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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Like The Idea

We decided to take Stafford Street in Charlton to the Worcester Airport yesterday.  The Pike, and I-290 are how we have always traveled to Worcester, but when I pulled up directions on Google Maps, it gave three options, and one of them was Stafford Street.  We weren't in a hurry, and neither one of could remember taking that route before, so we went on an explore.

Stafford Street is a straight shot into south Worcester, and not to far from Goddard Memorial Drive, the road to the airport.  It's a rural road, all tree lined, with simple homes along it's edges.  A welcome change from 290.

When we reached the Leicster town line, there was a sign welcoming us to the village of Rochdale.  It's a nice sign, and from what I remember reading as I drove by, it read "Welcome to Rochdale -- A mill town."  Although a village within Leicster, the Welcome to Rochdale sign gave the village it's own identity beyond a separate zip code.  Mary turned to me and asked, "Why doesn't Fiskdale have a welcome sign?" as if I am the Sturbridge Oracle.

"Dunno", I answered as intelligently as possible being caught off guard without a snappy reply.  "I really don't know", I reinforced.

There is a nice mini-park at the clock on Main Street in Fiskdale, beside the mill building,  that contains a little history about the area on placards placed in the garden, but Mary is right, there is no "Welcome to Fiskdale" sign on either end of Main Street, Holland Road, or Route 148.

Map of Fiskdale, Massachusetts
Although, Fiskdale residents, such as ourselves, share Sturbridge government, taxes, and schools, we are most definitely a different place from Sturbridge.  The Federal government states this fact each time I receive a letter addressed to Brookfield Road in Sturbridge.  Sturbridge is always scratched out, in a frantic manner - not just a line through the word, and Fiskdale is written in large, bold print, often followed by an exclamation point.  I have even received notice that I must correct the address with those that send us mail, or our mail will take much longer in arriving since it has to go to the Sturbridge post office first.  The federal government thinks a lot of Fiskdale.  They built us a large, modern post office, and when compared to the Sturbridge post office, well, you can tell who Mom likes best.

I think a few "Welcome to Fiskdale" signs placed about would not only reinforce what the feds have stressed on our envelopes for years, but lend an immense sense of pride to the those of us living "out west".

Now, I can hear the hairs rising on the back of the Sturbridge purists necks as I write.

"Welcome to Fiskdale signs will only confuse those that come to our town.  They won't know where they truly are."

"They'll think they overshot Sturbidge."

"They'll get lost looking for Old Sturbridge Village."

"The signs won't do anything to promote Sturbridge."

"Sturbridge is the historical place, not Fiskdale."

Other towns put up signs as a matter of pride, and I am quite sure that Sturbridge is very proud of Fiskdale, and it's history.  I don't think it will affect folks heading to Old Sturbridge Village, after all, it is located in Fiskdale.

If worded properly, and placed appropriately, the signs would be a wonderful addition to our roadsides.

Welcome to Fiskdale  
A village of Sturbridge

I like the idea.  Something to think about this Sunday morning.  Feel free to run with it.

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