In Southeastern Massachusetts, the town of Raynham was originally part of the Plymouth Colony, the first permanent colony in New England, and the second in North America.
Starting in the 1670s, this was the site of the colony’s first successful ironworks, using bog iron deposits that were harvested along the Forge River..
Nowadays the Forge River flows through several public spaces in Raynham, like the serene Johnson’s Pond and Hewitts Pond, and Borden Colony Complex, filled with recreation facilities and hosting the town’s big annual events.
Much of the commerce in Raynham can be found along Broadway (Route 138), flanked by mostly independent businesses. In the south, Route 44 is home to big box stores, shopping centers and the immense Raynham Flea Market.
1. Raynham Flea Market
Near the intersection of Routes 24 and 44 you’ll find the largest flea market in New England. Raynham Flea Market takes place on Sundays year round, and on Saturdays, Thanksgiving through Christmas.
You’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to get oriented as there are more than 500 vendors in one hangar-like, 60,000-square-foot building.
The market continues outside, with hundreds more vendors, especially in the warmer months, all spread across ten acres of grounds.
People visit the Raynham Flea Market from across the region for deals on furniture, home appliances, clothing, antique treasures, prints, collectibles, and everything in between.
There are clean public facilities inside, as well as a restaurant for comfort food like pizza, hot dogs, hot pretzels, nachos and funnel cake.
2. Massasoit State Park
Raynham’s southeast corner touches this 1,200 state recreation area, on the deep wooded shores of six lakes and ponds.
Exploring Massasoit State Park you can hike, bicycle or ride along shaded loops, visiting the shores of hidden ponds and crossing a network of cranberry bogs.
But there’s also a long and unbroken paved road meandering through the park, perfect for easy walking and road cycling.
Lake Rico, which makes up much of the western half of the park, is the destination for water activities, with a boat launch on its northern shore.
There are more than 120 campsites at Massasoit State Park, all in a cool forested setting, and complemented by a secluded little beach on Bear Pond.
3. Johnson’s Pond Recreational Park
This little waterside idyll is one of a few gorgeous public spaces along the banks of the Forge River in Raynham.
Johnson’s Pond was first stocked with trout in 2009, and has been a fishing hotspot ever since, hosting the town’s annual youth fishing derby in May.
At other times you could pause here soak up the views of the wooded banks and the little island at the center.
There are benches all around the western and southern shores, as well as picnic tables for a quiet meal in nature. If you’re here in winter, the pond becomes a popular outdoor skating rink for the town.
4. Borden Colony Complex
Also crossed by the Forge River, this 300-acre space is home to the town’s Parks & Recreation department and is primed for all kinds of active and passive recreation.
The land has an interesting past, as a former asylum for shell-shocked WWI veterans. You can head to the Borden Colony Complex for a stroll, following the trails through forest and across preserved farmland.
Sports amenities here include baseball, softball and soccer fields, as well as tennis and volleyball courts.
The complex is equipped with a gazebo, staging a number of public events in the summer months. Finally, the Jared C. Monti Memorial Playground, designed for children under 5, is fenced and well-maintained.
5. Crue Brew Brewery
Tucked in a quiet industrial park off Broadway there’s a craft brewery with a dedicated local following. Crue Brew Brewery is co-owned by a husband, wife and brother team, and has been growing exponentially since 2014.
The taproom is open Thursday to Sunday, pouring more than 20 different ales, lagers and hard seltzers at one time.
A few on the list when we went to press were Equalizer (IPA), Schlager (Golden Ale), Kegger (Lager), Fall in Love (Blonde Ale), Equalizer (IPA), and Saisons of Change (Farmhouse Ale), together with a raft of spice-infused seasonal beers.
There’s usually a food truck outside, for the likes of lobster rolls, pizza and subs, and the calendar is packed with events from live music to trivia nights.
6. Hannant House
The Raynham Historical Society is headquartered at this historic residence at the corner of Pleasant Street and North Main Street.
The Hannant House was built around 1773, and had been in the Hannat family for more than 70 years when it was bequeathed to the society in 1999.
One prominent resident was Avery K. Gleason, who moved here in 1904 when he was minister at the First Congregational Church on the south side of the crossroads.
Something remarkable to emerge during restoration work was a stunning mural lining the dining room, painted at the turn of the 20th century.
The Hannat House is open by appointment, and during one of the society’s five annual meetings, which are free to attend.
7. Old Colony History Museum
For more background on the Plymouth Colony and its legacy, this compelling museum is less than ten minutes away in Taunton, with more than 13,000 objects in its collection.
The Old Colony History Museum is open all year, and is set in an atmospheric old school building, constructed in the Italianate style in 1852.
Exhibits go into detail on a variety of topics, from settlement to immigration, society, industry, transportation, the military, and fashion. In the collection is a rare assortment of portraits, some 30 of which are on display on the first floor at any time.
