, New England's second largest metropolis, lies at the heart of the state. This central region also is known for its mountains, meadows and cultural destinations. Considered one of the premier museums of its size in America, the Worcester Art Museum
is a jewel box whose collections include prints, photographs and drawings, Asian art, Greek and Roman sculpture and mosaics, European and North American paintings, and contemporary art. A burnished exhibit of Medieval and Renaissance armor awaits military history buffs at the Higgins Armory Museum
. Nineteenth Century orators such as Henry David Thoreau, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain held forth at Worcester's Mechanics Hall, which continues to hold events.
West of Worcester is a reproduction of an 1830s New England rural settlement, Old Sturbridge Village. Some 40 meetinghouses, craft shops and homes are populated by costumed museum staff who carry on their period lives.
North of Worcester, Wachusett Mountain, one of southern New England's most popular ski areas, challenges schussers. Village greens and orchards characterize this area. The site of a short-lived experiment in utopian living is preserved at the four Fruitlands Museums at the city of Harvard along the Johnny Appleseed Trail.
Industrial history comes alive along the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, which upholds the legacies of approximately 20 central Massachusetts cities and towns.