Page 1

The Guide to


North Central


In This Issue...

Hop Aboard The Rail Trail

Towns in Our Region

Let Local Art Lift Your Heart

Rest Easy

Animal Tales

Plastic City Comic Con


Johnny Appleseed Country Spring/Summer 2021


U-Pick Apples, Sunflowers, Blueberries, Peaches & Raspberries Fresh Cider Donuts Cider Slushies Old Fashioned Fruit-Topped Ice Cream Petting Farm Animals Country Store Hiking Trails Curbside Pickup

BREW BARN Moonhill Beer on Tap Open Spring, Summer & Fall, Friday, Saturday & Sunday Follow us on Social Media for Events, Updates & Hours BBQ Pit Live Music


The Farm: 455 Highland Ave Phillipston, MA The City: 100 Hanover Street, Boston, MA

Check our social media sites for upcoming Events, Festivals, Dates & Times

Hard Cider Made on Premises Hard Cider Slushies Seasonal Fruit Flavors Tap Room Outdoor Deck & Grotto

Exit 19 off Rt. 2 • Phillipston, MA redapplefarm.com • 1-800-628-4851 See our website for more information


The Guide to


North Central

2 Where's Johnny?


Massachusetts Visit North Central Massachusetts


4 Dishing Up a Tasty World Tour 6 It Doesn't Come Any Fresher... 8 Time for a Sweet Treat 10 It's Always Cider Sipping Season 12 Staying Power

• THINGS TO DO 13 Cool Off in the Country 26 Let Local Art Lift Your Heart 41 Comics Characters CONVENE

General Information Center & Main Visitor Center Phone: 978-534-2302 Fax: 978-534-2436 Volunteer & Sponsoring Member Information Phone: 978-534-2829 The Guide to North Central Massachusetts is published semi-annually to help visitors discover the pleasures of the region. This complimentary publication is distributed through the state tourist information center; AAA offices in CT, MA & RI; and sponsoring member locations serving visitors and newcomers to North Central Massachusetts. Write to us at 1000 Route 2 Westbound, Lancaster, MA 01523.


• GREAT OUTDOORS 14 Hop Aboard the Rail Trail 16 Runners are Getting Back on Track 18 Animal Tales 20 Tent or RV? Pick Your Pleasure! 24 Leaving the Gadgets Behind

Publisher: Roy Nascimento Executive Editor: Diane Burnette Managing Editor: Patricia L. Gale Editorial Production: Sitka Creations® LLC Contributors to this issue: Milo Bateman, John Burk, Scott Graves, Lawrence Libby, Charles Sternaimolo, and Diane Burnette


• CALENDAR 30 Calendar of Events



@visitnorthcentralmassachusetts @visitnorthcentralma @VisitNCM


Johnny Appleseed Country

23 Trail Trivia 45 Short Stops 56 Directory of Advertisers & Lodging

ABOUT THE COVER: Photo by CGT Photography. Little boy with baby calf.

10 visitma.com

Funded, in part, by The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. For statewide planning information, www.visitma.com Spring | Summer 2021


Where’s Johnny? S

o you made the trip from near or far, landing smack in the middle of North Central Massachusetts. You’re in Johnny Appleseed Country. But where’s Johnny? Of course, John Chapman — who gained legendary status as a sower of seeds and planter of apple orchards — has faded into history. Born in Leominster in 1774, Johnny spent his youth here before heading west as the fledgling nation expanded. A youthful version of Johnny welcomes travelers to the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center on Route 2. Stop by for a selfie! But wait, there’s more! You can see where the legend began, just about a mile from the Visitor Center. Johnny’s birthplace is marked by a plaque and miniature cabin, located — appropriately enough — on Johnny Appleseed Lane. It’s a modest recognition of a national legend — but that certainly doesn’t mean that the city of his birth has forgotten him. Parks, schools and streets bear Johnny’s name, and a bigger-thanlife-size statue, carved 2

from wood, stands in City Hall, on West Street in downtown Leominster. And throughout the year, you’re likely to run into Johnny — in the form of a local re-enactor — who is known to stop by fairs and festivals, chatting with visitors and sharing the story of Leominster’s hometown legend. Want to learn more about Johnny? The Visitor Center on Route 2 Westbound in Lancaster has a number of books about his life and times, geared to all ages! §


The CiTy of


Check our website and social media for updates on upcoming events.

WWW.Gardner-Ma.gov @GardnerCityHall @CityOfGardner Spring | Summer 2021



a Tasty World Tour S

Farms & Food

ure, it would be nice to travel the world, seeing new sights and feasting on foods that simply don’t appear on your kitchen table. But if your plans for an exciting tour of far-off lands were squelched by the Corona virus — or if major travel just doesn’t fit your budget, don’t despair! You can take a world-wide tour of interesting meals right here in North Central Massachusetts! Even if you really enjoy a tasty tuna sandwich for lunch, or a good steak cooked to perfection on the backyard grill, sometimes you just get a yen for something, well, more exotic. Fortunately, North Central Massachusetts is peppered with terrific restaurants featuring an astounding array of gastronomic delights. You don’t have to leave the region to take a tasteful world tour…just decide what country or region of the globe you’d like to “visit” — and a quick drive will take your taste buds there.

Comeketo Brazilian Steakhouse.

In this unsettling pandemic era, regulations for indoor and outdoor dining are constantly changing, so you’ll want to be sure to check on the current status of any destination you’re thinking about taking your appetite to visit. But don’t let that stop you from expanding your menu horizons!

Spin That Compass!

Taste of Vietnam.


Whether you’re in the mood for some South of the Border flavor, a sampling of European plates, or a taste of Asia, you’ll find it in the cities and towns of North Central Massachusetts. Of course, generations of locals have enjoyed Americaninfluenced Chinese food. After all, who can pass up a generous pupu platter, plate of beef lo mein, or steaming bowl of egg VisitNorthCentral.com

drop soup? To be sure, this region has lots of those very popular restaurants ready to satisfy your yen for a taste of the Orient — in fact, you could spend your entire vacation trying them all. Everyone, too, has an absolute favorite pizza shop. And when you need a quick food fix, this area is home to scores of familiar burger and sub shops. But there are some intriguing new restaurants, too, waiting to expand your horizons. How about some authentic Vietnamese cuisine at A Taste of Vietnam in Leominster, or a dinner of Tamarind Duck or Pad Pik King at Bangkok Hill, a Thai restaurant in Lunenburg? Love Mexican food? You’ll want to try the chimichanga and fajitas at Zapata Mexican Cocina in Fitchburg! Or how about a Don Diego Burrito or

some Cajun Jambalaya at Happy Jack’s in Leominster (accompanied perhaps, by a perfect Margarita)? Did you know you can find a slice of South America right here in Johnny Appleseed’s backyard? Check out the coxinha (croquette stuffed with seasoned shredded chicken) or an empanada platter at Comeketo Brazilian Steakhouse in Leominster. Have you tried Jamaican Jerk chicken, oxtails, curry goat or an entrée featuring saltfish and callaloo? If not, you’re in for a treat at Fitchburg’s newest restaurant, Kingston Island Cuisine on

Main Street. Relax in the Caribbean atmosphere when you visit this business that was launched in the midst of the pandemic. Or maybe it’s time for a take-out trip to Bion Greek Kitchen in downtown Fitchburg, featuring taste treats from a pork souvlaki platter to a mouth-watering serving of Portokalopita (Orange Pie). And if you just can’t get Italian food off your mind, you’ll want to stop by Il Forno in Lunenburg for some Calamari Fritte or Veal Scallopini with Lobster Meat. Want more? Visit Dario’s Ristorante in Fitchburg, for some

mouth-watering Linguini Abruzzi or Gamberi Formaggio, or a simple Insalate de Capra. Of course, if you want something that feels oh, so, down home, head out to the brand-new Davis BBQ in Sterling for some fast, casual award-winning Kansas City BBQ. Ribs. Wings. Burnt Ends. Pulled Pork. Hickory Pit Beans. Hungry yet?

Home Again Imagine that — a world-wide gastronomic tour … without all the hassle of an airport, cost of a plane ticket, or trouble of lugging suitcases around!

When you’ve finished your trip around the globe and are ready to settle back in for some familiar American food, you can’t go wrong with a visit to any of the region’s most popular spots, like the Old Mill Restaurant in Westminster, Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley, Brady’s in downtown Leominster, the Forge & Vine in Groton, or — for a taste of down-home New England — SS Lobster in Fitchburg. So you had to cancel your travel plans … but take heart! You can take a culinary trip around the world, right here in North Central Massachusetts. § Photo backdrop Brady's in Leominster.

The Last U-pick Orchard in Johnny Appleseed’s Birthplace Since 2001


Guests are welcome to visit the farm to check out the blossoms while following COVID-19 restrictions.

U-PICK APPLES, BLUEBERRIES, RASPBERRIES, PEACHES Seasonal Fruit & Produce • Check our website for hours.


Great place for family and company outings.


Sholan Farms is owned by the City and operated by the Friends, a 501(c)3 volunteer organization. Volunteer Opportunities – Throughout the year; pruning, planting, general farm work, office work and more.

www.sholanfarms.com • 1125 Pleasant St., Leominster, MA • Email: info@sholanfarms.com Farm: 978-840-3276 • Mail: PO Box 632, Leominster, MA 01453

Spring | Summer 2021


Farms & Food

Two local girls picking blueberries at Carlson Orchards.


It Doesn’t Come Any Fresher Than This!

f you’ve never enjoyed the intense flavor of a sun-ripened strawberry, fresh from the vine, or a plump blueberry just plucked from the branch, you’re in for a treat here in North Central Massachusetts! Forget the plastic wrapped packages of produce that have travelled days before reaching your plate. Head out to a local farm or orchard and grab some really fresh fruit and veggies; you’ll find a world of difference when you munch on these locallygrown treasures.

Think about it: juicy peaches, sweet blackberries, crisp apples. It’s fruit-picking season in Johnny Appleseed Country — and local farms and orchards are 6

Photo by Diane Burnette

open, inviting visitors — socially-distanced, of course — to fill baskets, bags or buckets with mouth-watering fresh fruits. Whether you're looking to spend family time picking fruits, or just grab some tasty ingredients for baking or jam-making, opportunities abound. Want more incentive to head out to the farm? How about picking some fresh flowers to brighten your home? Summer brings fields of blooms to local farms — and you’re invited to stop by to fill a vase for your table! Don’t know where to start? Here’s a sampling of pick-your-own farms and farmstands in North Central Massachusetts:

Carlson Orchards, 115 Oak Hill Road, Harvard Pick your own blueberries, raspberries, sweet cherries and peaches, as they ripen. And don’t forget the 20 varieties of apples! Check their Facebook page daily to see what’s available, and stop by the farm stand for everything from hard cider to fresh eggs. Lanni Orchards, 294 Chase Road, Lunenburg This family farm will keep you coming back all summer for strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, seedless grapes, nectarines, plums, pears, apples, Concord grapes … and don’t forget the pumpkins in autumn! Sholan Farms, 1125 Pleasant Street, Leominster U-Pick blueberries, raspberries, apples and more will tempt you here — along with the great view overlooking the city! This volunteer-run orchard usually holds special events throughout the season, too. Can’t get to the farm? Sholan also attends the Fitchburg Farmers Markets on Thursday and the Westminster Farmers Markets on Fridays. 


Red Apple Farm, 455 Highland Avenue, Philllipston The blueberries and raspberries are bountiful in July — and sunflowers will be ready for picking by early August. Need a little refreshment? Here’s a tip to entice the kids: The ice cream window is open, too. Odd Pine Farm-Upick Blueberry Farm, 122 Ferin Road, Ashburnham Five acres of blueberries — four different varieties — with designated areas marked for picking each day. Bring your own containers. Open Thursdays through Sundays, subject to weather; it’s a good idea to check their website to confirm current hours. Hollis Hills Farm, 340 Marshall Road, Fitchburg Love peaches? The Hollis Hills Farm orchard is filled with the sweet treats from mid-July through August. The pick-your-own season starts in June with a half-dozen varieties of strawberries, and continues into fall, with apples and sunflowers. Bolton Orchards, 125 Still River Road, Bolton No time to head into the field? Let someone else do the harvesting for you! Stop by Bolton Orchards, where freshly picked fruits are waiting for you to grab and go. Enjoy! §

City of


Fitchburg has something new and exciting every day. Find out what’s going on in your city, 365 days a year!

fitchburgma.gov @FitchburgMassachusetts @Fitchburg365

Check our website and social media for updates on upcoming events.

Spring | Summer 2021


Time for a Sweet Treat

V Farms & Food

alentine’s Day brings little sugary hearts, Easter rolls out squishy Peeps, and Halloween features candy corn. But you don’t need a holiday to enjoy some sweet treats — especially when you’re in North Central Massachusetts! There are goodies galore for any day of the week, any season of the year. A day spent exploring the highways and byways of the region just doesn’t feel right without a quick — or a lingering — stop for something sweet to tingle your tastebuds. After all, if you love fine chocolate, a visit to Priscilla Candies in downtown Gardner is an absolute must. This little corner of heaven is packed with trays of chocolatedipped buttercreams, chewy cashew cranberry turtles, and oh, that famous French roll! The choices seem endless in this shop that has been in business for 85 years — 40 of them in the same family. After a

brief Covid-related shutdown of the retail shop last year — during which mail-order and curbside pickup shopping grew — this downtown landmark destination re-opened and welcomes chocoholics any time of the year. Need a snack break? Of course this region has an array of familiar coffee and donut shops. But when you want that special, one-of-a-kind touch, head to any of the family-run shops that will make you feel at home as soon as you walk in the door. The Kitchen Garden in Templeton is known for its Finnish coffee bread, Scandinavian almond cake and Korvapuusti (Finnish Cinnamon Rolls) — but there’s so much more to enjoy in this cozy shop. Consider this abbreviated list: orange poppy seed bread, honey whole wheat bread, and Finnish rye; apple, triple berry, and blueberry pies; raspberry chocolate chip muffins; molasses, ginger snap and oatmeal cranberry walnut

Rota Farm Ice Cream.



Priscilla Candy Shop 4 Main St., Gardner 978-632-7148 Priscillacandy.com

Red Apple Farm 455 Highland Ave., Phillipston 800-628-4851 Redapplefarm.com

Rota Spring Farm 117 Chace Hill Road, Sterling 978-365-9710 www.rotaspringfarm.com

The Kitchen Garden 268 Baldwinville Rd., Templeton 978-939-8558 templetonkitchengarden.com

Kimball Farm Route 70, Lancaser 978-534-9800 Kimballfarm.com

Shake and Dogs 655 N. Main St., Leominster 978-230-7977 Facebook.com/TheRealShakeNDog


Kitchen Garden Country Store.

cookies. You’ll want to order some of each to take home with you at the end of the day. Want to enjoy apple products straight from the orchard? How about a trip to Red Apple Farm in Phillipston for some piping hot apple cider donuts? (And maybe a jug of cider to wash them down?) Or some caramel or kettle corn to munch on in the car? This is apple country, so you’re bound to find all kinds of treats featuring that tasty fruit — like the

Kimball's Farm.

scrumptious handmade apple pies at Lanni Orchard in Lunenburg, where you’ll also find other fresh-from-the-garden fruits, from strawberries and blueberries to peaches, spotlighted in season. And on a warm day, what could be better than a chilly scoop of ice cream? Kimball Farm in Lancaster features more than 50 flavors of homemade goodness — so plan some time to peruse the list as you try to decide which to try! In nearby Sterling,

Rota Spring Farm starts its ice cream right at the source — raising its own cows to begin the process. It’s not surprising that they say there’s a “herd of flavor in every scoop!” And don’t forget the almost-too-pretty-too-eat

Spring | Summer 2021

milk shakes, served in frosty mugs, at Shake and Dogs in Leominster. Time to take a break? Take your pick of local flavors as you tour North Central Massachusetts! §


It’s Always Cider-Sipping Season! Farms & Food


ith so many orchards dotting the hillsides of North Central Massachusetts (after all, this is Johnny Appleseed Country!), it’s not surprising that apples find their way into a lot of products on local shelves. Apple pies. Muffins. Donuts. Fresh apples of every size, color and flavor. But sometimes, what you want is a nice, cool drink — especially on a warm summer day when you’ve been out hiking, biking or introducing the kids to a host of farm animals. How about a frosty glass of cider? And maybe, for the adults in your travel group, cider with a bit of a kick to it? Hard apple cider is no stranger to New England. In fact, it was a household staple in Colonial days, when, we’re told, annual hard cider consumption averaged 35 gallons per person! But you don’t have to travel back in time to enjoy this familiar flavor; a trip through North Central Massachusetts will get your taste buds tingling.


Cider in traditional and seasonal flavors (as well as non-alcoholic drink options) from Memorial Day weekend through the end of the fall pick-yourown season.

Red Apple Farm Cider Jugs.

Wachusett Brewing Company in Westminster rolled out its Fifty Trees Hard Cider two years ago, and this semi-dry beverage became an immediate hit. A visit to the Brew Yard wouldn’t be complete without sampling the local cider — in both its original and cranberry flavors. Of course, there’s more than cider available at the Brew Yard: You can stop by for lunch or dinner when you need a break from your travels (and, when Covid regulations

permit, live music, too). Thirsty? Wachusett has you covered, with a great variety of beers, ales and hard seltzers. Red Apple Farm in Phillipston and Gardner’s Moon Hill Brewing have teamed up to produce cider — and an afternoon at the farm’s Brew Barn is a delight for the whole family. While adults enjoy a glass of cold, crisp Hailstorm Hard Cider, the kids can visit the farm animals. Red Apple’s new Cidery Tap Room pours out the team’s own Hard


The Cider Barn Taproom at Carlson Orchards in Harvard has a host of hard ciders for you to try! Check out Shapley’s Gala (made, of course, with Carlson’s Gala apples); Honey Crisp (crafted with Honeycrisp apples and a touch of wildflower honey); or Shandy Stand, a union of Carlson’s flagship Oak Hill Blend hard cider and its gourmet lemonade. Ready to try a taste of this New England tradition? Directions to all of these cider stops can be found in the directory at the back of this issue of The Guide. §

Carlson Orchard Cans and Barn

Leominster Community Development LEOMINSTER-MA.GOV


Visit our website or Facebook page for future events based in the City of Leominster. We continue to work hard to bring you as many events as we can, and as safely as possible. We look forward to seeing you at more events as the weather gets nicer!

