There’s so much more to Massachusetts than Boston! In this post, we want to highlight some of the fun things to do in Western MA.
We’ll admit that we didn’t know much about the other side of Massachusetts. We were going to be exploring the area with our friend Brianne of A Traveling Life so we started researching Hampshire County and we realized there is quiet a bit to do! Boston is known for its hustle and bustle, but Western Massachusetts offers fun attractions while still having small town charm.
So if you’re looking for day trips in Massachusetts outside of the big city, we recommend driving through Hampshire County. Below we’ve listed out our favorite cities and sites.
This city is known for its history, culture, and cute shopping area, so there are plenty of things to do in Northampton. We especially loved the Smith College Museum of Art. It is widely recognized as one of the leading academic museums in the country.
With an expanding collection, the museum’s mission is to cultivate inquiry and reflection by connecting people to art, ideas and each other. They have a lot of interesting pieces, but something visitors should definitely not miss are the public bathrooms on the lower level directly adjacent to the exhibition gallery. Even they have been beautifully designed as functional art.
While visiting Northampton, we recommend taking a stroll along Main Street. The shops have fun merchandise and the storefronts are cute. We even saw this mural as we explored the area.
If you’re wondering where to eat in Northampton, we suggest ConVino Wine Bar. This cozy restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine and has over 70 varieties of wine. They also have live music by Spanish guitarist Tony Silva on Sunday and Monday nights.
We loved everything about ConVino! During our visit we indulged in the weekend pairing special, which was a lemon ricotta gnocchi with mushroom spinach cream sauce paired with a glass of Cordero de Montezemolo. And for dessert… cheesecake!
If you’re visiting Amherst with kids, or just like donuts, we recommend going to Atkins Farms. They have a lot of great food items, but what they’re best known for is their cider donuts. We thought they were fantastic!
Another thing to do in Amherst is visit the Emily Dickinson Museum which is actually in her old home. Unfortunately it was closed on the day that we visited, but we would have loved to learn more about this incredible poet.
It’s also nice to simply walk around Amherst and admire the architecture and some of the shops that they have in town. There were a lot of cute book stores and beautiful churches.
We think one of the coolest things to do in Easthampton, especially if the weather outside isn’t great, is visiting Mill 180 Park. This indoor park is truly revolutionary! They bring the outdoors in, with lovely green spaces that you can enjoy as a group or in quiet solitude.
Visitors will find hydroponically-grown plants that not only add to the aesthetics, but are also used at the cafe to create the freshest dishes. The park is in a restored mill, and they’ve used the space wonderfully with play areas for kids and also little nooks for curling up with a good book.
If you’d like to get your creative juices flowing, visit Snow Farm in Williamsburg. This once working farm is now home to studios and living areas where anyone can learn all kinds of crafts like glass blowing, metalworking, ceramics, and welding (to name a few). This is one of the few craft programs in the country that is open to beginners.
They offer various workshops, from two to five days, and students can stay on the property and even have their meals included with their stay. The two week program that they have for teens is especially awe inspiring as it’s almost equivalent to a college semester and the teens are able to show off their works at the end of the program.
Guests that visit Snow Farm in November also get to do some great shopping! Pieces from across the region from over 200 craftspeople are sent to Snow Farm so guests can do some early holiday shopping. You can also try blowing your own glass ornament!
As you’re exploring Western Massachusetts, there are a few options for where to stay but these are the ones we recommend. If you’re staying in Northampton we suggest staying at The Hotel Northampton. It’s right in the center of town, with great amenities and two restaurants.
If you’d like to stay a bit further north in Amherst, we recommend the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Amherst-Hadley. The hotel is in a great location, with fast WiFi and complimentary breakfast. And comfy beds!
Driving through Western Massachusetts was a lot of fun and we enjoyed getting to explore some of the cities in Hampshire County. There’s definitely a lot more to Massachusetts than people think!
Have you visited Western Massachusetts? Where else should we go the next time we’re in the area? We’d love to read your comments below! 🙂
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**A big thank you to Visit Hampshire County for arranging our fun itinerary! Although we were their guests, as always, all opinions are our own.**