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Massachusetts Travel >>> Things to do in Walpole MA
Walpole, Mass.: A Quintessential Small New England Town Close to Boston
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Park like surroundings in downtown Walpole MA
Common St., Walpole

Article and photos by Eric H. 


One of the great aspects about Boston is that you don't have to drive terribly far to find some classic, New England small towns. 

Walpole, Mass., about 18 miles southwest of downtown Boston, is surely one of those towns with its downtown seemingly stuck in another time.  With three town commons, churches with tall white steeples, tree-lined side streets and predominantly locally-owned shops (in the center), Walpole might not share the rampant commercial and industrial growth of nearby towns, but it does have an appeal to those who like a quiet, quaint historical town with plenty of community spirit and open spaces. It's really an underrated gem of a town -- a nice place to raise a family, take a nice evening walk and attend seasonal community events (which seem to happen one after another). One thing is for sure: the Cedar Junction prison, Route 1 and parts of Route 1A are in no way representative of this beautiful small New England town. When Walpole is at its best, the town conjures up images of Norman Rockwell, Currier and Ives, "It's a Wonderful Life," an HGTV visit and a Hallmark movie with a friendly, small town setting. Leafy Common St., right off Main St. in downtown Walpole, is especially stunning with its grand old homes with diverse architectural styles and big front lawns. 

Downtown Walpole is not overly quaint, although just a few years ago the proverbial "sidewalk rolled up" look was well intact. However, with a recently evolving commercial base that doesn't encroach upon the innate classic New England feel, Walpole now has seven full-service restaurants, The Coffee Perch coffeehouse, the Farmer in the Dell farm-to-table restaurant and the seasonal Red Cherry Frozen Yogurt Shop. You'll find three terrific Irish Pubs within a few hundred yards of each other -- The Raven's Nest, Finnegan's Wake (scroll down page for review) and Napper Tandy's (which also features an amazing pool hall). That's very impressive for a downtown that barely goes beyond two blocks. You'll also see old standbys that have been around for decades like Betro Pharmacy, Joe's Barber Shop, First Sandwich Shop, Mimi's Variety, Walpole Music and the 100-plus-year-old Gilmore's that sells coal, grain, hay and cement. Additionally, a new, beautifully built, "green" public library has turned out to be incredibly popular -- noteworthy, given our Kindle/Nook oriented society. 

Each section of town has its own distinct personality with elements that almost look like a travel destination but with no ambitions of being that. East Walpole has a pleasant mill village feel and the scenic 89 acre Bird Park -- perfect for walking, picnicking and communing with nature. Semi-rural North Walpole is home to the Norfolk County Agricultural School, the 365 acre publicly accessible Adams Farm, scenic Willett Pond and some beautiful farms and open land. West Walpole still has remnants of rural Walpole on Lincoln St., and features Turner Pond for winter skating ice skating. South Walpole has a small rural US Post Office, the Rodman Arena for ice skating, a nice shop for beading called the Bead Addiction, and its own village green surrounded by well-kept older homes.

Community involvement in Walpole is off the charts, particularly at the Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances, May's Walpole Town Day,  Epiphany Church of Walpole's June Village Fair and December's tree lighting ceremony.

So, let's take a little tour of this town that they call "The Friendly Town"...

Downtown Walpole

Walpole MA at Christmas
Walpole during the Christmas season

West Street Walpole MA
West St. shops and businesses with some Patriotic pride

Walpole MA in the fall
The Fall Pumpkin Patch at the Epiphany Church of Walpole

Corner of Main and Common Streets, Walpole MA
At the corner of Main and Common Sts.

Betro Pharmacy, Walpole MA
Betro Pharmacy, a staple in Walpole since 1952

Walpole MA Memorial Day
Walpole Memorial Day Observance

Downtown Walpole, MA Photo
A stroll down Main St.

Raven's Nest Irish pub, Walpole MA
The Raven's Nest Irish Pub (photo courtesy of Raven's Nest)


Walpole MA School Street Bridge
The Historic Memorial Bridge on School St.

Blackburn Hall Photo, Walpole, MA
Blackburn Hall, a social and recreation center for the town

Walpole Public Library, Walpole MA
The new Walpole Public Library

Napper Tandy's Walpole MA
Warming up at Napper Tandy's Walpole on a chilly night

Walpole Farmers Market, Walpole MA
Walpole Farmers Market on the Town Common

Walpole Historical Society on West St., Walpole MA
The Walpole Historical Society on West St.

Common Street Area

Walpole MA is a great walking town
Downtown Walpole on Common St. is a great walking destination!

Walpole Town Common, Walpole MA
Open space on Common St.

Common Street Walpole, MA, Photo
Above and below photo: Big front lawns and homes on tree-lined Common Street

Common St. home, Walpole MA

Historic home, Walpole MA

Walpole MA Parade, Town Day
Walpole Town Day Parade

Walpole MA winter scene
A classic New England winter scene on Common St.

Walpole Town Forest in the fall, Walpole MA
Walpole Town Forest, just off Common St., with 350 acres of publicly accessible land

North Walpole

North Street Walpole MA
Farm land on North St. just past Bubbling Brook Ice Cream Stand

Willett Pond, Walpole MA
Willett Pond at sunset

Norfolk County Agricultural School, Walpole MA
Cows at the Norfolk County Agricultural School

Adams Farm, Walpole MA
Adams Farm, a 360 acre farm, open to the public for walking and other passive recreation

New Pond, Walpole MA
Entering Walpole approaching Bullard St.

East Walpole

Stroll through Bird Park, Walpole MA
Bird Park (above and below photos)


Pumpkins in the Park, Bird Park, Walpole MA Pumpkins in the Park is an extremely popular October event that takes places at Bird Park


West Walpole

Skating at Turner Pond, Walpole MA
Turner Pond, just outside downtown Walpole is ideal for winter ice skating (Above) and features a cozy lodge with sofas and a fireplace (below)

Turner Lodge, Walpole MA

Lincoln St. farm on a foggy morning, Walpole MA
Lincoln St. farm on a foggy morning


South Walpole

South Walpole MA
South Walpole church and village green

South Walpole MA US Post Office
South Walpole US Post Office


The Rodman Arena. Take the Virtual Tour by moving arrows. View Larger Map


The Bead Addiction.Take the Virtual Tour by moving arrows. View Larger Map



Downtown Walpole businesses: would you like to showcase your business for the world to see on Google Maps? If so, Eric, at VisitingNewEngland.com, works with the providers of Google Maps Virtual Tour. He can help you get your own Google Virtual Tour so future customers can see what your business looks like before ever visiting. The price is right, too -- far less than print, radio and TV advertising. Details here


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