When I was in college 2 hours away in Western Massachusetts, people would ask me, “Where are you from?” as an icebreaker in class or the start of small talk. I would answer, “Mansfield, Mass.”
Most of the time that followed with a confused facial expression and the “Where?”
I would answer, “It’s two hours away. If you know the town Foxboro, you know the home of the New England Patriots or if you been to Gillette Stadium, Mansfield is the town right next to it. If you never been to Foxboro, Mansfield is 40 minutes away from Boston.”
The rare moment when someone from school even knew my hometown would say, “Oh, that’s where the Xfinity Center is. I’ve seen a concert there.”north com
I would follow, “I had my high school graduation ceremony there.”
However, Mansfield is more than just the town which holds the Xfinity Center. Here are just 10 places in Mansfield that only people who lived in Mansfield would know about or been to at least once in their lives.
1. The Old Country Store
This store reminds me of little rustic shops in the Wild West with the wooden signs and how the whole store looks like a barn. It is located on Otis St by Mansfield Children’s Center and across the street from the YMCA on Balcom St. It has been family owned for 185 years and it is one of the most beloved stores in Mansfield. The store is known for their part candy and fudge shop when one first opens the white door. However, most people do not realize in the way back of the store, past the cash registers, there is another store that sells furniture and other knickknacks. I remember when I was younger in the summer I would go to the YMCA and we would have field trips walking to the Old Country Store and we’d line outside the main door to go buy the candy and goods. Surprisingly, my favorite wasn’t the candy or the home made fudge, but their pickles. They keep them in this giant barrel by the cooler filled with soft drinks, and the pickles are huge! They aren’t sweet either and that is why I loved them so much.
2. The South Common (aka The Common)
The South Common is a beautiful little island in the middle of town. It is in front of Mansfield Town Hall. There is a small paths connected to the giant flag pole in the middle of it, and people like to walk through it and relax in the white wooden Gazebo that is facing closest to Town Hall. It has painted trash cans from old Mansfield High School alumnus. I remember every Summer the town would play a movie on the Common. They would have a projector screen and people would gather around with blankets, pillows, and plenty of popcorn to watch the movie. My dad and I went every summer up until I was ten years old.
3. Cafe on the Common
You do not live in Mansfield if you have not eaten breakfast at Cafe on the Common at least once in your life. It is a Cafe located right across the street from the Common (hence the name Cafe on the Common.) They only open until 3pm everyday, so it is one of the best places to get breakfast in this town. The place is small enough that the servers get to know you if you go often enough (like my Dad did.) Also, one must sit in a booth because, if it isn’t as busy, the servers let you pick where you want to sit. They are known for serving giant pancakes with the most chocolate chips in them, it is barely pancake. I love their home fries. They are crispy, bigger than most other breakfast places’ home fries, and tastefully seasoned. I used to go there with two of my high school best friends when school had a half day. If it is lunch time I always order a tuna salad sandwich on wheat bread with fries. Every time.
4. Fulton’s Pond
Anyone who is from Mansfield has been to Fulton’s at least once in their life. It’s a stunning pond that reflects off the sky just right that one cannot tell it is a pond. One just sees the sky’s reflection. The pond also has a stunning fountain and waterfalls crashing into a river that flows under a red and green chipped wooden bridge that high school kids carve their names in with their significant other at the time. Fun fact: one of my best friends carved her name in the bridge with her first boyfriend. When she broke up with him, she went to the bridge and scratched his name off the bridge. Also, Fulton’s Pond is where we hold our annual Duck Race: people have different color rubber ducks that float down the river of Fulton’s Pond.
5. Mansfield Crossing
Mansfield Crossing is our very own outdoor shopping mall complex. It used to be this beautiful open field with one old house in the middle of it. No one really knows how the town bought the land from the family that owned the land, but they turned the giant field into an outdoor mall. What some people do not realize is that the town kept the giant pond in the middle and created a pathway that people can do laps around. When the weather isn’t the weird New England weather turning the dirt pathway into mud and slush, it is a nice private place to walk around. It gives a similar feeling of Fulton’s Pond.
6. The Mansfield Airport
The Mansfield Airport is one of the places that Mansfield is known for. There is a sign on I95 North and South with a picture of an airplane saying Mansfield Airport exit 7A. It is located across the street from the bike path. I have only been to it a few times and I have lived in Mansfield my entire life. It is not like the international airports, like Logan in Boston. It is a tiny speck compared to Logan, however it is an asset to my town. I have seen planes, the giant red Hood blimp, and even hot air balloons parked on the strips of the airport. A restaurant opened up in the Airport recently. It is worth checking out.
7. Flint Farm
For the longest time, I have always gone to Flint Farm during the summer for one of the best cup of hard chocolate ice cream. This ice cream shop is also an actual farm that sells their freshly picked vegetables and corn. But from late spring to early fall they open their ice cream shop and serve the town of Mansfield some of the tastiest ice cream. The customer has options too. They have a long list of flavors varying from simple like Vanilla or my favorite Chocolate to complicated like a combination of Oreo and Coffee. Also, their servings are giant but at low prices that to reach ten dollars I had to buy 3 of my friends small (1 scoop) sizes ice cream with toppings. My go-to is a small chocolate in a cup with rainbow sprinkles and gummy bears.
8. The Black Box Theater
This is a new place that I came across in Mansfield not even six months ago. It is a tiny theater that is located across the street from the commuter rail. It’s a performance arts theater that put on shows and movies for the general public to see and enjoy.
9. Flannel Cow
Apparently, Flannel Cow has been in Mansfield for years. However, I recently stumbled upon it with my Dad a couple months ago. It is an adorable ice cream shop behind the Dunkin Donuts near the Commuter rail. It is the barn-like house with a cow wearing read flannel above the door. It holds homemade everything, from their ice cream to their waffle cones and cone bowls. Their flavors are written on a chalk board and you can see their ice cream behind a glass. My favorite flavor is their signature “Dirty Dough” (a combination of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and cookie dough.) To top it off they put an adorable animal cracker on top of it. All of that is about six dollars.
10. The Bike Path (Known as the World War II Memorial Path)
Lastly, across the street from the Airport is the Bike Path. However, I do not see a lot of bike riders on the bike path. There are a mix of people riding their bike or skateboarding down the path, but most of the time you will see people walking their dog down it. The bike path is a total of 2.5-3 miles long and it starts by the airport and ends by the middle of town where the Common is located. It is a nice place to walk, or want some fresh air. I have walked the whole thing about three times in my life. I have ridden my bike down the entire path once. My mom brings my dogs to the bike path daily. Fun Fact: When we had our old yellow lab, Zoey, my parents brought her to the Bike Path and ended up on the front page of the Mansfield paper. All you saw was Zoey with a giant brand in her mouth leading my parents down the path.