Tucked into a valley just 8 miles north of the state capital, Worcester is a hidden gem: a vibrant, tight-knit and welcoming community that blends the best of both the old and new traditions of Vermont. It’s a place where people can retreat to as much privacy as they desire, and also a place where neighbors show up to help one another when anyone is in need.
Nowhere is this on display more than the weekly Community Lunch at Town Hall, when volunteers prepare a buffet lunch, students from Doty Elementary School around the corner show up to serve it, and residents from all walks of life sit side-by-side at long tables to get to know each other. Although Worcester is a small town, with just over 900 residents, social occasions like this abound, organized both through the town and by private businesses and residents.
A local farmer recently converted a fallow field to a gathering space for a summer farmers’ market and music series, and locals organize annual seed swaps and clothing swaps that also take place at Town Hall. A community garden graces the public field in the center of town, and a volunteer committee has raised funds to establish baseball and soccer fields, with plans next to renovate older basketball and tennis courts.
Ladd Field also is the site of Worcester’s unparalleled Fourth of July fireworks display, which draws visitors from all over north central Vermont for a full day of activities for all ages, followed by a truly stunning light show at night. Another favorite annual tradition is the community-wide and multi-generational Talent Show, held at the elementary school.
Worcester’s beloved Post Office Café in the village center is another gathering spot — a friendly and laid back ambiance to enjoy reasonably priced, locally sourced, made-from-scratch baked goods, meals and coffee. And up on Hampshire Hill, the home business of Bon Temps Gourmet opens its gardens surrounding an outdoor stone oven for West Worcester Woodfired Pizza Night. And in keeping with Vermont’s strong tradition of local agriculture, Good Heart Farmstead provides fresh, organic produce to the community through its farm stand and CSA.
New residents can find many opportunities to get involved in the community through the Town Hall — whether by attending the biweekly selectboard meetings, serving on a board or committee, or volunteering for the Worcester Neighbor Network to connect residents in need with resources. The Worcester Historical Society also offers programs and resources to learn more about the town, and the people who for generations have made it such a special place.