Leominster Public Library

Leominster Recreation





To learn more about our services and offerings, visit us in downtown Leominster, check out our website, or visit our Facebook page.

For additional information about our services, check out our website, or visit our Facebook page.

We serve the people of Leominster and members of the CW/MARS library network by loaning books, movies, music, and other materials for free. We also offer free art, music, cultural and educational programming for people of all ages, no library card required!

The Leominster Recreation Department’s mission is to provide a wide variety of recreational programs and opportunities that are cost effective and that enhance the quality of life for Leominster youth and adult residents. Spring | Summer 2021


Staying Power

Farms & Food


ver the past year, there have been innumerable stories about the challenges affecting restaurants in the pandemic era. But here’s a different story, about a pair of restaurants that have withstood the test of time — a really long time. The Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2021 — 75 years, that is, under the ownership of the Guercio family. But this colonial-era tavern has actually been a mainstay of the community for many generations, and was the first stop on

The Bull Run, front of building in winter. Top image, The 1761 Old Mill in Westminter.

the Boston-to-Albany stagecoach route in the 1800s. Today’s Bull Run is a restaurant, a tavern, and an entertainment venue attracting both international stars and outstanding local artists, as well as significant speakers from around the region

and across the country. The Covid restrictions have caused many shows to be postponed, but you can bet that the Bull Run will head into its 76th year in style. The 1761 Old Mill in Westminster is a community icon — visited by local families and busloads of tourists

alike. The setting couldn’t be more idyllic: ducks swimming on a pond above a roaring waterfall, a covered bridge, weathered boards hinting at its age. Yes, the Old Mill has been serving the North Central Massachusetts community for over 250 years — first, as a sawmill; then, starting in 1921, as a tea room; and, since 1946, as a full-service restaurant. Think of it: 100 years of dining tradition … and still going strong. Three generations of the Foster family have kept the tradition alive at this picturesque building overlooking the mill dam. §

Celebrating over 75 years with “Country Dining at its Best”

Restaurant • Weddings Rehearsal Dinners • Showers Business Meetings . . . and more! RT 2A - 69 STATE ROAD EAST, WESTMINSTER, MA 01473 978-874-5941 • OLDMILL1761@AOL.COM • 1761OLDMILL.COM 12


Cool Off in the Country! A Swimming Sampler Beaches Leominster State Forest 90 Fitchburg Road Westminster Dunn Pond 289 Pearl Street Gardner

Otter River State Forest 86 Winchendon Road Baldwinville Pearl Hill State Forest New Fitchburg Road West Townsend Willard Brook Route 119 Ashby & Townsend Pools Philip Weihn Pool Route 110 Clinton Gustave Johnson Pool 35 Wanoosnock Avenue Fitchburg Coolidge Park Pool John Fitch Highway, Fitchburg Leominster State Pool Viscoloid Avenue Leominster Greenwood Pool 69 Park Street Gardner Splash Parks Parkhill Park Beech Street Fitchburg Davis’ Farmland 145 Redstone Hill Road Sterling Water Slides & More Great Wolf Lodge 50 Great Wolf Drive Fitchburg

The Howlin Tornado at Great Wolf Lodge.


s summer temperatures rise, there’s nothing more tempting than a refreshing dip in a pool, pond or stream. And when you’re in North Central Massachusetts, you’re always close to a great spot where you can give in to that temptation— because the region has an abundance of cooling attractions. Local and state parks, swimming pools, and even zero-depth “splash playgrounds” await your visit in communities throughout the area. When you’re planning your trip, be sure to check out the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation website — www.mass.gov/dcr — for details about the water-related resources available along your route. The state park system has more than a half-dozen beaches in this region, stretching from Willard Brook State Forest in Ashby and Townsend to Lake Dennison in Winchendon. Pearl Hill State Park in West Townsend, for example, includes a five-acre pond, complete with sandy beach, created by the seasonal damming of Pearl Hill Brook. Many of the state parks, like Otter River State Forest in Baldwinville, also offer fishing, picnic areas and hiking trails to round out your day of fun. Dunn Pond in Spring | Summer 2021

Gardner is part of the state’s Heritage Park system, and is a popular swimming spot for locals. If sparkling ponds and sandy beaches aren’t your thing, how about stopping by one of the area’s public swimming pools? The state has pools in Clinton, Fitchburg and Leominster; and the city of Gardner is home to the community’s Greenwood Memorial Pool. For the younger set, the splash park at Parkhill Park in Fitchburg is pure joy. And if you’re planning a trip to Davis’ Farmland in Sterling, be sure to pack the kiddies’ bathing suits so they can enjoy the splash play area there. Fitchburg’s Coolidge Park has both a full swimming pool and a toddler water feature area, too. Got a trip planned but the weather forecast doesn’t look cooperative? Schedule a stay at Great Wolf Lodge, located right off Route 2 in Fitchburg, where you’ll find thrilling water slides, pools and even a lazy river to float along. It’s always a comfy temperature there, and there’s plenty of activity to keep the kids from getting bored. When it’s just “too darn hot” in the city, come on out to the country — where you’ll find shady forests, cool breezes, and lots of places to take that refreshing dip. § 13

Great Outdoors

Lake Dennison 1366 Main Street Winchendon

Hop Aboard the

Nashua River Rail Trail.

Great Outdoors


Rail Trail

ot wheels? If you’ve brought your bike — or skates, skateboard, even a baby carriage — along while visiting North Central Massachusetts, you’re sure to be looking for an easy, safe, and welcoming place to use them. You’re in luck! The region has four great rail trails — paved and clearly marked — designed with you in mind. These sections of old railroad lines have been repurposed for today’s outdoor enthusiasts — walkers, cyclists and skaters alike — in both urban and more rural settings. Ultimately, some trails will be linked together, allowing the Mass. Central Rail Trail to extend for over 100 miles, following the path of the Massachusetts Central Railroad (MCRR) that originally ran from Boston to Northampton — creating the longest single rail trail project in the Northeast United States. Today, about half of that long-awaited project is complete, and a host of


Photo by Milo Bateman, courtesy Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

trail is at the Cider Mill in Sterling, another repurposed piece of local history that now houses an expansive antiques shop. The well-groomed trail slices through woods, crossing Wauschacum Pond along its way to Gates Road, running roughly parallel to Route 12. Need a break? There are benches available if you’d like a little quiet meditation time. There are parking areas at both of ends of the trail. The Graves family of Gardner, enjoying a rail trail ride on the North Central Rail Trail between Gardner and Winchendon. Photo by Scott Graves

local groups are working to get the remaining pieces connected. Passing through the heart of local communities, these old railroad rights-of-way are perfect for family outings or solitary bike rides. One of the most exciting segments of the Mass Central Rail Trail plan involves turning an abandoned train tunnel in Clinton into a usable trail. The 1,110 feet long tunnel once led to a trestle bridge that loomed 113 feet above Route 70 and the Nashua River. When

that piece is in place, the Clinton section of the trail will run along the Wachusett Reservoir and the Wachusett Dam, the largest hand-dug dam in the world. While work continues on knitting the trail segments together, local residents and visitors alike can enjoy the current completed trails throughout the year. Sterling Section The trail head for this piece of the Mass. Central


North Central Pathway Starting in Gardner and heading to Winchendon, the North Central Pathway is a picturesque paved trail that’s open to both walkers and cyclists. The Gardner section begins at the Veterans Memorial Skating Rink on the eastern shore of Crystal Lake, just at the edge of the city’s downtown, and goes behind Heywood Hospital where there is a Wellness Loop off the paved path before heading onto an old railroad bed into Winchendon.

The pathway, which is open from dawn to dusk, ends just a block from the town’s central business district, where you can grab a cup of coffee or some lunch, pick up some fresh produce and even hunt for second-hand treasures before heading back to your starting point. Nashua River Rail Trail This scenic 11-mile section of trail runs from the center of Ayer through Groton and Pepperell, to New Hampshire, passing through neighborhoods, open fields, ponds and woods. While popular with bicyclists, the trail is also open to walking, rollerblading and horseback riding. (And

you can come back in the winter to enjoy some cross-country skiing!) Since it passes right through town centers, there are plenty of options for meal breaks in local restaurants or simple browsing in interesting shops. Twin Cities Rail Trail Another local trail is currently under construction — and it’s quite an undertaking, with creation of a new pedestrian bridge crossing over a busy Route 2. When completed this fall, the 4.5-mile trail will link the downtown areas of two cities, running from Mechanic Street in Leominster to the Intermodal Transportation Center

on Main Street in Fitchburg. The 12-footwide paved path will provide ample space for two lanes of walking and bicycling traffic, and even emergency vehicle access if needed. You can follow the progress of the Twin Cities trail and the Mass Central Rail Trail on Facebook as the pieces of these on-going project continue to fall into place in the months ahead. Looking for adventure? Hop on board these great trails for a new perspective on North Central Massachusetts! §

“Rules of the Road” for Trail Users The rail trails offer a great opportunity to explore North Central Massachusetts … especially if every user follows a few simple rules: Be courteous to other trail users Stop at ALL stop signs Bicyclists and skaters should wear safety helmets. (Mass. state law requires children 16 and younger to wear a helmet while biking.)

Both Photos: The Nashua River Rail Trail.

Keep to the right; pass on the left

Right Photo by Milo Bateman, courtesy Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Use an audible signal when passing

Lanni Orchards Inc

Look before passing

294 Chase Rd. Rt. 13 Lunenburg, MA 01462 978-582-6246 | www.lanniorchard.com

Bicyclists and skaters must yield to pedestrians Travel at a safe speed Keep pets on a short leash, remove droppings When stopping, do not block the trail Obey all traffic control signs and signals Don’t litter — carry in, carry out Respect property adjacent to the trail Don’t ride motorized vehicles on the trail In case of emergency, dial 911.

We are open year-round! Lanni Orchards Inc carries a great selection of locally made products. From freshly baked pies to wines, craft beers, hard cider, fruits, and vegetables. Visit our new on-line store at www.lanniorchard.com we offer curbside pickup, Snap/HIP program, CSA Shares, events (when permitted), cut flowers, gift baskets for all your gift giving needs! Check out our website and Facebook for all up-to-date information.

Spring | Summer 2021


Great Outdoors


Getting Back on Track

ast year was a lonely one for runners who enjoy the spirit of competition, as races in cities and town across the country were cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. But there’s good news this spring, as restrictions begin to loosen and folks are feeling more comfortable getting back together — with proper precautions, of course. And that’s good news for North County Land Trust, too. The conservation group will hold a Rock & Laurel Trail race on Saturday, June 26, to give people an opportunity to challenge themselves (and friends near and far) while raising funds to support its mission. The trail race was originally going to be launched in 2020, but the institution of Covid restrictions and a need for social distancing forced NCLT — which


owns and manages more than a dozen properties throughout the region — to do a quick pivot, turning it into a virtual event. In that inaugural “race,” runners (along with joggers and walkers) used their Fitbits and other tech tools to time themselves on any convenient 5k course, and report back to the organization with their results. Last year, many of the participants walked the course rather than run it — showing support for the organization’s work even if they weren’t in racing form. “It’s more about participation than about winning a race,” said Lisa Adams, NCLT Outreach Coordinator. And to that end, runners — both local and around the country — are invited once again to hit the trail, either in person

or virtually. Registration for the race can be made via the NCLT website, northcountylandtrust.org. The 150-acre Crocker Conservation Area — located just a mile from downtown Fitchburg — offers a gateway to over 2,500 acres of protected land, abutting the Audubon Flat Rock Wildlife Sanctuary and over 2,000 acres of watershed land owned by the city. The “fairly flat” race trail will be well marked, and generally


family-friendly. Funds raised through the $35 race registration fee will help support the work of NCLT — which in just the past year acquired three new properties: the Dwelly Farm in Templeton; 200 acres on the south slope of Mt. Watatic, in Ashby and Ashburnham; and 150 acres in West Gardner. There’s a lot of work to be done, and on June 26, runners can help keep the conservation work going — one step at a time. §

• Lincoln Pond

Frederick Piano Center

Spring | Summer 2021

The Midstate Trail

Meeting House

Bush Hill

Jewell Hill


School Boy


Animal Tales


Great Outdoors

here’s no doubt about it: kids and animals are always a winning combination for family fun and fabulous photographs. From fluffy and friendly alpacas to dairy farm cows and even endangered livestock from around the world, you’ll find plenty of photogenic inhabitants in North Central Massachusetts to keep even the most fidgety family members entranced. Cheese-lovers are sure to enjoy a visit to Smith’s Country Cheese in Winchendon. Kids can visit the cows, and if your timing is right, you can watch the cheese-making operations before stocking up on some tasty (and award-winning) treats to take home. Nearby Red Apple Farm in Phillipston has a complete menagerie of farm animals, from pigs to chickens and goats, for the kids to see, touch and feed. It’s a place you’ll want to return to again and again


Goats from Red Apple Farm.

as the seasons change — not just to visit the animals, but also to pick fresh fruits and vegetables, so that the youngsters can learn how their favorite foods grow. Is there anything as soft as alpaca’s fur coat? The entire family will get a kick out of these entrancing creatures that hail from South America. Not only are they cute and cuddlylooking, they’re gentle and easy to handle. Alpacas don’t have incisor teeth, horns, hoofs or claws, and they don’t bite or butt, making them super safe for family visits. What more could you ask for? After the kids enjoy their visit to Plain View Alpaca Farm in Hubbardston, you might want to return without them for a relaxing Sunday afternoon of Yoga with the Alpacas, or maybe a leisurely llama walk. (And don’t forget to stop in the shop to check out the yarn, socks, dryer balls — and even stuffed toys— made from alpaca fiber!) Want an animal

adventure that’s a little less structured than Yoga? How about taking an hourlong hike with the goats at Central Mass. Goat Rental in Lunenburg? This farm rents out its goats in the summer to chomp away at unwanted underbrush and weeds — but through May, the goats are available to take an afternoon stroll with you! Goats tend to play while they hike, jumping on the stumps and rocks, running and throwing some side kicks. They have the natural instinct to play follow the leader, which makes them great hiking companions. A visit to Rota Spring Farm in Sterling gives the youngsters a chance to check out the cows in the field, and visit the goat petting zoo. But wait! There’s more! Those cows are there for a reason — so bring your appetite: The home-made ice cream will make you glad you stopped by! After the kids make friends with the cows,


they might want to dig into a cone packed with Cowabunga Crunch, Moo Tracks or Purple Cow ice cream. Yum! And a family visit to North Central Massachusetts just wouldn’t be complete without a stop — no, make that an entire day — at Davis Farmland Children’s Discovery Farm in Sterling. The Davis family has spent decades gathering an eclectic assortment of endangered livestock from around the world. In addition to seeing these very special animals, the kids can ride a pony, help a farmer milk a goat, collect chicken eggs and bottle-feed the baby animals … and so much more. Are you ready to talk to the animals? There’s no shortage of family-friendly farms to visit here! You’re sure to be sending lots of cute-as-a-button photos to your family and friends before you head back home. §


Red Apple Farm

Plain View Alpaca Farm

Smith’s Country Cheese

Central Mass. Goat Rental Davis Farmland 48 West Acres Drive Children’s Discovery Farm Lunenburg, MA

455 Highland Avenue Phillipston, MA 800-628-4851 redapplefarm.com

20 Otter River Road Winchendon, MA 978-939-5738 smithscountrycheese.com

130 Gardner Road Hubbardston, MA 978-820-1199 plainviewfarmalpacas.com

978-549-1477 centralmagoatrental.com/ hike-with-the-goats

Rota Spring Farm

117 Chace Hill Road Sterling, MA 978-365-9710 rotaspringfarm.com

145 Redstone Hill Sterling, MA 978-422-MOOO (6666) davisfarmland.com

130 Gardner Road (Route 68) Hubbardston, MA • (978) 820-1199

Meet the Alpacas!

Alpaca yarn & unique products


Open Sundays 10am – 4pm or by appointment

www. plainviewfarmalpacas.com See our website or Facebook page for fairs and special events





(Age restrictions apply.)


DAVIS JATC AD (7.25X4.75) 1-26-21 .indd 4

Spring | Summer 2021


2/1/21 12:48 PM

Tent or RV? Pick Your Pleasure!

