Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Sturbridge This Fall

Posted: September 17, 2019

Escape to the country this fall and chase those fading colors with a weekend getaway in Sturbridge, Mass. In this quaint village, you’ll learn about colonial history, shop local artist wares, and be introduced to your favorite new brew.

Enjoy The Crisp Fall Weather

Give in to the magic of New England in the fall and indulge your eyes with some stunning leaf peeping. One of the more tucked-away spots to view the changing colors is at the top of Hyland Orchards. Families will enjoy a petting zoo for the kids, and the orchard’s property abuts Rapscallion Brewery and an 18 basket disc golf course.

Continue your outdoor activities at one of Sturbridge’s numerous nature reserves. Wells State Park tops the list. A Massachusetts State Park, the site features campgrounds, a boat ramp, restrooms, and multiple hiking paths. A perennial favorite is Carpenter Rocks that provides vista views across miles of south-central Massachusetts.

Attend a Traditional New England Event 

While every day is an adventure at Old Sturbridge Village, fall is when the living history museum really comes alive. Between Sept. 27 and Nov. 3, guests are invited to relive the haunting tale of Sleepy Hollow with an after-dark musical theater-inspired tour.

A month later, OSV welcomes Thanksgiving like no other. Stroll through the museum’s extensive grounds and learn about Thanksgiving traditions, watch as families prepare roasts and pies, and harvest vegetables from the gardens before the bountiful feast that awaits.

Find a Unique Gift or Souvenir 

Indulge your inner ornithologist at The Bird Store & More. Chock full of birdhouses and seed varieties, bird baths and bird watching journals; this shop helps nature enthusiasts find ways to stay outdoors as the leaves turn and beyond. For those with a sweet tooth and a little ingenuity, small-scale bee-keeping supplies are sold in-store.

Lacking color on your table? Sturbridge Pottery sells local, artisan-crafted serving dishes, vases, and even lamps in spectrums that wow. Imagine serving your next Thanksgiving dinner on an elaborate array of platters, bowls, and plates as colorful as the menu itself. Founded in 1976, all Sturbridge Pottery stoneware and porcelain are hand-built by owners Gary and Ann Malone. Each piece is fired in a kiln to 1,800 degrees for 12 hours, followed by glaze and a second firing for 30 hours.

Indulge in Award-Winning BBQ and Fine Cuisine

Award-winning BBQ is right around the corner from Old Sturbridge Village. Known for their dry-rubbed, slow-smoked (up to 14 hours!) meats, 12-year-old B.T.’s Smokehouse is a staple among locals and tourists. Anthony Bourdain even stopped in for the famed BBQ. Read the entire menu and discover whole, marinated chicken wings (a meal unto themselves), chili, and even a chop salad with BBQ chicken. Closed on Mondays, BT’s is BYOB and Tree House Brewing Co. is just across the town line.

Step into a modern take on Japanese cuisine at Baba Sushi’s second location. At 453 Main St., guests are invited to dine on both sushi (everything from nigiri to sashimi to maki) and hot pot. Similar to hibachi, hot pot features raw ingredients cooked at your table, but done so in a flavored broth. Baba Sushi’s Basic Broth consists of beef, chicken, pork, scallion, and ginger. Don’t pass up the bar featuring a creative selection of martinis, cocktails, and sake.

While The Duck and Avellino are both situated in the same building and owned by the same management group (The Duck is upstairs and Avellino is downstairs) - they represent differing cuisines. Avellino’s menu centers on fresh produce paired with seasonally-designed protein mains such as maple-seared scallops and chicken piccata. Fine dining is made accessible at The Duck with its duck l’orange and braised lamb shank. But it’s The Duck’s sunken bar where you can often meet local craft brewers, making it a must-stop. Featuring an open kitchen space, the chef-led cooking classes cover even more ground than the menus. Sunday dinner tips will be reviewed on Oct. 17 and on Nov. 14 during their Go Wild Game & Beer Dinner.

Try a New Craft Beer Experience 

When in Rome … enjoy a New England-style IPA, among additional libations, at one of the town’s many breweries.

  • Kids and parents alike will enjoy Rapscallion Brewery. Abutting Hyland Orchard, the brewery has an in-house food truck, offers seasonal on-tap favorites like their flagship honey extra pale ale, seasonal O-Fest German-style marzen and Noble birch ale. They even brew their own root beer!
  • Drive around the rear of a former industrial building turned commercial coop to find Altruist Brewing Co. A country-chic spot with frequent live music and weekly trivia contests, be sure to order the locally-inspired Exit 9 and Fiske Ale beers named after regional landmarks.

Stay in a Historic Inn with an Old Fashioned Bake Shoppe

Fancy a step back in time? A bake shop with a seemingly endless menu of cakes, cookies, and desserts? Oh, and a spacious, historically-inspired room? Founded in 1771, the Publick House is an institution in this quaint Massachusetts village. Priding itself on “good old fashioned Yankee hospitality,” the hotel features a pool, reception halls, and two dining options. Located across from the town common, the hotel is steps away from retail and (through Oct. 6) the Sturbridge Farmers Market Sunday mornings from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.