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  • Things to Do 

  • The North Quabbin offers endless possibilities of activities no matter your interest. 
    Experience live performances and exceptional arts. Enjoy fresh local foods and refreshing locally  crafted drinks. Dive into the history of the Quabbin and surrounding towns. Get outdoors and discover your next adventure on beautiful trails, watersheds and preserves. Or participate in one of a kind events and festivals. 

  • Arts & Culture

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  • 1794 Meetinghouse

    New Salem, MA
    A cultural center in north central Massachusetts. The historic meetinghouse, located in central Massachusetts, presents a diverse range of musical concerts and performing arts events.


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  • The Center at Eagle Hill

    Hardwick, MA
    The Center is a place to celebrate the culture of Central Massachusetts and beyond. The Center provides a new venue for learning, creating, exhibiting, performing, and enjoying art.


  • Other Live Performances Other Live Performances

    Friendly Town Live

    Orange Community Band

    Stage on Main

    Tool Town Live

    Starry Starry Night
    New Years Eve

    Tool Town Open Mic

    Wendell Full Moon Coffeehouse

    Barre Players Theater

    The Village Lyceum

  • Historical Societies and Museums Historical Societies and Museums

    Athol Historical Society

    1307 South Main St
    Athol, MA 01331

    Barre Historical Society


    Harvard Forest Fisher Museum

    324 N Main St
    Petersham, MA 01366

    Phillipston Historical Museum

    50 State Rd
    Phillipston, MA

    Orange Historical Society

    41 N Main St
    Orange, MA

    Engine House Museum

    Main Street (Route 2)
    Erving, MA

    Petersham Historical Society

    10 North Main Street
    Petersham, MA

    Royalston Historical Society

    2 Athol Road
    Royalston, MA

    Swift River Valley Historical Society

    40 Elm Street
    New Salem, MA

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  • Fitchburg Art Museum

    The Fitchburg Art Museum is a catalyst for learning, creativity, and community building. They accomplish this mission with art historical collections and exhibitions, special exhibitions of contemporary New England art, adult and youth education programs, public art projects, community partnerships, and creative economy initiatives.
    185 Elm Street
    Fitchburg, MA 01420

  • Local Artists and Artisans Local Artists and Artisans

    Bill Byrne Michael Humphries Woodworking
    Blue Dog Leather and Saddles  Mitchell R Grosky Photography 
    Bob Ellis Mike Phillips Photography
    Bonnie House Mountain cat Trees
    Brian Hall New England Fiber Arts
    Carole Moisan  New Moon Traditions
    Cayoni Nicol Wander
    CC's Rugs Pearson's Pagoda
    CMD Wood creations Petersham Boards & Bowls Inc
    Colonial Hill Alpaca Farm Peter/Ross creative Photopgraphy
    Dale Monette Petersham Leathers 
    David Brothers Photos From the Valley
    David Buddington Popple Camp Alpaca Farm
    Doug Feeney Woodworking R. Sacco Oil on Canvas
    Edward Hastings R. Bruce Cannon
    Flora-Ly Rachel's Everlastings
    Good Dirt Pottery Renaissance Girl Artwork
    Helen R Harddad Ron Jacobs-Rustic Wood Creations
    Jeff's Custom Work Samuel Scherer
    John Burk Sara-Anne Photography
    Julie Pepper Scott Design
    Kim Bolton Sean & Helen Franchi
    Leni Gaudet Shirley Lewis
    Lorraine 'Lori' Flye Susan Paju
    Lou's Upcycles Susan Paquet
    Lydia Grey  Susan Pepper Aisenberg
    M.E. Kane Teresa Bovino
    Madsahara Art Tom Kellner Sculpture and Design
    Marcia Berkall Art White Picket Studio


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  • http://www.northquabbinphotography.com/
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  • Out to the Farms & Fields

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  • Quabbin Harvest

    Quabbin Harvest seeks to provide healthy food at an affordable price while building community, supporting local agriculture, and respecting the natural environment.

