Good Tidings & Cheer in Sturbridge

Make your days merry and bright this season with a festive weekend in Sturbridge, MA.  

Better yet, take the holiday stress off your hands and plan to spend them with us! From traditional meals roasted over an open fire to ice skating under the city lights, you’ll find there is no place like Sturbridge for the holidays.

Day One

Do Some Last Minute Gift Shopping

Sturbridge makes it easy to cross names off your gift list, even for the most difficult-to-shop-for friends. Find seasonal decor, unique collectibles, and fun stocking stuffers at Sturbridge Flea Market, and be sure to browse Sadie Green’s dazzling array of sea glass and vintage-inspired jewelry. Fans of RC planes and model trains will love a gift from Hog Heaven Hobbies, while a hand-sculpted, kiln-fired statement piece from Sturbridge Pottery is perfect for the fine art lover in your life.

Sturbridge Flea Market

Sadie Green's Curiosity Shop

Hog Heaven Hobbies

Sturbridge Pottery

Break for Lunch

On a cold winter’s day, nothing will warm you up better than a piping hot bowl of soup or creamy New England chowder. Stop by the Soup To Nuts Café in Sturbridge Marketplace for a ladleful, or indulge in one of their famous baked quiches.

Enjoy a “Christmas By Candlelight” at Old Sturbridge Village

This December, go back to simpler times and rediscover the true meaning of the holidays. Stop by Old Sturbridge Village for Christmas by Candlelight to see how early Americans celebrated Christmas in the 1800s – during a time when the country was rapidly changing, and families had to make the most of what they had, including each other. Experience this cherished tradition of Sturbridge as you walk through the bustling town and watch its merry inhabitants tackle traditional holiday preparations, like wreath and ornament making, stocking knitting and cooking for the Christmas feast! Enjoy an enchanting stroll through the decorated town and surrounding countryside on the Christmas Tree Trail. Then warm yourself up with an inviting bonfire before going for an exhilarating ride in a horse-drawn carriage! Come join the festivities and see why Old Sturbridge Village has become a holiday tradition for thousands of families across New England.   


Judge Some Decorations

Before you head to dinner, do your civic duty and help judge some holiday decorations. Light Up Sturbridge is a community-wide competition to find the town’s best, most impressive holiday display, as chosen by the townspeople. Grab some hot cocoa from Saw Dust Coffee House to keep you focused, and follow the map of participating houses provided on the town website. Then vote online and make your opinions known! Do you prefer a house with a thousand multi-colored lights? Or one with an army of blow-up Santas? Only you can decide. 

Warm up by the Fire at Publick House

After a long day outside, there’s no better place to warm up and chow down than Publick House, the iconic 18th-century inn that overlooks the Town Common. Step back in time at the inn’s Historic Tap Room, where guests have been dining and socializing for nearly 250 years. With its original hardwood flooring and antique “post & beam” ceiling, this room oozes colonial charm; but the real attraction is the gigantic, six-foot-long fireplace, whose open hearth will warm even the coldest of travelers. Enjoy generous portions of traditional New England comfort food, like the Yankee Pot Roast, or reserve a table for one of their legendary holiday feasts (see below).

** Insider Tip: Holidays at Publick House
It’s been a stressful year, so why not let someone else handle the hosting, cooking, and cleanup this year? Celebrate Christmas and New Year’s all at Publick House, where you can expect nothing but “good old-fashioned, home-cooked food” served in the “perfect ambiance.” 

Spend the Night in Sturbridge

Publick House

If you just indulged in a massive dinner at Publick House, chances are you don’t want to travel far to find a bed to collapse in. Fortunately, Publick House has an array of accommodations that are just as charming, quaint and comforting as their fireside dining. Relax and enjoy 21st-century amenities in a delightful 18th-century atmosphere. 

There may be no place like home for the holidays, but with 250 years of hosting experience, Publick House is the next best thing (in fact, as you collapse on your bed, basking in the knowledge that you won’t have to wash a single dish or vacuum a single floor, you just might say it’s even better).


Sturbridge Host Hotel + Conference Center

Tucked away on the shores of Cedar Lake, Sturbridge Host Hotel is perfect for those looking for a quiet, scenic retreat after dealing with the holiday hustle and bustle. As you take in the picturesque views along their private lakeside beach, you’ll feel miles away from it all (even though this hidden gem is just a few minutes from Main Street and some of the best dining in the downtown area).

** Insider Tip

Need a fun plan for New Year’s Eve? Ditch the crowds and huge parties and opt instead for a cozy Sturbridge getaway with a few of your closest friends!  Host your private mini bash in one of Sturbridge Host Hotel’s luxurious suites, which boast multiple rooms, a large private patio, and an outdoor fire pit. Cater your countdown with beverages from Altruist Brewing Company and food from Encrico’s Brick Oven Pizza or B.T.’s Smokehouse.

Day Two

Start Your Day Right

Treat yourself to a delicious, homestyle breakfast at Annie’s Country Kitchen, where they serve classic American comfort food, cooked to perfection, at an unbeatable price.


Lace Up Your Skates

Ice skating is a timeless holiday tradition, and there’s no better place for it than The Worcester Common Oval. Located just 25 minutes away in downtown Worcester, the oval is well worth the trip: at 12,000 square feet, it’s over 4,000 feet bigger than NYC’s famous Rockefeller Center. Rent a pair of skates, grab a treat from the snack stand, and let the holiday music and festive lights set the mood as you carve up the ice. 


Grab a Snack

A newfound staple of the Sturbridge café scene, Saw Dust Coffee House serves up more than just cups of joe. If you need a hearty pick-me-up, you can stop by to fuel up on savory panini’s, quiches, sandwiches, fresh baked goods and much more!


Brush It Off

Get into the holiday spirit at Brush It Off, Sturbridge’s famous “paint and sip” studio. Stop by during the day for Open Paint hours, when you can paint your own custom ornament, figurine, and canvas masterpiece! Or simply reserve a spot in one of their group classes, where you’ll follow step-by-step professional instructions to paint a dazzling holiday scene. 


Winter Wonderland at Southwick Zoo

For one last holiday hurrah, take a drive to Southwick Zoo, the largest private zoo in New England, for their Winter Wonderland.  Enjoy their annual Festival of Illumination from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle as you drive through the Frozen Forest. Afterwards, you can park your car and walk around Santa’s Enchanted Village, where you can enjoy yummy snacks, performances under the Cirque de Illumination tent, and a meet and greet with the big man himself!