In Norfolk County, about halfway between Boston and Providence, Medway is a peaceful commuter town of just over 13,000.
Medway’s southern boundary is formed by the Charles River, which was a source of water power for textile and paper mills in the 19th century.
The river’s tributary, Chicken Brook flows north to south through Medway, and has gradually become a public green corridor with an unbroken trail system that leads to the Charles River Rail Trail in Holliston.
The main artery in Medway is Route 109, which runs east to west through the town, crossing I-495, which has power centers minutes away in Bellingham and Milford.
1. Choate Park
Medway has a community park that any town would be proud of. Choate Park is on the shores of an idyllic pond, with a crushed stone trail winding around the water and crossing bridges with overlooks on the south and north sides.
The facilities at Choate Park have been upgraded in the last few years, and also improving the beach area on the water’s edge.
Swimming is not permitted, but the large playground complex does include a splash pad, perfect for hot summer days.
Next to the playground, another addition is a handsome wooden picnic pavilion, designed with a Gothic arch. Within Choate Park’s boundaries stands the Thayer Homestead, dating back to the 19th century, now available to rent as an events venue.
2. Idylbrook Recreation Area and Conservation Land
As we’ll see, Chicken Brook, flowing north to south through Medway, is the anchor for an accessible green corridor more than three miles in length.
On the route is the Idylbrook Recreation Area, which can be your entry point for an extended walk in nature. This property was a strawberry farm until it was purchased by the town in the 1990s.
On the east side are sports fields for soccer and baseball, while the land to the west has been returned to nature, and trees, shrubs, wildflowers have taken over, providing a habitat for beavers, cottontail rabbits, salamanders and more.
From here the woodland trail system takes you into the Betania II Spiritual Retreat & Conference Center, and then into Holliston’s Wenakeening Woods, traced by the Upper Charles Rail Trail.
3. Medway Community Farm
Established in 2009, Medway Community Farm is on almost 20 acres next to Chicken Brook. The land is made up of a mix of growing fields and woodlands, laced with walking trails.
The trails are part of a long corridor on Chicken Brook, linking with Idylbrook Recreation Area and Choate Park.
Using organic and sustainable farming practices, the farm grows a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs, offering a CSA program but also inviting the public for educational experiences.
The farmstand is open right through to Thanksgiving, selling produce grown on the farm, as well as local honey, maple syrup, homemade sauces and more.
4. Muffin House Cafe
People of a certain age have a fond memory for the department store Jordan Marsh, defunct since 1996.
The flagship at Downtown Crossing in Boston was adored for its bakery, making what some claim were the best blueberry muffins of all time.
That muffin-making mantle has been taken on by the Muffin House Cafe, opened in 2014 and instantly loved for its blueberry muffins most of all.
The muffins are literally suffused with blueberries, from top to bottom, and you’ll get a berry in every single bite. On the savory side Muffin House Cafe is also renowned for its breakfast sandwiches, especially the Egg, Cheese & Meat.
5. Fairmount Fruit Farm
Over the Charles River in Franklin, Fairmount Fruit Farm is a fifth generation operation, founded by a Greek immigrant in 1920.
The orchard covers more than 20 acres, and is mostly devoted to apples, producing ten varieties, including Honey Crisp and Macoun.
In late summer and fall you can come to pick your own apples, and purchase treats like home-baked pies and apple cider donuts from the farm stand.
The farm also has activities and attractions for kids, from hayrides to a hay bale maze and goats that you can feed.
The farm stand is open all year, selling produce grown on the farm, dairy products, free range eggs, and a selection of goodies sourced locally.
6. Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm
The long-term survival of this fruit and vegetable farm in Millis was ensured in the 1980s when the owner Louis DeAngelis signed an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, guaranteeing that the property would be used for farming into the future.
On more than 60 acres, Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm welcomes you to pick your own produce in the summer and fall.
This begins with strawberries in June, and the season continues with blueberries, sunflowers, wildflowers, tomatoes, apples, and finally pumpkins.
You can also buy homegrown produce at the farmstand, along with enticing baked goods like apple cider donuts.
The Farmer’s Porch meanwhile is a farm-to-fork restaurant for breakfast and lunch, with a slew of menu items made using seasonal ingredients grown right here.
7. The Little Gym of Medway
Aimed at kids from as young as four months up to 12 years old, The Little Gym of Medway has an assortment of gymnastics-oriented classes to help kids develop important skills, build confidence and channel their energy.
Among them are parent/child activities, dance classes, and pre-school and grade school gymnastics.