Fresh air — and lots of it! t’s no surprise that the Covid-19 situation that began in 2020 has caused a booming interest in campground getaways. And if you’re looking for a camping adventure this year, North Central Massachusetts is where you want to be. Whether you’re looking for a full-service family facility, a secluded backcountry experience, or something in between, you’ll find a variety of camping options here. Most campgrounds are open seasonally from May to September or October (and a few stay open year-round). Dates vary, especially as things swing into re-open mode this year, so be sure to check online or by phone to confirm availability. State parks and private campgrounds alike offer more than a place to lay your weary head when the stars come out. Along with an abundance of social distancing, these outdoor treasures feature everything from walking, biking and hiking trails to canoeing, fishing, and even rock-climbing opportunities to help you shake off those too-much-time-indoors blues. Public Spaces State-run campgrounds provide a great base for exploring the region’s many conservation areas and trails. State properties like Lake Dennison Recreation

Great Outdoors





Town/Contact Amenities

Lamb City Campground

Phillipston — (800) 292-5262 lambcity.com

200+ SITES ON LAKE • Pools, sports field, boating, canoe rentals, fishing, trails, weekend activities

Peaceful Acres

Hubbardston — (978) 928-4413 peacefulacrescampground.com

300-ACRE WOODLAND • Swimming, fishing, recreation hall, horse trails, farm animals

Pine Acres Family Camping Resort

Oakham — (508) 882-9509 facebook.com/pineacres

TENT, CABIN, RV SITES ON LAKE DEAN • Country store & café, marina, boat/kart rentals, fishing, dog park

The Pines Campground

Ashby — (978) 386-7702 thepinescampground.com

4-SEASON CAMPGROUND • Recreation hall, pool, playground, picnic areas, fishing

Bearsden Conservation Area

Athol — (978) 249-4551 athol-ma.gov/parks-trails


Warwick — (978) 544-3939 mass.gov/locations/erving-state-forest

27 SITES NEAR LAUREL LAKE • Swimming beach, boat launch, nature trails

Federated Women's Club State Forest

Petersham — (978)-544-3939 • mass.gov/ locations/federated-womens-club-state-forest


Lake Dennison Recreation Area

Winchendon — (978) 297-1609 • mass.gov/ locations/lake-dennison-recreation-area

150 SITES ON LAKE DENNISON • Beach, picnic areas, boat launch, fishing, access to many trails

Otter River State Forest

Baldwinville — (978) 939-8962 • mass. gov/locations/otter-river-state-forest

76 SITES • 4 Yurts, swimming beach at Beaman Pond, nature trail to Lake Dennison

Pearl Hill State Park

W. Townsend — (978) 597-8802 • mass. gov/locations/pearl-hill-state-park

50 SITES • Swimming at Pearl Hill Brook Pond, trails to Willard Brook State Forest

Tully Lake Campground

Royalston — (978) 249-4957 tullylakecampground.org

35 TENT SITES (17 LAKEFRONT) • Picnic areas, boat rentals, trail access, ranger programs

Willard Brook State Forest

ASHBY — (978) 597-8802 • mass.gov/ locations/willard-brook-state-park

21 SITES, 1 GROUP YURT • Beach at Damon Pond, covered bridge, trail

Erving State Forest


Area in Winchendon and Willard Brook State Forest are expansive, offering acres of wilderness to explore. Most state parks provide basic facilities such as restrooms and showers, swimming beaches, and boat launches. You can learn more about the wide variety of parks operated by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation by visiting the state website, mass.gov. That site will also give you up to date information on any Covid-19 regulations that may be in place. In addition to state properties, local municipalities and conservation organizations offer terrific spots to get away from it all; check the chart below for contact information for these special places. Private Campgrounds Private campgrounds — and there are plenty here to choose from — generally offer the greatest variety of amenities including pools, playgrounds, stores, recreation halls, wireless Internet, and even TV (if you just can’t live without the tube). Some are really tuned in to the RV experience, but you can also find cabins and great rustic tent sites, too, if you’re more in the roughing-it mood. And if you’re looking for lots to do, it’s hard to beat some of these private campgrounds — they often offer special events, games, entertainment, and other activities that your family will enjoy. Settle into a secluded


wilderness site with your tent, or retire to the comfort of a camper when the day is done — the choice is yours when you visit North Central Massachusetts! From Pine Acres Resort in Oakham to Lamb City in Phillipston, The Pines Campground in Ashby and Peaceful Acres in Hubbardston, the options for enjoying a home-awayfrom home seem endless here. When it comes to fresh air and wide open spaces, this region has it all! Check out our campground chart for a sampling of spots that are sure to lift your spirits and help clear your mind from the distractions of today’s tech world. § Wilderness Camping to Full Hookup Sites


A Rustic Family Campground to Enjoy & Return to Often!

Just 10 miles from Rt. 2 Full Hookup Service Large Recreation Hall Hot Showers

50 Amp Service Spacious Sites RV Supplies WIFI Available

Swimming Pool Playground Picnic Tables & Fire Rings Firewood & Ice

The Pines 4-Season Campground 39 Davis Road • Ashby, MA 01431 • (978) 386-7702

thepinescampground.com • campgroundthepines@gmail.com

Discover Your Family Fun Getaway Lakeside Cabins &RV Rentals

Experience Five Star Lakeside Camping www.PineAcresResort.com Call us: (508) 882-9509

203 Bechan Rd. Oakham, Massachusetts 01068

The heart of Lamb City Campground


is to bring family fun alive. And our

Fully stocked convenience

remarkable, energetic, and creative staff

Free Wi-Fi service


Weekly Activities

 Fish in our quarter-mile

Saturday Activities

 Swim in our 3 Pools

“The Best Little City in New England”

store & RV parts center

will help make your camping experience

stocked pond

Lamb City Campground

Big Rig


for children and adults Full hookups • LP gas W/E hookups • Lakefront sites

 Fire Engine & Hay Rides

Modern restroom • Laundromat

 Nature Trails & Playground

Wilderness Tenting

 Disc Golf, Basketball & Volleyball  Canoe Rentals

Dumping Station On-site RV Mechanic 2 Rec Halls

Owned and operated by the Blake family since 1981.

85 Royalston Road • Phillipston, MA 01331 • 978-249-2049 • 800-292-LAMB (5262) Spring | Summer 2021


Building Businesses. Building Communities.


Wednesday & Thursday 11:30 AM – 8:30 PM

Trusted resources, a strong business network and a support system to keep your business and North Central Massachusetts moving forward.

Friday & Saturday 11:30 AM – 9:30 PM






860 South Street, Fithchburg, Ma 01420 P: 978-353-7600 E: ncmachamber@gmail

Trail Trivia

1. Let’s start with an easy one

that even the youngsters should know. This little guy followed a friend to school one day, which was against the rules. (And while he was there, he made the children laugh and play, which clearly did not sit well with the teacher.) Who was he? What was his name? Who did he follow? And where can you find a monument to this barnyard celebrity?

2. Speaking of animals — a

local bird has made quite a hit for decades. No, we’re not talking about the black-capped chickadee, which happens to be the Massachusetts state bird. Think larger. And more colorful. Think… movie star. Think… pink. Who might this feathered friend be? And where was his birthplace?


Finally, before we leave the animal kingdom behind, there’s a steed that generations of children have enjoyed riding — without ever leaving the house. And there’s a larger-than-life version waiting to greet today’s kids outdoors in the center of a local town. Know where it is, and why it’s there? Extra points if you can guess this one’s name.


There’s no shortage of important, and interesting, folks who have called this region home. Topping our list, of course, is the one whose name has come to personify North Central


ou’ve hiked and biked the trails of North Central Massachusetts, enjoyed hearty breakfasts and leisurely lunches at local diners, and hunted for treasures in enchanting antique shops. But wait! There’s more!

The Johnny Appleseed Trail — connecting the Freedom Trail to the east and the Mohawk Trail to the west — runs through cities and towns steeped in history, legend and lore. To get a better flavor of the region, get off the beaten path … and sample these local trivia trips. How many of these famous (or not so famous) people and places can you identify?

Massachusetts. You know we mean Johnny Appleseed. But do you know his real name, and where he was born? What monument marks his birthplace? And can you name three places where you’ll find statues of Johnny at various stages of his life?


Johnny Appleseed sowed apple seeds across a growing nation. But another person famous for his work with seeds and plants also hailed from this area. He developed his horticultural skills here in Lancaster and Lunenburg before moving to the west coast to continue his botanical work, creating hundreds of varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Who was he?

6. Johnny is often characterized

wearing a stew pot for a hat. But did you know that a local resident was persecuted for wearing a beard? He was beaten, and actually tossed in jail for a year — because he refused to shave. Do you know his name? And where can you find a monument — complete with bushy beard — recounting his tale?


He was an influential educational reformer, a leader of the Transcendental movement, and father of Louisa May Alcott — author of the classic novel, “Little Women.” Bronson Alcott founded a short-lived experiment in communal living here in North Central Massachusetts. Today, visitors can still enjoy the quiet beauty of that Spring | Summer 2021

8. A large granite outcropping

farm. Where is it, and what else can you find at that location today? holds a place in early New England history, marking the spot where Mary Rowlandson, the wife of a Puritan minister was released after a lengthy Indian captivity during King Philip’s War. A small sign at this property managed by The Trustees of Reservations commemorates her release. What is this famous stone called, and where is it located?

9. Sprinting forward a few

centuries, a local resident made history in 1956, when he became the first Olympic athlete to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games during the same year. Who was he? What events did he compete in? And where can you find a monument to his accomplishment?


Ready for a rest from your trivia test? There’s a piece of furniture that — were it a bit smaller — might be just what you need. Why is that chair famous, and exactly where can you find it? There you have it — a quick trivia tour of North Central Massachusetts. To see how well you know the region, turn to pages 43-44 for the answers.


Great Outdoors

Leaving the Gadgets Behind "North Central Massachusetts has just what you need: acres of forests, miles of trails, and sparkling expanses of water..." Doane's Falls, Cardinal Flower

FINDING YOUR WAY Crocker Conservation Area Flat Rock Rod Fitchburg 01420 Doane’s Falls Athol Road Royalston 01368 Doyle Community Park 464 Abbott Avenue Leominster 01453 Dwelly Farm Barre Road Templeton 01468 Wachusett Meadow 113 Goodnow Road Princeton 01541



Photo by John Burk

as your family spent way too much time indoors during the past year? Are you looking for a way get out into the fresh air, to explore new places, and introduce (or re-introduce) the kids to Mother Nature? North Central Massachusetts has just what you need: acres of forests, miles of trails, and sparkling expanses of water, all just waiting for you to explore. In fact, with all the municipal and state parks and local conservation lands, the choices can be overwhelming! Don’t despair. We’ve got a few suggestions to make the list more manageable when you want an afternoon outdoor adventure away from the distractions of today’s technology. Trustees of Reservations www.thetrustees.org The Trustees of Reservations manage a wide variety of properties throughout Massachusetts, including several right here in Johnny Appleseed’s back yard. VisitNorthCentral.com

Doyle Community Park in Leominster offers more than three miles of trails, including one and a half miles of accessible trails—bringing you past woodlands, open fields, meadows, formal gardens, and parklands. For a dose of picnicking and play, pause at Pierce Meadow, a 10-acre gem with huge specimen trees and open space for the family to enjoy. If the only sounds you’ve heard for months have come from TVs, computers, phones and game consoles, we’ve got a treat for you! Is there anything as intriguing as the sound of a waterfall? No, there’s nothing like a Niagara Falls here — but a visit to Doane’s Falls in Royalston can be an ear-opening experience. Picture it: Lawrence Brook dropping, swirling, rushing over boulders and granite slabs, whooshing in an otherwise-quiet forest. If you have a kayak or canoe, be sure to bring it — upstream of the falls is Coddings Meadow, a quiet clearing that serves as an easy launch site, and you might see a few beaver dams as you paddle the upper stretches of the river. Mass Audubon www.massaudubon.org Speaking of canoeing, Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary — one of dozens of Mass Audubon properties throughout Massachusetts — rents canoes (starting on Memorial Day), so you can spend some quiet time exploring its pond in a very get-away-from-it-all way. A former farmstead, Wachusett Meadow offers spectacular scenery and supports abundant wildlife throughout woodlands, wetlands, and meadows.

Doane's Falls | Photo by John Burk

Historic buildings and barns are still in use for educational programming and resident sheep graze pastures. The Wachusett Meadow staff offers a variety of interesting programs for all ages; check their calendar often for opportunities to learn about everything from animal tracks and signs to the social life of owls. North County Land Trust www.northcountylandtrust.org North County Land Trust — whose mission is to conserve the farms, forests and landscapes that define the character of this region— continues to add new properties to its rolls. In addition to preserving

the environment, NCLT conducts educational programs and other activities including nature hikes, “owl prowl” evenings and “finding fungi” walks. Take a leisurely stroll and teach the kids a bit about colonial life at the Crocker Conservation Area at Ashburnham Road in Fitchburg. The historic Fitchburg Town Pound is part of the conservation area. Once used to impound wandering livestock, the Town Pound is comprised of a stone wall enclosure and a gate and was recently restored by the land trust. Enjoy the view at Overlook Reservoir as you follow trails and cart roads. The spice bush is stunning on the Lower Loop trail in April, the



f “Story Time” evokes images of bedtime with a favorite Teddy bear, or maybe some quiet time sitting in a circle on the floor of the children’s library in your mind, it’s time to expand your horizons! How about a lively walk down a forest path — with a stop every so often to read the pages of a children’s book? After all, who says you have to be sitting down (or lying in bed) to enjoy a good story? It’s time for the kids (and parents!) to get out into the fresh air and stretch a few muscles! Of course, North Central Massachusetts has just the spot for a storytime adventure: Green Karma Farm, at 210 Wheeler Ave. in Orange. Visit the farm’s Story Walk Trail, and you’ll find the pages of a children’s book posted at intervals along a trail or pathway. It’s a walk and a book read at the same time.

Mountain Laurel lights up Big’s Bushwhack at the Summer Solstice and blueberries are a great snack in July! Dwelly Farm, a former dairy farm in Templeton, has become a 68-acre conservation area, echoing the loss of many small agricultural properties in New England. Stand quietly, and try to imagine the once-familiar sounds of a dairy herd. Much of the cleared farmland has now reverted to forest, but evidence of the land’s agricultural past can be seen in the remaining cleared fields and remnants of old farm equipment still standing on some of the trails. §


To add to the excitement of the Story Walk Trail, you might even find that the book you’re reading was written by a local author! Among recent featured books is Don Gateau: The Three-Legged Cat of Seborga, written by Diane Kane. Set in northern Italy, this beautifully illustrated book is a feline story of love and bravery that’s sure to delight kids and adults alike. The Story Walk Trail is a spot you can return to again and again, because a new book — including some written by local authors — goes up every month! And if you enjoy the tale you read on the trail, you can stop into the farm’s store to buy a copy to take home. Visitors are invited, too, to leave a painted rock or trinket on the story trail for future readers to enjoy, making the trail walk a truly interactive experience. Getting to the trail is a bit of an adventure, too: Park at the farm and walk down the road past the big red barn — where you can enjoy a visit with the goats! Love the books? Keep an eye out for book-signings at Green Karma Farm, giving the whole family an opportunity to meet real-life local authors. What better way could there be to encourage kids to read than by combining a fun story with a walk in the wilderness? §

Spring | Summer 2021


Let Local Art Lift Your Heart

Photo courtesy of The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton.


o matter what’s going on in the world around you …. you’ve got to have art!

It’s been a difficult year for museum-goers, with galleries closing or offering limited hours

Photo courtesy of The Gardner Area League of Artists in Winchendon.


or attendance. But as the country continues to open up, those gallery doors are swinging wider — including right here in North Central Massachusetts. This region is home to a host of art venues, from the expansive Fitchburg Art Museum to the intimate GALA Gallery in Winchendon. Works on display run the gamut, too, from the treasures of the Russian Icon Museum to an astounding array of works by local artists at the Boulder Gallery


in Fitchburg and Gallery Sitka in Shirley. So much to see! Where to begin? For 85 years, the Regional Exhibition of Art & Craft has been a “must-see” event at the Fitchburg Art Museum. One of the oldest juried exhibitions in New England, this summer tradition strives to discover and celebrate the artists and crafters of our region by showing their work in a museum environment and connecting them to

fellow artists, patrons, and enthusiasts. This show, featuring art works from oil paintings to sculpture and photography, generally runs from June through Labor Day — but before heading out to visit, stop by the Museum’s website (fitchburgartmuseum.org) for updated information on exhibition dates and hours. Can’t wait for the Regional Exhibition? The Museum has regular changing exhibitions of contemporary artists throughout the year. From April through June 6, you can enjoy The BIG Picture: Giant Photographs and Powerful Portfolios — recent acquisitions to the Museum’s growing collection of photography in two categories: very large digital color prints by twenty contemporary artists, and portfolios of multiple related works by André Kertész, Steve Locke, Kenji Nakahashi, Ruben Natal-San Miguel, and Barbara Norfleet. And here’s a tip: You can explore the exhibition online or in person. Also at the Fitchburg museum through June 6 is Cloth is Money: Textiles from the Sahel, illustrating the complex and timeless value of woven cloth from the southern border of the Sahara and exploring weaving techniques, designs, and symbols in conjunction with the rich trade history and cultural role of textiles in the region.

Photo courtesy of The Fitchburg Art Musuem.

If you’ve never visited The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, you’re in for a surprise — and if you’re a returning visitor, you’ll be thrilled to see the newest exhibitions at this local gem. Home to the largest collection of icons outside of Russia (and the only museum in the United States dedicated to Russian icons), the Museum is housed in a 150-year-old mill building — but it features a terrace with a green roof, a tea room, and performance facilities to accommodate lectures and concerts, along with three floors of galleries. Within its walls you’ll discover a permanent collection of icons gathered by Clinton industrialist and Museum founder Gordon Lankton, as well as special exhibitions ranging from contemporary Russian art to icons from other Orthodox cultures. This spring, you can explore Miniature Masterpeices: Russian Lacquer Boxes, a display for more than 100 papier-mâché treasures decorated with miniature paintings of folk scenes and fairy tales, lacquered and polished

to a high sheen. The exhibition runs through May 23 — but you can enjoy a sneak peek in a virtual exhibition at www. museumofrussianicons.org/ miniature-masterpieces. Also on display this season is Pysanka: Symbol of Renewal, paintings inspired by Ukrainian Easter Eggs (through May 9); Painted Poetry: Alexander Gassel, a Retrospective, an exhibition

of contemporary paintings by the Russianborn American artist and designer (through September 25); and Atomic Alert!: Confronting the “The Bomb” in the New Atomic Age, a look at the U. S. government’s Cold Warera efforts to educate Americans about what to do before, during, and after an atomic blast (June 28— August 15).

Let Art Inspire You

Connect with the Fitchburg Art Museum! Check our website to discover exciting online programs and to see our current hours and guidelines for your visit.

Photo: Charles Sternaimolo

Spring | Summer 2021



GETTING THERE Fitchburg Art Museum 185 Elm St., Fitchburg 978-345-4207 Fitchburgartmuseum.org Museum of Russian Icons 203 Union St., Clinton 978-598-5000 Museumofrussianicons.org Boulder Art Gallery 960 Main St., Fitchburg 978-345-7000 Theboulderartgallery.com GALA Gallery 135 Front St., Winchendon Galagardner.org Petersham Art Center 8 North St., Petersham 978-724-3415 Facebook.com/ petershamartcenter Gallery Sitka 2 Shaker Rd., Shirley 978-425-6290 Gallerysitka.com

Beyond Museum Walls In addition to these local art museums, visitors can swing by a number of area galleries to see what local artists are creating these days. Located an easy walk from the Fitchburg Art Museum, the Boulder Art Gallery in downtown Fitchburg, open Thursdays through Saturdays, features original art, vintage art, photography, and prints — and spotlights artwork artists in a variety of mediums and styles  by both emerging and established local and regional artists. The GALA gallery in Winchendon, located behind the town’s History & Cultural Center, has been closed due to the Covid pandemic, but is expected to open in the spring — so be sure to check their website (galagardner. org) or Facebook page for details on the re-opening. And until the doors of the former barn are open again, you can take a virtual tour of the gallery when you “drop by” the GALA website. But while the gallery has been closed, the Gardner


The Petersham Cultural Center in Petersham Center.

