10 Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

 

With over 6,000 acres of public land to explore, dozens of farm-to-table restaurants to try, and an endless supply of outdoor recreation, Sturbridge is a nature-lover’s dream. Spend a day exploring Leadmine Mountain, perfecting your golf swing, or pick several activities from the list below for a day of fun-filled, fresh air adventure!

Eat Local

Celebrate nature’s bounty–and grab a snack for the day–at the Sturbridge Farmers Market! Support local farmers and browse a wide selection of fresh veggies, plump berries, and baked goodies, alongside artisanal crafts like hand-made soap, honey, and locally roasted coffee. Kids especially will love picking out their own unique snack, and a trip to the market will foster a greater appreciation for the farms and orchards they see around town! The Farmer’s Market is held on the Town Common every Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, from June 5 through October 16.

Town Common, 308 Main Street, Sturbridge, MA 01566

Take a Hike!

Abandoned mines, stunning vistas, unique creatures, and more all await you on Sturbridge’s many trails and preserves. Here are a few local favorites:

For a full guide to all of Sturbridge’s public lands, click here.

Wells State Park

With over 1,400 acres of oak-hickory forest and freshwater, Wells State Park has something for every nature explorer! Explore its 12 miles of trail on foot, mountain bike, horseback, or cross-country ski. Dip your toes in Walker Pond, which also offers kayaking, canoeing, an assortment of fishing, and a campers-only swimming beach. Be sure to visit Carpenter Rocks, whose summit boasts an impressive view that overlooks the surrounding forest.

159 Walker Pond Rd, Sturbridge, MA 01566

Leadmine Mountain Conservation Area

A robust multi-purpose area, Leadmine Mountain boasts over 11 miles of trail, spanning everything from oak and pine forest to submerged wetland. Visitors are invited to use the trails for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. For a truly unique hike, be sure to walk along Arbutus Park Trail, which loops around a dazzling, serene emerald lagoon. Fishing and hunting are permitted on the property, so be sure to wear bright orange during the hunting season. Motorized vehicles are not permitted.

197 Leadmine Road, Sturbridge, MA 01518

The Trustees’ Tantiusques Reservation

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Tantiusques Reservation is an outdoor excursion and history lesson rolled into one. The reservation was once a great source of graphite and was mined for centuries by the native Nipmuc tribe and local English colonists until it was abandoned in the late 1800’s. Today, hikers can still see an open mine shaft and partially-filled mine cut, the only remnants of New England’s first-ever mining operation.

493 Leadmine Rd, Sturbridge, MA 01566

For a full guide to all of Sturbridge’s public lands, click here.

Enjoy Accessible Trails for All Explorers

Sturbridge boasts several ADA-accessible trails, so that even those with limited mobility can still get out and explore the great outdoors:

Grand Trunk Trail

Also referred to as “Titanic Railroad,” this unique trail follows the path of an old railroad bed. You won’t see any tracks, however, as the project was shortly abandoned after its founder perished on the ill-fated Titanic (hence the trail’s nickname). Instead, you’ll be treated to a pleasant nature walk on a well-constructed, fine gravel trail, whose wide width and ADA appropriate grades can easily accommodate mobility aids, strollers, and mountain bikes.

Burgess Discovery Trail

Located on the grounds of Burgess Elementary School, this federal ABA compliant trail is fully handicapped accessible and offers many opportunities to “interact with nature,” including a wetland bog bridge, glacial boulders, and local wildlife.

Heins Farm Conservation Lands

This 84-acre property boasts a number of trails, including the Pond View Loop (0.7 miles). This handicapped-accessible trail features a picturesque rest area that overlooks the pond and nearby Heins Farm. Keep an eye out for the pond’s many residents, including ducks, heron, and spotted turtles. Parking lot boasts a designated handicapped spot.

Hit a Hole-In-One

For some people, the best way to spend a gorgeous day is on an 18-hole fairway. If you’re one of those people, head to Hemlock Ridge Golf Course. This luxurious course is set on acres of rolling hills and sparkling waterways, surrounded by statuesque oak, elm, and hemlock trees. Enjoy the peaceful, gorgeous scenery of The Last Green Valley as you work on your back swing and play your best game of golf yet. Non-members can call ahead for available tee times and openings.

220 Holland Rd, Fiskdale, MA 01518

Learn Outside the Classroom

Those looking for an educational and leisurely outdoor excursion will find all that and more at Old Sturbridge Village. The largest outdoor living history museum in New England, OSV allows visitors to experience first-hand what life was like in the 1830’s. You’ll wonder if you traveled back in time as you walk through this quaint slice of early American life, where horse-drawn carriages roam the streets, farmhands tend to their livestock, and blacksmiths hammer away in coal forges. Guaranteed to be a delightful, unforgettable experience for history buffs and novices of all ages.

1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA 01566

Open-Air Yoga

Become one with nature and find your Zen at Metta Yoga. Buy a multi-class pass or simply drop in for an hour of energizing Dynamic Flow or relaxing “Slow-ga.” Their open-air studio allows you to practice your Downward Dog while taking in the fresh air and soothing sounds of rural Massachusetts. For a truly magical experience, sign up for their Sun Sally Flow session and start your day off with an enriching workout timed perfectly with the rising sun. Check their Facebook page for weekly class postings.

395 Sturbridge Rd., Route 20 Brimfield

Jam Out…Outside!

There’s nothing better than a warm summer night with music and laughter that fills the air. Unwind from your day on the Sturbridge Town Common, where you can enjoy a free, live concert every week during the summer. All you have to do is bring a lawn chair or blanket!

