Bone Ride

Tour De Turtle Bone Ride: Ranking Sturbridge, Holland, Wales, Brimfield, Monson, Palmer, Warren, West Brookfield, Brookfield From Nicest To Crappiest

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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.



1. Sturbridge

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.



2. Holland

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.



3. Brimfield


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.


4. Monson


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.



6. Palmer


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.




Well……kind of…..



Other than that it’s just kind of your classic run down dump town, complete with bed sheet curtains




Tranny Shops


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.


7. Brookfield


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.


Yay, Brookfield!!

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8. Wales

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?”



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9. Warren


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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43 Comment(s)
    April 14, 2018 at 4:22 am

    This is by far the most godforsaken part of Western MA in existence. The entire area is like the 7 rings of hell. It starts in Amherst, goes through Belchertown, and gets worse the farther east you go. Teeth are optional. Heroin has ravaged this area, as has inbreeding. Showers are a luxury (check your privilege). What’s for breakfast? PEEBERS.

      April 14, 2018 at 4:24 am

      Can’t forget Three Rivers. Palmer’s own special little cesspool.

    • Samuel
      December 13, 2020 at 7:02 am

      It’s definitely not the worst part of Western Mass. You forgot about Springfield, West Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke.

    • Samuel
      December 17, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Also once you get to Ware it becomes Central Mass.

  • Kevin Blouin
    January 13, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Your guys are such hacks. I know some of these people that live in these homes you photographed and displayed by basis of cosmetic judgement. Funny thing is, the families that live inside are filled with love and care and would give you the shirt off thier back if you needed it. Something you’ll never understand.

  • Tapeworm
    April 9, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    I grew up in Warren and West Warren. The brick rowhouse pictured is where I lived for many years. This rowhouse is actually separate townhomes or condos and was originally built for the immigrants who moved to W. Warren to work at Wright’s. If you had visited South St. you would have found nicer homes. Many of the families in Warren have lived here for years. It’s a relatively safe place to live. It seems like TB intentionally found the crappiest homes for their list.

    Also, West Brookfield has nice areas too but it’s nothing special . It’s still very redneck, but it’s not a complete shithole either. Lots of drugs in Warren and West Brookfield. I would rather live here than South bridge.

    • JakeG
      May 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      As far as I know, there aren’t a lot of drugs in W. Brookfield

  • Me
    January 16, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Asshat TB. Can we see the worst pics of your house, your neighborhood?

  • iamlordvoldemort
    January 16, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Like most downtowns in New England, the dwellings you mention in your tour of Waren are rentals. So take the landlords to task, not the residents. Yes, like most towns, Warren has its warts. We do, however, have a fine school system, something that your biased view fails to recognize.

    Next time you’re in Warren, I invite you to expand your road trip (and your narrow viewpoint) a little by riding through the following areas: Reed St, Coy Hill Rd, Town Farm Rd and some areas of Bemis and Southbridge Roads . I think you’ll find them a bit more tailored to your biased 21st Century liking. We even have turtle crossings!

    • Maggie the Cat
      January 16, 2016 at 11:15 am

      Turtle Crossings!!! I love it!

  • Stk3
    January 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    PS……. Every single house is paid for cash up front.

  • TurtleBitch
    January 15, 2016 at 2:47 am

    You literally drove around and looked for the most dumpiest houses (most are abandoned) you could find. Lol, you clearly are un-educated, these towns are HISTORICAL! You don’t see any of us going out to Worcester and taking pictures of all the homeless people asking for drug money, or pictures of the needles all over the place, or how every other day there’s a shooting, a stabbing, a robbery etc. You say these towns are ghost towns but you came out here in the winter when it’s 20 degrees outside. Every town has a horder, and a few people who just don’t care. Worcester is not even close to a “high class” city. Actually on behalf of all of us out here in the country I Thank you for writing this, because now none of us have to worry about snobs like yourself coming to move out here. You have to be the most ignorant person I’ve ever met, very ill informed. I still can’t get over the fact that you have this much time on your hands that you enjoy just driving around towns that you know nothing about, you actually stop harassing little girls long enough to do this?