    12 N Main St, Orange, Massachusetts 01364


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  • The Farm School

    Over the fourteen years since it first began providing practical farm training for adults, the Farm School’s Learn to Farm program has graduated over 100 students into lives enriched by agriculture.

    488 Moore Hill Rd., Athol, MA 01331


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  • Seeds of Solidarity

    Seeds of Solidarity Education Center is a non-profit organization that ‘awakens the power of youth, schools, and families to Grow Food Everywhere. To…create resilient lives and communities.’

    165 Chestnut Hill Road Orange MA, 01364


  • The Red Apple Farm The Red Apple Farm

    The Red Apple Farm is a fourth generation family farm, bringing its fresh variety of apple treats and produce to the North Quabbin and Boston Public Market. Experience an old, scenic New England farmstead with plenty of things to see, taste, and experience! Pick your own apples, pumpkins and more. Enjoy, fresh baked goods, apple cider, apple cider donuts, homemade fudge, and more year round! 


    455 Highland Ave, Phillipston MA
    Open daily (in season) 9am-6pm
    Also visit their location at the Boston Public Market!


  • Wineries & Breweries Wineries & Breweries

    Honest Weight Artisan Brewery
    131 West Main St, Orange

    Hardwick Winery
    3305 Greenwich Rd, Hardwick

    Home Fruit Wine
    382 South Main St, Orange

    Quabbin Sky Vineyard
    8 Hunt Rd, New Salem

    Carter and Stevens 
    500 West St, Barre

  • More Agritourism Sites More Agritourism Sites

    Adams Farm

    Carter and Stevens 

    Dean’s Bean

    Diemand Farm

    Hamilton Orchards
    New Salem

    Johnson’s Farm

    Little White Goat Dairy

    New Salem Preserves & Orchard
    New Salem

    Niemi’s Apiary

    Hartman’s Herb Farm

    New Salem Preserves
    New Salem

    Robinson Farm

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  • Annual Events

  • Starry Starry Night Starry Starry Night

    Starry Starry Night is the North Quabbin region’s New Year’s Eve celebration, attracting area residents and acclaimed performers for the last 20 years. Set in downtown Orange and several prominent venues in the immediate area, Starry Starry Night offers a truly unique blend of free entertainment for all ages to enjoy. The musical lineup includes musicians specializing in  jazz, Celtic folk, traditional folk, Americana, world music, and reggae/hip hop/funk. There are magicians, dancers, jugglers and stand up comics. And the fun doesn’t end there. Orange’s Memorial Park is the site of beautifully-crafted ice sculptures, and at the nearby Orange Fire Station participants can buy hot chocolate or sign up for a hayride. A grand puppet parade through downtown Orange, followed by a fireworks display set over the Millers River conclude the festive night.


  • Tool Town Live & Friendly Town Live Tool Town Live & Friendly Town Live

    Bearing the nickname of the town of Athol, Tool Town Live is an August and September concert series held at various outdoor venues such as the Athol Uptown Common and Fish Park; concerts move to the Athol Town Hall in the event of rain. Established in 2004, this string of free events features prominent area musicians and periodically books regionally-acclaimed talent. Past performers include local residents Ethan Stone, who is also the series’ director; Colin Boutwell, and Hillary Chase, as well as the regionally-lauded Zoe Darrow and the Fiddle Heads and the nationally-recognized Jonathan Edwards. The series kicks off in May and runs through June in Orange, affectionately nicknamed “Friendly Town.” The late spring early summer concerts are performed on the band gazebo in Butterfield park or in the Orange town hall in case of rain.

  • Orange Solstice Riverfest Orange Solstice Riverfest

    This June event brings together residents and businesses throughout the North Quabbin region to celebrate the summer solstice. Held at Orange’s Riverfront Park, with the Millers River as a backdrop, the Orange Solstice Riverfest takes full advantage of its locale. Beginning in late afternoon attendees are treated to an array of spectacles including an illuminated parade of boats, floating fire pits in the river, and Jumptown parachute jumpers. In addition, the event features a bonfire and such activities as yoga by the water, pony rides, and rock climbing; area musicians and food vendors help contribute to the local feel. The Orange Solstice Riverfest was established in part to attract tourists to Orange and the entire North Quabbin region. Visitors are encouraged to spend the weekend at one of the region’s many campgrounds or bed and breakfasts. With stunning displays and fun for the whole family, this event is sure to leave a lasting impression on North Quabbin residents and tourists alike.



