Ever since I was a kid, I have dreamed of visiting New England during the fall. The only frame of reference I had for New England as a child were the many movies filmed there – especially Halloween movies. I pictured big beautiful homes on streets lined with maple trees turning an array of bright, bold colors in the fall. While not all neighborhoods give this appearance in reality, the trees and villages (and towns) are simply spectacular. My husband and I spent eight days doing a fall foliage driving tour, which we began in Old Sturbridge Village. I’d love to share how we were able to step into history at Old Sturbridge Village, at the beginning of our trip.
Just an hour away from Boston, Old Sturbridge Village is a living museum located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. This particular museum re-creates life in rural New England during the 1790s through 1830s. I didn’t want to waste any time, so after flying into Boston at 9pm we drove straight to Old Sturbridge Village where we stayed the night at the Oliver Wight House.
Staying in a home built in 1789 was incredible. The walls and ceiling may not have been square or up to today’s code, but it was it’s own kind of magical. I only wish it was chilly out so we could have used the in-room brick fireplace. Not sure if that’s allowed or not, but to pretend we were in olden times was sure fun. The four-poster canopy bed and lush bedding only added to the magic. In addition to the 10-bedroom Oliver Wight House, guests can also stay on-site at the Reeder Family Lodges. There are a variety of room types to accommodate your needs.
We awoke to a gorgeous day full of awe and admiration at the lovely grounds and history before us at Old Sturbridge Village. After a tour of some of the homes, church buildings, town hall and a few other buildings, we were free to roam as we pleased.
Many of the homes and structures had actors in them, who were dressed in period clothing and talked to us as if we were in the early 19th century. We learned a bit of what it might have been like to live in that time.
My husband’s favorite stop in Old Sturbridge was the blacksmith. The tools were not nearly as sophisticated as today’s blacksmiths use. The local blacksmith and my husband had fun discussing their methods.
Visitors can pay for a carriage ride around the village, which was fun to watch, but we opted to take a boat ride instead.
Getting out on the water on such a serene day was perfect. On the water we were educated about the men who founded Old Sturbridge Village, and how it came to be.
One of the founders was a collector of artifacts, but a son or grandson told him these artifacts were just things of the past, without much excitement to them. Put those artifacts in a period-correct home, or in the hands of a period-correct clothed person, and those items become exciting. That is what Old Sturbridge is all about – adding meaning to artifacts and history. Definitely a must-stop on your fall foliage driving tour.
Because I am a foodie, I’ve got to tell you where we ate! For lunch after our visit to the village, I took a recommendation and headed across the street to Sturbridge Seafood. It was just what we needed, and was perhaps the best fish and chips of our entire trip! The clam chowder was my favorite as well. Stay tuned for our next stop!