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Old 05-25-2016, 09:55 PM
 
175 posts, read 161,395 times
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Hi folks,

I am originally from Mass., but have lived in N.J. for several years now. My parents still live in Eastern Mass. and I am trying to coordinate a "surprise" day trip to Western Mass. for my mom's birthday with my dad. Since I am unable to travel home for the weekend, I chose the area as Western Mass is roughly equidistant between where I am in N.J. and where my parents live in Eastern Mass.

Attempting to plan the event made me realize that (like many residents of Eastern Mass.) I am woefully ignorant of the Western counterpart of our great Commonwealth

Most of my visits to the western part of the state have been while passing through enroute to other destinations (N.H./N.Y./Vt., etc.) or have been one-off visits for a specific purpose. Sure I have driven through Springfield, hiked Mount Greylock, and visited Williamstown, but my knowledge of the region begins and ends there.

As such, I would very much appreciate recommendations from anyone knowledgable about the area. Ideally, I would like to take my parents out to brunch and then spend the day exploring a traditional (western) New England town. Something similar to Burlington, Vt. or Keene, N.H. would be perfect.

I can handle the Yelping, but if anyone had recommendations for towns which are walkable, safe, and reasonably scenic, I would very much appreciate it!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-26-2016, 03:17 AM
 
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Check out shelburn falls and the bridge of flowers. It is pretty far north for western ma but your parents could take rt 2 there instead of the pike Which gets backed up like crazy on summer weekends at rt 84 thanks to people from nj! Haha

You could also check out Northampton if you didn't want to go so far north
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Old 05-26-2016, 03:43 AM
 
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Northampton (where I live) is a great suggestion, but a bit more equidistant might be Great Barrington.
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Old 05-26-2016, 04:54 AM
 
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Agree that for equidistance, Berkshires are best. You can walk around in posh Lenox and the grounds of Tanglewood. Plenty to explore in the area, like Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge. For nature lovers the Bartholomew's Cobble site in Sheffield is beautiful. The Conn Valley area has many attractions like Northampton and Amherst and old Deerfield but it's an hour farther from NJ than south Berkshire county.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:14 AM
 
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I put in my vote for the Hancock Shaker Village and/or the Norman Rockwell museum.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:13 AM
 
Location: stuck in the woods with bears and moose
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You could take them to the Northampton area. Try Judie's in Amherst for lunch--it has delicious and somewhat unusual food in a pretty but casual setting. Not too many UMass kiddies hang out there either.

Then over to Northampton and walk the downtown area if they like to shop and get an ice cream cone or some other treat. Then, if they like gardens, maybe Child's Park right on rte 9 sort of across from the hospital. Eat dinner in Northampton. Then it's about a 2 hour drive back home for them (just guessing but that's about how long it takes me. I'm older and I don't speed, lol.)

OR meet up in Deerfield if they like history--serious, wonderful, beautiful, quiet. Tour the museum and maybe one house. Gift shop, eat at the Deerfield Inn. Tour Yankee Candle if they like things like that--there are exhibits and you can buy...candles and things. If they're staying overnight (and money is no object) stay at the Deerfield Inn.

I also second a trip out to the Berkshires --Stockbridge and the Red Lion Inn would impress anyone. Lunch there is a real treat--fancy smancy. It would be quite a long drive for them, longer than the Northampton area. I think they'd have to stay overnight. If they can afford it, stay at the Red Lion Inn!!!!!! If they like classical music, Tanglewood, of course. BSO rehearsals are free on Saturdays.
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Old 05-26-2016, 02:11 PM
 
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All great suggestions, except that it's Childs Park (no apostrophe; named after the Childs family).
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Old 05-26-2016, 04:19 PM
 
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So many wonderful options, but Deerfield, since I was little and put my hands over the holes and gouges in the doors (bullets? arrows?) dating from a pre-Revolutionary century, has always been my favorite.

I also love the Hancock Shaker habitat, beautifully explained. Don't they have the round barn? And the chairs hanging up on the wall? The Shakers were fantastic architects, home decorators, and dancers. And they took in orphans no one else wanted. A distinctive chapter in 19th c history.
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Old 05-26-2016, 07:02 PM
 
Location: stuck in the woods with bears and moose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladyalicemore View Post
So many wonderful options, but Deerfield, since I was little and put my hands over the holes and gouges in the doors (bullets? arrows?) dating from a pre-Revolutionary century, has always been my favorite.

I also love the Hancock Shaker habitat, beautifully explained. Don't they have the round barn? And the chairs hanging up on the wall? The Shakers were fantastic architects, home decorators, and dancers. And they took in orphans no one else wanted. A distinctive chapter in 19th c history.
I had almost forgotten about the Hancock Shaker Village--I only went there once a long time ago but there was a lot to learn. I think they didn't allow marriage??????? So it died out.

But Deerfield--ever since our third grade teacher read us The Boy Captive of Old Deerfield I was hooked. That place has such an intriguing history. Maybe you're thinking of that hatchet mark in the door? Deerfield Massacre.

Tovarish, thanks for the spelling correction--I think. It's a nice little park and I love the rose garden. I used to like Look Park as a kid--swans, paddle boats, train, picnics, but things have changed there. Childs Park is more relaxing and peaceful--would be a nice place for visitors to stroll through.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:17 PM
 
536 posts, read 713,048 times
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Deerfield Massacre--that was it. Thanks, in_newengland!

Our family visited Plymouth a lot, which was near where I grew up--but Deerfield seemed to me then even more authentically old, probably because of its woody, rural setting.

The Shakers were celibate, but they adopted instead of procreating--if I remember rightly.
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