I've decided to add yet another feature to this blog. It may only be helpful to those of you who live in New England, especially in the Worcester/Boston/New Haven area, but it could be interesting to the others. Before I moved up here, my primary ideas of New England were lighthouses, lobsters (both of which are more Maine than anything else), fall foliage, blue states, Puritans, cold, Red Sox, and Ivy League schools. Now, all of these things do exist in New England and are pretty prevalent, but I've found that there's much more out there. So this is a little section of my blog in which I'd like to mention a few "hidden treasures" that visitors and those living here might not know about.
1. Wachusett Brewing Company. This is a craft brewer in Westminster, MA. Rick and I go there pretty often in the summer, fall, and spring (the roads can be bad in the winter, depending on how you get there) with our growler to fill up on our favorite brew. I'm personally a huge fan of their Summer Ale, and I also like the blueberry (but only with blueberries floating around in my beer). I'm not sure what Rick's favorite is. New England boasts tons of local breweries, and the most famous one would probably be Boston Beer Company (aka Sam Adams...the brewery tour is great, and you should go). Wachusett is pretty close to Worcester, though, and they make great beer and are really cool people. We've gone on the tour a couple of times, once on our own and then we've taken friends there to experience its coolness. So you should go. Check out Leominster State Forest while you're on the way. They have some really nice hiking trails.
2. Purgatory Chasm. Rick and I stopped here on the way back from RI once just because we'd passed the signs on the 146 several times and thought it sounded cool. And it is. Purgatory Chasm is a huge chasm (imagine that!) through which you can climb over rocks and take in the beauty. You can also rock climb, with a permit (I think), and walk along the edge of the chasm. But be careful. People have gotten seriously hurt there before, so you don't want to go walking too close to the edge. But it's beautiful and I believe one of the cooler sites in central MA/ RI area.
3. Wholly Cannoli. Easily my favorite pastry shop in New England, this place has cannoli's of every flavor. I love the pumpkin ones in the fall, and next on my list is the pistachio one. They also have a beautiful selection of cakes, cookies, and other Italian desserts. I hear their sandwiches are really great too, and some day I want to try their pizza. It's in Worcester, and lucky for me really close to the house. They recently renovated the store next to theirs, so now they have beautiful display cases and a great coffee-shop ambiance for having your pastry. The North End in Boston is good (the pastry shop down the street from Mike's is excellent and not crowded with tourists), but why go to Boston when you can get superb Cannoli's without the crazy tourism lines right here in Worcester?