15 Best Things to Do in Northborough (MA)

First settled by Europeans in the 17th century, the city of Northborough in central Massachusetts is traversed by the former Boston Post Road (US Route 20), which forms its main street.

There are some interesting signs along this historic thoroughfare. One refers to the site where a young woman, Mary Goodnow, was murdered by her Native Americans in 1707 during Queen Anne’s War.

The headquarters of the Northborough Historical Society, his mid-19th century converted church, is home to an unusually opulent headquarters filled with artifacts highlighting over 350 years of local history.

For decades, family farms throughout the city will entice you with homemade cakes and cider donuts, or invite you to pick some fruit.  

1. Old Farm Trail

Old Farm Trail

Part of a great trail network through Northboro city lands is the Old Farm Trail on the border with Marlborough. The trail is named after Stirrup Brook Farm, an old dairy farm that was sold over 60 years ago.

Where once pastures are now densely forested, the Old Farm Trail reveals the strange remnants of life in the past.

These are historical vehicles that were abandoned in the fields of the time in his mid-twentieth century and slowly fell into disrepair.

The most intact of these is his light blue 1953 Oldsmobile 88 sandwiched between two trees. The Old Farm Trail meanders along the Assabet River and Stirrup Brook, past several picnic spots, and joins the Bird Song Trail southeast near Main Street. 

2. Sawyer’s Bowladrome

Sawyer’s Bowladrome

Cozy local bowling alleys, like this one on Main Street, are a feature of many communities in this part of the state.

Sawyers Bowldrome dates back to 1953 and was used for candlepin bowling, a regional variant of tenpin bowling that was popular in Worcester around 1880.

For beginners in this style, there is a small ball that feels comfortable in the hand, but the pin is tall and narrow, making it much more difficult to knock down.

With low ceilings and just six lanes, Sawyers Bowldrome is anything but a modern alley, and even more so for that matter. You have to use pencil and paper to score, but there are also automation features such as ball return and pin clear. 

3. Assabet Park

Assabet Park

Close to public buildings such as City Hall and the Northboro Free Library, this public park has undergone some modernization in recent years.

Asahbet Park, which reopens in the summer of 2022, features an all-new playground with ADA-compliant equipment on soft, safe, rubberized surfaces.

Another great facility for young families on a hot day is the children’s pool with various atomizers, bubblers, and geysers in a large asphalted area. Parents can pack a picnic and beach chairs to enjoy a few hours of summer fun at an affordable price. 

4. Mary Goodnow Grave

Mary Goodnow Grave

Along Boston Post Road, find a powerful clue to Northborough’s violent past at the site of the 1707 murder of a person named Mary Goodno.

This happened during Queen Anne’s War (1702-1717) when Native Americans allied with France raided the Marlborough area. As Mary was gathering herbs in the meadow, she saw a group of twenty or more warriors approaching.

Her bravery reportedly allowed her to surrender to her attackers and allow her two children and a pregnant companion to reach safety in the garrison.

The grounds feature her 1899 stone marker and are accessed from the Pheasant Hill parking lot via a trail through the woods. 

5. Ski Ward Ski Area

Ski Ward Ski Area

Since the late 1930s, generations of budding skiers have learned the basics on this small mountain in the Shrewsbury city limits.

Ski wards with 100% snow cover have extended ski and snowboard seasons. There are 9 slopes of equal weight for beginners (3), intermediate (3), and advanced (3), all he is operated by 4 lifts.

This is the ideal place for beginners and in winter he has 100 teachers for a wide range of individual and group tuition programs.

A big draw for many families is his eight subway rides with two elevators to help keep lines to a minimum. The mountain remains a recreational spot for the rest of the year, thanks to a summer tubing park.  

6. Northborough Crossing

Northborough Crossing

An outdoor mall located at the intersection of Route 9 and Route 20 in the southern part of the city.

Northborough Crossing is a mix of large stores, small shopping centers, chain restaurants, and Wegmans branches.

Retailers found here include Kohl’s, Old Navy, Ulta Beauty, Claire’s, The Paper Store and T.J. Maxx, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Michals, Homesense, and PetSmart.

For food, there’s QDOBA and IHOP, and Burger King, Starbucks, and Anzio’s Brick Oven Pizza are nearby. 

7. Juniper Hill Golf Course

Juniper Hill Golf Course

Less than a mile southeast of central Northboro is a 36-hole public golf course and a newly modernized clubhouse with barbecue facilities, a pro shop, and a golf instruction center.

His first of two 18-hole courses in Juniper Hills is the Riverside Course, which dates back to 1931. The course has been improved over the years and is known for its idyllic scenery along the banks of the Assabet River.

