I happen to be a small town sucker. I love the simplicity and the slower pace of small towns. I can get back to the basics, and leave behind my fast paced life. Maybe it’s because I grew up right outside DC, amidst the hustle and bustle of city life, or maybe it’s more that I just enjoy the peace, solace, and friendliness of small towns. Regardless, I happened to find a groupon for a lake front hotel in a small town in Massachusetts called Sturbridge, and decided to run with it. Neither Asha nor myself knew next to anything about Sturbridge prior to visiting, but we ended up really enjoying our 48 hour weekend stay.
Sturbridge is most famously known for “Old Sturbridge Village,” which has historical reenactments. Sturbridge is also only a short drive away from New York, Boston, and Hartford Connecticut. Sturbridge features beautiful waterfront views – pictured above is Cedar Lake.
We stayed in Sturbridge Host Hotel, which is a hotel lodged right on Cedar Lake. The hotel was an experience within itself; it felt like its own little bubble in the middle of Sturbridge. Some of the perks included two onsite restaurants, a bar, small game room, an indoor pool, lake front, paddle boat rentals (seasonal, starting in May), and scenic views from our room. The hotel was by no means extravagant; it was pretty much your basic bed and breakfast but with added activities.
Staff were friendly, and customer service was close to 5 stars. The wait staff at the breakfast spot onsite were even nice enough to serve us 5 minutes before closing. Summer is definitely the best time to visit though because as we found out, paddle boat rentals open in May and the weather is warmer so you can take advantage of both swimming and boating on the lake.
We quickly discovered that apart from Old Sturbridge Village, there seemed to be virtually nothing to do in Sturbridge. Interestingly, Sturbridge Host Hotel seemed to be the actual real action in Sturbridge. We observed that it seemed to attract out-of-towners who just wanted to get away from wherever they hailed from. It was surprisingly enjoyable to dwell in this land of nobodies, forget who we were, and take a breather from the real world.
Leisure lake time
Cinemagic is the local movie theater in Sturbridge. Cinemagic’s structure added to the typical small town feel. We were able to catch the new Superman Batman movie, to indulge Asha’s childhood comic obsession.
The onsite restaurant which proved to be quite an enjoyable experience. The menu included New England comfort food, a warm fire, rustic atmosphere, and inviting booze. I will specifically recommend their cider laced with warm rum (the cinnamon around the rim added a nice touch).
Hotel activities – swimming, strolling, gaming, and relaxing
Queer-o-meter: 5 out of 10.
Race-o-meter: 8 out of 10
The closest gay bar was 30 minutes away, and there were no lesbian spots in the town or surrounding towns. Our best bet probably would have been to drive to Boston for a gay night out.
We also received several taken aback stares in the hotel itself, but we were unsure whether this was due to homophobia or just plain surprise. It appeared as though the hotel community were not accustomed to seeing an interracial lesbian couple. However, this would have been an excellent spot to bring our godkids. So, long story short, this is not a spot where you would expect a gay pride parade, but it is ideal if you want to have a laid back weekend, forget who you are, and keep to yourself.
Scenic Detour into New Jersey
Now I have to warn you: Asha is definitely not the spontaneous one in our duo, that falls in my court usually, every time except when haircuts are involved. We were just coming through New Jersey on our way back to Virginia when Asha decided she just had to have a haircut then and there. So, we took a detour into Asha’s hometown, after which Asha styled a fresh shape-up:
Next, we took a walk into New Jersey’s Perth Amboy Waterfront District, after which Asha spoiled me with her favorite Spanish food and favorite high school spots.
This was probably my favorite moment from our whole trip, because it reminded me that the greatest travel moments are often unplanned excursions off of the beaten path.
Now tell us: what is your favorite small town getaway?