Day/Date: SATURDAY -12/10/22
Towns visited: Holland & Wales
Had we ever been to these towns before? No
Drive to 1st town: 60 miles Time spent in towns: 3 hours
What did we do in the towns/area?
Before visiting our friends in Connecticut for the weekend, we took a look at our map and picked a few small towns we could see on the way. We started off in Holland, MA as it was easily accessed off of Hwy 84. Our day began with a hike in the Quinebaug Woods (a Trustee’s property). We trekked on a 2-mile loop trail along beautiful the Quinebaug River, which led us to some old chimney ruins and a limited scenic view. It was a chilly, but really lovely morning.
Next, we headed to the town hall, across the street from the elementary school and just next door to a tiny and cute library. We were so psyched that the library was open as so often in small towns, the hours are limited. This library used to be the home of the Fiske family. Inside the library, we met Megan, and she told us just how small the town was (only about 2600 people). She said she grew up in the next town over, Wales. She suggested that we also visit Wales today, as it is even smaller than Holland.
There were a few large portraits framed in the small library. The librarian told us that she believed that they were of the original two owners of the house, that is now the library, and that they were socialites of their time. Megan pointed out another framed photo up on the wall of a bearded man. She told us his picture was on display because his body had been mysteriously found in the lake- a drowning, unexplained.
Well, now we just had to see this lake! Holland has a lot of lakes, and we aren’t sure which one he was found in. The largest is the Hamilton Reservoir. This body of water was made back in the 1860s when the Hamilton Woolen Company dammed the Quinebaug River.
Another lake we found in Holland is Lake Siog. We drove to go and see it but, alas, it was closed for the winter, as made evident by the big yellow gate closing the road. We’ve been known to walk through gates like this at times, but there was no place to park nearby so we just moved on.
There were hardly any stores in the town. There was an Italian restaurant that had closed in the last year as well as a seafood restaurant that is only open in the summer when there are more visitors on the lakes.
But we did find a convenience store called the Holland Market, where we grabbed a seltzer and a lollipop. It was our way of contributing to the economy of Holland!
Since Megan had told us to check out Wales and she thought that their small library might be open as well, we decided to head west to this next small town before taking the turn south to Connecticut.
We did come back through Holland the next day on our way home and drove around the residential part of the lake. There were a few run-down homes on the outskirts of the loop but several cute houses right along the lake.
WALES We drove to Wales at the suggestion of Megan, who was from there. She told us to definitely go to the town library and said that there wasn’t much else going on in the town. She said it was about as small a town as it gets. She mentioned living by a lake when she lived there, so, like Holland, the local lakes seem to offer up the bulk of the available recreational activities around these parts.
As we were heading toward the library, we noticed a small pull-off with cars parked nearby, and a cute yellowish building which was very adorned for Christmas with ice skates hanging on the doors. It was only as we were looking around that we saw a sign off to our left that said Meeting House Quilt Shop. Maybe the pale yellow house was the shop? Our curiosity was piqued, so we went in. And instantly we felt so glad we did. When we walked through the doors, we were pleasantly surprised and instantly transported into a world of wonder. The shop was full of vibrant fabrics neatly displayed and arranged by color, artful quilt designs hanging on walls and on shelves, books and tools, and all kinds of wondrous things. The light in the space was beautiful, as many of the windows were yellow, casting a golden hue on everything. As we walked in even further, we saw shoppers and quilters working together, perhaps in some kind of class. It was truly a marvel and a highlight of this very small town visit.
After that excursion, we found the library and went in. The librarian there was busy, so we didn’t get to converse with her, but we took some pics of the place. This library was also in an old house, but it wasn’t as cute as the one in Holland.
The Town Hall was nearby and up on a small hill. There was a large bell on display just next door. This building used to be an old Baptist Church. There was also a separate Town Office building nearby. This building had a cement planter outside designed with the town seal and their motto, “The past our heritage, the future our legacy.”
Lastly, we passed by Lake George, which gets used quite a bit in the summer but on this late fall day was just quiet and peaceful.
We ended our day here and headed to Connecticut to see our friends.
Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Nipmuc, Agawam