  • The Rabbit Run The Rabbit Run

    The Rabbit Run combines competition and fitness with the superb scenery of the North Quabbin region, and in particular the Quabbin Reservoir. This 10K foot race and three-mile walk commences at the historic New Salem Common and continues through the Quabbin’s pristine woodlands. Entrants are divided into age groups, and prizes are awarded to the winners of each division. Open to people of all ages and fitness levels, the Rabbit Run also includes a lottery drawing for all participants, held after the completion of the race. This race through the Quabbin is professionally timed with Accu-Spec technology and benefits the Town of New Salem Playground Committee.

  • Thanksgiving Harvest Festival Thanksgiving Harvest Festival

    Since 2003, the Red Apple Farm in Phillipston has opened its doors to North Quabbin and North Central Massachusetts residents for a Harvest Festival in celebration of the Thanksgiving season. The festival features fresh crops and products for the Thanksgiving table, live music from noted area musicians, and countless farm-related activities and contests. Specifically, the Red Apple Farm holds an event dubbed the “Harvest X-Games;” this series of events is comprised of pole tossing and hay bale tossing, an archery turkey shoot, brewing competitions, and a 5K run/walk. In keeping with the theme of the holiday season, the Red Apple Farm offers half-priced admission for attendees who bring a non-perishable food donation. These donations are then used to support local food pantries. With low-cost admission and fun for all ages, the Thanksgiving Harvest Festival is a must-attend event.


  • Garlic and Arts Festival Garlic and Arts Festival

    Affectionately referred to as “the festival that stinks,” the Garlic and Arts Festival held every fall brings together North Quabbin agricultural vendors, local residents, and tourists from far and wide. Held at the spacious Forster’s Farm near Lake Mattawa in Orange, the festival attracts hundreds of vendors representing dozens of categories of goods including food, agricultural, crafts and art, affordable admission and entertainment, educational talks, and locally-grown food for attendees of all ages. The festival is an opportunity for area residents to support sustainable agriculture in the North Quabbin region and learn how to both reduce consumption and use renewable forms of energy. Organizers have made the festival almost entirely green through the use of recyclables and compostable items. The festival is attended by several thousand.


  •  Orange Community Band Series Orange Community Band Series

    The Orange Community Band Summer Friday Concert Series is a summer tradition in the town of Orange. On Fridays during the summer months, local residents convene at the Butterfield Park bandstand to listen to the music of the Orange Community band and enjoy vendors and refreshments. Typically led by Master of Ceremonies Tim Sweeney, this free concert series is fun for everyone, young and old.

  • The River Rat Race & Big Cheese 5K The River Rat Race & Big Cheese 5K

    The River Rat Race is a one-of-a-kind canoe racing event along the Millers River, beginning in Athol and concluding in Orange. With a strong current and hundreds of canoes, the race presents a challenge to even the most-seasoned of canoe racers who must maneuver through a myriad of novice tandems. Every year in April entrants of all ages and abilities make the eight-mile trek from Athol to Orange. The 51-year-old race also attracts racers from throughout the Northeast and across the country. The weekend-long festivities begin in Athol with the Big Cheese 5K, a family-friendly road race to raise money for the North Quabbin Food-a-Thon and the Franklin County Health Care Corp. Meals on Wheels Walkathon. Following the 5K is the annual parade known as the River Rat Promenade. Throughout the weekend, Athol also plays host to a carnival near the race-launch site, and Orange holds a celebration at Riverfront Park, the site of the finish line. Quite possibly the most popular event in the North Quabbin region, the River Rat Race is a fun time for families and people of all ages.


