Start Your Adventure Here
- David Ginisi
Heading to Fitchburg for a wet and wild weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge waterpark? To Clinton to check out the fascinating art at the Museum of Russian Icons? Or to a shady forest, anticipating a quiet hike along the Mid State Trail or a leisurely paddle on the Squannacook River?
There are so many choices for your visit to North Central Massachusetts: Farms where you can visit cuddly animals or pick warm-from-the-sun fruits. Museums and art galleries featuring Egyptian tomb paintings and contemporary New England art. Quiet campsites with access to hiking trails and boat ramps.
Whatever your pleasure, be sure to start your trip with a stop at the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center on Route 2 in Lancaster, for directions, information, or just a chance to stretch your legs — and maybe pick up some locally-made handcrafts, or logo souvenirs.
And there’s more! You can enhance your tour of Johnny Appleseed Country with a sense of the region’s history — its farming communities, industrial centers, immigration story and local legends.
More than Maps
Yes, the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center — now in its third decade of welcoming travelers — is a great place to grab brochures about local attractions, take Fido for a walk, and grab snack to satisfy those hunger pangs.
This unique travel center is also a showcase for local history — check out the antique farm implements displayed on the walls and the memorabilia highlighting the life of John Chapman (better known as Johnny Appleseed)! Feel the oh-so-soft socks made at local farms where cuddly alpacas happily greet visitors; grab a book about New England history, written by local authors; or pick up some bourbon barrel maple syrup to take home for your breakfast table.
And don’t forget the flamingoes! The iconic plastic pink flamingo was designed and produced in Leominster, and at the Visitor Center, you’ll find this quirky bird attached to keychains, emblazoned on towels and T-shirts…and, of course, available in boxed pairs for you to take home and “plant” on your lawn!
Always Something New!
This spring, the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center underwent a major update to better serve travelers (and commuters who traverse Route 2 daily!).
With bright new awnings and handicap-accessible electric doors to welcome you, fresh new wood walls and more light in the gift shop, the Center is more visitor-friendly than ever. Need a cup of Joe? We’ve got it, along with coolers stocked with your favorite soft drinks and iced teas, and a refill station for your favorite water bottles.
Want to know more about the region? Our updated gazebo has new “reader rails” packed with information about Johnny Appleseed — who was born in Leominster and started his westward journey here — and the communities surrounding his home.
When it’s time to save some memories, or share your fun with the folks back home, you can strike a pose, with “Johnny” — the Center has always had a small statue of a young John Chapman at the entrance, but there’s also a new, much larger, statue, in the building, too. This wooden bust was carved by a chainsaw artist at last year’s Appleseed Country Fair, and, we must admit, it’s impressive!
The Welcome Mat is Out
Whether you’re visiting North Central Massachusetts, stopping in for a break on your Route 2 commute, or just want to know about this region that you call home, the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center has just what you need. Stretch your legs, grab a snack, shop for unique gifts — and enjoy a friendly “Welcome!” §