Bridgewater is one of the oldest towns in America. It is also one of the few towns that have successfully weaved this history with modern suburban living into a beautiful thriving community. Bridgewater’s historic architecture can be most easily seen in its town center, where the buildings date back 100+ years. Complimenting these unique structures are a series of locally owned, independent boutiques worth checking out.
Entering the Center
Following any of the major routes downtown (Rt. 18, Rt. 28 and Rt. 104), you’ll eventually reach a large, slight confusing rotary.
This rotary is Bridgewater Center. There are parking spots all along the circle, but the street isn’t very wide so it can be difficult and dangerous pulling into and out of those spots. There is a parking lot behind the stores to the right of the point on the map above if you need additional parking.
Dotted along the rotary are many local businesses. A few are not that interesting to day trippers – florists, real estate agents and the like, but there some worth taking a peek in.
Scholar’s Books & Games is an independent hobby store that sells games, books, collectibles and historic paraphernalia. This is a great place for lovers of offbeat games, pencil-and-paper RPGs and collectible card contests. The walls are strewn with a fantasy nerd’s day dreams and the center of the store has open tables for gaming meetups. The owner is friendly and can help you locate any specialty you want tracked down.
It was a Sunday when I did the rounds and regrettably many of the shops were closed. The Better Bean Coffee Company looked like an AWESOME place to grab coffee (I love little coffee joints) and Hidden Treasure looked like an interesting consignment shop; but they weren’t open. My Sister and I looked like a happening breakfast shop and it was open on Sunday, but we had just eaten. Have you been? What did you think?
In the center of the rotary is a peaceful green space with benches and a memorial statue. It’s a great place to take a stroll and relax.
An inspiring statue sits at the edge, commemorating the soldiers who’ve lost their lives fighting for our country.
In the background is the stately Academy Building with its impressive fountain and landscaping. Formerly home to the private high school “Bridgewater Academy”, it now houses government offices.
Also along the rotary is the Town Hall built in 1843.
Bridgewater has done a great job of modernizing while still holding onto its historic routes. It reminds me of a lot of towns in central Massachusetts that have done something similar, it’s what’s at the heart of a lot of true New England towns.