Check our Event Calendar for this year’s dates & times.

278 Main St, Sturbridge, MA 01566

https://www.sturbridge.gov/recreation/news/concerts-common

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

All of these and more can be found at Southwick’s Zoo, the largest private zoo in New England! Home to more than 850 animals, Southwick is well worth the 45-minute drive to nearby Mendon. Where else can you feed a pygmy goat, walk among a herd of deer, take a ski lift over an alligator pond, or ride a camel? With over 200 acres of habitat to explore, Southwick’s Zoo is a must-see for fans of wildlife and nature.

2 Southwick Street, Mendon, MA 01756

Get Your Apple a Day

Every fall, Hyland Orchard opens to the public for apple picking and autumnal festivities. Bring a picnic to eat on the lawn and enjoy some live music, or stop by the barn to pet some of its friendly residents. Then enjoy a classic hayride before you hunt through the orchard’s 1,500 trees for the perfect Macintosh Apple.

This year, Hyland’s Orchard Season begins on September 17, 2022, and they’ll be open every weekend after that for the rest of the fall season.

Visiting during the summertime? Stop by Cook’s Farm Orchard in neighboring Brimfield, where you can pick your own blueberries every Thursday and Sunday.

Hyland Orchard
199 Arnold Rd, Sturbridge, MA 01518

Cook’s Farm Orchard
106 Haynes Hill Rd, Brimfield, MA 01010

Race on Ice

In the winter, the Hamilton Rod & Gun Club is the site of a unique northern tradition: Ice Racing. Whether you’re spectating or participating, you’ll be pulled into the excitement of this event, which sees motorcycles, quads, ATV’s and more battle for supremacy on an icy, frozen pond. Follow their Facebook page for event updates, as races are subject to cancellation if weather is inclement. Race season begins in January and typically continues until March.

24 Hamilton Rd, Sturbridge, MA 01566

Brush Up on Your Archery Skills

Don’t let rainy weather ruin your plans for a fun, active weekend! Head to Bay Path Archers, located just over the border in Southbridge, where you can test your skills with a bow and arrow at their indoor range. Whether you’re interested in wielding a Crossbow, Recurve, Compound, or Long Bow, Bay Path has a wealth of instructors, friendly members, and resources to help visitors of all skill levels. Sign up for a lesson, membership, or simply drop by during public hours on Wednesday and Friday, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

243 Guelphwood Rd, Southbridge, MA 01550

Hit a Home Run!

..or at least cheer for one! Enjoy some peanuts and Cracker Jack at Polar Park, Worcester’s premier Minor League Stadium. Root for their home team, the Worcester Red Sox (aka the “WooSox”) as they take on the visiting competition. Guaranteed to be a fun day for the whole family!

100 Madison St, Worcester, MA 01608

Treat Yourself

After a long day spent on your feet, stop into town for a well-deserved feast. Sturbridge boasts a mind-boggling variety of restaurants that are sure to satisfy any palette, whether you’re looking for vegan, Italian, or anything in between.

If you’re leaving Leadmine Mountain or Old Sturbridge Village, you can easily find generous portions of southern-style, smoked barbecue right up the road at B.T.’s Smokehouse (btsmokehouse.com). Nearby is another noteworthy neighbor, Sturbridge Seafood, who proves that you don’t need to live on the coast in order to score a great bowl of chowder (sturbridgeseafood.com). On the western side of town is Manny’s Taqueria, a new addition to the culinary scene that is quickly becoming the neighborhood favorite for tasty tacos, burritos, bowls and more (mannys-taqueria.business.site).

If you’re looking to fuel up before a long day of exercise, we recommend starting bright and early at Annie’s Country Kitchen, where they serve classic American comfort food, cooked to perfection, at an unbeatable price (anniescountrykitchen.com).

For more information on where to dine, go to: https://www.sturbridge.gov/businesses/pages/business-directory

B.T.’s Smokehouse

Sturbridge Seafood

Annie’s Country Kitchen

Where To Stay

Wells State Park

For the full outdoors experience, stay under the stars at Wells State Park. With 60 camping spots and several ramp-accessible yurts, this campsite can accommodate many types of travelers. Whether it’s your first time pitching a tent or your fiftieth, you’ll love the all the amenities Wells Park has to offer, including 12 miles of hiking trails and a picturesque lake for swimming, boating and fishing. Each yurt is equipped with bunk beds, tables and chairs, in addition to water and electricity access. Regular campsites are outfitted with a fire ring and picnic table, so you can feast on your catch of the day before roasting marshmallows at night. For those looking to truly reconnect with the outdoors, this is the ultimate experience.

159 Walker Pond Rd, Sturbridge, MA 01566

Publick House

If you’re a fan of history, consider anchoring your outdoor adventure weekend with a stay at Publick House. Located just a few minutes from Old Sturbridge Village, the historic Publick House inn has stood on the Town Common for the past 230 years, serving travelers from near and far. After a long day of outdoor excursions, you’ll find there’s nothing better than relaxing in an 18th century atmosphere with 21st century amenities. A truly one-of-a-kind experience that you’ll only find in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

277 Main St, Sturbridge, MA 01566

Sturbridge has a number of lodging properties to accommodate all types of travel.  Following is a list of accommodations in Sturbridge:

Comfort Inn and Suites

Econo Lodge

Hampton Inn Express and Suites

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham

Publick House

Sturbridge Host Hotel Conference Center

Super 8 by Wyndham Sturbridge