Ken at the Publick House, Sturbridge, Massachusetts, 4 March 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I actually have four more Meditate Mass 351 Challenge municipalities to post.  I’ve gotten all the cities, but just haven’t had the time, etc. to put it all on line.  I’m hoping to fix that shortly.

Now that I’ve done all of the towns and cities that are right around my home town of Arlington, I need to start going farther afield to find new places to go.  In my last post about going to Holland on my way back from visiting a friend in New York State, I also had a little bit of time and decided that I should do double duty and try to get another town on the way home. The obvious one was Sturbridge.

Most people in Massachusetts know Sturbridge as the place traffic backs up if you are going west on a holiday weekend.  It’s at the intersection of the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and I-84, which heads towards Hartford and New York City. The other reason that people know it is because of Old Sturbridge Village, which is a recreation of a 1830’s (or so) New England Farm Village, and historical interpreters play out the parts of residents and teach people what it was like to live in that era. For those of us who grew up in the area, it was a place that you definitely went for a field trip in grammar school.  Last time I was there was about 20 years ago when I lead a group of Japanese students on a trip.

Most people see Sturbridge only from the highway, or maybe from Route 20, which is the main thoroughfare through town.  I decided that I wanted to see the actual town center. There I saw the Publick House, which was the old tavern that has been there for almost as long as Sturbridge has been a town.  There was also a lovely little town square, the town hall, and a library that was open on a Sunday afternoon (and luckily had bathrooms available!)

Upon walking around, I noticed that there were many historical signs that mentioned that Sturbridge Center was on the postal road between Boston and Springfield and Hartford, and that this was were everyone would stop in those times.  When the industrial revolution started, and mills started to be built in the village of Fiskdale in the western part of the town, most of the stores and commerce moved there, as that’s where most of the people were.  That still holds true today as Route 20 goes right through Fiskdale, and Sturbridge Center is on Route 131 which is off the path of most traffic.

So, where are the places that you’ve changed course to find a new thing when situations changed in your life?