A dash of colonial history at Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts

Growing up in the west, most of my history education centered around Native Americans and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Sure, I learned the basics of what life was like in colonial times, but life on the plains or in mining towns of Montana was very different from life in New England. Fortunately I was able to visit quite a few historical places of interest during my time in New England, including Old Sturbridge Village.

Located in Sturbridge Massachusetts, just a few minutes from the Connecticut state line, Old Sturbridge Village is the largest living history museum in all of New England. Here, late 18th and early 19th century rural New England is brought to life with demonstrations of everyday tasks such as blacksmithing, gardening, food preparation, musket firing and milling. (They have a carding mill, a grist mill, and a sawmill, all of which are still fully functional.)

Carding Mill
Grist Mill

Pat and I spent two Saturdays here in late summer 2017 (admission is good for 10 days so we went two weekends in a row), giving us time to fully explore everything that Sturbridge Village has to offer. This includes walking through the old buildings, watching the demonstrations, touring the museum and visitor center, taking a horse-drawn carriage ride, and trying our hand at some old-fashioned yard games. Pat was much better at the yard games than I was.


Their website says three hours is an average visit time, but I would say this is only accurate if you don’t plan to read the signs and exhibits or watch any demonstrations.

A few additional photos from our visit are below and should give an idea of what to expect if you decide to spend a day exploring Old Sturbridge Village!


The Important Stuff:

  • Getting there: located a few minutes from the junction of Highway 20 and I-84 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts
  • Fees and passes: admission is $28/person for adults, with reduced rates for children, students, and seniors
  • Hours: vary throughout the year; for current hours, visit their website
  • Other: most of the village is outside with minimal shade, so come prepared for the weather!

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