Opened in 1991, the Lakeside Course is the more difficult of the two courses. Blending in with the majestic New England landscape, this 18-hole is Carolina-style, with his par-3 8th and his 14th calling for bold tee shots from the water.  

8. Ellsworth McAfee Park

Ellsworth McAfee Park

Widely acclaimed for its excellent maintenance, Northborough Community Park is located south of the city near the border with Westborough and has many active recreational facilities.

In a nutshell, there’s a skate park, basketball court, pickleball court, multipurpose arena, and two playgrounds.

A long exercise trail winds through the park and leads to a secluded pond at the northern end. There is also a large gazebo available for rent.

On Thursday nights from late June through mid-August, Ellsworth McAfee Park will be the stage for Northboro’s annual Summer His concert series.  

9. Boundless Adventures Zipline and Aerial Park

Boundless Adventures Zipline and Aerial Park

A zipline and high-rope park that winds its way through the woods near Berlin, attracting adventure seekers from all over the Boston area.

Boundless Adventures is designed for a wide range of abilities and offers nine different courses from yellow (beginner) to black (expert).

Each course consists of a challenging but rewarding set of elements that can be mastered through balance, climbing, swinging, and sometimes leaps of faith.

Boundless Adventures has a total of 90 suspension bridges and 16 ziplines spread over a vast area. The more difficult the course, the higher it hangs in the forest canopy.  

10. PYOP Studio

PYOP Studio

For a hands-on art experience, create your own decorative art piece at our studio in Northboro. PYOP Studio has over 200 different unglazed designs, from vases to mugs, all of which serve as canvases for your masterpiece.

Once you’ve chosen your piece, you can start working on your design and choose from a palette of over 90 colors.

At the end of the session, the work is left in the studio for glazing and firing. PYOP Studio has a busy schedule of special courses, events, and camps, and willing guests are always welcome.  

11. Tougas Family Farm

Tougas Family Farm

For a taste of the cozy side of New England countryside, visit this second-generation farm. You can pick the fruits yourself in summer and autumn.

In chronological order, Torgas Family Farm grows PYO strawberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, apples, and pumpkins.

Fruit picking is the main activity, but children will also love the playground and livestock.

The farm shop and kitchen are open during Thanksgiving and offer a variety of pre-harvested fruit, homemade cider donuts, cakes, scones, cookies, farm fruit chips, homemade local delicacies, and much more. 

12. Northborough Historical Society Museum

Northborough Historical Society Museum

At 52 Main Street, the Museum of the Local Historical Society houses a magnificent old Baptist church built in 1860 in the Greek Revival style.

The Society he moved here in 1960 and maintains a museum in the upper hall. A remnant of the church days is his 1874 pipe his organ restored by George Stevens.

The museum houses extensive collections covering many aspects of Northboro’s history, from industry to domestic life.

Examine artifacts from a one-room schoolhouse, sports memorabilia, general store replicas, 19th-century clothing, some of the oldest weights and measures in Massachusetts, preserved items from an 18th-century kitchen, and more. 

13. Craftworks

Craftworks

This precious gift and yarn shop dates back more than 40 years, starting as a handicrafts cooperative in Northboro’s Old Town Hall. Craftworks has since moved several times and now has a large store in the Northboro Shopping Center.

Browse our huge inventory of yarn in a wide range of brands, fibers, weights, and colors, as well as all the equipment you need for your knitting and crocheting projects.

The store also showcases hundreds of talented artisans who sell unique fashion and accessories, woodwork, pottery, glass, and more.

Craftworks is also a full-fledged arts and crafts center, offering courses on everything from knitting to needle felting and a variety of other events throughout the year.  

14. Davidian’s Farm Market

Davidian’s Farm Market

Nearby Tugas Family Farm is another family farm that has been farming the land for over a century.

Davidian’s Farm grows an abundance of fresh produce, from corn to peaches, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower, a variety of peppers, tomatoes, vegetables, and apples. These seasonal fruits and vegetables are sold at the Farmer’s Market at 500 Church St.

Housed in a rustic barn-like building, the market offers ice cream, ready-to-eat meals, made-to-order sandwiches, local specialties, and a bakery that also sells cakes, cider donuts, and other delicious sweet treats. 

15. Edmund Hill Woods

Edmund Hill Woods

A quick glance at the map reveals that Northboro is dotted with vast natural areas opened to the public by the town’s trail committee.

If I had to pick just one, Edmund Hill Woods brings together the city’s natural and human history in one site. Here you can hike 4.5 miles of nature trails with stops at 27 stations covering different aspects of the country.

These may include interesting trees, glacial drums, rocks, vanishing agricultural tracks, springs, historic aqueducts, old stone walls, or traces of an old agricultural branch railroad from the mid-19th century.  

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