  • Tully Lake Triathlon Tully Lake Triathlon

    Tully Lake Triathlon is an intensive 17-mile competition set in and around Royalston’s 200- acre lake and campground. This October triathlon consists of a 5-mile canoe paddle, a 7.5 mile bike ride, and a 4.5-mile run. Those interested in participating can enter as individuals, or teams of two, three, or four people. As is the case with other outdoor events in the area, the natural scenery of the North Quabbin region is on full display in this recent addition to the fall slate of community events. Tully Lake Triathlon coincides with the final camping weekend of the season, and entrants, who receive a 20 percent discount on lodging, are encouraged to stay at Tully Lake Campground. The festivities also include a free concert following the culmination of the triathlon, assorted local food vendors, and an award ceremony.


  • The Engine-uity Show The Engine-uity Show

    Every summer since 1976, the Engine-uity Show has returned Orange to its roots for a weekend as the home of the country’s first automobile factory. The Orange Airport plays host to a vast presentation of antique engines, tractors, cars, trucks, steam engines, and machinery. Throughout the weekend, this event features a flea market, a live steam table, a kiddie tractor pull, a tractor parade, and a gas engine raffle; a petting zoo and ample food concessions round out the show’s amenities. With its wide-open space and pleasant scenery, the Orange Airport is an ideal venue for the Engine Show. Affordable admission and classic/modern vehicles to view and purchase make this event appealing to a broad audience.

  • History


    When the Quabbin Reservoir was built in the 1930s to provide clean water for Metropolotain Boston, the Swift River Valley Towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were taken by the state. What has been called and "accidental wilderness" was created as a watershed - 119,000 acers in all. The Haunting memory of the "Lost Towns" is an important part of the North Quabbin region's heritage. You can visit the Swift River Valley Historical Society museum to see preserved memorabilia from the lost towns.  

    Read more about the lost towns of the Quabbin. 

  • North Quabbin Driving Tour North Quabbin Driving Tour

    Orange, also known as the Friendly Town, is the starting point for your North Quabbin Adventure! Start at Trail Head in Orange center where you can pick up maps for the entire region as well as supplies and grab a bite at the Millers River Café. Take South Main Street/Rte. 122, and you will immediately see Orange Memorial Park on your left. Visit the official Peace Statue of the Commonwealth, a 12 foot bronze statue of a soldier and a young boy with the inscription “It shall not happen again.” It’s also the site for the annual New Year’s Eve festival Starry Starry Night. Nearby, take a stroll in the newly renovated Butterfield Park, then cross over to The Community Boathouse, at 25 East River Street. It offers a wide variety of activities and affordable canoe and kayak rentals. The annual Orange Solstice RiverFest takes place in June on the Millers River featuring arts, crafts, food and music. At dusk floating fire pits are lit, and the boat parade starts, with decorated and illuminated vessels. Another annual event is the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival in September. Also known as the festival that stinks, it celebrates community spirit, agriculture, food, arts, crafts, music-and of course garlic!


    Community Boat House in Orange

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    Garlic and Arts Festival

    For more adventure, head down East River Street to Orange Municipal Airport and visit Jumptown the oldest skydiving club in the country and take a dive! In case you brought your four-legged friend, the North Quabbin Dog Park is located near the airport. Open dawn to dusk, and at no charge, let your dog play and have fun too! The annual Yankee Engine-uety Show is held in June every year at the airport.

    Jumptown in Orange

    Quintessential New Salem awaits your visit! Take Rte. 122 South out of Orange to Rte. 202 towards New Salem. It may be time for refreshments and the New Salem Country Store offers both freshly made sandwiches and pastries, a variety of beverages, and a covered outside picnic area. The store also hosts the wildly popular Hilltown Brewfest every September bringing dozens of craft brewers together for a massive tasting.

    Continue two miles further on Rte. 202, turn left onto Cooleyville Road (the third with same name), and continue to Hunt Road and the Quabbin Sky Vineyard. They offer free wine tastings with wines for sale on site.

