This central swath of Massachusetts, Worcester County, consists of five contiguous, but distinct, areas. Starting at the northern edge of Central Massachusetts, state Route 2 runs east/west through a geography of gentle hills and broad meadows with many farms and fruit orchards. In fact, this region is the home of the legendary Johnny Appleseed born here, in Leominster. Travel along this “Johnny Appleseed Trail” offers beautiful scenery year round, fruit picking in the summer and fall, and skiing in the winter.
Just south, is the City of Worcester. It is centrally located about an hour from Boston, Providence, and Hartford and three hours from New York City. Visitors and residents can take advantage of fine restaurants, world-class arts, entertainment, museums, and professional and college sports teams. Worcester is home to the Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest urban sanctuary in New England. An education center, Worcester has eleven colleges and universities including the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Just to the east of Worcester lies the Corridor Nine area whose close proximity to Interstate 90, I-495, I-290, and Route 9, gives it the nickname of "Crossroads of the Commonwealth."
To the south lies the Blackstone Valley between Worcester and Providence. The valley was home to the first textile mill in the United States, built in 1790, which was powered by the waters of the Blackstone River. So many small mills followed that the Blackstone became known as "America's hardest working river." Today, you can visit the many historic sites, farms, and the former canal system in the Heritage Corridor, or enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational activities in these quaint rural towns.
The western part of this region is home to two major attractions lying amidst typical New England small towns. Year round outdoor recreation can be found at the Quabbin Reservoir, an 85,000-acre reserve that supplies public drinking water. Visitors may fish from the shore or small boats, hike, hunt, bird watch, snowshoe, bicycle, and picnic.
Worcester County has state of the art healthcare provided through its two strong healthcare systems, a network of federally qualified community health centers, and community based programs including assistance for the underinsured. They include UMass Memorial Health Care System and St. Vincent Hospital/Worcester Medical Center. Health care organizations and biotechnology firms are the leading employers in the area.