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The Tour de Turtle New England bone ride continued today as we visited 9 different towns in Worcester and Hamden County – Sturbridge, Holland, Wales, Brimfield, Monson, Palmer, Warren, West Brookfield, Brookfield. As usual we ranked them 1-9 from nicest to dumpiest, based on where the Turtleboy family would most to least likely to live. One thing that all these towns had in common was that they all look really old. The Turtleboy family’s ideal locale is new. When I drive down the street I wanna see homes built in the 21st century and building that wouldn’t burn down if you dropped a…..cigarette on the floor.
Sturbridge is a really old town, so you see a lot of this driving around:
That tornado from a few years back went through this town as well, so a lot of the landscape looks like this:
The downtown is pretty groovy
What we liked most about Sturbridge were a few things. First of all, it’s accessible. It’s at the intersection of 84 and 90, which is also makes it a great place to stop and rest when you’re bringing up heroin from Jersey. But it’s also pretty much the only town we visited today where you can find neighborhoods that look like this:
See, that’s my kind of hood right there. Stainless steel appliances like you read about. Turtleboy Jr. can run around and cause chaos until the cows come home and I don’t have to worry about him getting picked up by some guy in a Kevin Ksen rape van.
That’s not to say that Sturbridge doesn’t have some more Winchentucky-esque parts of town:
But it’s actually got like, civilization which a lot of the other towns we visited today do not. Although this section of Route 20 in Fiskdale friggin SUCKS at rush hour:
And here’s the thing about Sturbridge – they are obsessed with the word “village.” Old Sturbridge Village, which is by far the worst field trip any kid has ever gone on, is the biggest tourist attraction in town. Therefore every business in town has to find a way to incorporate the word ‘village’ or ‘antiques” into it:
All in all, not a bad place to live.
Downtown Holland is a pretty scary place.
Just kidding. It’s just a whole lot of nothing. Here’s a town you’d never know existed unless you moved there. There is literally no need to go to Holland (or it’s ugly twin stepsister Wales) because there’s nothing there. Most of the town is this big ass lake, which is actually quite lovely.
They’ve got plenty of shopping attractions
And there’s normal looking homes as you drive through the mean streets of Holland
But at the same time, it’s got plenty of Webster to it
Seriously, what is people’s infatuation with decorating their lawns with every piece of junk and scrap metal they’ve ever come across in their lifetime? All in all, places like this are few and far between. And Holland is still SOMEWHAT accessible off of I-84, so it’s not a terrible place to live.
The entire economy of Brimfield apparently revolves around antiquing
How that many antique shops can stay in business in a town of under 5,000 people is a mystery to me. But if we did move to Brimfield, Turtleboy Jr. better starting acquiring a taste for old shit that no one wants.
Brimfield is right on Route 20, which I suppose makes it somewhat accessible. But for the most part it’s just a ghost town
Although they do serve pizza for breakfast, so that’s a good thing I guess
And if pizza isn’t your thing, then fear not. Because Broomfield has plenty of…….food
There are some nice looking developments, but the problem is the tornado pretty much annihilated 75% of the trees in this town
And of course there are plenty of people in Brimfield who like hold undeclared rummage sales on their lawns 24/7/365
Seriously, what is the infatuation in some of these town with not tearing down burnt down old buildings. And what is up with this guy’s yard??!!! How much shit can you fit onto one property? And do I even wanna know how you acquired a school bus which you are apparently using for excess trash? This is the kind of stuff that’s keeping Brimfield from being great again.
One thing Turtleboy really dug about this town is that it’s got a really cool downtown with every sort of chain restaurant and store imaginable.
Town is smack dab in the middle of a huge valley, which is kind of cool looking, even though the tornado did a number on poor Monson.
If you live close to downtown there’s actually somewhat pleasant looking neighborhoods
And there’s plenty of normal looking homes away from town
At the same time, Monson has all these homes right on Main Street that basically defeat the purpose of living in a town
I’m sorry if you live in that house. But that house right there needs a bath. I know if I bought a house in Monson the first thing I’d do is decorate my front porch with discarded appliances.
Monson’s big draw back is it’s in the middle of nowhere. There’s a Mass Pike exit in neighboring Palmer, but for the most part Monson doesn’t even come close to bordering anything that matters. It’s the gateway to Western MA, which means it’s equidistant from the nearest sign of civilization. But like I said, downtown ain’t that bad so you can actually get shit in town if you need it.
5. West Brookfield
People who live in West Brookfield swear by it. I don’t get it. Sure, it’s got a quaint little downtown
But there’s pretty much nothing there. Sure they’ve got a Dunkin Donuts
But just like most towns in this next of the woods, everything just looks kind of……old
I mean, it’s just kind of, meh. Nothing bad, but nothing to write home about. Plus it’s kind of a pain in the ass to get to. But I guess when you’re neighbors are Warren and Ware, it’s easy to like your town a lot.
There’s only two good things about Palmer; 1) it’s got an exit on the Mass Pike, and 2) it has something resembling a civilization downtown.
Other than that it’s just kind of your classic run down dump town, complete with bed sheet curtains
And other breathtaking sights
Seriously, why the front lawn? Why it is a right of passage for every redneck to take their beat up cars and put them on their front lawns like they’re Goddamn trophies? Newsflash – you can call up any scrap yard and they will pay you money for your clunker .You don’t even have to move. You can just sit there, get paid, and get rid of your unwanted eyesore. Or you could just park it on the front lawn. Whatever you prefer, Palmer.
I didn’t realize what a carphole Brookfield was until today. I’ve driven through it a million times before on my way to UMass, and usually I was too annoyed by the guy going 30 mph for no reason in front of me to look around. But man, Brookfield really is a depressing looking place. Route 9 is scattered with businesses that weren’t very good at staying in business.
The houses are really kept up nicely.
Downtown is bustling
And this is pretty much the nicest neighborhood we could find.
Wales is just a much crappier version of Holland. The nightlife is out of control fun, especially at the library!!
There’s tons to do downtown
The roads are in great condition
The gas is really cheap
And the homes will make people in a remote village in Colombia say, “this is America?”
Warren is wear dreams go to die. It’s like where Katniss Everdeen lived before she won the Hunger Games. People say that Warren is a nice place to live. Maybe there’s a hidden part of Warren we can’t seem to find, because whenever I drive around Warren this is what I see:
What’s really sad, is that at one point in time someone said “Let’s cover our house with plastic butterflies and surround it with a bootleg picket fence,” and no one in the room had it in them to tell that person what an awful idea that was.
And I know that I like the front of my property to have as many satellite dishes as possible. It goes real well with the grossly overflowing dumpsters that line my sidewalk.
And evidently it appears that Lakeside Apartments have been moved to Warren
Some homes are just gigantic Craig’s List ads, filled with stuff that has been there for months with no takers:
The auto body shop is busy as always
The lawns are like scavenger hunts for random crap
There’s a lot of cool stuff for kids to do downtown
At least we found this street
Unfortunately for whoever lives there, they still live in Warren. Sorry Warren, you guys were the biggest dump on this bone ride. Time to get your shit together.
Where should we for our next Tour de Turtle?
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