15 Best Things to Do in Norwell (MA)

The south coast of this prosperous city is bordered by the North River, which flows along its southeastern border.

Considered one of the most beautiful rivers in the region, it is recognized as a National Natural Landmark and Massachusetts Scenic River.

In the 18th century, the banks of the River Norwell were a colonial center of shipbuilding, but today little is known.

There are now many secluded nature reserves and reserves along the river. One of them, Norris Reserve, is accessed from the charming Old Town of Norwell, first created nearly 400 years ago.  

1. Hornstra Farms

A staple of the area for generations, Hornstra Farms was founded in 1912 by a Dutch couple who came to America.

The first dairy was established in Hingham in 1915, but in 2009 all operations were moved to Norwell, taking over the defunct Rolling Farm.

The Farm Store and seasonal Ice Cream Dairy Bar opened in 2014 and offers fresh dairy products such as milk, flavored milk, homemade butter, cream, eggnog, tempting baked goods, and locally grown farm treats. We sell in abundance. From cold cuts to cheese specialties.

The best time to visit is from April to October. At this time of year, you can have 1-3 scoops of rich ice cream made on a nostalgic farm. 

2. Jacobs Pond Conservation Area

This ecologically diverse nature reserve lies on the north and east banks of a man-made pond built in 1730.

Jacob’s Pond was formed when the Third Herring River was dammed to run the mills and lumber mills. From 1680 he had a brick factory here for 150 years.

The ponds are surrounded by a diverse range of habitats including swamp cedar, laurel forest, beech, hemlock, pine, maple, and oak upland forests.

Here you can hike marked trails, bird watching, paddling ponds, and fish for largemouth, chain picker, and yellow bass.

Near the south side of the site is Jacob’s His Farmhouse (1726), maintained by the Norwell Historical Society, which hosts events such as the popular Strawberry Festival in June.  

3. Stetson Meadows

The North River meanders through this secluded 400-acre reserve that was purchased over 50 years ago by the City of Norwell to prevent development.

The site’s colonial history dates back to a land grant awarded to a man named Robert Stetson in 1634.

In the 18th century, it became a center of shipbuilding, with more than 1,000 ships sailing from its shores, including the Columbia Lediviva, America’s first circumnavigation (1790) ship. rice field.

None of this history can be seen in today’s forests and swamps. Take a walk along the riverside trail or through the white pine and oak forests of the Twin Pines Trail.  

4. James Library & Center for the Arts

James for short, the cultural center includes galleries, performance spaces, and a library located just outside the leafy village of Nowell Centre.

The James is an elegant Victorian building built in 1874 and has served as a meeting place for various organizations ever since.

For visitors to the city, the center is a place where they can enjoy various regional arts. New exhibitions are held every few months, including juried art exhibitions.

The Concert Hall is equipped with a Steinway B piano and offers a lively concert program featuring small classical ensembles.  

5. South Shore Natural Science Center

East of Jacob’s Pond, the YMCA owns 30 acres of meadows and woodlands that provide an educational experience for all ages.

The center has an ecozone museum with interactive exhibits and a wide variety of native wildlife. There’s also a gift shop, greenhouse, amphitheater, and outdoor picnic areas, as well as his six color-coded nature trails.

One is the Discovery Trail for kids, with exercise and play stations such as balance beams, boardwalks, xylophones, and pull-up bars.

The location of the center also allows access to over 200 hectares of nature reserves. 

6. North River Wildlife Sanctuary

Just upstream from Norwell is land owned by Mass Audubon of Marshfield. The land was donated to the Society in 1977 by him and consists of approximately 500 acres of meadows, salt marshes, oak-pine forests, and red maple swamps.

The North River Wildlife Refuge has 3 miles of hiking trails, including 800 meters of public hiking trails.

The river loop is delightful in valley meadows lined with ancient stone walls and well-maintained boardwalks leading to the riverbanks.

The Woodland Loop is the longest trail through oak and pine forests, and the reserve’s indoor Discovery Room lets you see wildlife in these habitats up close. 

7. Great River Race

Another great way to experience the beauty of the North River in summer is to attend this event organized by the North and South River Basin Association.

The Great River Race starts at Bridge Street Canoe Launch in Norwell and runs 12.5 miles upstream to Indian Head Road in Hanover.

Races are usually held on Sunday mornings in late July and are open to all types of non-motorized watercraft, including paddleboards.