    Sandy mallet New Salem Quabbin Overlook

    New Salem overlook of the Quabbin

    Now turn around and backtrack on Rte. 202, and opposite the Country Store, take a right onto North  Main Street, and Historic New Salem Common. Enjoy the picturesque landscape and farms, or relax to music and cultural events at the 1794 Meetinghouse. The 1794 Meetinghouse is a beautiful Greek revival building built in 1794 as a church and a public gathering place. Today it is known for offering outstanding musical and cultural programs of wide appeal during the summer.  Continue down South Main Street, and you will encounter New Salem Preserves, an apple orchard with 125-year-old apple trees and an all-organic policy. Check out the overlook view of the Quabbin Reservoir as you head down the road to Quabbin Gate 25. The Quabbin is a premier wildlife habitat and human visitor haven, with 25,000 acres of water surrounded by 81,000 acres of beautiful, protected watershed lands. It is also a birder’s paradise. Eagles were returned to the Quabbin in the 1980s, and today they, and a myriad of other birds, live or stop by the reservoir and adjacent land. Head back towards the store and turn right back onto Rte. 202 South then turn right onto Rte. 122 towards Petersham. Right after this intersection, make a stop at Quabbin Gate 30. The hiking trail from the gate crosses the lovely arched Keystone Bridge, built by hand in 1866. From the bridge, a fisherman’s trail leads east along the river to the Quabbin Reservoir.

    1794 Meeting House in New Salem

    As you get back on Rte. 122, be ready to take a left onto Rte. 32 towards Petersham. The town common welcomes you, and a must visit is the Petersham Country Store. Freshly prepared food made with locally sourced ingredients, eat in or take out. Following Rte. 32 towards Athol, the Petersham Craft Center and Gallery is on your left. Find that special gift made by a local artisan or take a class! Along Rte. 32, the Clamber Hill Inn and Restaurant is located on your left, opposite the sign for Rte. 101. They offer overnights, wine and whiskey tastings and a first-class restaurant open Thursday through Saturday.

    Clamber Hill Inn & Restaurant

    Clamber Hill Inn & Restaurant in Petersham

    Just a few miles down the road you will find the Petersham Curling Club, one of just three in the entire state followed by the Harvard Forest and Fisher Museum. The 3,700 acre forest is operated by Harvard University and has a museum and lectures as well as hiking and cross-country skiing.

    Take Rte. 101 towards Phillipston turning left at Petersham Road and enter Phillipston Common with its classic New England charm. Head out of the common on Baldwinville Road towards Patriots Road (Rte. 2A) and stop at the King Phillip Restaurant for some hearty fare by the fireside. Turn left onto 2A towards Athol. Be sure to make a stop at the Red Apple Farm by turning right on Highland Ave. The orchard offers a wide variety of produce, baked goods and family events year round.

    Red Apple Farm apple blossoms in Phillipston

    King Phillip Restaraunt in Phillipston

    Continue down 2A into Athol passing the high school. Across the street from the hospital you’ll find Bearsden Road that leads to the Bearsden Conservation Area with miles of trails crisscrossing 1,000 acres of forest, hills and the Millers River. Reserve on of the rustic cabins for free for a special summer or fall holiday.

    Back on Rte. 2A, turn right on Main Street towards Athol center and the Athol Public Library  will be on your right. The library is the first Leed Certified library in the country showcasing the region’s attention to the environment. Just behind the library is a newly added park and amphitheater. A short drive down the street turn left on Freedom Street and visit the new home of North Quabbin Visitors Bureau at 80 Freedom Street. We have maps and brochures and would love to see you!

    Athol Public Library

    The recently renovated Athol Public Library

    Back on Main Street, continue towards Orange, and the Millers River Environmental Center and Alan E. Rich Environmental Park  will be on your right. The center is home to the nationally recognized Athol Bird and Nature Club and the park offers access to the Millers River for canoes, kayaks and small boats, and is the official starting point for the annual River Rat Race every April. The park also offers great opportunities for birding and hiking.

    Take on the Millers River!

    The Annual River Rat Race from Athol to Orange

    Johnson's Farm Sugar House

    Johnson’s Farm Sugar House in Orange

    Heading back towards Orange on 2A, turn right onto Wheeler Road in Orange, and visit Johnson’s Farm and Sugar House  Enjoy a delicious meal in a country setting and visit the store. Turn right off Wheeler Road and you’ll return to Orange center.