Area League of Artists has continued planning for its Spring Art Show, which is moving to the Red Apple Farm in Phillipston this year. The show is scheduled for May 21-23; for information on hours and other details, check the website or Facebook page. Spending a day in the country? Take a little road trip to the Petersham Art Center, a charming gallery and shop that’s open from noon to 4 pm on Wednesdays through Sundays. Paintings, photography, textiles, jewelry, pottery, clothing, ironwork, paper works,

glass, and much more fill the shop, along with books by regional authors. Enjoy the afternoon browsing — and then wrap up your visit to this picturesque town with a stop for a meal at the Petersham Country Store! Drawing on a theme of connecting with nature, Gallery Sitka in Shirley is holding its annual Earth Day 2021 exhibition from April 23 through June 1. The show will focus on works that are related to the artists’ personal connection with nature. It’s time to let art lift your spirits — right here in the heart of New England. §



#SupportTheArts #BuyArt

Fri.–Sun. 11am-5pm by reservation. Call 978.598.5000 Closed Monday–Thursday Free admission the first Sunday of each month 203 Union Street, Clinton, MA 01510 | museumofrussianicons.org


Gallery SITKA



978.425.6290 Shirley, MA @gallerysitka

Visit North Central Massachusetts' very own Johnny Appleseed Center Stop in for a visit and explore the variety of local products in our shop. Take a break as you travel the Johnny Appleseed Trail!

 Jams & Jellies  Maple Syrup, Candy & Freshly-made Fudge  Tons of Alpaca product  Books about the region and Massachusetts  Plate-sized Cookies, Cider donuts, & Kettle Corn  Maps & Brochures for Local Attractions  Plus lots more products to tempt your taste buds! RT. 2 West Bound in Lancaster, MA 01523 visitnorthcentral.com | (978) 534-2302

Spring | Summer 2021





Exhibitions, events and more! M M





ver the past year, many community organizations have closed their doors, postponed or cancelled events, or limited attendance to comply with state Covid-19 restrictions. In March, those restrictions began to loosen - but the situation continues to be fluid and regulations may change at any time. As this issue of The Guide goes to press, the events listed in this Calendar are expected to go forward. However, due to the constantly-changing Covid landscape, we strongly recommend that you check the organizations on social media or by phone to confirm the event status and any limits on attendance.

EXHIBITIONS THROUGH JUNE 6. The BIG Picture: Giant Photographs and Powerful Portfolios at the Fitchburg Art Museum, 185 Elm Street, Fitchburg. Discover recent acquisitions to the Fitchburg Art Museum’s growing collection of photography in two categories: very large digital color prints by twenty contemporary artists, and portfolios of multiple related works by André Kertész, Steve Locke, Kenji Nakahashi, Ruben Natal-San Miguel, and Barbara Norfleet. Explore the exhibition online or in person. Visit fitchburgartmuseum.org/the-big-picture for details.



THROUGH JUNE 6. Cloth is Money: Textiles from the Sahel at the Fitchburg Art Museum, 185 Elm Street, Fitchburg. The show illustrates the complex and timeless value of woven cloth from the Sahel, the southern border of the Sahara, by exploring weaving techniques, designs, and symbols in conjunction with the rich trade history and cultural role of textiles in the region. Learn more and check the current Museum hours at fitchburgartmuseum. org/cloth-is-money.

JUNE-DECEMBER. Various Art Shows at GALA Art Gallery, 135 Front Street, Winchendon. Throughout the year, the Art Gallery will show works by area artists. Check the website for a schedule: galagardner.org.

>> In the Spotlight:

Women in World War II


n the military, in the workforce, in voluntary service, and in the home, women played important roles during World War II. This year marks the 140th birthday of Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers (the "Godmother of Fort Devens”) and the 80th anniversary of the introduction of her Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps bill. The Fort Devens Museum is honoring these events with an exhibit of women in World War II. The exhibit will include uniforms, photographs, equipment, and stories. Many of the women featured, including WAACs/ WACs and military nurses, are local to Massachusetts and had ties to Fort Devens. If you’ve never thought about the contributions of women during the war years, this exhibition is a great learning opportunity — and for some visitors, a walk down Memory Lane.

THROUGH AUGUST. Women in World War II exhibition at the Fort Devens Museum, 94 Jackson Road, 3rd floor, Devens. This exhibit recognizes WAACs/WACs, military Nurses, women in the workforce, voluntary service, and women at home. The Museum is open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and the 3rd Saturday of each month from 10 am to 3 pm. Visit http://fortdevensmuseum.org. APRIL 23-JUNE 1. Earth Day 2021 art show, Our Connection with Nature, at Gallery Sitka, 2 Shaker Road, Shirley. This year has had extreme challenges. Many have sought out nature as a stabilizing, nurturing place. Pierre Bonnard said, “Art will never be able to exist without nature.” Gallery Sitka invites guests to make an appointment to see this show, curated by NYC artist, Beth Barry. Visit gallerysitka.com. JUNE 25-SEPTEMBER 5. Regional Exhibition of Art & Craft at the Fitchburg Art Museum, 185 Elm Street, Fitchburg. A beloved summer attraction for local residents and visitors, the 85th Regional Exhibition of Art & Craft is one of the oldest juried exhibitions of its kind in New England and strives to encourage, discover, and display the talents of artists and crafters living or working within 30 miles of Fitchburg. Visit fitchburgartmuseum.org.


Through this exhibition, the Museum is preserving artifacts related to this time in history, putting the local community into the context of a larger national (Military) and international (WWII) stage. WWII is been known as a time of liberation for women, and on the heels of the 100th anniversary of the culmination of the Suffrage Movement, this is a perfect time to remember both the struggles and victories that women faced after 1919. The Fort Devens Museum, located at 94 Jackson Road, 3rd floor, Devens is open on Tuesdays, Fridays, and the third Saturday of each month from 10 am to 3 pm. Visit the museum at fortdevensmuseum.org.

MUSIC WEEKENDS, STARTING MAY 21. Live music at Hollis Hills Farm, 340 Marshall Road, Fitchburg. Performances from 2-5pm and 6-9pm on Saturdays, and 1-4pm on Sundays. Visit hollishillsfarm.com. SUNDAYS IN AUGUST. Fitchburg Military Band concerts at Coggshall Park, Electric Avenue, Fitchburg. From Broadway to Brahms, swing to salsa, the Fitchburg Military Band presents music for all ages to enjoy. Follow the band on Facebook. SUNDAYS, 2-4 PM. Summer Concerts at Coggshall Park, Electric Avenue, Fitchburg, on July 11 and August 8. For details on performers, visit Friends of Coggshall Park on Facebook. MONDAYS-THURSDAYS. Live music at the Cidery Tap Room at Red Apple Farm, 455 Highland Avenue, Phillipston. The Tap Room will be open seven days a week all summer, from noon till 8pm. Visit brewbarnma.com for up-to-date information. TUESDAYS, 5:30 PM. April through August Open Rehearsals of the Saima Park Community Orchestra outdoors at the Finnish Center at Saima Park, 67 Scott Road, Fitchburg (weather permitting). Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy the music. Visit saima-park.org.

TUESDAYS, 6-8 PM, APRIL-NOVEMBER. Open House at the Narragansett Historical Society, 1 Boynton Road, Templeton. Discover the great history of Templeton, share stories, and explore the vast collection of pictures dating back to the 1800s. Visit narragansetthistoricalsociety.org. THURSDAYS, 7 PM. Trivia Night at the Bull Run Restaurant, 215 Great Road, Shirley. Visit bullrunrestaurant.com. FRIDAYS, 7 AM, APRIL-MAY 21. Early Bird Birding with Jeff Johnstone, starting at the Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main Street, Athol. Explore the North Quabbin area for spring migrant birds. Novice birders can learn from one of the Athol Bird & Nature Club’s best field naturalists. Severe weather cancels. Visit atholbirdclub.org. SATURDAYS, 1-5 PM, APRIL-NOVEMBER. Open House at the Narragansett Historical Society, 1 Boynton Road, Templeton. Tour the building and discover Templeton’s history. Check Facebook.com/ nh1924society. FRIDAYS AT DUSK, JULY AND AUGUST. Free Movie Nights at Riverfront Park, Boulder Drive, Fitchburg. Enjoy family movies under the stars!


TUESDAYS, 7:30 PM, JULY & AUGUST. Colonial Band Concerts in Carter Park, Route 12, Leominster. Enjoy a concert of light classics, pop tunes and music from Broadway and Hollywood. WEDNESDAYS, 6:30 PM, JULY & AUGUST. Concerts on the Upper Common, Main Street, Fitchburg. Bring a blanket or chair and relax, right in the city’s downtown district, with different local performers each week. WEDNESDAYS, 7 PM. Lose Your Blues at the Bull Run Restaurant, 215 Great Road, Shirley. Live blues at this historic inn. Visit bullrunrestaurant.com for the lineup. FRIDAYS, 7 PM. Steven Higgs on the piano at the Bull Run Restaurant, 215 Great Road, Shirley. Visit bullrunrestaurant.com for details. FRIDAYS-SUNDAYS. Live Music at the Brew Barn at Red Apple Farm, 455 Highland Avenue, Phillipston. Visit redapplefarm.com for updates on performers. SATURDAYS, 7 PM. Live Music at the Bull Run Restaurant, 215 Great Road, Shirley. Visit bullrunrestaurant.com for the lineup. DATES TBA. The Winchendon Music Festival brings international artists to Winchendon. Through performances and lecture-recitals, audiences have the opportunity to attend world-class concerts. The 2020 season was cancelled, but concerts may resume this summer. Visit the festival’s Facebook page for updates.

ONGOING SUNDAYS, 10 AM, STARTING MAY 10. Yoga with the Alpacas at Plain View Farm, 130 Gardner Road, Hubbardston. Bring your own yoga mat (we do have a few extra). Class is held outdoors so it is weather permitting. Check Facebook.com/plainviewalpacas for updates.



SATURDAY. Easter Egg Hunt at Lanni Orchard, 294 Chase Road, Lunenburg. We couldn't do it last year but we are going to give it a go this year! We miss seeing the children at the farm! It will be a little different than years past but fun none the less. Get the details and tickets on the website lanniorchard. com or go straight to the ticketing page: lanniorchard. ticketspice.com/easter-egg-hunt-at-the-farm. Reserve your tickets before they sell out!


SATURDAY, 9 AM-3:30 PM. Flying Irish Spring Feis at the Leominster Elks Lodge, 134 North Main Street, Leominster. The Flying Irish host an Irish dance competition. Depending on current Covid regulations, the event may (or may not) be open to visitors. Visit flyingirish.com for updated information, or find the group on Facebook.


SATURDAY & SUNDAY, 2 & 3:30 PM. Artists and Ancestors A Dramatic Re-Enactment, at Forest Hill Cemetery, Fitchburg. On this walking tour, members of the Stratton Players re-create important, historic personnages who were instrumental in establishing the arts in this city, including musician/singing group Maestro Cyrus Thurston, artist Sybil Augusta Fairbanks with artist/Fitchburg Art Museum founder Eleanor Norcross, Stratton Players Founders Helen Stratton and Fay Crocker, architect H.M. Francis, sculptor Herbert Adams and his wife, writer/artist Adeline Valentine Adams. Suggested donation $15; 19 and under free with an adult. Visit strattonplayers.com for updates.


MONDAY, 7 PM. Music and Moonlight at the Finnish Center at Saima Park, 67 Scott Road, Fitchburg. Enjoy listening to the Saima Park Community Orchestra and/or walk Saima Park's beautiful trails under the full moon. If it's overcast, please bring a flashlight. Donations welcome. Rain date Tuesday, April 27. Visit saima-park.org.

Spring | Summer 2021



SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Mother’s Day Weekend at Davis Farmland, 145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling. Kids bring your mom admissionfree and pamper her with a complimentary massage! Visit Davisfarmland.com for tickets, hours, and more info. Tickets must be purchased online.


SUNDAY, 7 AM. Early Bird Birding with Jeff Johnstone, starting at the Millers River Environmental Center, 100 Main Street, Athol. Explore the North Quabbin area for spring migrant birds. Learn from one of the Athol Bird & Nature Club’s best field naturalists. Severe weather cancels. Covid rules will still be in effect. Masks, no carpooling, and no sharing optics. Visit atholbirdclub.org.


TUESDAY, 3:05 PM. Home Opener for the Worcester Red Sox at the brand-new Polar Park in Worcester, just a short drive down I-190. Visit GoWooSox on Facebook for details about the 2021 season.


THURSDAY, 7 PM. Glimpses of the WhiteTailed Deer at the Gardner Museum, 26 Pearl Street, Gardner. Do you love Bambi? Get to know the graceful creature that inspired her! Acclaimed wildlife photographer Bill Fournier will share his up-close images of and experiences with the smallest members of the North American deer family. Admission $3. Reservation required at gardnermuseuminc.com.


THURSDAY–SUNDAY. Art in Bloom at the Fitchburg Art Museum, 185 Elm Street, Fitchburg. The Fitchburg Art Museum and Laurelwood Garden Club are excited to welcome you back this spring to enjoy over 20 floral interpretations of artwork in the galleries. Reservations required. (Dates are subject to change.) Visit fitchburgartmuseum.org for details.


FRIDAY, 6-9 PM; SATURDAY 11 AM-5 PM; SUNDAY, NOON-4 PM. Annual GALA Spring Art Show at Red Apple Farm Brew Barn, 455 Highland Avenue, Phillipston. View 300 works by more than 100 artists and enjoy live music, along with raffles, auctions, craft ale and refreshments all weekend. GALA will also provide a plein-air event, inviting artists to capture the apple blossoms, old stone walls, maple trees, animals and scenery of the iconic New England farm. Reception and awards on Friday evening. Check website (galagardner.org) or Facebook.com/ galagardner for more information and schedule. Free admission.


FRIDAY, 6-9 PM; SATURDAY, 2-5 PM & 6-9 PM; & SUNDAY, 1-4 PM. Live music at Hollis Hills Farm, 340 Marshall Road, Fitchburg. Visit hollishillsfarm.com.


SATURDAY, 7 PM. Gardner’s Lost Railroads & Train Stations at the Gardner Museum, 26 Pearl Street, Gardner. A joint presentation by local railroad buffs under the leadership of Chuck Heidorn. Reception at 6:30, program at 7. Admission $3. Reservation required at gardnermuseuminc.com.


SATURDAY, 8-10 AM. Pannukakku Breakfast at the Finnish Center at Saima Park, 67 Scott Road, Fitchburg. Finnish oven pancake, bacon, sausage, fruit, juice, Finnish coffee bread, coffee/tea/cocoa. $9.00. Artist Karen Kemp will exhibit and sell her work. Visit saima-park.org.



THURSDAY, 6:30 PM. Birds of New England and the Quabbin Reservoir at the Gardner Museum, 26 Pearl Street, Gardner. Dale Monette, local birder and nature photographer, and retired educator and naturalist with the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation, will present wildlife images, focusing on birds that visit New England, and birds and mammals that call New England home. Reception at 6:30, program at 7. Admission $3. Reservation required at gardnermuseuminc.com.


FRIDAY, NOON. Opening of the new Red Apple Farm Cidery Tap Room at Red Apple Farm, 455 Highland Avenue, Phillipston. Plenty of seating and fresh air are available on the new outdoor cider deck and in the tree covered cider garden. Four different hard ciders will be available: their ‘Straight Ahead’ original hard cider, Semi-sweet hard cider, and two limited-edition fruited ciders.

SATURDAY, 9 AM–2 PM. Hubbardston Fair at the Curtis Recreation Field, Route 68. This family-friendly event has something for everyone: Food, local artists, crafters, live music, demonstrations, face painting and fun for all ages. Free parking and admission. (Rain date 6/13) For details contact hubbardstn250@gmail.com.


SATURDAY, 1-4 PM. Tea with Lucy Stone in the Narragansett Historical Society garden, 1 Boynton Road, Templeton. A Lucy Stone re-enactor will chat with visitors about this early leader in the effort to gain the vote for women. Visit on Facebook for updates: groups/nh1924society.


FRIDAY, 6-9 PM; SATURDAY, 2-5 PM & 6-9 PM; & SUNDAY, 1-4 PM. Live music at Hollis Hills Farm, 340 Marshall Road, Fitchburg. Visit hollishillsfarm.com.

THURSDAY, 6:30 PM. Plants for Health and Wellness at the Gardner Museum, 26 Pearl Street, Gardner. Certified Aromatherapist and Herbalist Kim Fitzgerald will share her knowledge of local medicinal and edible plants and how to identify them. Learn medicinal uses for herbs and spices you may find in your spice rack or herb garden. Reception at 6:30, program at 7. Admission $3. Reservations required at gardnermuseuminc.com.




SATURDAY-MONDAY. Machinery Madness at Davis Farmland, 145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling. Kids can explore giant excavators, climb on a bulldozer, backhoe and more! Visit Davisfarmland.com for tickets, hours and more info. Tickets must be purchased online.

30 Calendar


SUNDAY, NOON. Opening of the Brew Barn at Red Apple Farm, 455 Highland Avenue, Phillipston. Myra & Her Fiddler Friends perform at noon on the country stage, followed by The Green Sisters at 3 pm. Visit redapplefarm.com.


MONDAY. Opening of Canoe Rentals at Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary, 113 Goodnow Road, Princeton. Canoes can be rented from May 1 to October 31 for use on Wachusett Meadow’s Wildlife Pond. Visit massaudubon.org.



THURSDAY 7 PM. Connecting with the Land at the Gardner Museum, 26 Pearl Street, Gardner. Representatives from the North County Land Trust will highlight ways NCLT is connecting people with the land we live on and suggest ways to better connect with nature in the Gardner area. A slideshow will showcase Gardner’s nature and wildlife through local photographers’ lenses. Reception at 6:30, program at 7. Admission $3. Reservation required at gardnermuseuminc.com.


