Worcester, MA might seem a little off the beaten path, but this suburb of Boston, located near central Massachusetts, is beyond charming and is the perfect place to spend a few days away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The city is known as the “Heart of the Commonwealth,” since it is so close to the center of the state, and, if you visit, you will see the full extent of the city’s heart.
A Little History of the Area
The area was first inhabited by the peoples of the Nimpuc tribe. The Commonwealth of Worcester was established in 1722 and named after Worcester, England. In the 1770s, Worcester was a center of the Revolutionary War; in fact, the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence happened on the site of what is today the City Hall. Many innovative inventions were developed in Worcester. The first modern-day typewriter was patented in 1843 by resident Charles Thurber. Also, the monkey wrench was invented in 1840 by Loring Coes.
Museums and Historical Sites
Worcester is a historical city, and there are plenty of sites to see if you’re a history buff.
The Worcester Historical Museum is probably the best place to start. In addition to a wide collection of artifacts that represent the city’s history, the Museum houses a library with thousands of books, maps, and historical documents. Throughout the year, the Museum hosts lots of events, so if you’re visiting, be sure to check their events calendar.
An extension of the Historical Museum is Salisbury Mansion. Salisbury Mansion was built in 1772 as a private home and store. Throughout the centuries, it was used as a rooming-house, gentlemen’s club, and private residence. Today, the Mansion serves as a museum where you can learn about the history of Worcester and how the city went from an agricultural town to an industrial hub.
You might call Worcester a city of monuments and memorials! For instance, when you visit, you’ll see an 1861 monument to Timothy Bigelow, a renowned Revolutionary War officer. Then there’s Bancroft Tower, which was built in 1900 to commemorate George Bancroft. This 56-foot-high tower is built in the style of old castles and is located in Salisbury Park. Burnside Fountain depicts a boy riding a sea turtle, hence its nickname: “Turtle Boy.” This fountain once served as a public watering trough for horses in the town. While no longer a functioning fountain, this sculpture is still an impressive work of art. Last, but not least, is the impressive Soldiers’ Monument, which is located in Worcester Common and honors local Civil War heroes.
Relax and Explore
If you are a golf enthusiast or just enjoy spending time outdoors, take time to enjoy Green Hill Park and Golf Course. This park is over 480 acres and offers many family fun activities. There are two ponds, a zoo, a playground, handball courts, and, of course, the 18-hole golf course.
Wildlife lovers will surely enjoy visiting the Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Conservation and Wildlife Sanctuary. This conservation center has many trails through woods, streams, and fields. With 400 acres, it is the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England. Be sure to check the Sanctuary’s calendar, as there are plenty of programs and classes to participate in.
Planning Your Visit
If you’re planning a visit to Worcester, remember to keep the basics in mind! Of course, you’ll also need to plan the little things: restaurants, gift shops, evening entertainment, etc. It’s also essential to plan how you’ll get there and how you’ll get around once you’re there.
If you plan to be hiking, or if you’re with a group, make sure to have some contingency and emergency plans available to you. Know where the nearest hospital is, should you sustain an injury while hiking. If you’re with a group, it’s essential to be able to communicate, especially if you split up. Find nearby AT&T stores in Massachusetts, so that if someone’s phone gets lost or broken you can easily replace it.
Once you know where you’ll be staying, how you’ll get there, and what you want to experience, you’ll find Worcester to be an excellent place to decompress and indulge in your inner outdoors-person or history buff!