An Introduction to Western Massachusetts
Mom wants to shop and tour old houses. Dad's a sports nut. And the kids won't be satisfied until they get on a roller coaster. No need for anyone to pout — if they've selected Pioneer Valley for their holiday. The valley offers a monumental mix of sightseeing and amusement opportunities along the Connecticut River, including two historic villages, the Basketball Hall of Fame, New England's premier amusement park, and Yankee Candle's headquarters. Familial harmony is practically guaranteed.
The Eastern States Exposition (1305 Memorial Avenue/Route 147, West Springfield, 413-737-2443,
Speaking of harmony, what would you get if you took the sophisticated cultural enticements of Boston or Manhattan and transplanted them to a place of wide-open spaces, lush vegetation, statuesque mountains, sleepy towns, vigorous rivers, and tranquil country roads? You'd get the Berkshire Hills, of course. And you can drive there in just over two hours from Boston or New York City. You'll be joined by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which takes up residence at Tangle wood each summer; by the nation's leading actors, who escape Manhattan and Los Angeles for summer stock stages; by world-renowned ballet troupes; and by dozens of other artists, writers, and performers. Don't be intimidated — tourists are welcome, too!
This accessible mountain destination offers four-season recreational possibilities, from whitewater rafting during the spring runoff to scenic autumn explorations along one of New England's oldest and most picturesque routes to downhill schussing. You just may find, as generations of vacationers have, that transplanting yourself regularly to a hotel, inn, or even a weekend or summer home here allows you to leave the hassles of city life behind without sacrificing the richness.