CENTRAL & WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS (Pioneer
Traveling west out of the Merrimack Valley, you'll encounter
the "heart" of Massachusetts, old time life in
the farmlands and hills of this great agricultural center,
but also home to two major cities, Worcester and Springfield.
A world-famous attraction is Old Sturbridge Village, a
living-history museum that re-creates preserves a rural
New England settlement of colonial times.
Worcester sits in the center of the state and was formerly
an industrial town. The city's cultural bent has won over
as the manufacturing left town and Worcester is now a major
center for the arts and higher learning. The Worcester
Art Museum is a stop on most of the major touring exhibits
and a way to see major works without going into Boston
or New York. The Mechanics Hall is a perfectly preserved
19th century theatre famous for hosting stops on speaking
tours by the great orators such as Mark Twain and Charles
Dickens and is still used as a venue for touring classical
and popular musical acts. There's great factory outlet
shopping at the Worcester Common Outlets. And there's a
healthy and lively college atmosphere (several major schools
including Worcester PolyTech) which keeps the city young
in spirit while still retaining its historical dignity.
Springfield has two great family attractions: Six Flags
of New England, one of the greatest amusement parks in
the country, and as Springfield is the first place in the
country where basketball was played, the city hosts the
Basketball Hall of Fame. For the more culturally minded,
visit the Springfield Quadrangle, a quartet of art, science
and history museums rivaling anything the larger cities
have to offer.
Amherst and Northampton are college towns boasting long
histories and are home to a dozen major schools. Here a
lively intellectual scene promotes the arts and presents
many opportunities for performances and exhibits.
Along the Connecticut River are rich farmlands and peaceful
pastoral settings. The towns and villages are quaint and
friendly and loaded with antique shops, historical attractions
and friendly Bed & Breakfasts. Don't miss The Mohawk
Trail. First begun hundreds of years ago as a Native American
throughway, the Trail is now Route 2, a winding backroad
and the first scenic automobile route in the country. You'll
experience ancient villages, cross covered bridges, stop
at farm stands and dine in historic inns. Right outside
every town, nature beckons. There's great hiking and biking,
kayaking, whitewater rafting, and nature walks. The foliage,
on your own on foot or in the car, or on a guided bus or
walking tour is some of the most spectacular in New England
and draws visitors from all over the world.
As you continue westward, drive up to the summit of spectacular
Mount Greylock, the states highest point and a great camping
spot. The views of several states are breathtaking in their
panorama and they overlook the final destination in our
trip across Massachusetts: The Bershire Hills - the foothills
of the Appalachias.