Where to Warm Up This Winter

Places to Have Fun and Get Warm in Western Massachusetts

Winter is in full swing in Western Massachusetts. Like many, you’re probably tempted to hibernate until the spring. However, sitting around will just make the cold months drag on that much more slowly. Stay busy–and warm–by exploring the many great activities, attractions and destinations that the region has to offer. From trendy breweries to intriguing museums, opportunities for warm indoor and outdoor fun abound. Give as many of them a try as you can, and winter will be over before you know it.

  • Abandoned Building Brewery – This Easthampton brewery is more than just a run-of-the-mill watering hole. Swing by to sip pints of American and Belgian ales that are brewed on-site using locally grown hops and barley. Even on the coldest Massachusetts day or evening, the camaraderie and cheer of this place will warm you right up.
  • Springfield Museums and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial – On a frigidly cold, snowy day, round up the little ones and head over to this Springfield attraction, which includes life-size Dr. Seuss characters, a dinosaur exhibit, a planetarium and more.
  • The New England Air Museum – The majority of the more than 80 aircraft that are stored here are kept in heated hangars, so this is a great place to check out when the weather is less than optimal. Located in Windsor Locks, it also features an extensive array of aircraft-related artifacts. Kids love not only all of the real planes but the Kidsport, which is a child-sized version of an airport that they can explore.
  • Berkshire East Mountain Resort – Enjoy a quick getaway at the exhilarating sports resort in Charlemont, Massachusetts. Stay at the lodge and enjoy an action packed experience, complete with night skiing, snowboarding, zip lines, and North America’s longest mountain coaster, The Thunderbolt. Wind down after a day of adventures at the Crazy Horse Bar & Grill.

The Candlemaking Museum in Yankee Candle Village – Get warmed up while learning about the art of candlemaking at this South Deerfield attraction. Authentically dressed chandlers demonstrate the processes that were used to make bayberry and beeswax candles during the 18th century. A variety of lovely candles is also available for purchase, so you can stock up on candles that will keep your home warmer, cozier and, in many cases, wonderfully scented.

That’s merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the indoor fun that’s to be had throughout Western Massachusetts. If you find yourself with cabin fever this winter and aren’t sure where to go or what to do, Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau has plenty of ideas. Learn more about fun wintertime activities in Western Massachusetts by contacting us or by visiting our website today.

Ski Season Hotspots in Western Massachusetts

As you wind along a rural highway, meandering among the trees, what’s better than seeing a snow-capped mountain looming in the distance? Pulling out your ski gear and hitting the slopes, of course. Western Massachusetts isn’t far from big city life, but it provides a rustic retreat and plenty of adventure. Even better, the ski resorts in this area are located close to each other, so you can try out more than one on your next ski vacation. No matter where you’re skiing or snowboarding, check out conditions before you strap on your boots at On the Snow.

Berkshire East

If you’re looking for lots of excitement in one place, head to Berkshire East. This family-run resort provides 45 trails for skiers and snowboarders as well as zipline tours, tubing and a mountain coaster that will take you on a roaring ride, twisting and turning around beautiful forests, sheer drops and incredible vistas. The resort is as friendly to the environment as it is to guests; all of its electricity is produced by an on-site wind turbine.

Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort

This four-season resort offers skiing and snowboarding for the whole family. If you’re not into soaring down a mountain on your own two feet, ride Jiminy Peak’s mountain coaster, which reaches speeds of 23mph as gravity pulls you down the winding track, the crisp air whipping around your head. The resort also has multiple loops of snowshoe trails that provide a more serene way to enjoy the winter wonderland. Jiminy Peak offers seven dining options, from donuts and waffles to burritos and gourmet salads, to satisfy your hunger after a long day on the mountain.

Mount Snow Resort

Just a couple of hours from Boston, Mount Snow Resort in West Dover, Vermont, is still a popular option for skiing near Western Massachusetts. In addition to the well-groomed skiing and snowboarding trails, Mount Snow offers tubing, snowmobile tours, cross country skiing and sleigh rides. You can even try your hand at mushing as you’re pulled by a team of sled dogs through the frozen countryside. When you’re ready to take a break, Mount Snow offers its very own spa and wellness center, complete with massages, facial treatments and holistic health therapy.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation on your next outing, check out the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau for comprehensive information on where your journey can take you.

Top 5 Family Destinations in Pioneer Valley

zoar-outdoor-1

Fun things to do in Springfield, MA

The Pioneer Valley is filled with a wide variety of fun and educational options for families. If you’re planning to head to the Springfield area, you’ll have no trouble finding several things that’ll interest each member of your family. To help you narrow it down, we’re featuring five enjoyable and popular options that are suitable for people of all ages and interest levels.

5 Great Things to Do During Your Springfield Vacation

1. Six Flags New England – Most families have a blast when they visit an amusement park together, and Six Flags New England is known as the thrill capital of the area. Six Flags New England has over 100 rides, shows, attractions and New England’s largest water park, Hurricane Harbor.  New in 2015, is the intense Wicked Cyclone hybrid coaster!  This innovative attraction will be the 11th coaster to join the Coaster Capital of New England with the classic thrills of a wooden coaster and the speed of steel track.

