Oh the Places You Will Go: Central Massachusetts

I had a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend that stretched out until June! My boyfriend is from a small town outside of Boston and shortly after we met we started discussing an East Coast trip to go to Boston and loop in New York, both places I’ve always wanted to go, but have never been to…until now!

We flew into Boston on a red eye on Friday night and drove straight to Sturbridge, which is next to his hometown of Southbridge. The things we wanted to do were in Sturbridge, so we decided to stay there to ease into our vacation. They are both tiny towns based on what I know! Southbridge only has about 17,000 residents. Driving through brought back big-time memories of summers spent in my mom’s hometown, Canal Fulton, Ohio…the houses, the downtown area, the greenery…but Canal Fulton is even smaller!

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We were able to check into the hotel early, which is FAN-tastic news after an all-night flight. Sean spent many evenings at the hotel because, well, it was a small town and apparently the thing to do was watch local volleyball games at the attached gym. The gym is now closed down, sadly like much of the town. His mom recommended the hotel based on its location away from a main road because if I ran it would be safer. How sweet is that? My nap was a little shorter than Sean’s so I actually did get up and run a few miles past a Dunkin’ Donuts (man, East Coasters love their Dunkin’) and some antique shops and then ran back. It was a beautiful, cool, overcast day in a beautiful town.

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That night was the family night – I had met both of his parents before, but we drove out to Western Mass to meet his uncles, an aunt and some cousins. As if I’d say anything else, it was great and they were all very sweet.

The next day, we took a little Sunday drive out to an apple orchard. Spoiler alert: it’s not apple season. It was a great farm and the blossoms on the trees were pretty, but it was a quiet little place without the lure of picking apples, drinking apple cider and sampling hot apple cider donuts. I did have to get the donuts, but they weren’t amazingly fresh, which, when they have more visitors, I’m assuming they are. I would link to the orchard, but apparently apple orchards are a thing back there and there are too many for me to remember which we went to!

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The drive, though, really was gorgeous. I was amazed by all the lush, green trees. I really hope the rest of the country doesn’t take it for granted because it’s beautiful and we don’t get any of that in Arizona. I just kept thinking how crazy I’d be going if it were the fall and the leaves were changing color! When we initially started planning the trip, I was like, “well, I want to go in the fall for the brisk weather and the changing leaves, but New York in the winter would be so great and of course the spring would be amazing and summer on the coast would be such a great break from AZ too!” So basically we’re going to have to go back for each of the seasons!

After the orchard, we needed a pick-me-up and this happened:

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I tried to make it work, but I only managed a few sips of that watery mess. Then we met Sean’s dad at Old Sturbridge Village. Yes, the town’s claim to fame is a recreated 1830s town with original houses, costumed actors, live farm animals and all! It was actually pretty big with a lot to see – the store, the hotel, the rich people’s homes, the poor people’s homes, the shoemaker, the blacksmith! – and it was a perfect day to be walking around outside between everything.

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That night we had dinner at Publick House, another gorgeous old (like pre-U.S.) building that left me in awe! The history on the east coast is simply amazing…another thing I hope the people who get to live there don’t take for granted! For me, the old buildings are great for distraction and I pretended to just be admiring the large fireplace when a subtle hint about holding a reception at the venue was dropped (oh, MILs).

After dinner, Sean took me on a little tour of Southbridge and all his old stomping grounds. He’s right down the street (literally) from Connecticut! All of the sudden, it was, “oh, by the way, we’re in Connecticut now.” Proximity…another adorable thing about the Northeast! I just can’t stop finding them! After the tour, we called it a night to rest up for our drive to NYC the next day.

Post-trip, Sean asked me my least-favorite part, assuming it would be this leg. With everything else we did, Sturbridge was probably the least exciting, but not my least favorite (I couldn’t pick anything really) and it was a great way to acclimate!

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