute with power steering.  I picked it up the day before the snow fell.

Up until then I had no problem shoveling our driveway, but it was getting a bit old, and with the volume of snow predicted, not long after I had packed away my cargo shorts for the season, I was in no mood to play around.

Visiting Sears that day was a very good decision.

What would have made our preparation even better was if we had bought a generator as well.  We had no power for six days.  That piece of equipment is on the wish list.

Yesterday, after the final mowing for the season, and annual readying of the yard, that snow blower was readied for another season.  Tires inflated, gas, and oil added,  parked, and covered.


To be properly prepared can be, and is often taught, but for most of us, we learn from not being prepared.  I've been in that category more than once.

Being prepared extends beyond my driveway.  Our town must be prepared for the expenses, both expected, and unexpected, over the course of a year.  This year our residential tax rate is 17.95%.  Out of 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, we rank 45th.  That's a whole lot of cash coming in.  There was some sincere thought in preparing our expense list, and establishing our tax rate.  Yet, as pricey as it is to live here in Sturbridge, we are still expected to clear our own sidewalks of snow in front of our homes along Main Street.

You would think that the expense of clearing the sidewalks would have been included in the budget.  For the price we pay to live in Sturbridge, no one should ever have to clear the sidewalk in front of their home.  Ever.

Comes down to preparation, and in this case, I hope they have learned from past experience.


  1. Wally, what was the problem with the Town of Sturbridge last night? I tried to get off the Pike at the Sturbridge exit, and it was jammed from the toll booths and not moving. I had to bypass our exit and had to get off in Charlton and it was a headache heading back into our town from work.

  2. I was on the pike east past our exit around 4:15 and was at a complete stop, usually pike on Fridsys is stopped both ways but it ok till there was an accident. I usually take 20 east to Auburn and hop on the pike there. Don't know more than that, but the pike needs 4 lanes.

  3. The cause of the back-up was the free Halloween goings on at Old Sturbridge Village. It literally took us an hour to get home (Main St. Fiskdale) from the Hobbs Brook Plaza. Can you imagine what it would have been like with the implementation of the ongoing plans to build a roundabout at routes 20 and 131, and to tighten up any available feet or inches of the roadway to make room for a larger median somewhere between Friendly's and the intersection up there so we can plant two trees? They want to add a crosswalk at the same place, but I don't think people should be coming out from behind trees to cross Route 20 there. It's wild enough already. I wonder how anyone ever got back onto the road lastnight if they had been at the new establishment that was Piccadilly's or from McDonalds, The Host, The Oxhead, Yankee Spirits,Burger King, Sal's, Sturbridge Sea Food, and whatever else is on that side of the street. Thank goodness we still have traffic lights. If we had a roundabout there would be no breaks in the traffic at all.

  4. I believe Treats and Tricks at OSV was the cause of the traffic problems in Sturbridge Friday night.

  5. Must be everyone getting ready to head to the casino in Palmer!

    I think OSV had a free Halloween event going on. We were heading from 148 to Cinemagic about 1845 and traffic was backed up/stopped going east. At one point a police car came down the wrong side of 20 across from TJ O'Briens heading east - yikes! And there were police directing traffic at OSV entrance at 20. Could that really have been what it was all about?

  6. Remember though adding the roundabouts will be better than lights. At the meeting a couple weeks ago about the tourist district plans a resident asked a question about how the roundabouts would help people trying to get in and out on to route 20. The answer given by the man was sub-par something to the extent of... well traffic will be moving slower so it will be better but there wont be any breaks in traffic. Not a good answer in my opinion. I wish a follow up question was asked. So traffic will go from 30mph to say 25 or so but the cars will be even closer together with no breaks from the red lights we have now. So taking a left out of Micknucks will now be basically impossible. The good thing is that when we are waiting to take our turns the views will be nice. Now i am happy that CVS turned tail and decided to not build in Fiskdale, that would just make things worse. `Another thing about the meeting on the tourist district was cost brought up publicly? I did not hear a question about it, it is possible that i missed it. I am pretty sure the people designing our town don't live here so therefore are not paying for it. I hope some of the trees that are going to be planted along route 20 are of the money variety. I love this town but i find myself scratching my head so frequently... Sunday mornings always get me going on this site.

  7. "For the price we pay to live in Sturbridge, no one should ever have to clear the sidewalk in front of their home. Ever."

    Wally, to be fair, I grew up in suburban Philly, lived in the city itself, moved across the river in a quaint little town and never at any location did we have our sidewalks plowed. In fact, in Philadelphia, theny never even plowed the side streets. I have picture of people walking on snow that placed them a considerable height above the roof of the cars. If you parked on a side street after a storm, consider yourself marooned until the next thaw.

    What I'd like to know is whether the other tax rate of the lost of towns includes trash collection. I think it's high time the town consider a uniform trash collection. While living in the above NJ town, every week incluided trash pickup, recycling pickup, and a day for "large items". Put a range out, a refrigerator (with doors off), a sofa, used motor oil and it was gone. No washer machines in the back yard with grass growing up through the lid. No truck caps in the side yard. If you got it out to the curb, it was taken, if not by the town, by the many pickers who canvass the streets the night before. I don't expect our town to plow the sidewalks that are in front of a residence, I accept that responsibility (although I have no saidewak where I live). But hasn't our town outgrown the transfer center?

    PS. THESE are the issues I like to see you write about, and by the response, it appears others do as well.

  8. Thank you , Tom, but this "issue" is nothing more more than the sharing of a thought. Far from the political rabble rouser you feel I am. It's all about common sense. That can be applied to anything in our lives, especially politics. Thanks for the input. A lot of towns have town sponsored trash pickup, but I have no idea how many across the state. They also have many other ammenities that we don't have, and we have things that others don't. I guess it comes down to is any town worth the "price of admission", or the amount of the property taxes? If they are high, what makes them high? Ocean front towns? Wealthy residents such as Dover, and Weston? Sturbridge? Come shovel your sidewalk for free admission to OSV? Naw, there has to be more, right?

  9. I wanted to thank you for posting the pic of the snowblower. It reminded me to change the shear pin yesterday. This site is great.


Anonymous comments not accepted, and will be rejected. Please use your full name. Choose "Name / URL" and enter your name, and your name ONLY. Leave "URL" blank.