  • J Martinek
    January 14, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    I grew up in Worcester County. .Lunenburg, Fitchburg, Leominster, Westminster and Rathole…I have way better friends out here is Palmer than I ever did in those stuck up towns. People go to church, we help our neighbors bring meals to our elderly and care for each other….We stick up for our town, more than what you do. Every town has issues, I know this….but stop thinking your an elite snob because your from central mass…. My family has Pats season tix! Family is where the heart is….

  • PlzGoToMaine
    January 14, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    If you can roadtrip or find a Maine Turtleboy, there are some… real sights to see once you’re north of Augusta!

  • Fuck you turtle boy
    January 14, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    If I’m being honestly, you’re a ass wagon. This article is trash. I mean, the content is horrible, there are loads of mistakes, and it’s really just not interesting. Not to mention that even writing this article is trashy in itself.

    • Kevin Blouin
      January 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm


  • Debbi
    January 14, 2016 at 7:17 am

    I just bought a beautiful little piece of land in Wales for some peace and quiet. It’s a sweet little town!

  • michelle
    January 13, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    Its not about how one lives, its about how the live! And how the work , how they survive, how they manage the day to day, week to week, month to month. I have my roof over my head, a family I’m proud of……. I CALL WARREN-WEST WARREN MY HOME. I WORKED HARD FOR THE LITTLE i HAVE AND GIVE EVEN MORE!!!!! so KISS OUR ASS. Our homes are that Ours, not any one else we live here we stay here we work long hours for less pay to do so, Why? because we don’t get shot at, burgled,or worse. I love my little town!!!!!!!!! it has history, it remembers the old, it is the past emerging with the present. You figure that out and what a wonderful world this will be.

  • Matt
    January 13, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Proof reading the articles before posting them may be a good idea if you’re looking to be even slightly professional about your writing. Some of the mistakes really ruin the flow of your articles for me at least.

    • Bill
      January 13, 2016 at 10:18 pm

      Kind of like “proof reading”?

  • DoctorV
    January 13, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Next up, do the Quabbin reservoir area – Oakham/Barre/Rutland/Hubbardston/Ware/New Braintree/Petersham/etc.
    Also looking forward to southern Worcester County – curious to see if Southbridge or Webster rank lower?

  • Sissy Hankshaw
    January 13, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    at least my West Brookfield education taught me that it’s “rite” of passage, not “right”

  • realoldguy
    January 13, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    You certainly missed all the excellent residential areas of Palmer (High Meadow, Breton Estates etc.) Next trip around, include Ware in your poll……they’ll be right up there with Warren at the top of the list!

    • WormtownorBust
      January 13, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Ware would beat Warren for grumpier town award.

      • WormtownorBust
        January 13, 2016 at 8:27 pm


  • ninja turtleboy
    January 13, 2016 at 11:42 am

    you forgot to mention the INSANE high school holland brimfield Sturbridge Wales and Brookfield make up. tantasqua. they have a pool!!!

  • Mass Man
    January 13, 2016 at 11:36 am

    You need someone to check your copy, since condescending attitudes with grammatical errors hardly makes you seem any classier than the sites you condemn. While you were taking Rt 9 to a university, I’m guessing it was not to actually get an education.

  • January 13, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Yes the Sturbridge part is right on….and the development with all the ‘stainless steel appliances & granite counters’ is right at the end of my road…Basterds tore down a Beautiful Cathedral Pine Forest & put up a sign calling the development “Tall Pines” yup

    • Doc Time
      January 13, 2016 at 8:56 pm

      Yes like cutting down all the fields and forests and then calling the development Deer Run Estates or Fox Run Condos.

  • Young Townie
    January 13, 2016 at 10:14 am

    I think what people miss is that TB isn’t just slamming these towns for being poor. Sure, we know not everyone can live in a brand new 3000 square foot home. However, just because you might be poor doesn’t mean you need to have your last 8 cars on your front lawn or every piece of furniture and appliance you’ve ever owned on the front porch. Mrs. Young Townie and I have gone through our hard times, but we always had enough respect for ourselves and our neighbors to not let our home devolve into something you’d find in Ghana.

    • Matt
      January 15, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      Literally,most of those houses no one lives in so who is going to keep up with them?

