Bone Ride

TB Zip Trip: Ranking Northwestern Worcester County From Nicest To Crappiest

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Now that the town of Colrain has decided to declare war on Turtleboy since we pointed out that their town is a dump, we decided to start a Turtleboy zip trip, in which we will visit 5-10 towns and rank them from nicest to dumpiest. Today was our first bone ride and we decided to check out the Northwestern part of Worcester County that straddles the Route 2 corridor. We hit up nine towns: Westminster, Gardner, Ashburnham, Winchendon, Royalston, Athol, Orange, Phillipston, and Templeton. Here’s how they rank out from nicest to crappiest:

1. Westminster

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All nine of these towns are old looking. That’s the best way I can describe them. Old and beat up by life. Westminster is the only one of the nine towns that Turtleboy would ever consider living in. At least it’s close to the highway and civilization, plus it’s got chain restaurants:

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Pizza:

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A country variety store:

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Swanky cocktails

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And all the crackers you could ever want:

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There is a small element of this going on:

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But I suppose every town is gonna have a handful of local boobs who treat their lawn like it’s the Summer Nationals graveyard.

And the price of gas in Westminster is OUTRAGEOUS:

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The downtown is lovely though:

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And there’s no traffic:

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So I can understand why people who live in Westminster swear by it.

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2. Ashburnham

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Ashburnham is a quiet and quaint little town on the New Hampshires border. We looked all over and couldn’t really find any good grime. Just pleasant looking, average homes:

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It’s got a great prep school called Cushing Academy in the middle of town, but more than likely if you read Turtleboy Sports on the regular, it mean you’re too poor to send your kids there:

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It might seem like the ass crack of nowhere, but it’s actually a bustling community. They even have their own barbershop!!

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Watch out for Asian tourists with cameras standing in the middle of the road though, because Ashburnham is a hotbed for tourism:

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The big downside of Asburnham is that you’re nowhere near civilization (AKA Walmart) or a highway, and the price of gas is almost as bad as Westminster:

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3. Phillipston

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Turtleboy has no desire to live in Phillipston because there’s nothing there:

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This is the bustling scene you find downtown:

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Hot!!! But I guess some people prefer the simpler life. Not Turtleboy though. The Turtleboy family needs action!! We need Chucky Cheese and Worcester Bling Bling. But then again who needs that stuff when you’ve got the all-in-one Phillipston Liquor and Variety store instead:

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Oh yea, and Phillipston has the best deal on oil changes in Worcester County:

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Other than that I’d probably stay out of Philipston unless I was looking to start an insurrection against the government:

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4. Templeton

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A lot of people swear by Templeton, but I don’t see what’s so special about it. I can tell 99% of what I need to know about a town by looking at your high school’s MCAS scores. And Narragansett’s aren’t much better than Worcester’s which seems to defeat the purpose of moving so far away from civilization. Don’t get me wrong, we found plenty of normal looking parts of Templeton:

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And I get the appeal of having your own little plot of land far away from it all:

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But for every normal looking abode, you found a little slice of Webster along the way:

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Here’s another thing about places like Northbridge and Templeton – you only get one town name. Pick one. People who live in Northbridge love to tell you that they live in Whitinsville. But Whitinsville ins’t a town, and neither is “Baldwinville.” And quite frankly downtown Templeton:

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Is a lot more pleasant looking than downtown Baldwinville:

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I will say this about Baldwinville though. This place makes a mean sub sandwich if you’re ever in the area:

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Templeton is a metropolis compared to Phillipston, but at the end of the day the Turtleboy family can’t live in a place where the economy revolves around furniture:

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Septic treatment:

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And coffee:

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But they are creating jobs in Templeton at least:

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5. Orange

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I was expecting much dumpier. Don’t get me wrong, I could easily see how living in Orange would drive someone to suicide:

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And there’s plenty of dumpy looking trailers for rent:

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And nothing says “I live in a classy town” more than the guy on the Main Street with a trampoline in his yard:

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But for the most part Orange seems like a normal residential community:

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And the downtown actually has some stuff in it:

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The problem of course is that you’re in Orange, which is in the asshole of nowhere. But hey, at least you got a Walmart!!

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6. Gardner

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Gardner is the “chair city” and they’re not hesitant to remind you of that five million times as you drive through it:

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The problem is that no one buys wooden chairs in 2016 so a lot of Gardner looks like this:

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And when you get too much of that, it’s basically an invitation for the muffs in all-day pajamas to start rolling in:

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Which really helps small businesses:

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Then the neighborhoods start turning into this:

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And this is never a good thing:

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Next thing you know you’ve got people walking down the railroad tracks at all hours of the day:

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But at least gas is cheap:

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Just watch out for this intersection because it’s basically free for all:

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I dunno, Gardner isn’t that bad. It’s just kind of….old looking?

