A quiet suburb of Worcester, the birthplace of Eli Whitney (inventor of the cotton gin), and home to Uhlman’s Ice Cream, Westborough can be a pretty quiet place to visit. There are a lot of chains in town, including a Chipotle, a new Sky Zone, and Moe’s, but here’s a guide to some more “local” places to visit.
1.) Red Barn—This small, Massachusetts “chain” (while there are a couple of locations it feels like anything but a franchise) has the best coffee I’ve ever had. The Westborough location is a little storefront on the rotary and embodies everything you look for in a fresh, cozy, and homey coffee shop. Their iced coffee is great and their lattes are also fantastic (try the Iced Milky Way). In addition to their drinks, their pastries are also mouth-watering and pack a punch with their flavor: banana nut muffin tops, berry muffins, cranberry scones–everything tastes good here. The service is also really friendly and the baristas get to know your order fast and always share a couple of nice words (or chiacchiere in Italian) with you. Whenever I go, I order my coffee from Bee in Portuguese, and she helps me with the words (read: most of what I say) that trip me up. If there’s only one thing you do in Westborough, this should be it. 17 South Street, $
2.) Tatnuck–I’ll always have a bias for Tatnuck, but I’d say that it deserves it. The store is really big, especially as local, independent bookstores are concerned. They host a lot of signings here and bring in several local authors for events. In addition to their books, they also have a gift shop and sell local trinkets and wares (like Westborough sweatshirts), and their cafe is a good meeting place. 18 Lyman Street, $$
3.) Uhlman’s–This is another Westborough staple. People from all over the area come to Uhlman’s for their New England ice cream fix. Their portions are gigantic and their many flavors all so perfect. Flavors with things mixed in like Oreos or Peanut Butter Cup have a great ratio of ice cream to cookie chunks, and it’s incredible. When Uhlman’s first opens in the spring, it’s basically a Westborough holiday and it becomes a topic of conversation if you’ve been to Uhlman’s yet for the year. 234 East Main Street, $$
4.) South Street–Yeah, it’s just a simple diner near the rotary, but they have great breakfast and it’s the classic place in town for people to meet up when they’re home from school. You can expect to see everyone and their mother if you go and are from town. Their pancakes are particularly good. 38 South Street, $$
5.) Westboro House of Pizza (WHOP)—Like South Street, this is another little place that every town has, but it’s good! While they do have pizza here, the pizza from Sabatini’s is better. Instead, come here for their sandwiches. They have a fantastic buffalo chicken sub as well as eggplant parmesan. They have outdoor seating overlooking scenic East Main Street (ha), but it’s nice to sit outside. 36 East Main Street, $
Here are some of my other picks:
- Harry’s– One of the few places open late at night in Westborough, Harry’s is a great spot to stop during a night of cruising around the area. The Brownie Fiesta is incredible and good for sharing, and their frappes are also really tall and thick. I haven’t actually gotten a meal here often, but their macaroni and cheese is great. I’m not much of a seafood person, but their fried clams are supposed to be good too. Even though it’s a small place with diner food, it’s deceptively expensive.
- Uhlman’s– My RA and good friend from Ursus Verses, my a cappella group at school, worked in Southborough one summer and the place she most enjoyed from her time in the Boroughs was Uhlman’s. Though it’s strange to think that somebody who would go on to be such a good friend knew and enjoyed Uhlman’s Ice Cream, I can easily understand why she fondly recalled it. They boast a lot of flavors–I personally recommend Coffee Oreo and Chocolate Peanut Butter–and their portions are generous, which is perfect for those humid days like today. The outdoor seating and nearby grazing cows also top off a hot summer night.
- Arturo’s– In my opinion, this is the best Italian restaurant in town. Though their food may not be truly authentic, I’m not going to complain. My favorite is their Chicken Parmesan.
- Not Your Average Joe’s–Though not unique to Westborough, Joe’s changes their menu pretty frequently, but almost always has Buffalo Chicken Pizza, which I recommend. They also bring out focaccia bread and olive oil with parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes, and it’s easy to fill up on this before dinner.
- Romaine’s–This wood grill in Northborough, MA is my favorite overall restaurant in the area. Romaine’s serves a great tenderloin, which I almost always get, but everything they make seems to be great. They change their menu often enough too to keep you on your toes. Their ice cream in the ginger snap cone is great for sharing but terrible for overcoming that food coma you’ll be in when you leave.
- Britney’s Cafe (Northborough)–great pancakes and breakfast
- Post Office Pub (Grafton)–good townie place
- JP’s–buffalo wings!
- Cheng Du–good place for a Chinese fix in town. If you eat in and don’t get take-out, they have a little fish pond as well as fish tanks inside
- Sabatini’s–the best pizza in town, although it’s always better if you eat it in the restaurant because the sauce seems to all disappear if you bring it home.
- Gourmet Pizza Bar–fancier pizzas
- Veteran’s Freedom Park–Although I know it as the Lee Property from cross country practice, this park has a great mile loop around the field for running or walking. The trails behind it are also fun to explore and are right next to Mill Pond.
- Sandra Pond and Minuteman Park– This is another good place to walk or sit down and read in the summer. A lot of people also come here to fish, and a summer camp through the town takes place here during two weeks of the summer.
- Hopkinton and Whitehall State Parks– Though not technically in Westborough, these two state parks in neighboring Hopkinton are great places nearby for swimming and kayaking. Hopkinton State Park is typically more crowded than Whitehall, but I think the water at Hopkinton is a bit cleaner, and there are more islands to stop and swim at. Whitehall, though, is the bigger and more scenic of the two. Late in the summer and once the water level has gone down, there’s a tube to kayak through at Hopkinton State Park that leads to a quiet, still area.
- Tufts Field–by the vet school in Grafton, there’s a great field where you can run or walk. The trees are gorgeous in the fall
Boston–With a commuter rail station right in town or an easy drive to the Riverside stop on the green line, it’s not terribly difficult to get into Boston. Posted here are some of my favorite things in this city, but when I go with friends, we usually end up walking around the Public Garden, Quincy Market (the food here is overpriced and all from chains), Boston Common, and Faneuil Hall (there’s also a Red Barn in Faneuil Hall). Once I met with friends in Boston and we brought pizza from The Upper Crust down to the Public Garden for a picnic.
Purgatory Chasm–Located thirty minutes away in Sutton, MA, Purgatory Chasm makes for a good afternoon hike through all of the rocks, though proceed with caution. There are also some paths in the area to walk for those who want to observe the rocks from a distance.
Mark Twain’s House–Another one of Patricia Schultz’s 1000 places to see before you die, my mom and I drove out to Hartford over winter break to see the house of famous author Mark Twain, born Samuel Clemens. The house was really elaborate, and the tour was informative. It was even decorated for the holidays as it would have been when the Clemens family lived there. There’s also a museum next to the house which taught me a lot about Twain’s life, like how he traveled around the world for speaking engagements to make a living–doesn’t sound like a terrible lifestyle to me.