Now in its 40th year, the event is open not only to strong competitors but also to those who simply want to relax, with prizes for the best-decorated boats and boaters. increase. 

8. Norwell Summer Festival

Each Saturday in June, Norwell Town Center hosts a twice-yearly open-air festival for all ages and tastes.

The Norwell Summer Festival attracts nearly 10,000 visitors each year with a wide range of vendors, excellent local cuisine, and live entertainment on three different stages.

Shopping is at the heart of the festival experience, bringing together a variety of handpicked artisans from around the region. So is the food: lobster rolls, tacos, Italian subs, pizza, waffles, cannoli.  

9. Strawberry Fair Restaurant

A local favorite for nearly 50 years, Strawberry Fair Restaurant is synonymous with wholesome breakfast/brunch fare in a casual setting.

In that sense, the building is a cozy farmhouse with a more substantial interior. The business has recently changed hands, but the new owners have made little change to their winning formula, other than adding lighter options to their extensive menu.

We would like you to try our homemade cornbread. There are several menus, including French toast topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar.  

10. Gaffield Park

Another public space near the Norwell Center is a town-owned woodland with a playground on a clearing.

There is plenty of shade in the summer, and another nice point about this facility is that there is separate playground equipment for children over the age of 5.

The playground is also covered in rubber and surrounded by benches and picnic tables where parents can keep an eye on their children.

The land was donated to the city by him in 1896, with the condition that it be left as a public park at all times. 

11. Local Pottery Studio + Gallery

Norwell’s Village Gardens shopping center has an independent pottery studio and gallery where experienced potters are happy to share their know-how through a variety of classes and workshops.

You can learn the basics of throwing a potter’s wheel, creating festive porcelain decorations, glaze techniques, and more.

There are also weekly classes for children in throwing a potter’s wheel, surface decoration, and glaze instruction. In addition, the gallery showcases the work of more than 60 of his potters, making it the perfect place to discover unique pottery creations. 

12. Wompatuck State Park

Across Grove Street from Hornstra Farms is the new entrance and parking lot to the sprawling Wongpatak State Park, which intersects three different cities and is bordered by many wildlife sanctuaries.

The park alone occupies more than 3,500 hectares of his land on the site of the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex (1941-1962), which was decommissioned in the 1980s.

All that remains are ghostly bunkers and other buildings that gradually disappear into the forest.

A cottage industry has existed here long before the base was established, and Mount Blue Springs has been commercially bottled here since the mid-1800s.

Now you can refill your own bottle at a spring just above the Hingham border. Overall, the park has 40 miles of forest trails, 19 miles of paved, car-free roads, and campgrounds with more than 250 sites.  

13. Norwell Center

If you wanted to define a typical New England village center, it might look a lot like Norwell.

Several thoroughfares meet at Town Common. The town common has had the same layout since 1640. The space and its surrounding historic buildings are preserved by the Norwell Village Regional Historic District, and development is strictly limited to preserve its atmospheric character.

In terms of architecture, the First Parish Church (1830) is an early example of the Greek Revival style, and the Cushing Memorial Town Hall (1930) is in the Colonial Revival style.

The Norwell Center is set in thousands of acres of forest reserves, and every other summer the grounds host Norwell’s popular summer festival. Details are provided below.  

14. The Company Theatre

Another reason that puts Nowell on the map is our award-winning non-profit theater company.

The Company Theater sells 35,000 tickets each year, presents professional-quality productions at a fraction of the cost of typical large-scale theater productions, and draws audiences from the South Shore and southeastern Massachusetts.

Each season he has five productions, recent examples include “The Phantom of the Opera”, “The Secret Garden” and “Misery”.

Younger audiences can see four youth productions each year, but the Nowell venue offers all kinds of entertainment, from singing films to concerts, live comedy, and children’s shows.  

15. Norris Reservation

At the Norwell Center, you don’t even need to drive to tour this hold management facility.

The Norris Reserve stretches from Norwell Center to the North River, where an old wagon road winds through pine forest and past granite outcrops to the riverbank.

The Blue McMullan Trail is fun and takes you to a charming waterfront boathouse. The south, red-marked river bend leads to a lookout where the Second Herring River joins the North River.

From wetland frogs to dam-building beavers, wetland shorebirds, and forest owls hooting, life abounds throughout the reserve. 

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