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Gardner is a judgement free zone though:

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And it’s got lots of culture and museums, such as the world famous Gardner Museum:

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7. Athol

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Going into this trip I figured Athol would be ranked last, but at least it has a semblance of civilization to it.

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Plus it’s on Route 2. I can’t imagine living in a town that doesn’t have a grocery store or access to a road with lights on it. At least Athol has a McDonald’s:

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Other than that Athol is basically just a rundown post industrial cesspool of broken dreams:

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Plus this guy still lives in Athol and he’s killing the property value:

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8. Winchendon

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Winchendon is a great place to move to if you want your daughter to be the next star of Teen Mom. Because getting pregnant is pretty much the only thing for teenagers in “Toy Town” to do. But at least gas is cheap:

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I’d probably get pregnant too if this is what downtown looked like:

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You know how sometimes you have that one guy in the neighborhood who lets his house go to shit and the neighborhood tries to find out a way to get the town to clean his lawn up? Yea, that’s like half the town of Winchendon:

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And stuff like this is a nice touch:

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On the plus side there are some somewhat normal looking neighborhoods:

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There is a McDonald’s

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There’s a lovely rail trail

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And there’s plenty of fine dining

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And swanky hotels

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LOL. Winchendon.

 

9. Royalston

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I’d rather be dead than live in Royalston. First of all, I’m pretty sure people in Royalston don’t want any outsiders there at all. It’s why their roads look like Bosnia after a NATO air strike:

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You will never see shittier roads anywhere in Massachusetts than the one’s in Royalston. As soon as you cross into Athol you immediately see the difference:

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Royalston is also in the ass middle of nowhere along the New Hampshire border. Downtown gets a little out of control at times:

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And they have a world class hospital:

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There’s also an undeclared and ongoing contest in Royalston do see who can throw the most shit on their front lawn:

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And to make matters worse there’s these “No Pipeline” signs everywhere:

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And those signs can only mean one thing – HIPPIES!!! Shitty roads, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do, AND hippies. Turtleboy would highly recommend never going to Royalston unless you’re hiding out from the Leicester Police.

Where should we go next? Want us to profile your community and the surrounding towns? Let us know in the comments why your village is worthy and if you’re good this year then Turtleboy will be coming to town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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72 Comment(s)
  • Leo
    April 26, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Laughed out load. Pictures are worth a 1000 words. I bet Bosnia also has better homes than Royalston. Lived here over 20 yrs and the place gets dumpier and dumpier every year. The reason the town looks like one big fat dump can be directly linked to our so called elected officials. Health, safety, wetlands, fire and town bylaw violations and they DO NOTHING TO ENFORCE THIS!
    No one to blame but THEMSELFS! They should change the name to “ROYALDUMPSTON”

  • Katie
    February 4, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Sure Gardner and Athol can be crappy in ways, but can any place be shittier than Colrain, Charlemont, and Lawrence?

  • TBjr
    January 17, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Late to the party, but lighten up folks! OMG. I live in Ashburnham, grew up in Templeton, and did the Gardner 500 in the 80’s. Get the joke folks. Gardner is poised for a comeback! Mark Hawke is a solid mayor, and the city is buying up the crap to knock it down. Life is good in this neck of the woods. Keep up the good work. Best part of the state to raise kids by far.

  • G-Vegas Inbred
    January 14, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Gardner needs narcan in the public schools. It’s a dump.

  • January 13, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Awesome post.

  • Anonymous
    January 8, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    YOU ARE A REFLECTION OF WHAT YOU SEE. I live in Winchendon and have met a lot of awesome people in this area who are of great character. It’s HARD TO FIND THOSE in the more “beautiful” towns/cities. Sometimes you have to look deeper than what’s superficial.

  • m
    January 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    first you’re a basher, looking for a few minutes of glory. second did you have permission from ANY of the people who own these properties?? who are you to judge what small town people could be going through? these towns are small communities that stick together when things get rough, neighbors who willing help their neighbors when it’s needed. i think all the people who have the HOMES in these photos should sue you for acquiring the photos w/out permission.

    • capt. crunchie
      January 6, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Are you aware of a small undertaking known as google street view?

