Day/Date: SATURDAY -9/10/22
Towns visited: Brimfield & Warren
Had we ever been to any of these towns before? No
Drive to 1st town: 53 miles Time spent in town(s): 7 hours
What did we do in the town(s)/area?
The big adventure of the day was taking part in the Brimfield Flea Market. The market happens three times yearly and is the largest flea market in New England. It was bustling in the small (population of 3694) town of Brimfield on this sunny Saturday, the final flea market of the year. We went with our friends, Jaclyn and Colin, and spent a few hours wandering through many booths of goods for sale. Some of the booths looked like pure junk, but there were some priceless grabs for sure, and a little bit of something for everyone; vintage clothing, antiques, jewelry, memorabilia, and oh, so much more. We found a bucket of scrabble pieces and were able to replace a few of our missing ones! We were in awe at some giant copper pots, one so big that Jenny could barely lift it!
We picked up some surprisingly satisfying lunch from a busy food truck and found some picnic tables outside the Brimfield Winery to eat and rest.
Then, after visiting a few more booths, we had one of the day’s best moments. Jaclyn found a beloved 1970s toy she recognized from her childhood with some cherished memories in a booth she almost didn’t walk in. Her face was that of shock and joy. She exclaimed that she had just had a conversation mentioning this toy last week. So, in a moment of true genuine inspiration, she haggled a price and bought it! It was a fun and heartwarming flea market moment.
Afterward, we were ready to move on to our next town of the day, Warren.
We were lucky enough to have our own personal tour guide of Warren, as our friend, Colin, lived there from 5th grade until he graduated from high school (yeah, we planned it this way).
It was quite a treat to be driven around and not worry about getting lost or making sure we saw all the sights! (Thanks Colin!)
The first thing we learned is that Warren is comprised of two Villages, Warren and West Warren. The next thing we learned is that Warren has exactly one traffic light.
Our first stop was a visit to Lucy Stone Park, right along the Quaboag River. This park was recently revitalized by the Town of Warren and a group of volunteers. It is a perfect little spot to fish, have a picnic, go for a walk, and stick your feet in the river. Ms. Stone was a suffragist, abolitionist, and the first woman to earn a college degree (from Oberlin College in Ohio).
Quaboag is an indigenous name meaning “red water.” The Quaboag River was used to power many of the industrial mills that were once operational in Warren. Warren Pumps, Inc. is still operating and has been since 1897.
Colin drove us through the two villages, and it seemed like we would pass a building or two followed by a long stretch of land before seeing another building, farm, or maintenance area. We did notice quite a few Tag sales in Warren, most likely inspired by so many people passing through to or from the nearby Brimfield Flea Mkt.
We hit the Quaboag Regional High School, pulling in to see the “painted rock,” which he said was an annual tradition for the graduating class to paint. There were also a bunch of colorful and personalized painted parking spaces.
We carried on seeing the old Town Hall, his old neighborhood, the new Town Hall (which used to be his elementary school), and some shops in the town center. And yeah, we did get to pass that one stoplight exactly two times. It’s a sleepy or rather quiet town, that is for sure.
Our friends dropped us back off at our car, and we said our goodbyes reflecting upon a lovely day together. And on our way out of town, we stopped on the side of the road at Sandy Valley Farm and picked up some Farm Fresh Eggs for home.
But, we weren’t quite done with town visiting, so after this detour to Warren, we returned to Brimfield for a short bike ride on the Great Trunk Trail. This trail was once part of the Southern New England Railway that was supposed to run from Palmer, MA, to Providence, RI. However, the man who spearheaded the project, Charles Melville Hays, went down on the Titanic in 1912. Since then, the project had been stopped and started until, ultimately, during the Great Depression, it was abandoned. It was woodsy and beautiful and passed by a few bodies of water. We rode until we could go no further, hitting a river crossing without a bridge.
After returning to the car, we drove along Five Bridge Road, which took us to a neighborhood with many farms and cows and beautiful views of rural MA. We also saw some unfortunate destruction left from a massive tornado that hit the town of Brimfield and nearby Monson and Springfield in 2011. Along the hillside, many trees were stripped bare from the massive winds of that epic storm. But the scenic greenery surrounding it dominated the scene with some beautiful views.
Tired and happy, we hopped on the Mass Pike and headed east, back home to Newton.
Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Nipmuc and Agawam