FRIDAY, 6-9 PM; SATURDAY, 2-5 PM & 6-9 PM; & SUNDAY, 1-4 PM. Live music at Hollis Hills Farm, 340 Marshall Road, Fitchburg. Visit hollishillsfarm.com.


FRIDAY & SATURDAY, 7:30 PM; SUNDAY, 2 PM. Baby, a musical, at New Players Theater Guild, 15 Rollstone Street, Fitchburg. 978-345-6570. Repeats June 11-13. Visit nptg.org.


FRIDAY & SATURDAY, 7:30 PM; SUNDAY, 2 PM. Baby, a musical, at New Players Theater Guild, 15 Rollstone Street, Fitchburg. 978-345-6570. Visit nptg.org.


SATURDAY, 12-9 PM. Strawberry Celebration at Hollis Hills Farm, Fitchburg, featuring music, and, of course strawberries! Visit hollishillsfarm.com.


SATURDAY. Ribbon Cutting at the Fitchburg Abolitionist Park, Snow Street, Fitchburg. This new park will feature a mural depicting the city’s historical connection to the Underground Railroad and Abolitionist Movement. See abolitionistpark.org.


SATURDAY, 10 AM-2 PM. Summer Lawn Fair at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon, 126 Central Street Lawn Fairs have been running at UUCW since the 1860s, when the first summer flea market was held to help finance the construction of the building. Stop by downtown Winchendon to peruse a selection of crafts, artwork, yard sale, food and more! Visit uucw.ncmuuc.org/ summer-fair.


SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Summer of Reptiles at Davis Farmland, 145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling. Reptile Man, Michael Ralbovsky from Rainforest Reptile Shows invades Davis Farmland with giant tortoises, slitherin’ snakes, alligators, lizards and all new reptile experiences! Visit Davisfarmland.com for tickets, hours and more info. Tickets must be purchased online.


THURSDAY, 7 PM. We the People at the Gardner Museum, 26 Pearl Street, Gardner. The Constitution begins with those deceptively simple words. Professor of English Studies and Coordinator of American Studies at Fitchburg State University, Ben Railton discusses how Americans define that "We." He will explore and critically examine history to define the question which is vital to understanding America. Reception at 6:30, program at 7. Admission $3. Reservation required at gardnermuseuminc.com.


SATURDAY. Rock & Laurel Trail Race at Crocker Conservation Area in Fitchburg. Visit northcountylandtrust.org for registration details.


SATURDAY, 9 PM. Fourth of July Fireworks on Rollstone Hill, Fitchburg. Easy to watch from around the city, this annual fireworks display celebrates Independence Day.


SUNDAY, 6 AM. Firing of the Cannon on Rollstone Hill in Fitchburg to welcome the start of Independence Day.


SUNDAY, NOON-9 PM. Celebrate Raspberry Season at Hollis Hills Farm, 340 Marshall Road, Fitchburg. Our raspberries will be ready, and we’ll celebrate with music from 1-4 pm and 5-8 pm, along with food, ice cream and more! Follow hollishillsfarm on Facebook for updated details.


SUNDAY, 2-4 PM. Concert at Coggshall Park, Electric Avenue, Fitchburg. Variety of music genres performed by local bands. Free. See the Friends of Coggshall on Facebook for updated schedule.


SATURDAY, 10 AM–6 PM. Plastic City Comic Con at the Wallace Civic Center, 1000 John Fitch Highway, Fitchburg. Wham, Pow, Bang! If you love comics, you don’t want to miss this comic book convention! Admission $5; kids 12 and under, free! Visit plasticcitycomiccon.com.


SATURDAY, 10 AM–2 PM. St. Martin’s Parish Summer Festival at the Otter River Sportsman’s Club, Lord Road, Templeton. A family day featuring raffles, Chinese Auction, free activities for children, and a chicken BBQ dinner (subject to Covid regulations). Check St. Martin’s Church on Facebook for updates.





SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Father’s Day Weekend at Davis Farmland, 145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling. Kids bring your dad admission free and pamper him with a complimentary massage! Visit Davisfarmland.com for tickets, hours, and more info. Tickets to Davis Farmland must be purchased online. SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Summer: Adventure Play & Spray Opens at Davis Farmland, 145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling. New England’s largest zero-depth water spray park opens for the season. Visit Davisfarmland.com for tickets, hours and more info. Tickets to Davis Farmland must be purchased online.


SUNDAY, 9:30 AM-4 PM. Kesäjuhla/ Finnish Summer Festival at the Finnish Center at Saima Park, 67 Scott Road Fitchburg. Chess tournament, outdoor games for all ages, chicken barbecue ($12.00), music, cultural program, festival artist, and more! Visit saima-park.org.



SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Summer of Reptiles at Davis Farmland, 145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling. Reptile Man, Michael Ralbovsky from Rainforest Reptile Shows invades Davis Farmland with giant tortoises, slitherin’ snakes, alligators and lizards! Visit Davisfarmland.com for tickets, hours, and more info. Tickets to Davis Farmland must be purchased online. TUESDAY, 7:30 PM. Colonial Band Concerts in Carter Park, Route 12, Leominster. Enjoy a concert of light classics, pop tunes and music from Broadway and Hollywood.


FRIDAY. Once on This Island, a musical presented by the North Quabbin Family Theatre at Forster Farm, 60 Chestnut Hill Road, Orange. Show time TBA. Founded in the midst of a pandemic when local opportunity for performing arts evaporated, the North Quabbin Family Theatre strives to provide a theatrical outlet for the youth and lifelong performance lovers. Follow the troupe on Facebook, NQTheatreFam for updated performance information.


SATURDAY, 8-10 AM. Pannukakku Breakfast at the Finnish Center at Saima Park, 67 Scott Road, Fitchburg. Finnish oven pancake, bacon, sausage, fruit, juice, Finnish coffee bread, coffee/tea/cocoa. $9.00. Artist Karen Kemp will exhibit and sell her work. Loaves of Finnish coffee bread will be for sale. Visit saima-park.org.



THURSDAY–SUNDAY. The 138th Bolton Fair at the Fairgrounds at Lancaster, Route 117, (exit 27 off Rt. 495). Thursday night is preview night for the midway, then the fair kicks into high gear for three days of family fun. See animal shows and contests, a demolition derby, Clydesdale horses, and worker craftsmen, along with an exhibit hall, farmers’ market, vendors, food, and entertainment. Low admission price, free parking. For an updated schedule, visit boltonfair.org.

SATURDAY, 1-9 PM & SUNDAY, NOON-6 PM. Sunflower Celebration at Hollis Hills Farm, 340 Marshall Road, Fitchburg. Our crop of you-cut flowers should be ready in midJuly, and we will celebrate those mood-brightening sunflowers this weekend, complete with music at 1, 3 and 6 pm on Saturday and noon and 3 pm on Sunday. Visit hollishillfarm on Facebook.




THURSDAY, 4 PM. Generations of Fun: Songs & Stories for All Ages at the Boynton Public Library, on the common, Templeton. Award-winning performer Davis Bates presents a program for children, families and adults celebrating reading, the generations and cultural diversity. Free admission. Check the library’s Facebook page for updates.


TUESDAY, 7:30 PM. Colonial Band Concerts in Carter Park, Route 12, Leominster. Enjoy a concert of light classics, pop tunes and music from Broadway and Hollywood.


FRIDAY. Once on This Island, a musical presented by the North Quabbin Family Theatre at Forster Farm, 60 Chestnut Hill Road, Orange. Show time TBA. See July 23 for details. Follow the troupe on Facebook, NQTheatreFam for updated performance information.


SUNDAY, NOON–5 PM. Kite Festival hosted by the Narragansett Historical Society at 320 Baldwinville Road, Templeton. Fly a kite, enjoy live music, tractor pulls and more. Follow Templeton Museum (Narr Hist Society) on Facebook. TUESDAY, 7:30 PM. Colonial Band Concerts in Carter Park, Route 12, Leominster. Enjoy a concert of light classics, pop tunes and music from Broadway and Hollywood.


THURSDAY. Movie night on the lawn at Hollis Hills Farm, 340 Marshall Road, Fitchburg. Check the Hollis Hills website for details.


SATURDAY, 10 AM. Hubbardston Dinghy Dash! on Brigham Pond. Enjoy a day of fun, competition and laughs as we race boats made out of nothing but cardboard and duct tape. Grand prize of $300. Open to all to enter; see official rules for details and regulations. Rain date, Aug. 29. Registration is $20 per dinghy. Contact hubbardston250@gmail.com.


SATURDAY-SUNDAY. Summer of Reptiles at Davis Farmland, 145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling. Reptile Man, Michael Ralbovsky from Rainforest Reptile Shows invades Davis Farmland with giant tortoises, slitherin’ snakes, alligatorsand lizards. Visit Davisfarmland.com for tickets, hours and more info. Tickets must be purchased online.


SUNDAY, 2-4 PM. Concert at Coggshall Park, Electric Avenue, Fitchburg. Variety of music genres performed by local bands. Free. See the Friends of Coggshall on Facebook for updated schedule.

Last Saturday morning of the month through October, Meeting House Hill


Saturday mornings, Uptown Common


Saturday mornings, on the Common


Thursday afternoons, Upper Common; Monday afternoons, Health Alliance


Thursday mornings at Monument Park


Friday afternoons, Williams Barn, Chicopee Row


Sunday mornings, the Ritter Building Hubbardston Dinghy Dash


SATURDAY, 8-10AM. Pannukakku Breakfast at the Finnish Center at Saima Park, 67 Scott Road, Fitchburg. Finnish oven pancake, bacon, sausage, fruit, juice, Finnish coffee bread, coffee/tea/cocoa. $9.00. Artist Karen Kemp will exhibit and sell her work. Visit saima-park.org.



APPLESEED COUNTRY FAIR at Red Apple Farm, Phillipston. Enjoy three days of live, local folk music, artistic performances and children's activities in the beautiful countryside! Shop for local handcrafts, pick apples, take a hayride, visit the farm animals, relax with a great lunch, and stop in the Brew Barn for refreshment. Visit appleseedcountryfair.com to see the entire lineup.




THURSDAY-SUNDAY. Summer Children's Workshop Musical: Phantom Tollbooth Jr at New Players Theater Guild, 15 Rollstone Street, Fitchburg. Visit nptg.org.


Saturday mornings, Monument Park


TUESDAY, 7:30 PM. Colonial Band Concerts in Carter Park, Route 12, Leominster. Enjoy a concert of light classics, pop tunes and music from Broadway and Hollywood.

Most markets are open through mid-to late October.

Saturday mornings, Hildreth Elementary

TUESDAY, 7:30 PM. Colonial Band Concerts in Carter Park, Route 12, Leominster. Enjoy a concert of light classics, pop tunes and music from Broadway and Hollywood.


NOTE: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some markets may not be open this summer or may change or limit hours.



THURSDAY. Tails and Tales Summer Reading Magic Show at the Fitchburg Public Library, 610 Main Street, Fitchburg. Comedy, magic, storytelling and balloon art bring characters to life for children aged 3-11 and their caregivers. Visit fitchburgpubliclibrary. org for time and updates.

Farmers Market

SATURDAY-MONDAY. Last Weekend of Summer Fun at Davis Farmland, 145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling. Reptile Invasion, Water Spray Park, Baby Animals and more! Visit Davisfarmland.com for tickets, hours and more info. Tickets to Davis Farmland must be purchased online.


Thursday afternoons, Butterfield Park


Saturday mornings, Town Field


Friday afternoons, Town Common


Thursday afternoons, Historic Common


Friday afternoons, Butterick Building


Thursday afternoons, Boynton Library


Thursday & Saturday afternoons, 128 Central Street


Friday afternoons, Academy Hill *Information provided by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, and subject to change. For up-to-date hours of operation, visit mass.gov/agr/ or check them on Facebook.

SUNDAY, 2-4 PM. Concert at Coggshall Park, Electric Avenue, Fitchburg. Variety of music genres performed by local bands. Free. See the Friends of Coggshall on Facebook.

Spring | Summer 2021


Towns in our Region A GUIDE





Incorporated 1767 24.2 sq. miles | Pop. 3,219 Main Street | 978-386-2424 www.ci.ashby.ma.us www.facebook.com/AshbyMA

Outdoor enthusiasts know Ashburnham as the starting point for the Wapack Trail and Massachusetts Midstate Trail, while music lovers appreciate it as the home of the Frederick Historic Piano Collection and Study Center that brings musicians from around the world to this rural community each spring and fall.

Willard Brook State Forest in Ashby and Townsend offers a quiet respite for visitors: Picture 2,597 acres, compete with a babbling brook and quick water, set amid groves of classic New England woods. The town’s past includes its history as a station along the underground railroad in the 19th century.

Athol earned the nickname of “Tool Town” through major employers like the L. S. Starrett Co. and the former Union Twist Drill. The community continues to have an active downtown, and was recently boosted by a new shopping center. Springtime brings an annual River Rat Race on the Millers River.

Incorporated 1765 41 sq. miles | Pop. 6,348 32 Main Street | 978-827-4100 www.ashburnham-ma.gov



Incorporated 1762 33.4 sq. miles | Pop. 11,732 584 Main Street | 978-249-4551 www.athol-ma.gov www.facebook.com/athol.selectmen




This town was named after Isaac Barre, a member of the British Parliament and champion of the American colonies who opposed the taxation of America in the Revolutionary era. Points of interest include the Barre Historical Society, which offers a variety of lectures and programs throughout the year, and the Barre Players Theater.

The Bolton Fair, the largest one-day agricultural fair in Massachusetts, is a major agricultural attraction to the town each August — attesting to Bolton’s continuing agricultural heritage. The Bolton Conservation Trust has worked to preserve hundreds of acres of meadows, woods, wet-lands, and agricultural land throughout the town.




Once the center of booming textile and carpet industries, Clinton is home to the Wachusett Dam and Wachusett Reservoir, which serves Metropolitan Boston, and the Museum of Russian Icons, housing the largest collection of Russian icons in the United States.

An unincorporated village, Devens is the successor to Fort Devens, a military post that operated from 1917 to 1996. Managed by MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, Devens has been recognized as a national model for military base reuse. It is now home to a variety of businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations.

Fitchburg State University, the Fitchburg Art Museum and beautiful Coggshall Park are among landmarks worthy of a visit to the city. Two active theater groups — Stratton Players and New Players Theater Guild — add to its cultural vitality, along with summer concerts and an annual Civic Days celebration.

Incorporated 1871 9.6 sq. miles | Pop. 8,196 1 Main Street | 978-772-8220 www.ayer.ma.us www.facebook.com/AyerMA

Ayer, now celebrating its 150th anniversary, has been a major commercial railroad junction since its inception. Known to generations of soldiers and military families. Ayer was home to Camp Stevens during the Civil War and Fort Devens, established in World War I. The town continues to offer commuter rail service to Boston.

Incorporated 1774 44.8 sq. miles | Pop. 5,578 40 West Street | 978-355-5003 www.townofbarre.com www.facebook.com/Town-of-BarreMassachusetts-1222170487809903

Incorporated 1738 20 sq. miles | Pop. 5,426 663 Main Street | 978-799-2297 www.townofbolton.com www.facebook.com BoltonMassachusetts

Photo Lawrence Libby

Incorporated 1850 44.8 sq. miles | Pop. 14,000 242 Church Street | 978-365-4119 www.clintonma.gov www.facebook.com/ClintonMA.gov

44.8 sq. miles | Pop. 1,969 33 Andrews Parkway | 978-784-2900 www.devenscommunity.com www.facebook.com/devensec

Spring | Summer 2021

Incorporated 1764 27.83 sq. miles | Pop. 40,638 718 Main Street | 978-829-1800 www.ci.fitchburg.ma.us www.facebook.com/FitchburgMassachusetts



Incorporated 1785 22.08 sq. miles | Pop. 20,683 95 Pleasant Street | 978-632-1900 www.gardner-ma.gov/ www.facebook.com/GardnerCityHall/


Incorporated 1655 40.7 sq. miles | Pop. 11,325 173 Main Street | 978-448-1100 www.grotonma.gov www.facebook.com/grotonma


Incorporated 1732 26.97 sq. miles | Pop. 6,620 13 Ayer Road | 978-456-4100 www.harvard.ma.us www.facebook.com/Town-of-HarvardMassachusetts-120479257967897

With numerous furniture factories and, later, factory outlet shops, Gardner earned its name of The Chair City of the World. Mount Wachusett Community College, with its Theatre at the Mount performance center, Dunn State Park, and the Veterans Skating Rink are among its attractions for visitors.

Groton is best known as the home of two famous preparatory schools: Lawrence Academy, founded as Groton Academy in 1793 and renamed in 1846 for Amos and William Lawrence; and The Groton School, founded in 1884 by the Reverend Endicott Peabody. The J. Harry Rich State Forest is a popular recreational area.




The oldest town in Worcester County and one of the earliest permanent English settlements in north central Massachusetts, Lancaster is named for Lancaster, England. A prominent feature of the town center is the First Church of Christ, also known as the Bullfinch Church, considered one of the finest works of architect Charles Bullfinch.

Known as the Plastic Capital of New England, Leominster is recognized around the world by an unlikely ambassador: the ubiquitous pink flamingo lawn ornament created by local resident Don Featherstone, designer at Union Products. The second-largest city in Worcester County, Leominster was the birthplace of folk legend Johnny Appleseed.

Incorporated 1767 41.03 sq. miles | Pop. 4,829 7 Main Street | 978-928-1400 www.hubbardstonma.us www.facebook.com/TownofHubbardston

In the 19th century, dairy and berry farming and market gardening were major enterprises in Hubbardston, attracting immigrants from Ireland, French Canada, England, Sweden and Finland to work on the farms. The agricultural character continues at The Country Hen, producer of organic omega-3 eggs from cage-free hens.


Incorporated 1653 28.3 sq. miles | Pop. 8,082 701 Main Street | 978-365-3326 www.ci.lancaster.ma.us www.facebook.com/ groups/1024731417724912


Through its history, Harvard has been home to several non-traditional communities, including Harvard Shaker Village and the utopian transcendalist center Fruitlands. Today, the 210-acre Fruitlands Museum houses the original Farmhouse, a Shaker Museum, Native American Museum and Art Museum.