Recent temporary exhibits have covered topics as diverse as the Labor movement and culinary history, and the museum is the focal point for numerous talks, festivals, tours and historical demonstrations throughout the year.
8. Stoneforge Tavern & Publick House
Hearty New England pub fare with a cosmopolitan twist is served up at this spot, built in a rustic style in 1998.
The name is partly inspired by Raynham’s early ironworks, and the tavern, with its vaulting wood beam ceilings and wagon wheel chandeliers, exudes the hospitality of New England’s inns and taverns of old.
On the menu at the Stoneforge Tavern & Publick House are the likes of clam chowder, oysters on the half, lobster rolls, fish & chips, and baked & fried seafood platters.
There’s also a roster of steaks, burgers, brick oven pizzas, and comforting mainstays like mac & cheese, chicken parm, and chicken pot pie.
You’ll be entertained by live music on the patio in the summer, while the beer list features several Massachusetts and New England craft breweries.
9. Ryan Family Amusements
On the retail corridor along Route 44, this bowling alley is part of a regional chain of family entertainment centers.
Something unique about the Raynham branch of Ryan Family Amusements is there are lanes for both ten pin bowlin and candlepin bowling.
The latter is a regional style that came through in Worcester in the 1880s, with smaller balls and narrower pins.
Along with these lanes, you’ve got a game room with ticket redemption machines and a prize counter, as well as The Jockey Club, for authentic pub bites, specialty cocktails, and a long list of wines and beers.
10. Hewitts Pond Conservation Area
Just off North Main Street there’s a beautiful parcel of town-owned land, maintained by the local conservation commission. These 40 acres are on the shore of Hewitts Pond, acquired by the town in the late 1970s.
The pond has a distant industrial past, having been dammed to power a mill along the Forge River, and today is a good spot for catch-and-release fishing.
A walking trail wraps around a big piece of the pond’s shore, and there’s a boat launch if you want to get closer to the painted turtles and great blue herons commonly seen on the water here.
The woods are a joy in summer, sprinkled with wildflowers like pink lady’s slippers and native irises.
11. The Milk Bottle
There’s a long line of restaurants and other businesses on Broadway in Raynham, with a mix of chains and independent businesses.
One impossible to miss is The Milk Bottle, which has been a Raynham landmark since 1925. This 50-foot roadside attraction is one of several giant novelty bottles built in the area by Frates Dairy in the 1920s and 1930s.
Although the building is unchanged, the eatery inside has evolved with each new owner. What started out as an ice cream stand is now a popular breakfast spot, known for its generous portions and specialities like the Famous Bottle Omelet.
This is made with linguiça, sausage, ham, bacon, peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese, and comes with homefries and toast.
12. Raynham IcePlex
This single-rink ice facility is a short way north of I-495 on Broadway. Among the amenities at Raynham IcePlex are an NHL regulation ice surface, a pro shop, skate rentals, skate sharpening, seating for 250 spectators, free Wi-Fi, and a snack bar.
There are plenty of public skate sessions each week, with a schedule posted on the rink’s website.
Raynham IcePlex is home ice for the New England Knights, and hosts a wide range of programs, from essential skating basics for wee ones to various skills for budding hockey stars and figure skaters.
13. Olde Scotland Links
A few minutes from Raynham’s center there’s an 18-hole public course with an open, links-style layout, designed to balance playability with strategy.
Olde Scotland Links opened in 1997, catering to players of all standards with five sets of tees, and measuring 6,800 yards from the tips.
This track has been named among the best public access courses in New England, and has also been certified by the National Audubon Society.
If you’re in need of a warm up or just want to hit a few balls there’s a public driving range, while the pro shop is stocked with all the top brands, from Titleist to Nike.
14. Bay Circuit Trail
Weaving through Boston’s outer suburbs, this 230-mile trail forms a massive arc, between Newburyport in the north and Duxbury in the south.
The Bay Circuit Trail Taking has taken shape since the 1990s,making the most of Greater Boston’s countless parks, reservations and conservation areas.
The trail passes by the north end of Raynham, where there’s a sizable section of the Hockomock Swamp Wildlife Management Area.
For an extended walk you can go east, into West Bridgewater along the verdant banks of the Town River, or travel northwest through Easton, starting at Wheaton Farm and eventually arriving at Borderland State Park.
15. Raynham Community Day
One of the annual events taking place at the Borden Colony Complex is this newly established festival on the third Sunday in September.
Organized by the Raynham Association of Volunteers for Education (RAVE), Raynham Community Day brings dozens of vendors and exhibits, a food court, and several open houses around the complex.
There’s tons of entertainment, with demonstrations by local groups, a concert by local bands, and a Pats game live-streamed on a big screen. Kids won’t be left out, as there’s a slew of activities like face painting, a magic show, pony rides, and a live animal show.