Looking to Visit a Quaint Massachusetts Town? Try West Brookfield
West Brookfield, Massachusetts town common
by Eric Hurwitz. Updated 12/02/16.
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WEST BROOKFIELD, MA, New England USA) -- We live in a Boston
suburb that keeps growing and growing. Sometimes, the increasing
housing and commercial developments, heavy traffic, road rage and busy
lifestyles beg for a wholesome trip back in time somewhere far away.
Fortunately for us, West Brookfield, MA, provides the relaxing,
peaceful antidote within 90 minutes of our home.
The tiny town, located in central Massachusetts' unspoiled Quaboag
Valley, left an immediate serene impression on our first visit with its
appealing, historic, off the beaten path New England small community
presence. The stunning, huge town common is one of the prettiest we've
seen in New England with a magnificently detailed bandstand, truly wide
open green spaces graced by shady trees, park benches, a baseball
field, the incredible 1886 Rice Memorial Fountain and well-preserved
Federal, Colonial and Victorian homes elegantly surrounding the green.
It's a great place to walk, watch a baseball game, relax by the lake,
attend a summer concert, or just watch the world go by at a much slower
pace where people haven't forgotten that it's one of life's simple joys
to get outside and get fresh air.
ball game at the West Brookfield town common.
This is true New England in its most authentic form. As part of a
region called the Brookfields (including West Brookfield, North
Brookfield and East Brookfield), this area perhaps represents the best
of traditional small-town Massachusetts with winding country roads,
lakes and ponds, apple farms, antique shops, church fairs, the
aforementioned large village greens and a sense of community spirit and
much-welcomed underdevelopment that you thought you'd never see again.
West Brookfield resonates as a hidden Massachusetts travel gem, far
removed from the 21st century in the best sense, with its beautiful
tree-lined side streets featuring fine, old neighborhoods, and scenic,
secluded Lake Wickaboag. It is really like going back in time, as
further evidenced by families congregating on their front porches,
country roads with big farms and open land and virtually no commercial
and industrial development.
Some examples of old, impressive downtown architecture include the Town
Hall built in 1859, the Merriam Gilbert Library built in 1880; The Ye Olde Tavern (food, drink and functions), built
in 1760; and Sacred
Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church built in 1889.
Ye Olde Tavern, West Brookfield.
Local residents seem pleasant, stopping to say hello to us strangers
and conversing with fellow neighbors. The folks here seem intelligent,
articulate and really content and proud to live in their authentic New
England town. Not everybody can say that about their community. Some
say it's a great place to raise children, others talk about the "little
things" that mean a lot to them -- concerts and little league games at
the common in the summer, and at the same location a fall festival, and
a tree lighting ceremony during the holiday season.
On our visits, we have enjoyed the following West Brookfield
Salem Cross Inn -- The quintessential New England restaurant with
classic New England fare within a beautifully restored 1770s Colonial
structure. The hardwood floors, post and beam ceilings, candlelight
dining, roaring fireplace, antique furnishings and some delicious
Yankee Pot Roast, slow-roasted prime rib and apple pie are enough to
make you realize you are officially in New England.
Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield.
Lake Wickaboag -- For town
residents only, we, as guests for a day, loved this quiet, scenic and
clean beach (open only to residents) right off the town center. For
visitors, we recommend driving Lake Wickabaug Rd., to enjoy a full
appreciation and views of this wonderful rural lake that feels like an
aquatic branch office of an Adirondack Mountains lake in Upstate New
Lake Wickaboag in West Brookfield.
The Book Bear -- More than 90,000 used books are
available at this huge warehouse-like building with knowledgeable,
dedicated friendly service. The smell of old books and the chance of
making new friends with old books brings in book lovers of all
Walking the downtown and common -- The downtown features a wide Main
Street, lots of trees, the town common, an old-fashioned library, those
big, old beautiful homes, and a local hardware store, a few places to
eat, a convenience store, a small post office, and not too much else. A
Dunkin' Donuts is really the only chain store in the center; otherwise,
it's classic New England, a great place to walk and admire a true New
Howard's Drive-In -- A long-time
seasonal favorite featuring ice cream, sandwiches and more ambitiously
steak and lobster dinners. It's family-oriented where you place an
order at the outdoor counter and then eat at one of the picnic benches.
in neighboring North Brookfield -- It's so quiet at Brookfield
Orchards, you could hear a pin drop. It's a great place to go apple
picking in the fall and shop at the barn-like country store where
you'll find books, furnishings, antiques, toys, jams, jellies,
incredible apple dumplings and locally-made cheddar cheese, and just
about everything else under the sun.
West Brookfield is also close to Brimfield, home of the famous
Brimfield Antiques Show, that runs the second week in May, July and
September. West Brookfield also neighbors Sturbridge, a tourist
destination featuring Old Sturbridge Village, a living, interactive
outdoor museum re-creating life in the 1830s. Sturbridge also features
many fine restaurants, lodging choices and shopping. Sturbridge is
really a great day trip or vacation destination, in a different kind of
way compared to the more placid West Brookfield.
If it's true New England peace and quiet you're looking for, however,
West Brookfield is the answer. West Brookfield might look unassuming
and is definitely off the beaten path, but offers enough to do for a
wonderful day trip, or possibly a place to call home for those in
search of a simple, scenic and pastoral quality of life in the heart of
New England. After all, sometimes, the housing developments, increased
traffic, road rage and busy lifestyles do indeed beg for a wholesome
trip back in time somewhere, thankfully, not too far away.
Book a room in nearby Sturbridge and get a great rate
For more information on West Brookfield and the Quaboag region, visit
the Quaboag Hills Region Web Site.
Open land near the Salem Cross Inn.
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