In 1935, the Wells family sought out a place to display their massive collection of New England antiquities. When they couldn't find one that was sufficient, they decided to build a museum. Since its founding, Old Sturbridge Village?a living-history museum with its own rich history?has granted visitors a chance to experience New England life in the 19th-century firsthand.
As they navigate a town and rustic countryside filled with 40 historic buildings, including an old schoolhouse, mansion homes, and three water-powered mills, visitors encounter heritage farm animals and interpreters in period costume. At regular times throughout the day, specific sites become interactive. A shoemaker cobbles a new pair of shoes, a blacksmith submerges steaming hunks of metal, and a soldier makes lifelike musket sounds with his mouth?all for the benefit of live audiences. Throughout the year, events such as cooking and craft-making classes further enhance the educational experience.
The Original Wedding Expo unites local wedding vendors with soon-to-be brides and grooms, presenting a day filled with gowns, cakes, and flowers. Marriage-minded attendees field questions to dozens of merchants fluent in wedding planning and etiquette, settling quandaries over what's appropriate to throw at newlyweds??rice, birdseed, or baseballs. DJs and live bands provide a soundtrack as guests chat with photographers and browse the bridal-gown sale, whose more than 150 dresses showcase the modern and classic styles. At 2:00 p.m., a fashion show exhibits elegant and fun dresses for the entire bridal party, presenting suitable attire for best friends, family members, and over-sentimental mannequins. The expo automatically enters registered attendees into raffles for grand prizes such as a honeymoon, limousine or tuxedo rentals, and a designer wedding cake.
Todd Sullivan and Tim Daley, the brewmasters at Pioneer Brewing Company, brew their golden mixtures of fresh hops, malts, and barley into an eclectic array of frothy beers with a focus on freshness and community. Each of Pioneer's beers⎯including the American nitro stout, American pale ale, and spring doppelbock⎯are brewed to not only meet their own exceedingly high standards, but particularly the high standards of their friends, regulars, and the local beer lovers who bathe in it. Todd and Tim relish their microbrew status and 150-acre Hyland apple-orchard setting, and plan to stay small in order to continue the tradition of crafting only the finest brews for themselves and their community.
Now in its fifth year, the Natural Living Expo illuminates the body, mind, and spirit with a full schedule of events including healthful food demos, yoga, and qi gong classes, and more than 75 workshops covering subjects such as toxin-free homes and intuitive parenting. Inside the lakeside Sturbridge Host Hotel 135 exhibitors display holistic and green products that earn a hearty thumbs-up from Mother Nature. Saturday workshops delve into animal communication and tai chi, and an evening drum jam and fire circle is open to rhythm-makers bearing bongos or pairs of cookie sheets.
The staff of midwives, doulas, and educators at Nurtured Beginnings strives to empower expectant and new parents with knowledge about natural living. Classes in breastfeeding, prenatal yoga, and childbirth help build confidence for new moms regardless of their economic status or how they give birth. Babies and toddlers also get in on the fun with playgroups, yoga classes, and an early-childhood music program that help develop skills while also building a sense of community.