South County is in Central Massachusetts. It is in the southwest corner of Worcester County and is home to roughly 80,000 people.
South County is the name sometimes used to refer to the area of Central Massachusetts southwest of Worcester. The name does not refer to, as it might seem, the southern half of Worcester County. This would include Worcester and the entire Blackstone Valley. The region is not quite rural, not quite suburban. Former mill towns are surrounded by farms and very low density housing development. Sturbridge, despite being the smallest of the towns in South County, is home to most of the attractions because of the build-up of tourist oriented businesses surrounding Old Sturbridge Village.
Nearly all visitors to South County will arrive by car. The area is bounded on three sides by major highways. To the north, the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) runs east-west with exits in Sturbridge and Auburn that can be used to reach South County. I-84 runs through Sturbridge from Hartford, CT, connecting with I-90. This is the most likely route for travelers coming from all points southwest. I-395 runs north-south along the eastern edge of the region with exits in Webster and Oxford before intersecting with I-90 and becoming I-290. I-395 provides access from Eastern Connecticut to the south and via I-290, all points north and northeast.
You will need a car to explore South County. It is a sprawling region without a center. Traffic on local roads is usually not an issue. Neither is traffic on I-395. However, traffic on I-90 and I-84 can back up for miles radiating out from their intersection in Sturbridge. This is not due to local traffic, but the fact that most traffic between Boston and New York City passes through the region. U.S. Route 20 parallels I-90 and is more useful for intra-regional travel since it intersects with more roads.
- QVCAH-The Arts Center, Southbridge