A charming South Shore town, Holbrook is home to many family-owned businesses and offers easy access to nature near protected areas and state parks.

Much of the trade takes place along East-West Union Street, including restaurants that have been feeding locals for generations and a small but charming farmer’s market in the summer.

Although these areas were first settled by Europeans in the early 18th century, Holbrook is a relatively young town by South Shore standards.

Formerly part of Braintree, it was incorporated in 1872 and named for its late patron Elisha N. Holbrook. 1872) funded the City Hall and Library. 

1. Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights

A holiday staple in Holbrook since the 1970s, the Festival of Lights is a non-religious event held in the town’s historic center on the first Saturday in December.

With the stunning City Hall and beautiful light show as the backdrop, the Holbrook Fire Department will host a program of performances and Santa’s arrival by local school choirs.

Visitors can enjoy refreshments and children can visit Santa at the Winthrop Congregational Church next door.  

2. Cranberry Pond Conservation Land

Cranberry Pond Conservation Land

From Holbrook Town Forest, follow the trail north to this secluded nature reserve in Braintree across the border.

Here, Cranberry Pond is located in a depression surrounded by a surprisingly rocky slope. If coming from the south, the green marked trail eventually merges with the blue trail that winds around a hilltop pond.

This is a gentle hike with some difficult sections that traverse steep rock ledges and enjoy impressive views, especially in winter when the hardwood forest is bare.

The Red Trail is also accessible from the south via the Holbrook Town Forest and winds along the steep eastern edge of the property. You also have the option to loop back along the orange, yellow, or white trails.  

3. Weymouth Great Pond

Weymouth Great Pond

Along Holbrook’s eastern border is a large forested pond, drained by the Mill River, which eventually empties into the Weymouth Back River.

Weymouth Pond is a drinking water source, so recreational activities are restricted and dogs are not allowed.

On the southeast coast, Negas Park and Richard E. Gifford Playground are connected by a mile-long trail that winds through hardwood forest and offers beautiful views of the undeveloped West Coast.

There are some impressive granite blocks on the route, as well as sections of boardwalks over streams and wet ground, and a few small side roads if you want to take a detour.  

4. High Voltage Paintball

High Voltage Paintball

The Paintball Center occupies over 50 acres along a power line corridor east of Holbrook.

High Voltage Paintball has a variety of terrains that allow for different tactics, from frenzied action on speedball fields to dense areas on woodball fields.

Among the game options you can defend or attack bunkers, defend hills, and plant bombs before the enemy can react.

The museum is also open on weekends, and visitors are free to visit. However, we recommend booking sessions with as many people as possible.  

5. Stanney’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shoppe

Stanney’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shoppe

This classic American restaurant at 300 Union Street has been around for over 60 years.

Stany’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop is a no-frills store with simple décor, serving hearty omelets, pancakes, waffles, French his toast, breakfast sandwiches, and a variety of egg combos.

Lunch includes hearty sandwiches, burgers, salads, and plates of clam strips, rotisserie chicken, and steak chips. For dessert, Stannis is still known for sundaes, with a dozen choices ranging from hot fudge to banana his splits. 

6. Fuller Craft Museum

Fuller Craft Museum

In Holbrook, you’re just minutes away from New England’s premier museum of contemporary arts and crafts.

The Fuller Craft Museum is beautifully located on part of a series of ponds that were converted into a park in the 1920s.

Exhibitions here showcase all aspects of contemporary craft, from ceramics to furniture, jewellery, woodwork, textiles, glass and more, by artists representing a range of disciplines.

The grounds are home to stunning sculptures and an excellent gift shop with local and ethical goods. 

7. Ames Nowell State Park

Ames Nowell State Park

Central Holbrook is just a few miles from 700 acres of wilderness on the banks of the stunning Cleveland Ponds.

With more than 10 miles of forests, wetlands and waterfront trails, Ames Nowell State Park is a destination for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and picnicking.

Non-motorized boats and fishing are permitted on the pond, which was requisitioned in the 1920s as part of a private project to create a bird sanctuary.

The park has always featured the remains of 17th and his 18th century quarries, historic wagon bridges, giant boulders carved out of ice and old stone walls on farmland once reclaimed from the forest. There is something interesting. 

