Short Stops

  • Visit North Central

Of course you love exploring the Great Outdoors… and when you’ve had enough fresh air, or the weather isn’t right for a foray into the forest, there are still lots of great things to enjoy in North Central Massachusetts! Here are a few spots, both indoors and out, to explore — and you can find even more places to visit in the “Members” section at the back of this Guide!

 Finding Woodland Fairies and Gnomes

A true gem of the region, Fruitlands Museum in Harvard is always worth a visit, with its diverse collection of art and material culture on 210 acres of land, stunning views, and miles of walking trails.

And how about this for a special family treat? Visit the Fruitlands Fairy Forest on September 2 and 3 for a fantastical woodland adventure.

While living at Fruitlands, 10-year-old Louisa May Alcott wrote in her diary that she “had a lovely time in the woods with Anna and Lizzie. We were fairies, and made gowns and paper wings. I ‘flied’ the highest of all.”

Don your wings, grab your crowns, and come play in the Fruitlands woods as Louisa and her sisters once played. During this event, Register online to receive a digital DIY Fruitlands Fairy Forest Activity Kit (including map, fairy wand craft tutorial, story time reading, and more) prior to your visit. Registration includes access to Digital Activity Kit and the museum grounds.

Rev Those Engines!

Antique-Vintage-Car-Show-in-MassachusettsDon’t you just love the sleek lines of classic cars? Do you dream about putt-putting along in an antique vehicle, imagining what it was like a century ago, when horse-drawn surries gave way to horseless carriages? Can you remember the days when car-hops brought your shakes and burgers, clipping the metal trays to the door of your oh, so cool convertible?

Well, you can take a trip down memory lane—or a dream trip to the turn of the last century—just about every week here in Johnny Appleseed Country this fall.

Swing by Kimball Farm in Lancaster, or the Polish American Citizens’ Club (PACC) in Gardner, on a Friday night, or Hannaford supermarket parking lot in Athol on a Wednesday evening, to see (or show!) great vehicles and chat with other car enthusiasts.

And be sure to head to the Templeton Common on September 24 to see vintage and antique cars, trucks and other machinery at the Narragansett Historical Society’s annual Motorpalooza! Enjoy a free concert, tour the Society’s building, and see some great wheels!

Take a Country Tour

This isn’t really a “short stop” — it’s a whole series of stops you can make as you follow the Country Roads trail! From November 10 through December 10, shops in Winchendon, Templeton, Hubbardston, Gardner, Barre, Petersham, and Phillipston welcome visitors with a Holiday Tour. Tempt your taste buds with local cheeses, meat, beers, and produce; find unique gifts and handcrafts; explore old-timey country shops.

Here’s a tip: Pick up a stamp card at any of the shops, complete the tour, and get entered into a drawing for some great prizes! It’s a leisurely way to do your holiday shopping, enjoy a country cruise, and explore these locally-owned shops that preserve our New England traditions.

Ring in the New Year!

Are you ready to say goodbye to 2023, and looking forward to 2024? Take a ride to downtown Orange on December 31, where you can party in the street with lots of live entertainment, do a bit of shopping, watch a parade from Town Hall to Veterans Memorial Park, and—if Mother Nature cooperates—view some spectacular ice sculptures! Want more? How about a fireworks display to bid farewell to the old year?

Starry Starry Night is a local tradition—and a great way to ring out the old, and ring in the new!