  • Pamela
    January 13, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Perhaps before just driving through and taking photos, you learn the history, population, demographics, and understand the communities before judging them with your snobbish attitude. There are some amazing facts of history in some of these towns, and you completely disregard any of it, because it is mor fascinating to you, to be the “cool a-hole” of the school.
    The fact that you feel that the 21st century homes and staneless steel is where the cool people live, just goes to show that your don’t belong in New England. Historical homes are amazing homes. There is absolutely a lot more to these towns than the photos you took. In fact you missed an awful lot, and I’m glad you did. We don’t need people like you driving through our towns with words written like a spoiled brat who understands nothing beyond their egocentric world. So, drive through and keep on going!

    • Pamela
      January 13, 2016 at 9:48 am

      Yes, I have typos. Written while dystonic (which is a brain illness)

      • BobnMic
        January 13, 2016 at 12:29 pm

        Pam – One of the causes of your condition Dystonia is associated with “lead poisoning” which you will find in the paint in all of those historical homes you speak highly of. These old homes are dangerous and if not updated will kill you. Typos? – forget about that. We all do that here.

        TB very entertaining pictorial documentary. Well done and fun to read.

        • Matt
          January 15, 2016 at 11:53 pm

          All That he did was show the crappy parts of the towns!!!! Literally, he missed a ton of stuff in Warren, Brimfield, Wales, Etc., that is really nice.

    • Young Townie
      January 13, 2016 at 10:17 am

      You miss the point. Not everyone has to live in a brand new 21st century mansion. Not everyone needs to live in a colonial home fixed up to the point that it is worth $1 million. And I agree, a historical home is an amazing home. I love New England for the history. However, what is not amazing is having a historical home with a fleet of rusted out cars and appliances sitting on the front yard. As TB pointed out, it doesn’t even cost money to get rid of those cars, you can actually make money to do it. Historical homes don’t make a town dumpy. People who don’t care enough to even attempt to clean up a place do.

    • Itinerant Engineer
      January 13, 2016 at 11:06 am

      Just because a house is old doesn’t mean you can’t keep your old appliances off of the porch and give it a fresh coat of paint every decade or so.

    • IgnoranceBreedsIgnorance
      January 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Historical homes are beautiful, when they are kept up. A coat of paint works wonders in making sure your house doesn’t look like where all the cracked out squatters in town reside.

  • Boondocks Resident
    January 13, 2016 at 7:46 am

    I agree that many of these western mass towns have less than desirable aspects, however, I highly recommend you take a TB zip trip in the spring, summer or fall as most of what these towns have to offer is pastoral views, rolling green hills, speckled horses and cows patties that waft towards you as you drive by. These towns west of Worcester are pretty poor too so even if they wanted to put new during up or get rid of the old broken down whatever in the yard they don’t always have the funds available to do so and unlike people from Spencer, no go fund me accounts are up bc they’re not interested in stealing money from strangers for anything besides junk (antiques) so definitely not prioritizing $$ for neighborhood restoration.
    Entertaining read though, I might just have to check out that Tranny Shop lol
    When do we see a zip trip to North Brookfield-Barre zone?

  • Maggie the Cat
    January 13, 2016 at 7:02 am

    First of all, if I was a landlord I’d have a clause written into leases saying that no satellite dishes may be attached to the exterior of the building. Frequently, when tenants move out they leave the dishes and someone else has to pay to have them removed. The dishes are exterior signs of the deterioration of society. Any place with these dishes just screams “low class”. Ugly, Ugly, Ugly.

    But this tour is actually a sociological history of New England, the New England where people once thought things would go on forever as they were then. These towns were unprepared for the future and this pictorial essay shows the results of that failure.

    Brimfield is a little different, though, in that their big attraction (and the reason for all the antique stores) is the thrice-yearly Brimfield Antiques Sales. Decorators and dealers and actual regular people come from all over the country to walk through miles and miles of “junk” to find just the right thing. If nothing else, all those visitors get plenty of exercise. I’ve been there and it’s exhausting! But it brings in a lot of money to the local businesses, which is more than most of the other towns can do.

  • TDF
    January 13, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Monson has one of the best breweries in the state, Treehouse Brewery….people line up to get their beer….

  • Reddog
    January 13, 2016 at 4:18 am

    Monson has the famous motorcycle hill climbs that you must have missed. Great place to bring TB Jr. For some redneck entertainment in the spring and summer.

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