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Massachusetts Travel>>>> Things to do in Holliston MA

Holliston, Mass. Offers Traditional New England Small Town Charm
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Picture of Fiske's General Store, Holliston MA
Fiske's General Store, Holliston MA (photo by Eric)

Article by Eric H.

Many suburban Boston towns are looking mighty similar nowadays. You know the scenario: strip malls, chain stores and restaurants, and razing fabulous historical architecture for the charmless new.

I was wondering if there might be a way to go beyond witnessing the cloning of suburban communities, and fortunately, found one that is hanging on... and actually thriving: Holliston, Mass.

Driving into this small Metrowest town and the walking around the downtown, I immediately went back to a small New England town from another era. In addition to a town green, white steeple churches, well-preserved antique colonial, Victorian and Greek Revival homes, the following "Big Two" anchor stores really help create a wonderfully old-fashioned downtown full of New England character:

Fiske's General Store -- Remember that downtown store where you could get candy and baseball cards at the counter, and browse the slightly disorganized isles, selling items like arts and crafts, toys, books and clothing? While other stores like this have sadly gone away mostly due to big box stores, Fiske's has miraculously survived. They have actually been in business since 1863! The current owners seem really in tune with their customers and you can see that they love what they do.  Fiske's is definitely the "feel good suburban Boston store of the year" that I have visited! Fiske's General Store is located at 776 Washington St. Tel. (508) 429-4041

Holliston Suprette -- In business for more than 50 years, the Holliston Superette is one of the last independently-owned and operated neighborhood markets in the Boston area. When visiting the Suprette, I saw a steady crowd buying meats at the butcher shop, ordering overstuffed sandwiches at the deli, and browsing grocery items and fresh produce in the old-time isles. Sometimes I think we are so far removed from shopping at small community markets -- and so used to the superstore grocery stores -- that we have no idea how joyful it can be to shop at a friendly community store. The Holliston Superette proves that this type of business model can still exist in the heart of a downtown district. Holliston Suprette is located at 777 Washington St. Tel. (508) 429-2009

Picture of Holliston Superette, Holliston MA
Holliston Suprette (photo by Eric)

Walking past an old shop with a TV repair sign, the aging hardware store on Central St., the Holliston Public Library founded in 1904, the "townie" Holliston Grill breakfast and lunch place, and a delightful hodgepodge of stores selling antiques, furnishings, paintings, wine and cheese, as well as an 1840s train depot that is now Casey's Crossing restaurant, one really does feel hope that an old-fashioned New England downtown can exist in a modern, sometimes soulless world. Holliston knows, however, that "old" can get old, too, so some modern elements have been well integrated into the town like The Pejamajo Cafe (770 Washington St.) that specializes in crepes, paninis and fresh roasted coffee. It's a meaningful addition to the town with high quality food and drink and evening hours, Monday through Thursday.

Picture of Holliston Public Library, Holliston MA
Holliston Public Library (photo by Eric)

All in all, I love Holliston and hope that its old-fashioned New England foundation never changes. As the world becomes faster and often less personable, it's certainly nice to know that one can take comfort in knowing that  towns like Holliston take pride in the traditional New England character that we have come to know and love in our small towns.

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