On Wednesday of this week, I received another invitation I couldn’t refuse: a trip to visit the summit of Wachusett Mountain. My tour guide was again Kim Packard, and after a short visit to the town of Holden, where Kim was born and raised, we stopped at the Holden Country Club to take a picture of the first golf course Kim built. Today it is a thriving 18-hole course with a beautiful hotel.
Wachusett Mountain is a ski resort located on Mount Wachusett in the towns of Princeton and Westminster in Worcester County, Massachusetts. “Wachusett” is the Algonquin Indian word for “The Great Hill.” It is the highest mountain in Massachusetts east of the Connecticut River and the largest “Monadnock” (Indian word for mountain that stands alone) east of the Berkshires, standing at 2006 feet. It is home to the only known Old Growth Forest east of the Connecticut River (Some of the trees here are over 350 years old!). The panoramic 360 degree view from the summit is breathtaking, and on a clear day, one can see the skyline of Boston.
The mountain boasts 25 trails, with 110 skiable acres. The longest ski trail is “Balance Rock” at 1 1/2 miles. The mountain is a great place for skiers of all levels. Eight lifts are able to transport 9200 skiers per hour, including the only three high speed quad chair lifts in Massachusetts. Wachusett Mountain has 100% snow-making capacity and additionally has night-skiing on most of its trails.
Following our walk around the summit and watch towers, we headed to the Old Mill for lunch. This restaurant is well worth the stop for any traveler. The rustic charm combined with the waterways, and more than delicious food was just what I needed to seal my appreciation for this area of Massachusetts. The Old Mill started as a sawmill in 1761 and has been a wonderful restaurant for more than 60 years.