8. Lake Holbrook

Lake Holbrook

Perhaps the most beautiful spot in the whole city is the shores of this 31-acre lake. Holbrook Lake on the North Shore Road is set in a small but beautifully landscaped park.

This is the perfect spot for a picnic on a sunny day, with homes partially covered by hardwood trees offering beautiful views over the water.

With some benches and picnic tables outside and others in small groves, the park also serves as a dock for motorboats.

Lake Holbrook is rich in largemouth bass, as well as yellow, bluegill and gray bass. However, it is recommended not to eat the fish caught here.  

9. Holbrook Town Forest

Holbrook Town Forest

Holbrook is blessed with extensive woodlands and was established in the 1950s as an urban forest on a clearing.

One of the property’s many features is the varied views as you hike sheer granite cliffs and descend into pristine forested wetlands.

Steep climbs and rocky terrain make singletrack challenging for mountain bikers. If you want to spend a little more time in nature, you can cross Braintree’s Cranberry Pond on the north side.

Stone walls remind us of long-forgotten farms, and forests are dotted with springs that provide important amphibian habitat. 

10. Holbrook Square Historic District

Holbrook Square Historic District

At the intersection of Franklin Street and Plymouth Street, you can tour the city centre. What’s special about the Holbrook Square Historic District is that the most important landmark was built within a few years.

This is partly because the town was incorporated in his 1872, but also because a fire in December 1877 destroyed the main church and the first town hall.

Nearby are the neo-Gothic Town Hall (1879), the panel-brick Central Fire Station (1881), and the bar-style Winthrop Congregational Church (1880).

The Town Hall is the focal point of the district’s celebrations. Built of brick with granite and sandstone details, it hosts annual events during the holidays, including the Rockwell-esque Festival of Lights. 

11. Roberts School

Roberts School

Adjacent to the popular Stany’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop on Union Street, you’ll discover a small but charming piece of Holbrook’s history.

The Roberts School is his one-and-a-half-story one-room schoolhouse built in 1873. An interesting aspect of the façade is that separate entrances are kept for boys and girls.

These lead to separate vestibules, but still to the same room. It is also worth noting that the building served as his school until 1979, when the Holbrook Historical Society moved here the following year.  

12. Nihtila Farm

Nihtila Farm

Before Holbrook became residential, there was farming in addition to cottage industry, and this aspect of its history was revived by small farms.

Nihtila Farm was founded in 2001 by a local family who wanted to do something different with their land. Spread over 10 acres, Nitila Farm opens to the public as a pumpkin patch in the fall.

Here you can harvest your own pumpkins while the kids have fun riding the hay wagon, observing the farm animals and playing on the farm playground.  

13. Union Street Lanes

Union Street Lanes

Another reason to stop by Union Street is the bowling alley, which was revived under new owners in 2008.

At Union Street Lanes, you can try candlepin bowling. This local game was first held in Worcester in his 1880s and is primarily played in this corner of New England and Canada’s Maritime.

He needs reels because he has three reels instead of two, the pins are thin and hard to knock down, and the ball is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

There are 16 newly paved alleys along the alley, with TVs, a full bar and snacks like pizza and hot dogs.  

14. Holbrook Farmers’ Market

Holbrook Farmers’ Market

Holbrook usually hosts a seasonal farmer’s market in the Union Street Lanes parking lot.

From June until October he can visit different providers on Saturday mornings.

A typical week sells fresh fruit and vegetables, plants, flowers, honey, jams, free-range eggs, fresh bread, baked goods, and a variety of crafts.

At the time of this writing, it has a loyal merchant community, with more being added with each new season.  

15. Castle Canyon Playground

Castle Canyon Playground

There is a great playground near the corner of Franklin Street and Plymouth Street, adjacent to Sumner Field on the Holbrook Middle School campus.

Castle Canyon Playground is close to the road but fully fenced and has a number of swings, slides and jungle he gyms for kids ages 1 to her 12.

Benches are nicely placed around the playground and there is a Dunkin’ branch right next door where you can enjoy coffee and snacks. Opposite is a pavilion, which hosts free concerts on Sunday nights from late June to his late August.  

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