When you hear Massachusetts, most people think of Boston and the eastern coastline. The state is much more than just the Red Sox, ducklings and chowdah. Head inland to the west where you’ll find the beautiful area of Hampshire County. Leave the hustle and bustle behind and you’ll see why Hampshire County is the heart of Western Massachusetts.
The Abundance of Natural Beauty
With 3 state parks and 8 conservation areas, you’ll never have trouble finding a breath of fresh air. Whether you’re a waterfall chaser or summit scaler, you’ll find a piece of nature that makes your heart swell. Strap on those hiking books and make your way up to the Mt Holyoke Summit – the views are not to be missed.
Hampshire County’s Plethora of Delicious Eats
Let’s be honest, we always want a good meal no matter where we’re travelling to. Have no fear, there are plenty of great restaurants to be found in Hampshire County! Northampton hosts 20+ restaurants just in the downtown core alone, with plenty of other great eats in neighbouring towns. A must-eat is Amherst’s Bread & Butter – their iconic Pork Belly Eggs Benny is NOT to be missed!
It Boasts the Only Hydroponic Park in the Country
Mill 180 Park is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before! Using soilless methods to grow plants, the park creates an outdoor space, indoors. Inspired by the look and feel of urban parks like that of NYC’s Central Park, Mill 180 Park gives locals and tourists alike a place to enjoy nature without Mother Nature ever raining on their parade! It’s also a great spot to grab a bite or try one an amazing “parktails” made with their house-made syrups.
The Beautiful Boutique Hotels
A day full of adventure means you need a great place to sleep, and Hampshire County has many great places to rest your head! You’ll feel spoiled with a stay at the Hotel Northampton. In its 90th year now, this colonial revival style inn has become the centrepiece of Northampton. You’ll fall in love with the charm & elegance of this architectural beauty!
Its Extensive Art & Craft Program
Hampshire County is home to Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program, a non-profit organization which offers a unique setting for amateur and practicing artists alike. Here you can immerse yourself in an art while surrounded by the ever inspiring beauty of nature. With a variety of artistic disciplines from glass blowing to printmaking to metalsmithing, Snow Farm offers weekend and week-long programs for attendees to hone their craft!
Hampshire County’s Delicious Craft Beer
Craft beer is exploding across the country and Hampshire County is no exception! With gems like Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton, it’s easy to find a stellar pint. Plus many of the breweries have amazing décor, you’ll want to drink your beer slowly to soak it all up!
The Sense of Community
Hampshire County has such a warm, welcoming vibe. It’s easy to understand when you hear that many of its cities include a high LGBT population. Not only this, but many of the local institutions are accessible to everyone, including the Smith College Museum of Art. They involve their students & staff in curation and also offer free admission days to ensure everyone can have access to the arts. It’s so great to see so many businesses & institutions thinking of the local community’s accessibility!
Have you visited Hampshire County? My time there was short but packed with adventure. I can’t wait to return and explore more of it and Western Mass. After just a few hours in the area, you’ll quickly understand why it’s affectionately called Bestern Massachusetts!
A big thanks to Visit Hampshire County for hosting me during the first leg of my Massachusetts road trip adventure! I had an absolute blast exploring your area and hope to return again soon. As always, all reviews and opinions are my own.
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