Frequently Asked Questions About Sturbridge MA: Where Can I Find a Good Walk?
As a resident of Sturbridge, one of the most common questions people ask is:
Where can I go for a good walk?
The walkability factor of Sturbridge is something that needs to be improved. Being a small, rural town, sidewalks were not factored into the budget when streets were designed and built. Aside from the shopping and dining areas on Route 20, and the new sidewalk extending down Route 131, there are few areas with good lengths of sidewalk.
There are, however, several areas that provide a mix of on- and off-road walking. They are often populated with other walkers, although I always recommend bringing a friend. Here are some of my favorite walking spots in Sturbridge:
Photo: Carpenter's Rock in Wells State Park
1. Westville Recreation Area. There is a wonderful, easy walking loop in this park. It is about 2 miles long, so you could certainly do it twice if you want a good one-hour walk. It is quite scenic, as it circles Westville Lake and is a popular spot with walkers. To get there, take Route 131 southbound. Turn right onto Wallace Road, which is just past the Fiske Hill shopping plaza (Savers Bank is on the corner). Follow Wallace Road until you see the entrance to Westville on the left. The parking area is near the entrance, on the left, as is the entrance to the walking path. And there is also a walking path to the right. This is also a quiet spot to walk, but if you are worried about being in the park alone then I'd recommend taking the loop around the lake.
2. Tantasqua High School Track and Junior High Trails. The Senior and Junior High Schools are located on Route 148/Brookfield Road. The high school has a nice track in a sunny spot. You can also walk the school grounds for some variety, and cross over to the Junior High grounds as well. FYI, there are some trails behind the Junior High that some folks walk on. The cross country team uses these for their training. I've not yet explored them but you might give them a try.
3. Wells State Park. The paved park roads in Wells State Park make for some nice walking with varied terrain. You can either buy a year-long membership to the state parks system or just pay the entry fee each time you go. The entrance is located off of Route 49 on the east side of Sturbridge, past the Hobbs Brook plaza. One of my favorite trails exists in Wells. It is about a one-mile hike up to Carpenter's Rock - a great place to go and look off into the distance.
4. Route 20. The commercial district of Route 20 can be fun once in a while. Avoid rush-hour times, though, as that tends to get noisy and drivers are not looking for walkers. Saturday and Sunday mornings are good, and you'll see other walkers and runners out at these times. This time of year, there may still be some sand blowing around from the winter snows, so keep that in mind. You can park at the cemetery on Arnold Road, just past Village Music, on some of the side streets, or just ask the local business owners if it's okay to leave your car in their lot for an hour from time to time.
5. Old Sturbridge Village. Did you know that residents of Sturbridge have free entry to Old Sturbridge Village, unless there is a special event going on? The grounds of OSV make for some great walking, and there are also small paths up and down the hills. Very pleasant to walk.
6. Opacum Woods and The Preserve. The Opacum Land Trust has a walking trail in the neighborhood of Sturbridge known as The Preserve. You can park at the trail head, walk in the woods, and then also walk the streets of The Preserve. To get there, take Route 20 to New Boston Road. Turn right onto Preserve Way, and follow that along to Old Brook Circle. Park at the end of Old Brook Circle (it is a cul-de-sac), and you will see the trail head for Opacum Woods.
Do you have any favorite walks in Sturbridge that you would like to share? Feel free to post them here for all to read.
Submitted by your neighborhood specialist,
Resident, REALTOR, and Self-Appointed Town Promoter
Photos copyright 2011 Kathryn Acciari
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