Western Massachusetts

Countries  »  United States of America  »  Massachusetts  »  Western Massachusetts

Western Massachusetts

Massachusetts Quick Links
Home  |  Introduction  |  Boston  |  Cape Cod  |  Getting Around  |
History  |  Key Facts  |  North of Boston  |  Sport  |  Studying Abroad  |
Western Massachusetts  |  Youth Hostels

In Western Massachusetts, travellers can visit a myriad of local farms producing everything from goat cheese to apples to zucchini (that's courgette don't you know)! The Blackstone River Valley provides a showcase for the area's industrial heritage, as well as opportunities for hiking, boating, biking, and fishing.

Springfield in Western Massachusetts

There so much to see and do in Western Massachusetts; the Berkshires provide a year-round destination for outdoor fun and activities' Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, offers a great outdoor spot for music lovers to enjoy many different concerts; the Hancock Shaker Village offers tourists insights into the Shaker way of life. Also, for those winter enthusiasts, the Berkshires boast 13 ski areas with a variety of terrains for skiers and snowboarders alike.

Pioneer Valley, Springfield & the "Five College Region"

In blue collar Springfield, relive the history of basketball at the Basketball Hall of Fame, where three levels of exhibits and fun celebrate inventor Dr. James Naismith and his game. Lose your breath at Six Flags New England, the largest theme amusement park in the area. And visit museums that pay tribute to the legends behind children's books - the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and the Dr. Seuss Memorial Sculpture Garden.

Stroll along Main Street in Northampton, a laid-back college town with a vibrant arts community and an eclectic selection of restaurants, boutiques, and cafés. Hike the 25 miles of trails in the Northfield Mountain Recreation Area or, by whitewater, raft the Deerfield River. If history is more your thing, unwind with a stroll through 330-year-old Historic Deerfield. Enjoy an afternoon at the flagship Yankee Candle store, where the fudge is homemade and the candles are hand-dipped... by you!

The interior of the Srpingfield Dome

Berkshires

The Berkshires provide a year-round destination for outdoor adventure and culture. Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, offers a great outdoor venue for music lovers to enjoy many different concerts. The Tanglewood Jazz Festival, held the first weekend in September, is world-famous. The Berkshires is a great destination for museum lovers, with the Normal Rockwell Museum, MASS Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the sculpture museum of Chesterwood, the Clark Art Institute and the Williams College Museum of Art. The Hancock Shaker Village offers tourists insights into the Shaker way of life. For those winter enthusiasts, the Berkshires boast 13 ski areas with a variety of terrains for skiers and snowboarders alike, with hiking and biking in summer.

College Scene

The scene for college students and twenty-somethings in Western Massachusetts can be pin-pointed at the intersection of Main Street and Pleasant Street in Northampton. The Northampton area is often called the “Five College Area” due to the close proximity of Smith College in Northampton; Amherst College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts in neighboring Amherst; and Mount Holyoke College in nearby South Hadley. Additionally, the region is home to several other private, state, community and technical colleges. More than 29,000 students call this region home. Forty-five minutes to the northwest lies pristine Williamstown and lively Williams College.

This area is enriched by a high concentration of higher education, which brings intellectual curiosity and thoughtful leadership; community mindedness; youthful energy and spirit; artistic, cultural, and athletic events; not to mention beautiful campuses for peaceful strolling. 

A lake in the Berkshires

Outdoors

The Berkshire mountains have that name for a reason - from lovely foothills to the highest mountain in Massachusetts, Mt. Greylock. At 3,491 feet, Greylock rises above the surrounding Berkshire landscape, offering dramatic views of 60-90 miles distant. Bascom Lodge at its summit is a rustic stone and wood Lodge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's to provide accommodations for hikers, vacationers, and nature enthusiasts. It has private and group rooms available for overnight stay. The large dining room with its high ceiling and hand-cut oak beams offers lunch and dinner. An enclosed porch with wraparound windows overlooks the finest views in the Berkshires.

The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail that runs through the towns of Lanesborough, Cheshire, and Adams is a former railroad corridor, now converted into a paved 10-foot-wide, 11-mile long, universally accessible path. It runs parallel to Route 8 along the eastern shore of Cheshire Reservoir. The word Ashuwillticook (ash-oo-WILL-ti-cook) is from the Native American name for the south branch of the Hoosic River and literally means "at the in-between pleasant river," or in common tongue, "the pleasant river in between the hills."

The name was adopted for the trail as a way to reconnect people to local history and the natural environment. The former railroad ran for some 145 years (1845-1990) under different names. Seeing the potential for recreational use of the corridor, citizens organized to preserve the right-of-way. The Ashuwillticook River Trail Committee soon formed and worked to gain the local and political support needed to make this rail trail a reality.