  • Rich
    January 6, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Ashburnham isnt an asian tourist hotbed, its the school that the asians go to [which I believe is in the pics]

    Too bad you didnt take a minute to go to some of the neighboring cities such as Fitchburg, Lunenburg and Leominster, all ratholes

  • The Engineer
    January 6, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    The worst in every town is pretty disgusting. It ain’t the water, or the air. It’s our rotten American culture. All the slackers walking around on train tracks, shopping in all-day-PJs, riding the Mart bus – these are the problems with our culture.

    This is why we need legal, hard-working immigrants. Because there’s something in American culture that creates the above mentioned slackers. Sure, some towns have more than their share. How about we take the advice of the US Park Service – don’t feed the animals – it causes them to forget how to take care of themselves.

  • Erin
    January 6, 2016 at 10:34 am

    These towns may not be the richest or the prettiest, but they’re home for a lot of amazing people. I grew up in Athol and Royalston and I loved every second of it. Those towns are my home and they are home to many of my friends and family. The fact that you find humor in driving around and picking apart each town that doesn’t meet your standard is pathetic. You need to find something better to do with your time.

  • Buster
    January 6, 2016 at 9:09 am

    G-Vegas leads all locales in the crappiest “business district”. Those big red and white signs with the “X” on them dominate the downtown. And the sad fact that the mayor of G-Vegas must resort to federal and state grants to tear down abandoned property in the business district exemplifies just how crappy Gardner is. It’s a dump, with bad demographics. As old poor retired people die off, it will continue to get worse. The only folk moving to G-Vegas are SSDI & welfare slugs and layabouts. All the clubs still run illegal poker machines and other “amusement only” games, but the Bingo scene has dried up. Like the former nickname, Chair City, Gardner no longer lives up to it’s G-Vegas reputation. Maybe G-Horse would be a more appropriate nickname for the Gardner of today.

    • Hubby res
      January 6, 2016 at 9:33 am

      Can you explain “G-Horse”? I’m ‘m just not understanding the reference/terminology, that you imply.

      • Trainwreck
        January 6, 2016 at 10:06 am

        I got it. G-Horse for the thriving heroin culture in the former G-Vegas/Chair City.

  • Jo
    January 5, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    TB
    Nice idea.
    After you do your zip trip rankings, you should then do a playoff.
    Westminster gets your pick to move on.
    Who’s next?

  • tam brackmore
    January 5, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    If you add an ‘R’ to the front of Athol and an ‘E’ to the end, what do you get?

    • Trainwreck
      January 6, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Somewhere better than shown on TB’s list.

  • Publius
    January 5, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Good stuff TB, hilarious. Thats why so many return, and 49 posted.

  • Leanne
    January 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    I think that this entire article sucks an it’s a waste of anyone’s time to read it. If this is truly what is felt than perhaps more research should be done on the towns and the history of them. it was a vague bland article that was way of base and I’m pretty sure my sixth grader can write a better article. I feel more stupid for reading it, what a crock of shit. Read a book– and stop wasting your time trying to be witty it doesn’t work your a complete dumbass.

  • Umm
    January 5, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    This was kind boring and obviously anyone in Worcester would die to live in any of those town. .. maybe next time do a report on the dirt of each town maybe pick a town a week and do the top crimes n criminals of that town. Now that’s a story

  • Purple Passion
    January 5, 2016 at 11:32 am

    These lovely hamlets constitute the gateway to Worcester.

  • Jainaba Tuffile
    January 5, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Oh, F Westminster! F Ashburnham! F those haters!!! F Princeton, and Ashby, too, not even on the list! Do they think they’re too good for the list?! GAADNAH FOR LIFE!!!!! (.just kidding.) 🙂 ( . . . I don’t really hate places for being nice.) 🙂 😉 “Post-industrial cesspool of broken dreams.” That’s what’s real. <3 Home, sweet, home.

    (In all seriousness, I've lived on Martha's Vineyard, and in South Beach Miami, NYC, Freemont CA, . . .I grew up in Gardner (until 11), and moved back here with my husband to raise our children here and I love it here. I'm crazy, but I love it and want to be part of making it nicer—if that's possible at all.)

  • G.K.
    January 5, 2016 at 9:27 am

    a. this was hilarious b. no FITCHBURG!?
    its all in good fun, every town has its pros and cons. people take it too seriously.

    • The Dirty TurtleBurg
      January 6, 2016 at 7:38 am

      The Burg should not be lumped into this blog – it deserves an entire blog to itself. There is just so much material there!

