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A Little About Mendon, Massachusetts!
Mendon has an interesting history rooted in stories, like the time they didn’t allow George Washington to spend the night at one of their inns, or the fact the town is referred to as a “she” and known as a mother.
The town was settled in 1668. It’s known as Mother Mendon to locals and historians because it was the original township, the old mother town. Now, Mendon’s territory has been redefined and 8 smaller towns sit where the original territory sat.
Mendon was known for its pastures. The site never became an industrial township aside from the produce and goods that farmers harvested from their fields every year.
The township started out as an 8-mile stretch of land, bought from Native American tribes in 1662. From there, settlers moved in to begin their families and farm new lands.
However, tragedy struck in 1775 when Mendon was attacked in an uprising in King Phillip’s War. The entirety of Mendon was burned down, five residents were slaughtered, and the rest of the community were driven out. Resettlement didn’t progress until 1779.
That’s a long and sordid history! As of 2021, the population in Mendon sits just below 6,500 locals. It lends to the historic, charming small-town aesthetic of the city. The town is considered a bedroom community, which means most of the farmlands have been turned into residential zones for family houses.
Other Interesting and Historic Facts About Mendon, MA:
The band Aerosmith played their first-ever gig at the Nipmuc Regional High School in 1970. The history teacher hired them for a dance, allowed them to use the girls’ locker room for preparations, and the band proceeded to get wasted on beer before taking the stage.
Mendon was a popular travel destination for historians and music lovers from the 1930s to the 1990s. Most of these history and music enthusiasts camped at Lake Nipmuc Park, which was a famed resort at the time. You can still find vintage postcards on eBay of Mendon in those days.
While many Native American tribes traveled through and briefly made their homes in Mendon, the most well-known were the Nipmuc People.
They had their own written language, used tools of their own designs, mined for graphite and gemstones in Sturbridge, and taught early settlers how to better develop their agriculture.
Fun Things to Do in and around Mendon, MA
Since Mendon is now considered a bedroom community, most of the things to do, see, and explore are on the outskirts of the city limits. Nothing mentioned here is more than 10 miles from the Mendon city limits.
Southwick Zoo is located within Mendon. It sits on over 280 acres with over 850 animals over 150 unique species. The exhibits are set up like natural habitats, allowing visitors to watch wildlife as live representations of how those animals might live in the wild.
Some of the most popular exhibits include the African lions, Bactrian camels, American elk, and Brazilian tapir. Visitors can pay for animal encounters with giraffes, rhinos, and sloths.
Maple Farm Sanctuary educates visitors on a plethora of farm animals that have been rescued from negative or dangerous situations. The rescued animals range from cows and goats, to pigs, sheep, llamas, and alpacas.
There are also well-known birds that have been there for years, like Romeo the white Chinese goose, Slurpy the chicken, and Gwendolyn the turkey. Cormier Woods, a small park with walking trails and grassy, open spaces, sits on 175 acres in Uxbridge, MA.
Named for farer and former owner, James Cormier, the Woods are a historic preserve for an 18th-century farm. The land is protected under the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. You could spend hours wandering 3 miles worth of hiking trails, exploring the old farmhouse and barn, and watching the wildlife.
The Best Eats in and around Mendon, MA
As with the things to do in Mendon, some of the best places to eat in the area are less than 10 minutes from Mendon city limits.
For instance, Alicante Restaurant and Lounge is a Mendon favorite that serves up a combo of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine in an upscale atmosphere.
It’s the perfect place for a romantic date in an intimate setting with chef-made dishes. Entrees range from $10 to $36 and there are vegetarian-friendly options available. Reservations are required and the menu is changed daily to match the tastes of the chef on duty.
Looking for cheap eats, Depot Street Tavern, less than six minutes from Mendon city limits, is a pub-style atmosphere with delicious foods. Some of their menu favorites include chicken and waffles, cinnamon roll pancakes, the Monti Cristo chimichanga, and smash patty benedict.
Mendon, MA is one of those small cities that you wouldn’t expect to house so much charm and history.
It’s one of those towns where there are locals with generations of family, dating back to the 1700s. This is a storyteller town, so sit down at a local diner and find someone to listen to.
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