The gym is also open for regular drop-in sessions, and caters to birthday parties, offering a fun-packed schedule of instructor-led games and activities.
In summer there’s a day camp at the Little Gym of Medway, with a blend of physical activity, arts and crafts, and games to keep kids engaged and entertained during the school break.
8. Happy Goats Farm
Five minutes away in Holliston there’s a small organic farm raising layer hens and Alpine goats.
You can swing by at any time to purchase raw goat milk or freshly laid organic eggs. But the farm also opens its doors for a host of events, especially in the summer.
At this time of year you can take part in baby goat yoga sessions, if you don’t mind being used as a playscape by mischievous kid goats.
An annual tradition later in the year is the Holiday Market, where you can meet and pet friendly goats, and purchase a range of artisanal products, from alpaca wool clothing to goat milk soap.
9. Lake Winthrop
Also just over the line in Holliston is a 137-acre great pond with a history entwined with the Native American Nipmuc tribe, which lived on the southwest shore.
In those times the lake was known as Wennakeening, translating to “pleasant smile” or “smile of the great spirit”. In the warmer months the lake is a place for outdoor recreation, with beachfront parks on east and west shores.
On the west side is Pleasure Point Beach, reserved for Holliston residents, while Stoddard Park to the east is open to all (a day pass fee is payable at the gate). The latter has a sandy beach, a spacious picnic area, a playground, boat launch and two volleyball courts.
10. Cassidy’s Clubhouse
If you need to shake some rust off your swing, there’s a family-run driving range in Medway, kept in great condition spring through fall.
Cassidy’s Clubhouse is a no-nonsense kind of place, equipped with artificial mats, rubber tees, and a mix of open and covered hitting bays.
The balls are always in good shape, and when we wrote this list you could get a jumbo bucket for as little as $13.
What helps to make Cassidy’s Clubhouse a family destination is the slush, and this frozen treat comes in eight flavors, including root beer, strawberry lemonade, and orange cream.
11. Oakland Park
Another park that Medway can be proud of is this gorgeous green space, framed by lofty pines and hardwood trees.
Oakland Park was given a thorough renovation in 2018, upgrading the playground and building all new walkways and a pavilion.
Sports facilities include extensive multi-purpose fields, lighted basketball courts and a jogging track, but the playground is the star attraction.
This is completely fenced, with soft rubber paving and high-quality equipment. Older children have giant twisting slides and castle-like climbing structures to clamber over, while there are excellent interactive elements for smaller kids, like a playable xylophone and sandbox.
12. Chicken Brook Corridor
South of the Idylbrook Recreation Area there’s a recently completed trail running from Adams Street in the south to Lovering Street in the north.
Turning old farm paths into walkways, there had been plans to open this land up to the public as early as the 1990s.
Then in the late 2010s, important work was carried out just north of Medway High School, building footbridges and a stretch of boardwalk over Chicken Brook and its floodplain.
This trail is a crucial link in a system that extends all the way along the banks of Chicken Brook, from Choate Park to the Upper Charles Rail Trail in neighboring Holliston.
13. Our Lady of Fatima Shrine
The Xaverian Missionaries established one of their three American mission centers in Holliston in 1946.
This sits right on the town line with Medway, and on the grounds is a replica of the world-famous pilgrimage site in Fatima, Portugal.
As well as a chapel, there’s a gift shop selling Catholic-oriented items, from rosaries to nativity sets. The highlight in the calendar is the holiday season, when there’s a heartwarming light and music display, accompanied by mugs of hot cocoa with whipped cream.
14. Ryan Family Amusements
You can get to this family entertainment center in a couple of minutes from Medway. The Millis branch of Ryan Family Amusements is based around a 22- lane candlepin bowling alley, fitted with automatic scoring, and bumpers for little ones.
If you’re new to the game, candlepin bowling involves taller and narrower pins, which are harder to knock down.
The ball also raises the difficulty level, as it fits in the palm of your hand. As well as a bowling alley, Ryan Family Amusements offers a game room with a prize redemption counter, and a private party room.
15. Charles River Center
Past Medway’s southwestern corner there’s a retail area where I-495 is crossed by Route 126. Close at hand you’ve got locations for the likes of Barnes & Noble, the Home Depot, Walmart, Staples and Market Basket.
The Charles River Center meanwhile has locations for Michaels, Old Navy, Whole Food, Ulta Beauty and the Paper Store, as well as the 14-screen Regal Bellingham multiplex.
This opened in 1998 on the site of a former Hoyt’s, and features comfy leather recliners, stadium seating, and an RPX auditorium for the latest projection and sound technology.