Thanks to Lee Chambers of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau for providing this most helpful information about western Massachusetts.
Foliage.org: What are the projected dates for Massachusetts foliage season?
Here in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley(Hampden/Hampshire/Franklin counties), peak fall foliage season is usually the first two weeks in October. (Editor’s note: Some other MA. State resources for estimating when the leaves will be changing can be found at Massachusetts State Parks Info and Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
Foliage.org: Are there areas, vistas, scenic lookouts or other destinations within Massachusetts that are known for their uniquely beautiful autumn foliage displays?
All towns in this region have an abundance of wooded areas and parks. The ones that receive the most notice are usually the ones that have popular travel route through them, the towns along the I-91 corridor (Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, Deerfield, Greenfield), I-90 (Palmer, Ludlow, Springfield, West Springfield, Westfield) as well as those found along routes 10 & 202 and 9.
Foliage.org: What are the local and regional roads or highways that are favorite scenic routes for Fall tourists?
The more leisurely routes, for foliage peeping, are 10 & 202, Route 5,Route 63 and the Mohawk Trail (Route 2).
Foliage.org: What festivals or other public events take place during Fall foliage season?
New England’s largest Fair is The Big E, which takes place in West Springfield, with over a million visitors per year. This extravaganza offers something for everyone – food, shopping, a midway, crafts, agricultural exhibits and competitions and top-notch entertainers. For more information, visit www.thebige.com <http://www.thebige.com/> . Each Columbus Day weekend, art lovers gather at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton. For more information, visit www.paradisecityarts.com <http://www.paradisecityarts.com/> .
Foliage.org: Are there historic or cultural sites that are popular destinations for Fall foliage travelers? What are they?
Western Massachusetts has an abundance of historic sites, from Emily Dickinson’s homestead to the Springfield National Armory, the nation’s first commissioned armory under the leadership of George Washington. Both of these, and many more, can be
found among many tall trees that lend their fiery beauty to each site each autumn.
Foliage.org: What are some other popular tourist attractions for autumn travelers to Massachusetts? What are some of the less well known, but much loved local attractions?
The most popular attractions in the fall are The Big E, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (which holds its annual Hall of Fame inductions each September), Six Flag’s Fright Fest (weekends every October) Yankee Candle Village and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, an outdoors collection of unique bronze statues honoring Springfield native Dr. Seuss and several of his most popular literary creations. Other delights include the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory (8,000 square foot tropical conservatory) in South Deerfield, Historic Deerfield (11 house museums and special exhibitions) in Deerfield, the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, the Zoo at Forest Park (open daily through Columbus Day) in Springfield, Lupa Zoo in Ludlow, Nash Dinosaur Track Quarry in South Hadley, and the Amelia Park Children’s Museum in Westfield. One great way to take in foliage beauty is by cruising the Connecticut River courtesy the Lady Bea Cruise Boat in South Hadley or the Quinnetuket II in Northfield. Information about all of these can be found at www.valleyvisitor.com.
Foliage.org: Are there favorite destinations for history, literature, architecture buffs, or antique collectors? What are they?
Brimfield hosts the world’s largest outdoor antique collector’s shows in May, July and September of each year. History and literature buffs have many sites to enjoy here, from the Springfield National Armory and the Emily Dickinson Museum (Amherst) to the National Yiddish Book Center (Amherst), the Polish Center for Discover and Learning (Chicopee), Storrowton Village Museum (West Springfield) and the Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation (Granville). The Titanic Historical Society Museum (Indian Orchard) provides insight about the doomed oceanliner, and Springfield’s Maple Hill Historic District features historic stately homes from the 1800’s. Further east, Old Sturbridge Village (Sturbridge) lets visitors immerse themselves in an authentic 18th century village.
Foliage.org: What are some favorite destinations or activities of families traveling during the Fall travel season?
There are plenty of detours along the major foliage routes that will take you into towns that offer some surprising events and activities. Be sure to stop at one of our apple orchards for a jug of fresh-pressed cider and a bag of apples for the ride – they’ll be the best you’ve ever tasted. Let the kids run through a pumpkin patch and pick the biggest pumpkin they can find or enjoy a hayride. Need to stretch your legs? We’ve got miles of easy hiking trails in our state parks and forests. The foliage here in the western end of the state is especially brilliant and you can enhance it by visiting any number of farm stands and enjoying hay rides and other foliage season fun. For indoor fun, there’s the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (Amherst) and Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory (South Deerfield). Outdoor fun spots include Six Flags New England (Agawam) , the Zoo at Forest Park (Springfield)
Foliage.org: What are some helpful resources for discovering local inns, bed and breakfasts, lodges, boutique hotels, and other local lodging and dining?
For information about the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you can visit www.massvacation.com<http://www.massvacation.com/> . For information specific to thePioneer Valley region, visit www.valleyvisitor.com.
Foliage.org: Is there anything else you would like to tell visitors thinking about traveling Massachusetts for the fall foliage season?
We encourage you to visit our web site at www.valleyvisitor.com <http://www.valleyvisitor.com/>.We have a great site filled with information about the attractions, shopping, dining and accommodation options you can find here in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley. It’s all here in the Pioneer Valley!