Families who want to experience life in times past will be enthralled by Old Sturbridge Village, just an hour's drive outside of Boston. The largest outdoor living-history museum in the northeast, Old Sturbridge Village brings to life an 1830s New England rural community, down to the smallest details.
Its 200 acres contain 40 exhibits, including authentically restored homes, gardens, and meetinghouses; a working farm; a district school; and blacksmith, pottery, and tin shops. Costumed artisans go about their work as they would have in 1830: Shoemakers stitch shoes, tinsmiths decorate lanterns, and blacksmiths forge farm equipment.
Children can play historic games on the commons, such as hoops and graces or cup and ball. In the Samson's Children's Museum, kids can try on period costumes and practice writing on slates in an old-time schoolhouse. Music programs, storytelling, and crafts are regularly featured.
There are special activities depending on the season. Spring has budding flowers, as well as newborn lambs, piglets, and calves. In summer, families can take a boat ride along the Quinebaug River or an after-hours horse-drawn carriage ride.
Old Sturbridge Village Information
Address: 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge, MA
Telephone: 508/347-3362; 800/SEE-1830
Hours of Operation:
- Mar.-May: 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tues. - Sun
- May-Oct.: 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., daily
- Oct.-Apr.: 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Tues. - Sun.
Admission: $20 adults; $6 kids
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.