Incorporated 1740 28.81 sq. miles | Pop. 41,716 25 West Street | 978-534-7500 www.leominster-ma.gov www.facebook.com/ leominstercommunitydevelopment

Photo Lawrence Libby


Incorporated 1728 27.7 sq. miles | Pop. 11,736 17 Main Street | 978-582-4130 www.lunenburgma.gov www.facebook.com/LunenburgMA

Generations of local residents fondly remember Lunenburg’s premier attraction, Whalom Park, which operated from 1893 to 2000 and was home to the famous Comet Flyer roller coaster. The town maintains a rural flavor, with farms and apple orchards.


Incorporated 1775 23.2 sq. miles | Pop. 12,114 1 Main Street | 978-433-0333 www.town.pepperell.ma.us/ www.facebook.com/Town-ofPepperell-308452662665032/

Located at the junction of the Nissitissit and Nashua Rivers, Pepperell boasts an array of conservation lands and trails. A popular landmark is the new covered bridge, replacing a historic structure. The bridge includes a tribute to a group of Revolutionary War women who intercepted a British messenger on his way to Bunker Hill.


Incorporated 1754 54.27 sq. miles | Pop. 1,250 3 South Main Street | 978-724-3353 www.townofpetersham.org/

A visit to Petersham isn’t complete without a stop for lunch at the Petersham Country Store — a community gathering place since 1840 — and the Petersham Art Center, an all-volunteer non-profit home for the arts since 1912 that showcases the works of local artists.

Photo Tamar Russell Brown


Incorporated 1814 24.3 sq. miles | Pop. 1,746 50 The Common | 978-249-6828 www.phillipston-ma.gov/

Fairs, fruit-picking, and fabulous apple cider entice visitors to this little town located off Route 2A between Gardner and Athol. Red Apple Farm has become a year-round attraction, with animals to visit, trails to hike and a popular farmstand. The town common provides an idyllic setting for “New England” photos.

PRINCETON Incorporated 1759 35.8 sq. miles | Pop. 3,488 6 Town Hall Drive | 978-464-2103 www.town.princeton.ma.us/

The town’s famous landmark, Wachusett Mountain, is home to the popular Wachusett Mountain Ski Area and an expansive state reservation complete with hiking trails. Tucked away on Route 140 is the Redemption Rock historic site where, in 1676, Mary Rowlandson was ransomed and freed after being abducted during King Philip’s War.

Spring | Summer 2021


Incorporated 1765 42.5 sq. miles | Pop. 1,277 13 On the Common | 978-249-0493 www.royalston-ma.gov/ www.facebook.com/TownofRoyalston/

Visitors looking to get away from it all will enjoy spending time in Royalston, with its vast conservation and recreation areas. Royalston Center, with its library, Town Hall, and Historical Society building, is listed both as a National Register Historic District and a Local Historic District.




The town of Shirley, with its wellpreserved historic New England center, describes itself as “a slice of quiet, small town life, with rural ambience, a sense of civic pride and volunteer spirit among residents and well-preserved historic roots.”

Farms and orchards bring visitors to the home of “Mary’s Little Lamb” to enjoy fresh produce, visit farm animals and wander through an expansive corn maze each year. A small statue of the star of the well-known children’s poem stands in the center of town.



The “great outdoors” is really great in Townsend, with two large recreation areas — Willard Brook State Park and Townsend State Forest — and the Squannicook River enticing visitors to get away from it all. Outdoor summer concerts, art shows and fairs add a cultural flair to the community, too.

The Westminster Cracker Company, famous for its oyster crackers, made this town’s name a household word for more than 150 years. The iconic cracker mill building — the inspiration for an annual town festival — remains a landmark amid the historic library, white steepled churches and shops of its center.

Incorporated 1753 15.9 sq. miles | Pop. 7,636 7 Keady Way | 978-425-2600 www.shirley-ma.gov/ www.facebook.com/TownofShirleyMA/

Incorporated 1732 33.1 sq. miles | Pop. 9,506 272 Main Street | 978-597-1700 www.townsendma.gov/


Incorporated 1781 31.6 sq. miles | Pop. 8,174 One Park Street | 978-422-8111 www.sterling-ma.gov/ www.facebook.com/sterlingmass/

Incorporated 1759 37.3 sq. miles | Pop. 7,997 11 South Street | 978-874-7406 www.westminster-ma.gov/



Incorporated 1762 32.4 sq. miles | Pop. 8,138 160 Patriots Road, East Templeton 978-939-8466 | www.templetonma.gov/ www.facebook.com/ TownofTempleton/?rf=103627609705199

The picturesque Templeton town common has been home to an annual summer arts and crafts festival for decades, as well as a fall auto show and autumn haunted gazebo event. The Narragansett Historical Society building, just off the common, showcases an array of treasurers from the town’s past.


Incorporated 1764 44.1 sq. miles | Pop. 10,905 109 Front Street | 978-297-0085 www.townofwinchendon.com www.facebook.com/Town-ofWinchendon-919048578180541/

The over-sized rocking horse on Route 12 says it all: Winchendon is “Toy Town USA” —thanks to its history as a toy manufacturing center. See toys from that era at the Winchendon History Center, then stop by the nearby GALA Art Center to check out what local artists are creating today.

Wedding Bells are Ringing


isten with your heart, and you can hear the peal of wedding bells echoing across the hills, fields and valleys of North Central Massachusetts. As restrictions on indoor gatherings waxed and waned over the past year, the popularity of outdoor weddings has blossomed — and fortunately, there’s a wealth of idyllic locations for those nuptials in this region. Are you entranced by the ambiance of a covered bridge? Enamored by the idea of exchanging vows in a secret garden? Thrilled by the image of a rolling mountainside vista as a backdrop when you say, “I do”? You’ve come to the right place!

With its rustic covered bridge and locally-sourced farm-to-table dinner, the Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley melds historic charm with modern amenities as it combines an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception. For an even more bucolic, all-outdoor experience, the Bull Run has partnered

Wedding at Chocksett Inn.

partnered with The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) to exclusively offer weddings at Farandnear Reservation, an 89-acre private paradise just two miles down the road in Shirley. 215 Great Rd., Shirley. 978-425-4311. With its flowing waterfalls and ducks gliding quietly on the millpond, the grounds at the 1761 Old Mill Restaurant in Westminster provide a unique wedding setting. 69 State Road East, Westminster. 978-874-5941. Known locally for its lovely ballroom and sweeping staircase, the Colonial Hotel in Gardner is also ideal for outdoor weddings, with a spacious tent for dining and gazebo for those cherished photos. 625 Betty Spring Rd., Gardner. 978-630-2500. Love those wide-open spaces? The Hardwick Winery has 150 acres available — so if social distancing is your thing, there’s plenty of room to spread your wings. 3305 Greenwich Road, Hardwick. 413-967-7763. Picture it: acres of mountain laurel or rhododendrons in bloom.

A stone gazebo set on a sparkling lake. Fitchburg’s Coggshall Park is a favorite spot for garden weddings (and wedding photos!), just outside the city’s downtown. The garden adjacent to the tea room at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard is a popular site for wedding ceremonies, with expansive lawns in the foreground and sweeping views of rolling hills in the background. 102 Prospect Hill Rd., Harvard. 978-944-9799. Looking for something more intimate? The “secret garden” at the Chocksett Inn in Sterling, complete with a gazebo, offers several beautiful backdrops for exchanging or renewing vows, as well as for taking wedding photographs. 59 Laurelwood Rd., Sterling. 978-422-3355.

And if it’s “scenic” you’re looking for, tying the knot at the region’s most visible landmark will be a mountainside moment to remember. The deck at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton. is open for dining, and the Skyride can the happy couple (and guests) away to a spectacular vista. 499 Mountain Rd., Princeton. 978-464-2300. Harrington Farm is a 60-acre venue on Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, surrounded by rolling green hills and scenic meadows. Wedding ceremonies can be held at its Ceremony Patio, amid manicured gardens and a pond. 178 Westminster Road, Princeton. 978-290-4982. §

Old Mill Wedding on the falls.

Spring | Summer 2021


Rest Easy: We’ve Got Great Places to Stay


ou’ve hiked and biked and met some farm animals up close and personal. You’ve toured art museums and historical societies. You’ve taken a dip in cool, clear waters, then warmed yourself on a sandy beach. Now you’re ready for some rest, looking for a place to lay your weary head — and maybe even pamper yourself a little. Oh, the options we have for you here in North Central Massachusetts! Looking for a cozy bed and breakfast getaway tucked off the beaten path, surrounded by gardens and terrific views? Or maybe a full-service hotel with luxurious suites and terrific amenities? Or a motel that’s convenient to highways so that you can pop in and out as the spirit moves you, heading off in a new direction each day to enjoy the region’s attractions? 40

Garden and fountain at the Maguire House in Ashburnham.

The Groton Inn located in Groton Center.

Photo Diane Burnette

The choice is yours. For spectacular views, you can’t beat the Maguire House Bed & Breakfast in Ashburnham, set on more than 40 acres. Sit back and enjoy the vista: Mount Monadnock, Upper Naukeag Lake, hillsides covered in lush foliage. Prefer an amenitypacked hotel? Put the Double Tree by Hilton in Leominster on the top of your list, with its indoor pool, fitness center —and super easy highway access for local visits or trips

to attractions in Boston, Providence and beyond. Further east, The Groton Inn, a brandnew building on the site of its historic predecessor, has everything you need, including the popular new Forge & Vine restaurant. To the west, the Colonial Hotel in Gardner is packed with New England charm. And if you’re planning a longer visit in the region, check out the Chocksett Inn in Sterling, an all-suite hotel specializing in relocations and long-term stays.


Got kids? The Great Wolf Lodge is just what the doctor ordered: a massive water park, along with arcades, and other family-friendly attractions and accommodations. And the weather in the water park is always perfect, no matter the season. If a familiar experience fits your needs, the Days Inn or Motel 6 in Leominster may be just what you’re looking for: comfortable rooms, easy access, and free coffee to start your day. Or for a change of pace, the College Town Inn in Lancaster is ready to make you feel at home, even when you’re away from home. You know you’re having a great time touring North Central Massachusetts. Slow down. Linger awhile. Stretch your vacation with a stay at a great local lodging location. §

Comics Characters


Plastic City Comic Con at the Wallace Civic Center.


he Caped Crusader may be heading to Fitchburg this summer — along with Boy Wonder, Spidey, and the Emerald Archer. Their target: The

This family-friendly gathering of comic book artists, vendors, collectors and fans was cancelled in 2020 due

to the Covid pandemic and resulting restrictions. But — assuming the virus continues to wane as 2021 marches on — the convention’s organizers are planning to resume the “celebration of comics” on July 17 from 10 am to 6 pm. The Civic Center, located at 1000 John Fitch Highway, offers a large arena, plenty of casual seating for visitors to rest or chat, room for kids’ workshops, and a snack bar. And while no one will mistake Fitchburg for Gotham City, there will be plenty of characters, comic book artists, writers, crafters, and celebrity guests swooping into town for the one-day event. The attraction? Lots — and lots — of comic books (new, vintage and

rare); opportunities to take photos with your favorite characters; great prints to buy (some of them signed on the spot by the artists); games; toys and more! And, of course, costumed characters, straight from the pages of your favorite Marvel, DC and other comic books, ready to meet and chat with you. To make the event even more of a family affair, the price is just $5 per person — and kids 12 and under get in for free! (And here’s a bonus: parking is free, too!) Whether you’re a diehard comic fan, or just looking for a great day surrounded by heroes (and villains) from your childhood, the Plastic City Comic Con has to be on your to-do list this summer! §

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Spring | Summer 2021


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Trail Trivia Answers

1. OK, it’s a trick question.

The “Little Lamb” doesn’t have a name. But it was Mary Sawyer that he followed to school, an activity recounted in the now-famous nursery rhyme. A statue of Mary’s Little Lamb is located on Main Street (Route 12) in the center of Sterling.

2. If you saw the popular 2011

movie, “Gnomeo and Juliet,” you may know him as “Featherstone” — but that’s really the name of the creator of the kitschy plastic pink flamingo. Donald Featherstone designed the bright lawn ornament for Leominster plastics manufacturer Union Products in 1957. The flamingoes can be purchased at the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center on Route 2.



From page 23...

Winchendon was the home of the Converse Toy Company, and a popular rocking horse is a tribute to that bit of industrial history. A 1988 replica of a toy rocking horse, considerably larger than the original, is on display on Front Street. His name, incidentally, is Clyde II.

4. John

Chapman, popularly known as Johnny Appleseed, was born in Leominster in 1774. A small cabin and marker can be found on Johnny Appleseed Lane, just about a mile from the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center. Statues of an adult Johnny can be found at Leominster City Hall and at Sholan Farms on Pleasant Street in Leominster, and a childhood version can be seen at the Visitor Center on Route 2.

Spring | Summer 2021

Luther Burbank, born in Lancaster, began his horticultural work on a farm he purchased in Lunenburg. Over his long career, he developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants, including the Russet Burbank Potato. A stone marker in Lancaster Center honors him.

6. Joe Palmer, a Utopian, was

persecuted for “wearing the beard” — reportedly because of his religion. His gravestone on Palmer Street in Evergreen Cemetery, Leominster, includes a carving of Joe, complete with full beard.


acre reservation is surrounded by watershed lands owned by the City of Fitchburg and is a link in the 92mile Mid-State Trail.

7. Bronson Alcott put his

Transcendentalist, pacifist, and vegetarian principles into practice at Fruitlands, in Harvard, in 1843. Today, Fruitlands Museum includes the Fruitlands Farmhouse, art gallery, Shaker office and Native American gallery.


Redemption Rock is located on Route 140 in Princeton. The quarter-

9. Arthur

M. Longsjo Jr., an Olympian speed skater and cyclist, competed in the Winter Games in Italy and the Summer Games in Australia in 1956. A monument to Longsjo is located on the Upper Common in downtown Fitchburg, which was for many years the site of the Longsjo Classic bicycle race, attracting cyclists from around the world.

School at 130 Elm Street in Gardner, the “Chair City of the World.” The chair is more than 20 feet tall and weighs more than 3,000 pounds. A smaller, but still impressive, chair can be found in front of Chair City Wayside Furniture on Route 2A in South Gardner.


The big chair — at one time, the largest in the world — is located in front of the Helen Mae Sauter

80 Dealers • Reproductions West Village Antiques 445 Main Street West Townsend, MA

Fair: Friday - Sunday, August 13th - 15th, 2021

(Entrance in rear) Corner of Rt. 119 & Canal Street (NH Rt. 124)

Phone or Fax (978) 597-0332 E-mail: hobart.village1@verizon.net

Open 6 days 10 - 5 pm, Closed Tuesday


An Old Fashioned Agricultural Fair

Preview Night for Midway: Thursday, August 12th, 2021

Midway • Food • Entertainment • Working Craftsmen Animal Shows & Contests Kids’ Country • Demo Derby Clydesdale Horses Exhibit Hall • Farmers Market Commercial Vendors





See Website for schedule of events, entertainment, prices & hours.




Family Fun!

o matter when you visit, North Central Massachusetts offers great opportunities for great family fun. Whether you’re in the mood for a day in the great outdoors, or would rather enjoy some “quality time” inside, youngsters — and the young at heart — will be happy to find the boundless family-friendly spots in Johnny Appleseed’s backyard!

Pinball Wizard, 2021 Style

orget the hand-held F gizmos and home TV screens. When you’ve had

enough “quiet time” and want some real arcade action, go to an arcade! Bring on the lights, noise, and fun! Along with the arcade games, FunStuf Party Place in Fitchburg has bouncy arenas and an inflatable park for the younger set. Check it out at 791 Water St., or online at funstufpartyplace.com. The Northern Lights Arcade at Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg is packed with incredible games to challenge the entire family, too! Great Wolf is easy to find, just off Route 2 Exit 28. Combine a lively arcade with a laser tag arena and roller skating rink, and what do you get? Roll On America, of course! Kids of all ages can blow off excess energy and have a great time, just off Route 2 Exit 34 in Lancaster.

any score, for that matter), you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Enjoy an out-of-this-world experience at Gardner Ten Pins on Route 2A in Gardner, where you can test your skills at Galactic Bowling. There are bumper lanes for the kiddos, too, so the whole family can get in on the action. And did you know that there are two great bowling options here? Along with the traditional ten pin game, you can also take a spin at the popular New England version, candlepin bowling! Stop by Mason Bowling Center in Leominster, Putnam Street Lanes in Fitchburg, Brian’s Bowlaway in Gardner, or Harvard Bowling Lanes in that town when you want a new challenge.

Not Par for the Course

ave you tried our H hand at disc golf ? It’s popularity keeps growing

Step Out of Your Lane

hat could be more W satisfying than seeing the pins go flying as you score a stylish strike at a bowling alley? If it’s been a while since you’ve rolled a great score (or

for players of all ages. And there’s a growing number of courses here when you can test your skill. Ready to step up to the tee? Try these courses: • Barre Falls, 200 Coldbrook Rd., Barre. 18 holes. • Coggshall Park, 798 south St., Fitchburg. 18 holes,

mostly wooded. • Devens Disc Golf, 80 Antietam St., Devens; two courses, 36 holes. • Flat Rock, 2260 Flat Rock Rd., Athol. 18 holes (fee) • Roylaston Fish & Game Club, 55 Baldwinville Rd., S. Royalston. 18 holes. • Tully Lake, 6 AtholRichmond Rd., Athol. 18 holes.

You can find this family vacation spot just off the Route 28 Exit of Route 2 in Fitchburg.

Batter Up!

hat could be more allW American than a day at the ball park, rooting for

Splash & Slide the Day Away

andem tube rides. A T huge wave pool. A dipping, curving river of fun.

A four-person, high-speed raft ride filled with serpentine curves and high-bank thrills, dropping riders into overlapping 360-degree coils before plunging into the belly of the snake—a high-bank funnel that will have you sloshing from side-to-side. There’s no doubt about it: Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg in totally focused on wet and wild family fun. From the giant, floating lily pads and cargo nets to the six-story Howling Tornado raft ride and the 20-foot free fall (followed immediately by a 360-degree, high-speed loop) of the Wolf Tail, there’s something for all ages to enjoy. And the good news is, no matter what the weather is outside, the atmosphere is always balmy in the water park.

