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Part of the ongoing “Head West” series. To see previous Head West posts, click the “Head West” tag at the bottom of the post and start browsing.
Looking for something to do that will snap you out of the summer doldrums? Head west! Beautiful scenery and tons of activities provide any traveler, couple or family with great ways to spend summer days.
Amherst, Springfield, Franklin County and the towns that dot the Berkshire mountains offer a unique getaway experience for any adventurer who’s looking for a good time. Located only a short drive from Boston and other New England hubs, these destinations beckon with great places to shop, eat and stay.
During the next few weeks, we’ll highlight some of our favorite areas around the Commonwealth here on MassFinds. We’ll point you in the right direction on what to do, where to go and how to best enjoy your trip.
Second up on our list of reasons to head west: Franklin County.
Franklin County, best known for its pastoral scenery and outdoor activities, is a great place for any spirited traveler. Whitewater rafting, hiking trails and leisurely walks offer a bevy of attractions for outdoor types. Indoors type will love the area’s exhibits, antique shops and craft galleries. From riverbanks to mountaintop views to historic museums, Franklin County has it all.
Overwhelmed by all those options? Concerned that you don’t quite know which attractions most deserve your limited time? Don’t worry. We’re here to give you a hand.
Where should I stay?
The House On The Hill Bed & Breakfast, 330 Leyden Road, Greenfield, MA 01301: House On The Hill B&B offers small, cozy accommodations and a peaceful experience. The four well-appointed rooms feature private baths, a fridge, television and Wi-Fi for those who need to stay connected. Full breakfasts, made with local products, are available and children are welcome. To book a room, click here or call 413-774-2070.
The Mill Village House, 200 Mill Village Road, Deerfield, MA 01342: The Mill Village House will give you a colonial feel that still has all of today’s modern amenities. The Mill Village House is an ideal lodging for groups, as 750 square foot rooms come equipped to sleep six. Rooms also offer a full bathroom, a small office space, wireless Internet and air conditioning. The Mill Village House’s convenient location provides its occupants only a short walk to historic Deerfield. To make reservations, send an email or call 413-772-0651.
The Centennial House Bed & Breakfast, 94 Main Street, Northfield, MA 01093: The Centennial House in Northfield is a sprawling 17-room estate that was built by master craftsmen all the way back in 1811. Today, The Centennial House supplies travelers with spacious rooms, comfy beds, private baths and homemade baked goods for breakfast. Visitors can hike a mountain or stroll by the Connecticut River, if they aren’t already relaxing in the sunroom or enjoying a spectacular view provided by the gazebo. To check availability, head to their site or call 413-498-5921.
But I’d rather sleep outdoors!
White Birch Campground, 214 North Street, Whately, MA 01373: White Birch Campground brings you the best of the bucolic and modern worlds, making it a great destination for campers of any stripe. Situated at the foot of the Berkshires, White Birch offers swimming pool and various sports, along with fishing and hiking. Nearby attractions rang from museums to antique shops to conservatories. For more information, click here. For reservations, send an email or call 413-665-4941.
The Wagon Wheel Campground, 909 Wendell Road, Warwick, MA 01378: Located directly off Route 2, The Wagon Wheel Campground gives campers a place to rest their heads and no shortage of activities for the day. Fishing, games and monthly potlucks imbue this campground, which includes modern amenities, with a feeling of community that any traveler will enjoy. For more information, click here. To book, send an email or call 978-544-8120.
Travelers Woods of New England, 152 River Street, Bernardston, MA 01337: Travelers Woods of New England sits at the base of the Berkshire mountains, a backdrop that provides scenic surroundings during any season. Mohawk Trail, Historic Deerfield, the Yankee Candle Co. and many other attractions are just a skip away. The campground features hot showers, a rec hall, a store and children under 18 stay for free. To make reservations, send an email or call 413-648-9105.
What can I do outside?
Zoar Outdoor, 7 Main Street, Charlemont, MA 01339: Yes, we also featured Zoar Outdoor in our post about Mohawk Trail activities, but we’re including it again because Zoar Outdoor is just that much fun. For more than 20 years, Zoar has offered New England’s best trips in whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing lessons, zip line tours and rock climbing. Adventurers of all levels will feel at home, whether they’re beginners or experts. Have a look at Zoar’s online specials here or call 800-532-7483 to book.
Quinnetukut II Riverboat, 99 Millers Falls Road, Northfield, MA 01360: The Quinnetukut Riverboat tour spotlights some of the most stunning scenery in the Bay State. As travelers float down the Connecticut River, they will gaze at the magnificent sights of French King Gorge and Barton Cove while a river guide narrates the trip. Weather conditions are sensitive, so always call ahead at 800-859-2960 in advance to book.
Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370: The Bridge of Flower was originally constructed in 1908 as a trolley bridge. The bridge served as a “social and commercial connection” between residents of Shelburne Falls and neighboring towns. Today, people from all across New England flock to see the abundant, vibrant flowers that adorn the Bridge. Walking across the Bridge of Flowers is the perfect way to spend a few hours on any pleasant day. Admission is free and the Bridge is open all day, every day.
Gould’s Maple Sugarhouse, Mohawk Trail, Shelburne, MA 01370: Gould’s Maple Sugarhouse has been a family-owned maple syrup business for six generations. Nowadays, visitors can do more than just observe the process behind making maple syrup. Gould’s also serves breakfast, with both the pancakes and the waffles eliciting rave reviews. If you’ve got a big day ahead, breakfast at Gould’s is a good way to start it. For more on Gould’s Maple Sugarhouse, call 413-625-6170.
BridgeSide Grille, 9 Amherst Road, Sunderland, MA 01375: The BridgeSide Grill’s diverse menu will ensure that all visitors leave full and happy. In the morning, patrons can order omelettes, pancakes and burritos. The lunch menu brings burgers and a plethora of wraps. At suppertime, diners can choose from seafood, chicken and beef. For more information on the BridgeSide Grill, call 413-397-8101.
Know any good places to shop?
Lucia Pottery, 86 Leyden Road, Greenfield, MA 01301: Lucy Fagella, a Massachusetts artisan, crafts elegant, unique works of pottery. Perhaps most importantly, many of Lucy’s crafts are functional, so stop by and pick up something new; you’ll probably be able to use it every day.
Elmer’s Store, 396 Main Street, Ashfield, MA 01330: Elmer’s Store, built all the way back in 1835, serves a number of different purposes today. Passersby can always get breakfast and buy groceries. On special days, though, visitors can also purchase local crafts and take in concerts. To view the schedule at Elmer’s, check here.
Mo’s Fudge Factor, 9 State Street, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370: If you need a fudge fix, stop by Mo’s place. This shop specializes in gourmet fudge, which is baked in small batches to guarantee top quality.
For more on going out west this summer, just click here. Bon voyage!