Day/Date: SATURDAY -7/16/22
Town visited: Harvard
Had you ever been to this town before? Yes
Drive to this town: 35 miles Time spent in town: 4.5 hours
What did we do in the town/area?
We were excited to go to Harvard, MA, for our town visit today. Truth be told, we have been to this town several times before. One of our favorite spots to walk in is The Fruitlands, a place with interesting history and great walking trails. For those who actually read these blogs, you may have already picked up on Jo’s fascination with the author Louisa May Alcott. So, it will make sense that some of our interest in the historical relevance of this place is because the Alcott once transformed this land into a transcendentalist experiment that included living off the land back in the 1840s. We also like the views.
But we did not visit the Fruitlands today. Instead, we chose to discover some new things about the town of Harvard (not to be mistaken with Harvard University, which is in Cambridge).
Our first stop of the day was in the historic town center, where the Town Hall, the Congregational Church, and The Harvard General Store are situated. We stopped into the General Store for some lunch and an iced coffee. This store seems to be quite the popular spot for folks biking in and through the area, as there were a bunch of folks in clip shoes and spandex waiting to order their lunches too. As we walked up the green to grab some pics, we noticed a historic house near a sweet little road called Lovers Lane. And after our lunch, we drove down that road, admiring all the beautiful gardens and homes. We also drove by the Harvard Public Library. This time of year is so gorgeous here.
Historically, Harvard was a farming town, and there are still many small farms here. We learned about a farm called Doe Orchards, where we could pick our own blueberries and raspberries. So we headed over there. The blueberry bushes were ripe and ready for picking. It was so easy and fun. The raspberries, on the other hand, took a little more finesse. The staff mentioned that many were not ripe yet and that it may be slim pickings, but Jenny took to the task of getting on the ground and finding the best ones hiding low and inside. It took her a while, but she eventually filled a pint full of ’em.
From Doe Orchards, we drove about 1 1/2 miles to another kind of farm, an ALPACA FARM! Yup, you heard that correctly. The Harvard Alpaca Ranch is owned by a couple (Amy & Matt) who moved to Harvard (from Holliston) to start this Alpaca Farm in 2015.
They give free farm tours, taking you to the area where the alpacas roam. This up close and personal experience was wonderful! We learned the names of many of their over 30 Alpaca pack and some fun details about them. Summer Rain was one of them; she was super chill and friendly. We learned about Sir Eric, who works as a therapy animal, who was happy to take some “alone time” away from the group when he was not working. With their farm, Amy and Matt are providing a happy place for both people and animals as well as educating and helping people. They also have a beautiful barn from which they sell all kinds of earth-friendly Alpaca-related products, so we bought some socks because, um, they were so soft!
When we asked the owner, Amy, if she had any suggestions for where else to go, she suggested we go and enjoy a drink at The Cider Barn at Carlson Orchards where they have tables and a barn that serves their apple cider products (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). There were many apple trees and peach trees on the land currently in the process of ripening.
We each ordered an apple cider slushie, and then went to the store and purchased some apple cider, some Muddy Water Roasters Coffe (roasted in Harvard), and Jenny got a 4-pack of Carlson’s hard cider.
All in all, A pretty great day!
Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Pawtucket, Nipmuc, Agawam