Spring | Summer 2021

the home team? And we’ve got a team that’s really close to home — and definitely geared to family outings. The Worcester Red Sox — quickly dubbed the Woosox when their move to Massachusetts was announced — will open their season in the brandnew Polar Park in Worcester this spring. This minorleague team, playing in new Triple-A East League, will be bringing some major league excitement to the area starting on April 13 when they host the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. And if you’re staying in this area, the new Worcester ballfield is an easy half-hour drive down Route I-190 from Leominster. Load the family into the car, head down the road, sing a few choruses of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” — and get ready to see some great baseball this season! §





Places to visit, people toM see! M

Members 2019 Members



ANTIQUES Hobart Village Antique Mall

445 Main Street, W. Townsend, MA 01474 978-597-0332 hobartvillage.com An antique mall featuring 80 dealers; re-creation rooms with new country furniture, farm tables and Amishmade oak furniture; and furniture and collectables from local estates.

Hobart Village Antique Mall.

Jeffrey’s Antique Co-op Mall

54 Chase Road, Lunenburg, MA 01564 978-582-7831 jeffreysantiquecoopmall.com Large multi-dealer antique shop offering an eclectic and ever-changing stock of antiques and collectables, furniture, country décor, vintage toys, and more.

Great Wold Lodge.


Davis Mega Farm Festival.


Jeffrey's Antique Co-op Mall.

ART GALLERIES Gardner Area League of Artists (GALA)

135 Front Street, Winchendon, MA 01475 Galagardner.org Visit GALA’s unique Art Gallery and immerse yourself in artwork in various mediums and affordable prices. Rotating art shows, workshops, gift shop.

ATTRACTIONS Davis Farmland Children’s Discovery Farm

145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling, MA 01564 978-422-6666 DavisFarmland.com The largest sanctuary of endangered farm animals in North America, Imagine-Acres and Adventureland; and U-Pick apples & pumpkins in the fall. Open weather permitting mid-April – October.

Davis Mega Farm Festival

145 Redstone Hill Road, Sterling, MA 01564 DavisMegaMaze.com Put your navigational skills to the test in 8 acres of twists and turns that come alive with music, games, puzzles, interactive Adventure Zones, and the world’s only double-decker bridge.

Great Wolf Lodge

50 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-343-9653 greatwolf.com /newengland Great Wolf Lodge redefines yearround, weatherproof family fun, with a massive 84-degree indoor waterpark, exclusive to resort guests; MagiQuest; indoor ropes course and more.


Leominster Credit Union

Avidia Bank

470 Lancaster Street, Leominster, MA 01453 978-567-3663 800-508-2265 avidiabank.com Avidia Bank is a $1 Billion mutual community bank, headquartered in Hudson, MA with branch offices in Hudson, Westborough, Clinton, Leominster, Marlborough, Northborough and Shrewsbury.


Gardner Ale House.

9 Sack Boulevard, Leominster, MA 01453 888-307-5887 bankhometown.com For over 125 years, we have believed the best approach to a people business is always doing the right thing. Investing in what matters. For us, that’s our customers and communities.

Enterprise Bank and Trust Company

420 John Fitch Highway, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-656-5689 enterprisebanking.com Personalized, comprehensive banking solutions. River Styx Brewing.

Fidelity Bank

9 Leominster Connector, Leominster, MA 01453 800-581-5363 fidelitybankonline.com We’ve made it our business to become experts of Personal Finance. Fidelity Bank provides financial services to help our customers get where they want to be.

GFA Credit Union

Lamb City Campground.

229 Parker Street, Gardner, MA 01440 978-632-2542 gfafcu.com As a member of GFA, you are an owner. Your deposits help others in our community who need financing for their first home or to expand a small local businesses.

20 Adams Street, Leominster, MA 01453 978-537-8021 leominstercu.com LCU is a member-owned, not-forprofit financial cooperative with seven branches in Clinton, Holden, Leominster, Sterling and Worcester.

Rollstone Bank & Trust 780 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-1061 rollstonebank.com RBT is a full-service community bank specializing in commercial banking and wealth management since 1846.

TD Bank

470 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608 800-322-3264 tdbank.com TD Bank Massachusetts, a division of Bank, N.A., has 160 branches in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, including Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Athol and Orange.

Workers’ Credit Union

815 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-1021 wcu.com Workers Credit Union is a fullservice financial institution offering competitive deposit and loan products. Founded in 1914 with 16 branches.


74 Parker Street, Gardner, MA 01440 978-669-0122 gardnerale.com Started by home brewer Rick Walton in 2006, Gardner Ale House is a familyoriented brewpub and restaurant, with a casual, bistro style menu, 12 to 14 award-winning beers on tap and live music.

Hardwick Vineyard & Winery, LLC

3305 Greenwich Road, Hardwick, MA 01082 413-967-7763 hardwickwinery.com This Vineyard & Winery is home to a Federal style mansion and a 5,000 Square ft. timber frame barn. Six varietals of French hybrid grapes are used to make our award-winning wines.

River Styx Brewing LLC

166 Boulder Drive, Suite 112, Fitchburg, MA 01420 805-807-4238 riverstyxbrewing.com We are focused on creating a family friendly environment.

Wachusett Brewing Company, Inc.

175 State Road East, Westminster, MA 01473 978-874-9965 wachusettbrew.com Wachusett Brew Yard is open 7 days a week for you to enjoy our great food, live music, and our award-winning beers. Visit us online for up to date information!


Lamb City Campground 85 Royalston Road, Phillipston, MA 01331 978-249-2049

lambcity.com Family owned and operated for over 30 years. Over 200 sites, full hookups, 17 pull thru, tenting, RV rentals, cabins, sewage disposal, full-service store, 2 recreation halls, 3 pools, more.

Pine Acres Family Camping Resort

203 Bechan Road, Oakham, MA 01068 508-882-9509 facebook.com/pineacres Twice voted Park of the Year nationally! We offer a variety of options – from tenting to waterfront sites, rustic cabins, RV rentals. Big rig friendly! Boating, fishing, pool, kids splash pad.

Pine Acres Family Camping Resort.

Spring | Summer 2021


The Pines Campground

Fitchburg State University Campus.

39 Davis Road, Ashby, MA 01431 978-386-7702 thepinescampground.com A four-season family campground with swimming pool, hot showers, planned weekend activities, store, heated bathroom, firewood, ice, picnic areas, fishing, and recreation hall.


Town of Ashburnham

Bolton Orchards.

32 Main Street, Ashburnham, MA 01430 978-827-4100 Ashburnham-ma.gov The “Town of Many Lakes” is home to Mount Watatic with its stunning views and the multi-state Midstate Trail. Enjoy vibrant arts and agricultural communities, shops, and dining.

City of Fitchburg


Office of the Mayor, City Hall 166 Boulder Drive, Fitchburg 01420 978-829-1801 Fitchburgma.gov Enjoy attractions ranging from Fitchburg State University to historic downtown architecture and the Fitchburg Art Museum. Visit fitchburgma.gov to learn more!

Hollis Hill Farm.

City of Gardner

Gardner City Hall, 95 Pleasant Street, Gardner, MA 01440 978-257-4136 gardner-ma.gov The Chair City’s is on the horizon! Our downtown is evolving, manufacturing is growing, technology companies are expanding, and new businesses are opening, in the heart of Massachusetts.

City of Leominster

Meadowbrook Orchards' Donuts.


Office of the Mayor, 25 West Street, Leominster, MA 01453 978-534-7500 leominster-ma.gov Leominster’s boundaries encompass the very essence of New England, from a hilltop apple orchard to a lively downtown, 26 miles of trails, 12 annual events, and unique local shops and restaurants.

Nashua River Watershed Association

592 Main Street, Groton, MA 01450 978-448-0299 nashuariverwatershed.org Conserve open spaces for water quality, wildlife habitat, farms, forests, and recreation.

Town of Westminster

Town Hall, 11 South Street, Westminster, MA 01473 westminster-ma.gov With easy access to Wachusett Mountain, Leominster State Forest and the Midstate Trail, Westminster is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Spend the day touring scenic farms and historic buildings.

EDUCATION Applewild School

120 Prospect Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-342-6053 applewild.org It provides excellent, affordable education to families in North Central Massachusetts.

Fitchburg State University

160 Pearl Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-2151 fitchburgstate.edu FSU offers undergraduate and graduate programs with an emphasis on career-orientated learning that’s firmly grounded in the liberal arts, and selected majors in traditional arts and sciences.

Mount Wachusett Community College

444 Green Street, Gardner, MA 01440 978-632-6600 mwcc.edu Offering quality education at affordable prices, MWCC offers several degree and certificate program options to fit your life goals.



Bolton Orchards

125 Still River Road, Bolton, MA 01740 978-779-2733 boltonorchards.com Specialty food store with local apples and cider available year round. Full-service deli and produce departments; bakery; flowers; gift baskets; old-fashioned ice cream and coffee café.

Carlson Orchards, Inc

115 Oak Hill Road, Harvard, MA 01451 978-456-3916 carlsonorchards.com Open from July to November. Pick your own fruit in season from apples, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, and raspberries. Over 100 acres of apple orchards for friends and family to enjoy.

Friends of Sholan Farms, Inc.

1125 Pleasant Street, Leominster, MA 01453 978-840-3276 sholanfarms.com The last working apple orchard in Leominster, birthplace of Johnny Appleseed, offers walking-hiking trails, picnic area, cross-country skiing, and cultural events; U-Pick fruits; Christmas trees.

Hollis Hills Farm

340 Marshall Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-696-3130 hollishillsfarm.com We are a family owned and operated farm. Our retail store sells our own maple products, local ice cream, and a variety of other local products. Our restaurant and outdoor bar are open seasonally and we offer pick your own fruits and flowers.

Meadowbrook Orchards 209 Chace Hill Road, Sterling, MA 01564 978-365-7617


One hundred acres of rolling farmland, owned and operated by the Chandler family since 1912. We harvest apples, blueberries, pumpkins, nectarines and raspberries. Farmstore and bakery.

Plain View Farm

130 Gardner Road, Hubbardston, MA 01452 978-820-1199 plainviewfarmalpacas.com Stop by to see and meet the alpacas! Visit the gift shop for quality items made from alpaca fiber – yarn, socks, hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters and more!

Red Apple Farm Plain View Farm.

455 Highland Avenue, Phillipston, MA 01331 800-628-4851 redapplefarm.com Our farmstand and country store are filled with pies, dumplings, cider donuts, fudge, fresh produce. Pick apples, peaches, berries, pears, pumpkins, and potatoes. Visit the animals, enjoy our fall BBQ pit. Don't forget to visit the brew barn while you're here!

Rota Spring Farm

Red Apple Farm.

117 Chace Hill Road, Sterling MA 01564 978-365-9710 RotaSpringFarm.com Delicious, good old-fashioned homemade ice cream/made on the premises! Watch the cows grazing, and our goat petting zoo. Stop by the Farm Store for fresh produce and grass-fed beef.


The 228 in Sterling

The 228 in Sterling.

Winchendon Furniture.

228 Leominster Road, Sterling, MA 01564 978-870-0605 the228insterling.com Formal indoor seating area accommodating up to 95; covered patio; barbecue/picnic area; covered shelter; and a beautiful gazebo for your onsite wedding ceremony and pictures.

The Harrington Farm Country Inn & Rest

178 Westminster Road, Princeton, MA 01541 978-464-5600 www.harringtonfarm.com Harrington Farm is a full-service event venue providing the most elegant and detailed experiences in Central Massachusetts.


343 Central Street, Winchendon, MA 01475 978-297-0077 stone-ladeau.com Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home of Winchendon is known for its trustworthy, kind and caring service, which it gives to each family at their time of need. Owned and operated by Doug Stone, this funeral home was established in 1875. Its beautiful, handicapped facility has large, off street parking and offers webcasting, DVD memorials and superior attention to detail in assisting its families.


Gariepy Furniture

91 Central Street, Leominster, MA 01453 978-537-4383 gariepyfurniture.com We treat you the way we’d want to be treated!

LaChance Interiors, Inc. 25 Kraft Street (Classic) 978-632-1930 501 W. Broadway (Loft) 978-630-3299 Gardner, MA 01440 lachancefurniture.com Nearly 70 years offering Americanmade solid wood and finely crafted upholstered furniture. Offering everything from classic traditional styles to the soft-modern designs of today.

Winchendon Furniture

13 Railroad Street, Winchendon, MA 01475 978-297-0131 winchendonfurniture.com A higher end, fine furniture resource showcasing 80% domestic products, including cherry bedroom, dining room and occasional furniture designed and manufactured right here in Winchendon.

Spring | Summer 2021


Gardner Municipal Golf

152 Eaton Street, Gardner, MA 01440 978-632-9703 Gardnergolfcourse.com Four sets of tees await golfers of all abilities. Beginner can shorten the course or you can challenge yourself and step back to the tips, 6131 yards. Call to set up your tee time today.

Settlers Crossing Golf Course

994 Northfield Road, Lunenburg, MA 01462 978-582-6694 www.settlersgolf.com Nine-hole golf course featuring rolling hills, stone walls, tree lined fairways and views of Mt. Wachusett.

Sterling National Country Club

33 Albright Road, Sterling, MA 01564 978-422-0275 www.sterlingcc.com With an unparalleled natural setting, outstanding course and elegant dining.


UMass Memorial Health Alliance Clinton 60 Hospital Road, Leominster, MA 01453-2205 978-466-2000 healthalliance.com A not-for-profit, full service, acute care hospital and member of UMass Memorial Health Care, offers direct access to advanced medical technology and specialty services.

Emerson Hospital

133 Old Road to Nine Acre Corner,

Concord, MA 01742 978-369-1400 emersonhospital.org At Emerson, we believe quality health care is as much about your overall experience as a patient as it is about expert clinical care.


Nashoba Valley Medical Center

Wedding at Chocksett Inn.

DoubleTree by Hilton

200 Groton Road, Ayer, MA 01432 978-784-9000 nashobamed.org We dedicate ourselves to the communities we serve to deliver affordable health care to all and being responsible partners.

LODGING 59 Laurelwood Road, Sterling, MA 01564-0828 978-422-3355 chocksettinn.com A 25-room, all-suite hotel. All rooms have full kitchens. Meeting rooms and function spaces, both indoors and outdoors. Specializing in relocations and long-term stays.

Colonial Hotel


625 Betty Spring Road, Gardner, MA 01442 978-630-2500 colonial-hotel.com The Colonial Hotel, is one of Central Massachusetts’ most romantic hotels & wedding venues. This 112 room hotel, idealizes New England charm & quintessential hospitality.

Days Inn

Fitchburg Art Museum. Photo by Charles Sternaimolo.

North Main Street (Route 12), Leominster, MA 01453 978-537-2800 DaysInn/massachusetts/ leominster.com Spacious guest rooms, including choice of king or double-sized beds and non-smoking rooms. Free morning coffee, cable, free local calls, largevehicle parking, and free USA Today.

The Groton Inn


Easy access North Central Massachusetts communities and attractions in Boston, Providence, beyond. Spacious accommodations, modern amenities, indoor pool, fitness center.

Great Wolf Lodge

Chocksett Inn

Colonial Hotel.

99 Erdman Way, Leominster, MA 01453 978-534-9000

128 Main Street, Groton, MA 01450 978-448-6600 thegrotoninn.com Situated on the footprint of the original Groton Inn, the new TGI offers professionally designed guest rooms, public spaces, meeting and banquet rooms and the Forge & Vine restaurant.

150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-343-9653 greatwolf.com /newengland Massive 84-degree indoor waterpark, exclusive to resort guests. Battle a dragon while playing MagiQuest, challenge the climbing wall.

Maguire House Bed & Breakfast

30 Cobb Road, Ashburnham MA 01430 978-827-5053 maguirehouse.com The Maguire House is an awardwinning bed and breakfast, surrounded by over 44 private acres with a spectacular view of Mt. Monadnock, Upper Naukeag Lake, and surrounding hills. Enjoy queen-sized beds, private baths, fresh flowers, gourmet chocolates, full breakfast, afternoon refreshments and free Wi-Fi.


Fitchburg Art Museum 185 Elm Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-4207


The Fitchburg Art Museum is a catalyst for learning, creativity, and community building located in the heart of North Central, Massachusetts. Come and experience inspiring art historical collections, special exhibitions of contemporary New England art, education programs, and exciting community events. Plan your visit today!

Gardner Ten Pins.



Museum of Russian Icons 203 Union Street, Clinton, MA 01510 978-598-5000


Founded in 2006 by Nypro plastics industrialist Gordon B. Lankton. The largest collection of its kind in North America – and one of the largest private collections outside Russia.

RB Racing Museum

300 Lunenburg Street (rear), Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-7227 Ronbouchardautostores.com/ rb-racing-museum.html Start your engines — and head to the RB Racing Museum, honoring the memory of local NASCAR legend Ron BouchaRoad See Ron’s 1981 Talladega winning #47 car.

NIGHTCLUBS Miranda’s Pub

488 Lancaster Street, Leominster, MA 01453 978-537-4726 Good Music and good times.

RECREATION Bay State Brawlers Roller Derby

499 Electric Avenue, #164, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-728-3995 baystatebrawlers.com The Brawlers hold new skater classes year ‘round at Roll On America, 90 Duval Road, Lancaster. No prior skating experience necessary. Cheer them on at a game at the Wallace Civic Center in Fitchburg.

Gardner Ten Pins

560 West Broadway, Gardner, MA 01440 978-632-0010 gardnertenpins.com Gardner Ten Pins is not just a bowling center with 24 lanes... We offer so much more for all ages. Our center's features include bumper bowling for kids and a BRAND NEW state-of-theart automatic scoring system.

Nashoba Paddler, LLC

WooSox Logo.

398 West Main Street, Groton, MA 01450 978-448-8699 nashobapaddler.com Canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard rentals, tours, and instruction on the Nashua River. Easy paddling on a beautiful, forested river. Group discounts. Open May - October.

RC Excitement

208 Bemis Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-342-3374 RCexcitement.com The premier racing complex in the northeast, RC Excitement is home to family racing fun, with indoor and outdoor tracks to challenge all skill levels. Hobby and RC repair shop.

Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary

The Bull Run.

113 Goodnow Road, Princeton, MA 01541 978-464-2712 massaudubon.org/wachusett A former farmstead with historic buildings, barns, spectacular scenery, woodlands, wetlands, and meadows. 12 miles of trails; facility rentals, snowshoe/canoe rentals.

Wachusett Mountain Ski Area

Dario's Ristorante & Brick Oven.

499 Mountain Road, Princeton, MA 01541-1105 978-464-2300 wachusett.com With a 1,000-foot vertical drop and 2,006-foot elevation, Wachusett Mt. offers big mountain skiing in southern New England: 26 trails, 110 acres for all abilities and 8 lifts.

Winchendon History and Cultural Center 151 Front Street, Winchendon, MA 01475 978-297-2142


The Center, founded in 1930, exhibits its large collection at the 22-room Murdock-Whitney House Museum. A new Toy Museum features Converse Toys.

Worcester Red Sox

100 Madison Street, Worcester, MA 01608 508-500-8888 WooSox.com Minor League Baseball team and Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, located in the heart of Worcester’s Canal District at brand new Polar Park.


7 Mill Street, Leominster, MA 01453 110grill.com Modern American cuisine in a trendy, casual atmosphere. Exceptional service, a seasonal menu, a scratch kitchen with the freshest ingredients, and a strong commitment to allergy awareness.

Aroma Joe’s

200 New Lancaster Road, Leominster, MA 01453 719-649-7190 aromajoes.com Fueling the modern world by focusing daily on the customer.

Bull Run Restaurant

215 Great Road, Shirley, MA 01464 978-425-4311 bullrunrestaurant.com A full service restaurant and entertainment venue set in an historic 1740 Tavern. Top name entertainment, trivia night, Musical Bingo, Friendly Friday sing-along and Saturday Jazz. Function space up to 300.

Comeketo Brazilian Steakhouse

23 Sack Boulevard, Leominster, MA 01453 978-466-1224 comeketo.com At Comeketo we are pleased to bring Brazilian-style Rodízio to our friends and family.

Dario’s Ristorante & Brick Oven

187 River Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420, 978-627-3974 310 Mass Avenue, Lunenburg, MA 01462, 978-582-4300 dariosbrickoven.com One step through the door and guests will feel right at home, and they'll find that whether its the staff or Dario's loving patrons, that everyone has a great story to tell.

Gardner Ale House

74 Parker Street, Gardner, MA 01440 978-669-0122 gardnerale.com A family-oriented brewpub and restaurant. Everything on our casual, bistro style menu, with 12 to 14 award-winning beers on tap. Open 7 days a week. Sunday brunch buffet, 9 am-1 pm.

Happy Jack’s Restaurant 785 N. Main Street, Leominster, MA 01453 978-466-3433 happyjacksrestaurant.com

A full-service restaurant and bar serving fine Southwestern food. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Route 2 to exit 31B.

Il Forno Restaurant

27 Airport Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-2511 il-forno.com Bustling family-run eatery featuring wood-fired pizzas & other classic Italian dishes plus BYOB.

Kimball Farm in Lancaster

1543 Lunenburg Road, (Route 70),

Lancaster, MA 01523 978-534-9800 kimballfarm.com For over 75 years, Kimball Farm has served its famous, homemade ice cream. Fresh seafood at the Seafood and Grill Shack (April-October). Country Store, April-December.

Happy Jacks.

Spring | Summer 2021


Legends Bar & Grille 68 Airport Road, Suite 10, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-342-6500 legendsbarandgrille.com

Come and enjoy the great variety of menu items for you!

Moe’s Southwest Grill 865 Merriam Avenue, Leominster, MA 01453 978-401-2657 Old Mill Restaurant & Country Store.

69 State Road East, (Route 2A East),


Smokestack Roasters Smokestackroasters.com

moes.com/find-a-moes/ massachusetts/leominster

Old Mill Restaurant & Country Store

The Finicky Fork Catering Company.

106 Lunenburg Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-342-8880 slatterysrestaurant.com Cozy, long-standing pub with outdoor seating offering a large American menu & numerous draft beers. 39 Mass Avenue (Route 2A), Lunenburg, MA 01462

You'll feel welcomed from the second you walk through the doors. And that's bound to continue as you get a fresher than fresh burrito, bowl or whatever you're craving made just for you from our 20+ fresh and flavorful ingredients.

The Central Cup, Coffee & Cupcakery's Blueberry Brunch Cupcakes.

Slattery’s Restaurant

Westminster, MA 01473 978-874-5941 1761oldmill.com Full-service family restaurant serving delicious meals with old-fashioned hospitality. Sunday breakfast and brunch. Luncheon buffet and dinner menu daily. Country Store and Gift Shop.

Pammy’s Place

68 Airport Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-627-3079 We have dedicated ourselves to making wicked good eats for our community. Pammy’s is a dedication to our beloved mother and grandmother Pammy. We cater to all nutritional needs including gluten sensitivities and vegan options. Drive Thru, Curbside & online ordering available.

Singapore Restaurant 170 Whalon Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-0132


Full service restaurant featuring Hunan Cuisine, Szechuan, Thai and American-Chinese dishes.

Freshly roasted organic coffees. Organic, fresh beans roasted on-site, amazing coffee and espresso drinks, locally made pastries.

The Central Cup, Coffee & Cupcakery

139 Central Street, Leominster, MA 01453 thecentralcup.com At Central Cup, we make our orders from scratch, daily, with the finest ingredients. Besides our desserts, we offer fresh, high quality coffee and espresso drinks.

The Finicky Fork Catering Company 171 Cascade Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-660-2314 finickyforkcatering.com

From the first moment of contact, until the last fork is put to rest, our team ensures your experience is exactly as you have envisioned. When it comes to caring for our guests, there is no other way to be except...Finicky.

The Fix Burger Bar

14 Monument Square, Leominster, MA 01453 978-534-5900 thefixburgerbar.com We feature custom and local grinds of the freshest beef combined with over 40 toppings ranging from classic to exceptional, allowing guests to enjoy a signature “Fixed-Up” burger. The Fix pours great beers and amazing crafts drinks and shakes using house syrups and the freshest ingredients.

The Fix Burger Bar.



The Pig in Flames

96 Franklin Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-822-8557 thepiginflames.com With 20 years of experience cooking in the finest restaurants, our chef is excited to present their vision to you and all our guests. Our caring and committed staff will ensure you have a fantastic experience with us.

Zapata Mexican Cocina 23 Lunenburg Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-696-5144 zapatamexicancocina.com Experience authentic Mexican cuisine with a modern twist! Each dish is a culinary work of art and will always leave you wanting “mas!”


W. E. Aubuchon Company, Inc.

95 Aubuchon Drive, Westminster, MA 01473-0473 978-874-0521 hardwarestore.com The oldest family owned and managed chain of hardware stores in America operates over 118 stores throughout New England and Upstate New York, plus HardwareStore.com.

Be More Design

Be More Design features jewelry created by a local artisan can be found at the Johnny Appleseed Visitor on Route 2 Westbound in Lancaster and at Mia Bella Spa on Main Street in Leominster.

Creative Connections

56 Main Street, Ashburnham, MA 01430 978-827-6211 ccgiftgallery.com An extensive collection of gifts, from soy candles to blown glass, pottery, hand-crafted jewelry and fine audio gear. Foodies will appreciate our gourmet items, confections, whole bean coffees and teas.

Cutie Patuties Consignment

Roots Natural Foods.

Roots Natural Foods

1021 Central Street, Leominster, MA 01453 978 534-6604 cutiepatuties.com Your Central Mass headquarters for gently loved clothing, shoes, and accessories for kids, teens and ladies. Huge selection of favorite brands and styles with over 50,000 items available every day.

Farm at Baptist Common

342 Baldwinville Road, PO Box 157, Templeton, MA 01468 978-939-8146 Forty delicious flavors of homemade fudge. Many seasonal themes great for all occasions. We sell our famous fudge at craft shows, fairs, festivals and at the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center.

Golden Girl Granola

Smith's Country Cheese.

2 Shaker Road, Suite C205, Shirley, MA 01464 978-425-5058 goldengirlgranola.com Golden Girl Granola™ produces gourmet products for consumers who appreciate good taste. Flavors including Forest Maple and Chocolate Decadence, can be found in grocery and specialty stores.

Kringle Candle

31 Kringle Drive, Bernardston, MA 01337 413-648-3077 kringlecandle.com Kringle Candle offers more than 200 fragrances, all in décor-friendly white wax. Country Barn shopping; Farm Table Restaurant; and Chocolate Cottage, featuring sweet treats. The Kitchen Garden.

Mill No. 3 Farmstand

85 Westminster Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-1100 millno3.com The business has grown to include a deli, beer & wine, groceries, flowers, coffee, pastries and the list goes on. Stop in and try our specialty oils and vinegars.

100 Crawford Street, Leominster, MA 01453 978-534-7668 facebook.com/ rootsnaturalfoods Organic produce, vitamins & herbs, natural body care, organic & natural grocery, bulk foods & spices – and our new creation, the Roots Kitchen! Get healthy food on the go or have a seat!

Smith’s Country Cheese 20 Otter River Road, Winchendon, MA 01475 978-939-5738 smithscountrycheese.com Old fashioned family traditions and hard work are combined to produce our Farmstead Cheeses. Anyone who recognizes the appeal of farm fresh milk will enjoy the rich and creamy flavor of our Gouda, Havarti, and cheddar cheeses. We also carry a variety of gifts: gourmet local food items, home décor, candles, and more!

Squirrel-Eze & Friends

18 Highland Street (Route 13), Evans Bldg., Townsend, MA 01469 978-597-0075 squirreleze.com An artisan-owned boutique offering unique, useful, and affordable goods by award-winning artisans: Jewelry, textiles, handmade soaps, pottery, original art, carvings, fossils, and more.

The Kitchen Garden

268 Baldwinville Road, Templeton, MA 01468 978-939-8558 templetonkitchgarden.com Baked goods, including Finnish coffee bread, made daily in our kitchen. Ice cream shop open May-October. New England gifts, specialty foods, Scandinavian gifts and books, and more.

The Mall at Whitney Field

100 Commercial Road, Leominster, MA 01453 978-537-7500


The Mall at Whitney Field, located in Leominster, Massachusetts, features Burlington, JCPenney, Old Navy as well as more than 60 specialty shops. There’s plenty to do at whether it’s having fun with your kids at Chuck E. Cheese’s or enjoying lunch at Panera. Come stop by and check us out!

Black Bear Coatings & Concrete

644 River Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-405-0017 blackbearconcrete.com The leading resinous coatings contractor in the Northeast, specializing in decorative and designer epoxy, urethane mortars, cementitious coatings, and concrete polishing.


AAA Northeast

36 Watertower Plaza #7, Leominster, MA 01453 978-537-4000 AAA.com AAA Northeast offers world-class 24-hour emergency road service, plus travel, insurance and financial services.

Fitchburg Municipal Airport

567 Crawford Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-9580 fitchburgma.gov /175/Airport We are a General aviation airport serving North-Central Massachusetts since 1929.

Fitchburg Public Library 610 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-829-1780 fitchburgpubliclibrary.org Since 1859 the Fitchburg Public Library connects with your world.

Black Bear Coatings & Concrete.

Spring | Summer 2021


Michelle Haggstrom Realtor KWNC 670 Mechanic Street Leominster, MA 01453 978-660-9912


Looking to buy, sell or invest in the North Central Region? Your local real estate connection, bringing you home.

Morin Real Estate

Polar Beverages' Mascot Orson.

70 Front Street, Winchendon, MA 01475 978-297-0961 morinrealestate.com We serve our clients' real estate needs from Mountain to Metro; Licensed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. All of our agents are all active and invested in the community.

Polar Beverages


1001 Southbridge Street, Worcester, MA 01615 508-749-2382 polarbev.com Polar Beverages, New England’s largest independent soft drink bottler, is a fourth-generation, family-owned business that traces its roots back to 1882.

Wachusett Paving

60 Sargent Road, Westminster, MA 01473 978-230-6666 wachusettpaving.com We are a full service paving contractor based out of Westminster, Mass. We are a family owned company specializing in residential and commercial asphalt paving and maintenance. In addition to paving we also offer excavation, drainage and site work. For over 14 years, we have served businesses and home owners in Central Massachusetts. Visit us online or call for your free estimate!

WPKZ Radio

978-343-3766 sales@kzone1053.com WPKZ 105.3FM & AM1280 is your local community radio station and Sox affiliate. Our weekday co-hosts will get your day off to a winning start with local news, traffic, and more from 6am-9am.


250 Commercial Street, Worcester, MA 01608 508-752-1045 wxlo.com Owned by Cumulus Media, 104.5 XLO serves the Worcester market with Hot Adult Contemporary music; our signal spans over 100 miles, covering all of Central New England.

Stratton Players.


Stratton Players

98 Prospect Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420 978-345-6066 Strattonplayers.com For 96 years Stratton Players has been a warm and inviting place where friends and family can come and see wonderful theatrical productions. Performances currently at Applewild School.

Wachusett Paving.

Live Where You Play!

Call me for all your real estate needs.

Michelle Haggstrom www.MAHomeConnections.com mhaggstrom@kw.com | 978.660.9912 Your Real Estate Resource Each office is independently owned and operated




Thank You to our Members M

Comprehensive evaluation and treatment of Sleep Disorders Allergy Testing and Injections Pulmonary Medicine

5 office locations and 2 sleep labs throughout Central MA Call us at 774-420-2611 for more information Or visit our website www.masslung.com


978-230-6666 343 Central Street Winchendon, MA 01475 Tel: 978-297-0077 Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home is an independent family owned business, which has offered professional service to all families and faiths since 1875.


Our story is a simple one...for almost 70 years, LaChance has been proud to offer a wide selection of quality American-made furniture at an exceptional value backed by outstanding customer service. Located in Gardner, MA, LaChance Interiors, Inc. offers everything from classic traditional styles to the soft modern designs of today. With a large assortment of customizable solid wood bedroom, dining room, office/entertainment, occasional and finely crafted fabric and leather upholstery, we're sure you will find the perfect piece or room setting that will enhance your home. With the exception of rugs and accessories, which are globally sourced, we are proud to represent nearly 100% of our furniture as "AMERICAN-MADE".


25 Kraft Street Gardner, MA 978.632.1930

Spring | Summer 2021


501 W. Broadway Gardner, MA 978.630.3299


NCM Chamber of Commerce


City of Gardner


Old Mill


City of Leominster


Pine Acres Family Camping


Davis Farmland


Plain View Alpaca


Digital Credit Union


Red Apple Farm Front Inside Cover

Fitchburg Art Museum


Sholan Farms


Great Wolf Lodge


Sitka Creations


Happy Jack's/ South Side Grill Back Cover

Smith's Country Cheese


Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home


The Pines Campground


Johnny Appleseed Center 29

The 138th Bolton Fair


LaChance Interiors


Town of Westminster


Lamb City Campground


Town of Ashburnham


Lanni Orchards


Wachusett Paving


Legends Sports Bar and Grill


Worker's Credit Union


Hobart Village Jeffrey's Antique Co-Op Mall

44 41


mid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, these advertisers have stepped up to bring you this issue of The Guide to North Central Massachusetts/ Johnny Appleseed Country. Please support them as you tour the region this season. @visitnorthcentralmassachusetts @visitnorthcentralma @VisitNCM 56

on Sit e


st ooms

F Chocksett Inn 59 Laurelwood Road, Sterling 978.422.3355 chocksettinn.com

g V en ue Swim ming Pool Gym /Fitne ss Ce nter Banq uet/M Spac eetin es g Pets A llowe d


Wedd in

City of Fitchburg


Museum of Russian Icons 28

Free Break fa


# of R

Carlson Orchards



Days Inn by Windham 482 North Main Street, Leominster 978.751.3757 daysinn.com


Michelle Haggstrom KW Real-estate

* – No pool, but has a babbling brook ◊ – Indoor pool ♦ – Indoor waterpark » – Outdoor pool

26 Suites




• (15) • Cap. 550

(7) Cap. 500

(5) Cap. 150





(5) Cap. 500

(7) Cap. 400

(2) Cap. 275


F DoubleTree by Hilton 99 Erdham Way, Leominster 978.534.9000 leominster.doubletree.com ^


F Great Wolf Lodge New England Waterpark 150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg 800.905.9653 greatwolf.com/newengland

187 22 Jr. Suites


Benchmark Senior Living Back Inside Cover

Mass Lung and Allergy

The Groton Inn 128 Main Street, Groton 978.448.6600 thegrotoninn.com





406 96 Suites

60 5 Suites

F Maguire House 30 Cobb Road, Ashburnham 978.827.5053 maguirehouse.com


Bank Hometown


F SpringHill Suites by Mariott/Devens Common 27 Andrews Parkway, Devens 978.772.3030 ^



devenscommoncenter.com/ accomodations.php

The Colonial Hotel 625 Betty Spring Road, Gardner 978.630.2500 colonial-hotel.com




112 5 Suite

We hope you enjoy your stay! Use # Vis i t No r t h Ce nt ral Ma to show us what you did !

They always provided the best for you. Now it’s your turn. Introduce your loved one to a community that feels like home, knowing they’ll be comfortable and engaged. Trust Benchmark to care for and connect with your loved one, no matter how long they stay with us. Our short-term respite care* is perfect for seniors who need a little extra help. Today, we’re humbled to see our response to COVID-19 earn high remarks – 87% of our residents and their families say their opinion of Benchmark is as high or higher than it ever was. See how we live up to our name.

Schedule a short-term Assisted Living or Mind & Memory Care tour today! Call 978-627-7998 or visit LeominsterCrossings.com 1160 Main Street, Leominster

*Please check with the community for any residency requirements. 57 Spring | Summer 2021

Craft Beer on Tap



CheCk our FaCebook Pages For Times and daily PromoTions. @happyjacksrestaurant & @southsidegrille Outdoor seating is available this season.

Featuring.... Sizzlin’ Fajitas, Outrageous Burritos, Mouthwatering Burgers, and so much more!



978.632.1057 | exit 22 off rte 2 242 W. Broadway | Gardner, MA 01440



Profile for Visit North Central Massachusetts

The Guide to North Central Massachusetts S/S 2021