New England may be famous for cozy fires in January, but come May, the scenery changes. As snow banks melt and crocuses bloom, Western Massachusetts awakens with activities to mark the arrival of spring. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, here are the top 11 things to do in this picturesque region during the spring and summer season.

Go Birdwatching at Mount Tom State Reservation:

Spring and summer are prime times for birdwatching, and Mount Tom State Reservation is a hotspot in Western Massachusetts. Spot a variety of migratory birds amidst the blooming foliage and picturesque landscapes. If you’re new to the area, you’ll thrill at the sight of the common but colorful yellow-throat, red cardinal, and black-capped chickadee.

Shop Outdoor Farmers’ Markets:

The Tuesday Farmer's Market in Northampton, MA.

New England is a thriving agricultural region, producing apples, cranberries, cheese, maple syrup, and more. Once the ground thaws, numerous Farmers’ Markets pop up. You can browse fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, jellies, dairy products, and specialty food items directly from local farmers. Starting in April and held every Saturday in the center of their respective towns, the biggest and best include the Northampton Farmers’ Market  and the Amherst Farmers’ Market.

Explore Historic Deerfield:

Ever wonder about life in the 1700s? Step back in time at Historic Deerfield, a preserved 18th-century village showcasing colonial architecture, gardens, and museums. Springtime here is enchanting, with blossoming gardens and special events that highlight the region’s rich history. In fact, you can attend hands-on activities and workshops on a range of topics, such as cooking, pottery, silversmithing, farming, printing, woodworking–even horn carving!

Hike Mount Greylock:

As the highest peak in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and hillsides bursting with new life across its 12,000 acres. Choose from a variety of trails catering to different skill levels and take a “nature bath” among the evergreen trees and wildflowers.

Enjoy Outdoor Dining in Northampton: Northampton’s vibrant culinary scene comes alive in the spring. Enjoy local cuisine and sip on craft beverages on the deck at the Northampton Brewery, and then step next door to savor the famous extra-rich Herrell’s Ice cream. Nearby Easthampton and Amherst also offer numerous entertainment and dining options.

Visit the Emily Dickinson Museum:

Delve into the world of renowned poet Emily Dickinson by visiting her birthplace and home in Amherst. The garden tour offers insights into Dickinson’s life and inspiration behind beloved poems such as “Hope’ is the thing with feathers” and “I’m Nobody! Who are you?”  Many of her popular poems were discovered in her bedroom after her death.    

Explore Historic Shelburne Falls:

Wander through the quaint streets of Shelburne Falls, known for its charming shops, art galleries, and the iconic Bridge of Flowers. Spring and summer transforms the bridge into a vibrant floral spectacle, creating a picturesque backdrop for exploration.

A view of a river from a bridge with flowers.

Picnic at Look Park:

Besides tables and grills for a lovely picnic, the Look Park has playgrounds, water spray park, and mini-golf course. Meet deer, peacocks, chickens, goats, and owls in the wildlife center. Take a ride in a pedal boat in the pond or around the park in The Look Park Steamer Train, an authentic replica of the 1863 C.P Huntington Train. Finally, top of the visit at the Sweet Shoppe.

Experience the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival:

Dance enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshires. Beginning in late June, this internationally acclaimed event presents nine weeks of dance performances, workshops, and talks, covering ballet, modern, Indigenous dance, hip hop, flamenco, circus, and more, with artists from Canada, England, Switzerland, Italy, Argentina, Spain, and beyond.

Relax at the Montague Book Mill:

A view of outdoor cafe a art gallery.

Combination cafe, pub, art gallery, music shop, and book store, the Montague Bookmill is definitely off the beaten path. In fact, the slogan on its merch reads, “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find.” Despite its quirky self-deprecation, the location is worth seeking out when the weather’s nice. Housed in a historic gristmill overlooking the Sawmill River, the rustic haven offers scenic trails along the riverbank, outdoor dining in a community atmosphere, and a selection of thousands of used books.

Admire a Botanical Garden:

Located in Stockbridge, the Berkshire Botanical Garden is a haven of blooming flowers, tranquil gardens, and educational programs. Spring brings a riot of colors as tulips, daffodils, and cherry blossoms paint the landscape. Another brilliant Botanical Garden flourishes at Smith College, which includes a 12,000 square-foot conservatory collecting plants from around the world, campus-wide arboretum, and many outdoor gardens. As a cherry blossom on top, visitors every March snap pics at the annual Spring Bulb Show when over 9,000 bulbs erupt with color. 

If you’re looking for a place to travel abroad in the U.S., study English in New England, or take language classes in Northampton, Western Massachusetts beckons with an array of spring and summertime activities that celebrate nature, history, music, art, and culture. Whether you’re hiking a rocky trail, exploring a colonial abode, or spreading out a picnic blanket, this region offers a memorable getaway for all.

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