This is not the year to mingle with thousands at the on-field Garlic and Arts Festival, but you can still spend a day or more enjoying the bounty and beauty of great farm stands, markets, and outdoor adventure in the vicinity of the festival, with family and friends. Check all web sites for hours of operation, directions, and other details.
The North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce hosts a Visitor Center that can get you started. And there are particular places that are favorites of the Organizers. Download this Great Things To Do document with the details described below. And watch a playlist of videos about the Quabbin Reservoir and surrounding region.
Little White Goat is a licensed raw milk goat dairy with self-serve farm stand just a half-mile from the festival site, with delicious yogurt, kefir, cheeses and more.
Seeds of Solidarity Farm, a mile from the festival site, is the source for all of your culinary and seed garlic! Get yours at your leisure from their self-serve farm stand (starting 9/12) or on Garlic Saturdays Sept 12-October 10, 12-5PM when you can meet the farmers.
Diemand Farm is a long-time festival vendor and friend with fabulous prepared foods at their family farm kitchen in Wendell, featuring their turkey, chicken, eggs, and more.
New Salem Cider and Preserves will miss selling their apples, cider, and donuts to you at the festival, but you can find them and a stunning Quabbin view in historic New Salem and enjoy a hard cider while there too.
Quabbin Sky Vineyard is another great New Salem stop.
The Orange Farmers Market on Thursday afternoons features wares from Foothill Farm, Rachel’s Everlasting, and other local farmers.
Markets and Cafes
Quabbin Harvest cooperative market is a festival favorite in downtown Orange, with many local products including fresh fruit and veggies, cold drinks and ice cream, and Nalini’s Kitchen savory prepared foods. Terrys Corner Cafe inside Trailhead Gear in Orange center is another stop for a mid-day treat. Take your picnic to the outdoor community gathering space in the center of Orange. The New Salem General Store makes great sandwiches and has an impressive selection of beverages, including Orange’s own Honest Weight beer, and a wonderful selection of local history books too. The Petersham Country Store offers a yummy take out lunch menu, Ari’s famous prepared foods, and local gifts and crafts. You can even picnic on the town green across the street.
The Orange Innovation Center (OIC), located at 131 West Main Street, cultivates local economic growth by creating a sustainable business community under one roof. It hosts more than 30 local enterprises including Honest Weight Artisan Beer. And, most recently, has created a community workshop, Launch Space, an environment to share creative energy that will be opening for classes soon.
Take Your Farm Fare or Picnic into The Great Outdoors
The Community Boat House, run by Billy Goat Boats, is located at 25 East River Street in the heart of downtown Orange. There you can rent a kayak, try out paddle boarding, or launch your own canoe. You can travel the Millers River Blue Trail, a scenic and historic waterway that is part of the Connecticut River Watershed.
Nearby Lake Mattawa and Tully Lake are great paddling spots too. Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust offers many public hiking trails on their conserved properties. For those coming or going, east or west, visit ByWays Western Mass for many walks and hikes from Central MA to the Berkshires, including links to the many Quabbin reservoir gates. Back home, you can deepen appreciation of the natural history of the North Quabbin by viewing one of the videos created by Athol Bird and Nature Club.
If you need some gear or gifts, head to Trail Head, an outfitter and general store at the corner of South and East Main Streets. Or to look for hidden treasures, visit one of the many antique shops in the area. Skydive at Jumptown or just stop by to watch the colorful parachutes as divers float down to the field.
More recreational opportunities may be found at Tully Lake, where you can camp or go boating with help from the Trustees of Reservations. There are also mountain bike trails and hiking paths for folks with all levels of skill. A visit to beautiful Doane’s Falls is a must as well. More information on hiking in the area, including the Quabbin Reservoir, is available from the North Quabbin Trails Association.
On your way to Tully Lake, drive through North Orange village, the historic first colonial settlement of the town. The lovely colonial church, built in 1781, stands at the top of the hill surrounded by historic farm houses.
You will find that Orange is green, vibrant, and beautiful.