  • Bob Wilkinson
    January 5, 2016 at 8:07 am

    All Negative, Ignorant review, no time spent, No research done. No Idea about the community and the millions of positives over the other 50% of the state. Work harder, Bash less.

  • Proud Westminister
    January 5, 2016 at 6:14 am

    Don’t want to pile on after we easily came in first (although let’s face it, we don’t have much competition in the area)but you didn’t even give the citizens of Westminster any love for voting out our Board of Health Members who had the bright idea of banning tobacco products a couple years ago.

  • R
    January 5, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Get tor facts strait before you start ripping tows to shreds!

    • R
      January 5, 2016 at 5:36 am

      Towns, ugh auto correct

      • Hubb res
        January 5, 2016 at 10:52 am

        Towns, what about “tors” and “strait” (straight). Autocorrect can’t fix properly spelled words used incorrectly. I’ll save TB the hassle, it’s people like you that make his articles so relevant.
        rel·e·vant
        ˈreləvənt
        adjective
        closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.
        In case you needed to know what I’m talking about…

  • Common Sense Isn't So Common
    January 5, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Lighten up Francis!!!!

  • Jeff
    January 4, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    I don’t live there anymore, but I grew up in Holden and would love to see what you have to say about it, other than that it’s in the middle of nowhere and a super inconvenient place to live.

    • Um
      January 4, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      If you own a car, Holden isn’t far away from anything.

  • Strata
    January 4, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Don’t really like these “takes” on bashing fellow towns and acting all superior ….. many good people live in these towns for whatever reason. And some reasons are because that’s all they can afford, or where their family unit is. Knocking them doesn’t seem to be a “hot take” to me. Again, there are good,bad, and indifferent in all towns & cities. Yawn

  • Name*
    January 4, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Please please please go to Fitchburg! I would love to read your take on that shit show!

    • Jake the Snake
      January 5, 2016 at 8:09 am

      I live in the ‘burg- sure we have our issues, and some of our roads look like Bosnia as well. There may be some shit-shows, but look deep enough and you’ll find a shit show in any city /town… even Leomontown.

    • Jake the Snake
      January 5, 2016 at 9:28 am

      Fitchburg has come a long way, but nobody can afford to set up shoppe anywhere, as Power Costs are more than monthly rent. Uniswill has a death grip on electricity costs that strangle everyone, and cause grannies to become junkies!

  • tim
    January 4, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    you need to make this a 50-pic slide show like business insider

  • titi ho
    January 4, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    royalston creeps me out. I went thru the center of town once and there were no people and no cars. All the houses were white with green shutters and shades down. I think that vampires control the town.

  • Deb Mc
    January 4, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    Spencer, if you have the nads for it.

    • L 7
      January 4, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      Deb who goes to spencer other then maybe to get a good deal on a fridge at that dump store in the hell whole you call the center. You need to be embarrassed more then anything for living there so please. Shhhhhhhhb

  • Joetime
    January 4, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Other than that Athol is basically just a rundown post industrial cesspool of broken dreams:

    Best description ever.

  • Trisha
    January 4, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    This was a poorly written article that emphasized the negative and not the positive of towns. Therefore it is one sided not balanced. Sorry but there is a lot of good in many of these towns!

    • Tom
      January 5, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      He just makes money on those of you who click on the ads on the site. Content is not king.

    • wabbitt
      January 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Just as fair and balanced as Fox News.

  • January 4, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    If some one wishes expert view concerning blogging afterward i recommend him/her to pay a
    visit this web site, Keep up the good job.

  • Dan-o
    January 4, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    I grew up in Gardner, got a great high school education, went to college, and made something of myself. You have nothing better to do than drive around all day and make fun of other people. You’re the real loser.

    • L 7
      January 5, 2016 at 5:03 am

      G Vegas what happens in Gardner stays in Gardner. You poor thing

      • Rusted Johnson
        January 11, 2016 at 6:05 am

        So true L7. you are a most perceptive observer.

  • Reddog
    January 4, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Can’t believe you didn’t grab lunch at the thirsty turtle

  • Brian
    January 4, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Obviously this is just by driving by and not getting any info of what is happening or about to happen in the cities you are reporting the rail trail brand new in Winch and is suppose to expand all the way to Gardner.. Gardner just got granted 3.2 million to help with some of the buildings in downtown to hopefully help bring businesses.. Businesses are expanding in Gardner that have decent paying wages. MWCC is expanding in Gardner not shown on this report.. The old Victorian is being renovated to be a bed and breakfast and is on the national registry for haunted places.. Templeton has no businesses and pushes all businesses away but hey after 15 years of fighting they are going to build a new elementry school.. Athol does have a grocery store it’s just on the border of Phillipston.

