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Taking a Trip Back in Time to the Wayside Country Store in Marlborough, Massachusetts

Wayside Inn in Marlborough, Mass., is one of New England's best and most underrated country store, according to VisitingNewEngland.
Wayside Country Store in Marlborough, Mass.

by Eric J. Hurwitz. Article updated on Aug. 19, 2017. 

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Sometimes, there's a fine line between a historical New England country store and a hokey, souvenir shop.  Throw in some tacky merchandise into an old building, call yourself a quaint country store and, presto, people come in droves to buy t-shirts with inappropriate messages, fall-apart  trinklets, and drinking mugs with logos that disappear with the first wash.

Fotunately, the Wayside Country Store, on the Old Boston Post Rd. (Rt. 20) in Marlborough, MA, and a handful of other Massachusetts country stores pride themselves on being the "Real McCoy," combining historical architectual with a true tour de force of traditional country store merchandise. Not to be confused with the nearby Longfellow's Wayside Inn restaurant and inn (made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “Tales of a Wayside Inn”), the Wayside Country Store dates back to 1790. Henry Ford purchased the building in 1928, became owner and operator, and moved this architectural gem -- by oxen -- to its current scenic spot overlooking scenic Hager Pond.

With its grand classic white Colonial exterior look with long pillars (made from tree trunks) accenting the inviting building and a large American Flag, you feel even more welcome upon entering the two-story maze of rooms. The creaky wooden floors, the ocassionally operating pot bellied stove, dim lighting, and a familiar smell of candles provides part of the trip back in time ambiance.

You can't go wrong starting with the Old Tyme Candy Shoppe, which is actually connected to the main building. Keeping with the old-fashioned historical look, the Candy Shoppe fulfills a candy lover's dream with hundreds of items including foiled-wrapped chocolates, cordials, homemade fudge, general and old-fashioned candy (how about some pop rocks and Clark Bars?), Gummis, holiday candy, jelly beans, old-fashioned licorice, penny candy, gourmet specialty sweets (like peanut butter cups!), root beer barrels, Teenie Beenie and Truffles.  The selection is staggering and the sweet experience sure to bring about happy childhood memories.

Before leaving the Candy Shoppe, please be sure to check out the extensive candle collection, including Yankee and Colonial Candle brands.

The Wayside Country Store features a variety of gift, food and collectible merchandise that ranks amongst the best country stores in New England. If you're in the mood for purchasing more food after all that candy, the Wayside Country offers country store favorites like common crackers, Vermont cheddar cheese, ginger snaps, and pickles from a barrel.  We recently purchased a delicious,  all-natural lemon caesar dressing, made in Vermont.

The kids will surely love the impressive array of toys, puzzles, and stuffed animals (yes, they have Webkinz!), while moms, grandmothers and daughters are sure to fall in love with the extensive variety of gifts, collectibles and Christmas-related items including the Annalee, Snowbabies, Willow Tree, Worry Box, and Boston Bean Pots lines of merchandise, as well as greeting cards. Of course, you'll find New England and other regionally-based souvenirs, but in the whole context of the store, this type of merchandise is entirely appropriate and not too overwhelming.

Upon leaving the Wayside Country Store, I felt good about supporting local business, shopping within a historical building, taking in the old-fashioned feeling, and browsing, with interest, the variety of country store merchandise. While enjoying a root beer barrel on the ride back home, I could hardly wait to tell family and friends about this special old-time store.  Now when was the last time you felt that way when shopping a local store? 

Wayside Country Store
1015 Boston Post Road
Marlborough, MA 01752

Book a room at the Arabian Horse Inn (Inn on the Horse Farm) in nearby Sudbury

Related articles:

The Old Country Store and Emporium in Mansfield, Mass.
The Vermont Country Store in Weston, Vt.

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Massachusetts Town Greens -- Discover New England's first travel attractions: town commons!

The Best Diners in New England -- If you love classic diners, New England has them! In my book, I write in detail on 50 top local diners.

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