    The North Quabbin Region offers over 100,000 acres of permanently conserved land open for public use with hundreds of miles of marked and rated trails, waterways and endless recreational opportunities. It is also the source for many of Worcester and Boston’s farm to table restaurants, producing organic meats, dairy, cheese, produce, wine and beer.

    Click here to view a PDF version of this tour. 

    Tool Town Quest Tool Town Quest

    Your quest begins at the front of the Athol Public Library 
    (568 Main Street Athol, MA 01331)

    Keep to the left as you go out the library front door.
    This is going to be fun, it won’t be a bore.
    Don’t go off track,
    You must go left past the smokestack.

    Mr. Starrett started with a tool shop small,
    Now there are buildings large and tall.
    Soon Starrett’s company this country outgrew,
    Now he has factories in Brazil and Scotland, too.

    If you go down the street, there’s a red museum.
    There’s cool stuff inside. If you peek in, you can see them.
    If you look to the right of the big waterfall,
    You’ll see the marks they made when the water rose tall.

    On Mr. Starrett you must now turn your back,
    Then you must retrace your track.
    When you get back to the library, cross Main Street,
    For fun, the big building on the corner can’t be beat.

    Open the door and go on in.
    It’s the YMCA, A place where people can stay.
    Mr. Starrett donated the land
    And the building was put up just as planned.
    When first opened it was just for men,
    Only on Tuesdays were girls allowed in.
    First a machine shop, now a fun facility
    Where we have a place to exercise in the city

    On the way out take the side door,
    But only if you want to quest some more.
    Don’t turn around, don’t reverse,
    The street you want to cross is Traverse.

    The next stop is marked by eleven stones gray,
    A reminder of the soldiers who fought night and day.
    They fought for their country, for me and for you.
    They fought brave and true in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II.

    Go back across the street; go back the way you came.
    Go up the hill until you find a station for a train.
    Ok, I guess we lied a bit. The train stops here no more.
    Now, it’s a bus depot with only one floor.

    Once a restaurant, but the top floor caught fire,
    Now we only have the ground floor to admire.
    If you look at the roof you’ll see a weathervane.
    If you look even closer, you’ll see it’s a train.

    Across South Street and down the stairs,
    Look for a red building that used to sell tables and chairs.
    Going out of the parking lot, right is your next direction,
    Go towards the intersection.
    Straight ahead, the Pequoig building is tall and thick,
    Its walls are made of red brick. In 1894,
    half of the hotel was turned 90 degrees,
    The workers will tell you it wasn’t a breeze.
    The hotel was turned to make way for a road.
    When it was finished the population would explode!

    Now push the walk button to cross Main Street,
    This quest is not yet complete.
    Cross Exchange St. if you want to walk some more.
    Or go the other way to where there are books galore.

    If you decide to take a longer hike,
    There is a place to see that I’m sure you’ll like.
    On Main Street you’ll go west,
    Past shops, homes, and a church to continue this quest.

    You’ll pass a building with a bell tower
    Where young minds struggled to flower.
    This school is now a place of nature studies
    Where you can learn about your woodland buddies.

    Go to the park where the paths are ground stone
    And where people put plants that are homegrown.
    To this park the Millers River is very near
    It’s named for Alan Rich, who served his town for many a year.

    As a selectman, Mr. Rich was really fine.
    Learn more about him from the sign.
    Then retrace your steps and go east,
    Your quest has not yet ceased.

    We are almost done, except
    You still have to go where the books are kept.
    Go back up Main Street.
    Soon you can rest your tired feet.

    Thanks to Mr. Carnegie,
    We have the Athol Public Library.
    They have plenty of books, computers, magazines, and DVDs.
    If you need help, just ask one of the friendly employees.

    Step inside to find a special book.
    The computer’s the first place you should look.
    Search for the book, The March of Democracy.
    It’s blue and labeled “973”.

    You’ll find the book occupied
    By many things we put inside.
    Use the stamp to stamp below
    And in the notebook leave your “hello”.

    Well done!
    You’re number one!

    Click here to view a PDF version of the quest.