Sturbridge can leave a bittersweet taste in the traveler’s mouth – here is one of the most visited attractions in New England and one of the rudest examples of how far US culture has traveled in less than 200 years in search of the Yankee dollar.
The town kept much of its colonial character until after WWII. When the Mass Pike (I-90) and I-84 arrived in the late 1950s and joined just north of the town, commerce and change came all at once. To take advantage of the handy highway transportation, the town became host to one of the country’s first ‘living museums’ – Old Sturbridge Village (OSV). The concept of the living museum was new when OSV started. Inevitably, in the community’s effort to preserve a working example of a traditional Yankee community within the borders of OSV, it generated a mammoth attraction on whose borders motor inns, fast-food chains, gas stations and roadside shops have sprouted up.