Bolton is a small Massachusetts town with a lot of charm. There are many things that you can do in this quaint New England setting, from apple picking to taking a hike on scenic trails to exploring local shops. Learn what makes Bolton so special as we share our favorite spots for locals and visitors alike.
Here are 14 of the best things to do in Bolton, Massachusetts…
1. Enjoy a glass of wine (or beer) at Nashoba Valley Winery
Nashoba Valley Winery is a great place to spend an afternoon, especially on a beautiful day! Once you’ve finished admiring the view of the grounds, sit back in the outdoor seating area (called The Vintner’s Knoll) and relax with glasses of wine and food.
If beer is more your style (hand raised), there is also a brewery on site called Bolton Beer Works. They produce several varieties of beer and hard cider.
2. Go apple picking
If wouldn’t be fall in New England without a weekend trip to the apple orchards. Here’s a few of our favorites in Bolton:
- Bolton Spring Farms – One of my top picks, mainly because the apple cider donuts are incredible. (Isn’t that a part of everyone’s apple picking experience?!). In addition to apple picking, they also have a pumpkin patch, and sell Christmas trees in December (but not cut-your-own).
- Nicewicz Family Farm – Still on my list of places to visit, but I’ve heard great things about them. Pick your own typically lasts through late October.
- Nashoba Winery – Yes, this winery also offers apple picking (and peach picking earlier in the summer).
- Schartner Farms – You’ll find more info about Schartner below, as they have a fun corn maze along with apple picking.
If you’re looking to venture slightly outside of Bolton, we’re also big fans of Carlson Orchards in Harvard (hello, hard cider barn for post-apple-picking indulgences) and Shelburne Farm in Stow (their homemade peach lemonade is incredible!).
Carver Hill in Stow is also really great for a low-key, less crowded experience. A few years back they also had a “make your own apple cider” activity and I’m hoping that might return in future years.
3. Take a Hike (and there are lots!)
One of the best ways to get out and enjoy nature in Bolton is by hitting the trails. Hiking is a great way for you and your family to stay healthy while also exploring some of New England’s quiet, scenic land.
There are lots of different routes which vary in difficulty, so it doesn’t matter if you’re not an experienced hiker. Some popular spots include:
- Bower Springs – This is a great option for families with young children, or those that want to take their pup on a walk. Try the flat loop that goes around the pond and cuts in between the bodies of water – it’s about a half mile loop of easy walking that’s perfect for the little ones. You’ll see lots of birds, and rumor has it that there’s a big ‘ol snapping turtle in the water you might spot. Here’s the Bower Springs Trail Map.
- Houghton Farm – This trail seems out of place in a little residential neighborhood, but after a few minutes of walking you’ll feel miles away. The main trail is a lollypop shape on rolling terrain. There’s a cute little brook that you’ll pass by (which my kiddo always insists on dipping his hand in to see how cold the water is). We’ve spotted lots of woodpeckers and (harmless) snakes during our walks here. The total trail mileage is only about a mile, so it’s a great option for families. Here’s the Houghton Farm Trail Map.
- Annie Moore Trail – It took me a while to get out and explore this trail, but I really enjoyed it! You can park at Annie Moore Road and do a loop, or you can continue out to Bolton Woods Way for an out and back adventure. It’s very quiet along this trail and I’ve spotted many deer while doing trail runs here. Here’s the Annie Moore Trail Map.
- Town Common Trail – Another great option for those of you with little kiddos. There’s a very short trail loop right from the Town Common parking area, which features several fitness stations with guided exercises. My son loved doing this trail when he was younger, finishing it by running down the big hill at the common. You can extend your hike here if you want by taking the trail to see the Powder House, built in 1811 for storing ammunition and gun powder. When I’m solo, I also love coming at these trails from the other side of town, where Sugar Road meets Golden Run Road, and doing an out and back run. Here’s the Town Common Trail Map.
You can find more about the additional trails (plus maps of all the local options) over at the Bolton Trails website.
4. See exotic animals at Animal Adventures
Animal Adventures is a unique way to spend a day with your family, nestled here in our little town of Bolton. This small animal center has all kinds of creatures, from monkeys to owls to alpacas. At any given time, they typically house around 200-400 animals, with around 175 species.
They offer daily presentations at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm that last about 25 minutes, where zookeepers teach you about the animals.
The best part about visiting Animal Adventures? You can have an up-close experience with these amazing creatures, where you’re able to pet some of the animals and feed the goats. Private tours and extreme tours offer even more opportunities to interact with a wider variety of animals.
PS – If you’re local and want to check it out at a discounted rate, you can reserve a pass at the Bolton Library which allows admission for up to four people at just $7 per person.
5. Grab a slice of pizza
Pizza is a staple food that everyone loves, and Bolton is lucky enough to have two local spots in town to visit:
- Slaters – This is my preferred spot; I absolutely love the pizza here (I prefer a thinner crust, so Slaters wins for me). They have several specialty pies, including the Rustica – made with Italian sausage, green peppers, red peppers, caramelized onions, red sauce, and mozzarella. So good! In the summer, they have a nice outdoor seating area you can enjoy.
- Classic Pizza III – Another easy to find spot located across from the high school. They’ve got a bit of a thicker crust pizza and also offer a lot of specialty pies and build your own options. They’re the only place that delivers pizza in Bolton (besides some of the DoorDash or UberEats options from other towns, which can come with a hefty delivery fee) – so if you’re feeling lazy and want dinner to your door, it’s a nice option.