    • Buster
      January 6, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Typical G-Vegas crap. “Looky over there, Gardner is PERFECT”. That is why you live in a shitty city full of SSDI druggies. Wow, MWCC is expanding! Wow, they got $3.2 million because the city is a pathetic POS. Gee-wiz, the national register for haunted places! WOW!

  • Brian
    January 4, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    It’s funny because some of the buildings in Gardner that are posted are part of a 3.2 million dollar grant the city got to fix the down town like the big factory behind the new Cumberland farms and they didn’t show any of the construction of companies expanding in Gardner on industrial dr. Or the expansion of the college.. It’s amazing what having a bias view without I am sure talking to people that grew up in the area not Gardner but in towns around it. I would live in Gardner before Orange any day.. Oranges economy is garbage and all the jobs are low end..

    • Trainwreck
      January 6, 2016 at 11:50 am

      G-Horse is the pits. Low paying jobs? Most G-Horse residents don’t need no job. They can cash in on Obamanomics.

  • Deegram
    January 4, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Gawdna also has the distinction of having the most pizza joints and dollar stores per capita.
    And a $10 million police station – most money per copita

    • Amy
      January 5, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      And auto parts stores!

    • Oldmanbill
      August 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      You forgot the Dunkin Donuts

  • Lee
    January 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    You went to Baldwinville and didn’t cover the bar scene? Should of hit up the Turtle. Irony.

  • Stephanie
    January 4, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    I’m not at all surprised about the rankings of these towns at all…except maybe that Orange ranked so high. These descriptions were hilarious…especially the all day pajama wearers in Gardner because that is 100000% accurate. Lived there most of my life, hates that shit.

  • Anne
    January 4, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    That was some cream puff reporting. This story was just as boring as these towns. You should have dug a little deeper and added some points of interest.

  • L 7
    January 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Come on tb. You forgot the burgh Also some important facts of for living in athol and winchtucky. These sick fucks love there own literally. Father marrys daughters , son marrys aunt,cousins marry everyone and anyone who is related and has an ssi check of over 750 per month.

  • L 7
    January 4, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I am kinda shocked you forgot the burgh. Also one important factor of living in athol and winchentucky is all of the wonderful marriages were father marrys daughter son marry sister and the daughter marrys who wver is left over in the house.

  • Debbie
    January 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    I live in Gardner. Used to live in Fitchburg, If you have ever been there you know this is a step up!

    • Stephanie
      January 4, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Gardner and Fitchburg are essentially the same. Only Fitchburg actually has public transportation.

      • Debbie
        January 4, 2016 at 9:13 pm

        There are major differences. The schools arr better in Gardner, which was our major reason for moving here.

        • Buster
          January 6, 2016 at 12:34 pm

          The schools in Gardner are pretty shitty. Maybe you should look up the problems in a school system before moving from one craphole to a slightly smaller craphole.

          • Debbie
            January 6, 2016 at 2:01 pm

            Actually when we moved here in 2006, we did a lot of research on the schools. And guess what, they rated higher than most schools in the area. We wanted somewhere you can feel safe walking down the street & I do here. In Fitchburg you never knew if you were going to be mugged, shot, robbed or beat up. Never mind all the junkies & needles everywhere.

      • The Dirty TurtleBurg
        January 6, 2016 at 7:35 am

        I used to live in the Burg – now live in Gardner. I like both of them but they are in no way the same – aside from both being decaying mill towns of course. The level of destruction and desolation is just much more advanced in Fitchburg than it is in Gardner. For example, it was amazing to come to Gardner and see normal pedestrians walking around (that aren’t just junkies or dealers). The downside is that the local paper is much more boring because there is much less petty crime here.

  • Joe Citizen
    January 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Should come to Grafton, the town keeps building and raising taxes to battle the deficit. A railroad is putting a propane transload in a residential neighborhood. And the South end is the epitome of the other side of the tracks. There is a good mix of rich and just above the poverty.

  • Ashley
    January 4, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Orange is Franklin County….not Worcester.

    • Brian
      January 4, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Still a dump I am amazed it ranked that high there is nothing happening there and all low income jobs

      • jay W
        January 5, 2016 at 12:00 am

        Orange is the crappiest most depressing place imaginable. A total dump full of druggies and scum.

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