6. Get lost in a corn maze at Schartner Farms
It took me a few years to make my way over to Schartner Farms (which has been the host of the Bolton Community Fund 5K) – but I’m glad I did!
They’ve got a great corn maze on site that is typically open in September and October each year. You can also pick apples here, take a hayride, and view farm animals.
As a heads up, the maze is open weekends only.
7. Bask in the sun at the Bolton Town Beach
Looking for a place to relax or go swimming on a hot summer day? The Bolton Town Beach is the perfect spot!
While it’s more of a pond with some gravely sand than a fancy beach, that’s made up by the fact that it’s about ten minutes from anywhere in town and it’s rarely too crowded. Most summer days, you’ll find a handful of families there and enough space for everyone to do their own thing.
It’s open Memorial Day through Labor Day for town residents. No pass is needed. As a bonus, swimming lessons for kids are offered in the summer through the local recreation department (for a reasonable fee).
8. Go fishing or kayaking at Persons Park
Located on the other side of the pond from Town Beach is a small dock where you can sit and fish, or hop in the water on a kayak. I’ve also swam across the pond from here – though I’ve seen a few too many water snakes at the pond for my liking. 😉
Tip: The address is 149 Hudson Road; it’s easy to miss the turn though. Drive slowly and you’ll see a small sign for where to turn down the dirt road.
9. Explore events at the Phineas Wright House
Built in 1785, the Phineas Wright House is a wonderful piece of Bolton’s history that’s only been owned by five families over the last 240+ years. The current owners offer curated experiences in the historic barn, as well as in collaboration with its neighbor, Hythe Farms.
During the summer and early fall, you can find events for adults, like girls night out craft workshops and foraged fall wreath workshops. They also offer some children’s events, like summer and afterschool farm programs (offered during a limited number of weeks).
10. Savor breakfast at the Bolton Bean
Need a tasty cup of coffee? Craving something hearty to start your day? Look no further than the Bolton Bean!
This family-run coffee shop has been serving up fresh pastries and morning meals since they opened in 2016. The café is a great place to catch up with a friend, or spend a morning reading a good book while enjoying your meal. They’ve got indoor and outdoor seating.
I recommend trying their “Vermonter” breakfast sandwich – it’s your standard breakfast fare of a bacon, egg, and cheese on a croissant, but taken to the next level since the inside has been drizzled with maple syrup. It’s absolutely mouthwatering.
They’re open Monday through Saturday, 7am to 3pm; be aware they’re closed on Sundays. There’s frequently live music on Saturdays, so that’s a perfect thing to do in Bolton on the weekend with the family.
11. Stock up on sweets at Colonial Candies
Whether it’s summertime and you’re craving a scoop of ice cream, or it’s holiday time and you want unique candies for stocking stuffers – there is no better place in Bolton than Colonial Candies.
The store has been in the Hebert family for more than 100 years, as it started in 1917. You can find hand-crafted chocolates, gummies, chocolate-covered Oreos, and other classic candies.
You can also find old-time favorites from years past, like Big League Chew and candy cigarettes (you say inappropriate, I say a childhood classic).
12. Grab gifts from local shops
More than ever, people are recognizing the importance of shopping local and supporting small businesses – especially this year, with possible supply chain issues impacting holiday shopping.
While Bolton isn’t a shopping mecca, there are two local shops that I highly recommend, both of which are conveniently located on main street:
- Pole Hill Provisions – You’ll find tons of unique hand-crafted items here. From small batch candles to custom cornhole games to pillows and bags, you can be sure to find gifts for everyone on your shopping list. I have some adorable utensils with pressed phrases (i.e. “butter up” on a butter knife) that I bought from them a while back and use for photos on my food blogs.
- Kitchen Sink Candle Company – As you’d expect, they’ve got candles! But you might not know that they specialize in food-scented candles, from French bread to cinnamon bun to caramel apple. They’ve also got natural bath and body products, and many artisanal home products too. As one of the champions of my neighborhood chili and chowder cookoff (#humblebrag), I was pumped to receive a beautiful wooden ladle from here.
13. Attend an event at Cultivate Care Farms
Cultivate Care Farms is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that offers Farm-Based Therapy outpatient programming, along with community outreach and wellness events.
In that past, they’ve featured events like Pride Day (complete with a tie dye t-shirt station, pride pumpkins, and community art) and family barnyard yoga (for kids age 3-7). On Halloween weekend, they’ve got a barnyard trick or treat stroll where you can visit with rabbits, goats, and chickens.
Find their current events schedule here.
14. Visit Backyard Bolton (August and September)
Backyard Bolton is our own local farmer’s market held on the Town Common. There are a usually a few dates scheduled towards the end of summer each year.
Vendors from larger farms set up tables, as do local folks that have grown extra produce in their gardens or those who pickle or can items. I love grabbing “chill dill” pickles from one of the vendors – so delicious.
There are also crafters there with unique items, and sometimes tables for different community organizations. At the last one I attended, there was even a pony for short little rides for the kids.
The Final Word
As you can see, if you’re searching for a place that has it all, then look no further than Bolton! Whether you want to go apple picking or spend an afternoon learning about exotic animals, there really is something special waiting for you and your family here in this beautiful New England town.