2. NASH Dinosaur Track Quarry – Do you have a child who is fascinated by dinosaurs? If so, you should definitely add the NASH Dinosaur Track Quarry to your itinerary. You’ll be able to walk through the quarry to see where dinosaur tracks have been located and excavated, and you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase dinosaur tracks, minerals, and fossils from the nearby rock shop.

3. Zoar Outdoor – If your family loves the spirit of adventure, you’re certain to be invigorated by a trip to New England area’s most impressive outdoor adventure resort. Depending on the age of your children and everyone’s skill level, you can take a half-day family raft trip or spend up to a week learning how to tackle whitewater rapids. Other options include rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, biking, and zip-line canopy tours.

4. Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – Children who love books such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” will be very excited by a trip to this unique museum. This is also a fantastic way to instill a love of art at a young age, and it’ll enable adults to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane. As an added bonus, children can participate in a hands-on art studio to create their own masterpiece.

5. Lupa Zoo – This nonprofit zoo gives children the opportunity to see domestic and wild animals up close, including bears, monkeys, sheep, and goats. Unlike many other zoos, the size of this location is not overwhelming, and this makes it the perfect place for an educational and recreational outing.

There are many more intriguing locations within the Pioneer Valley for each member of the family. To find even more fun things to see and do in the greater Springfield area, visit our homepage or contact us today!

Top 5 Family Destinations in Pioneer Valley

Talk, walk and roll through Springfield

Pioneer Valley and family fun go together like sunshine and blue skies, peanut butter and jelly, or even Dr. Seuss cats and hats. There’s so much to explore and plenty to enjoy when you talk, walk, and roll with these five family-friendly things to do in the Greater Springfield area.

Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden1. Explore Your Favorite Museum

If you can’t decide between science, history, or art, head for the heart of downtown Springfield. Everyone can agree on a favorite when you explore the five world-class museums that comprise the city’s renowned Museum Quad. In between exhibits, visit with that famous cat in the hat at the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden.

2. Enjoy a Riverbank Picnic

Ask the friendly locals about their favorite outside things to do in Springfield, MA, and they’ll suggest everything along the beautiful Connecticut River Walk. This winding promenade features more than three miles of scenic biking paths, lovely foot trails, and panoramic overlooks. Pack a lunch basket, choose your picnic table, and enjoy casual dining outdoors along the rolling riverbanks.

The Forrest Park Zoo is one of the most popular family destinations3. Talk to the Animals

Wallabies, bobcats, and ring-tailed lemurs all speak a universal language. Camels, pythons, and macaws are ready to start a conversation. You don’t need a translator to talk to the animals at the 735-acre Zoo in Forrest Park. Visit cougars, leopards, and porcupines in an incredible woodland setting, and marvel at the wonderful diversity that makes this one of the best zoos in the country.

4. Walk Through Massachusetts History

Storrowtown Village MuseumImagine a living portal to the past where you walk back in time, stroll down historic streets, and explore 19th-century Springfield. Make that fantasy come true at the Storrowton Village Museum complex where nine buildings grace an authentic New England green. Watch blacksmiths at work, visit with folks in period dress, and dine on delicious Yankee fare at the Storrowton Tavern.

5. Roll a Wild Coaster

Most amusement parks boast two or three roller coasters. At Six Flags New England, the count roars in at 10, and each one rolls with a different wild ride. Test your courage flying over Gotham on the Batman Dark Knight. Treat the little ones to kid-sized thrills on the Great Chase. Don’t stop with the coasters. This fantastic park covers more than 230 acres with rides, slides, and family fun.

Please accept our cordial invitation to visit, play, and relax in the City of Firsts. If you’d like more information about great family destinations here in Pioneer Valley, just contact the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. We look forward to seeing you soon.

5 Great Places to Grab Lunch in Pioneer Valley

Pioneer Valley is home to a rich culinary heritage, especially in Northampton and Springfield. From spicy ethnic cuisine to fresh organic dishes, here are five great places to grab lunch in the area:

Grab lunch in Pioneer ValleyLuxe Burger Bar

1200 W. Columbus Ave., Springfield, MA

Located along Springfield’s Riverfront, Luxe Burger Bar lets you build any burger you can dream up. Ranging in price from $9 to $13, you get your choice of meat, cheese, toppings, sauce, bun, condiments, and sides. Meat options include Gold Label, American Kobe and wagyu beef, as well as lean bison, turkey, and ahi tuna.

River Valley Market Quarry Café

330 N. King St., Northampton, MA

The menu at the Quarry Café is filled with organic ingredients sourced from local farms. The daily hot bar includes a wide selection of homemade specialties, including three award-winning soups, and sandwiches that range from $6–$8. The café also features monthly regional artisanal cheese specials and rotating exhibits of local artwork.

Café Evolution and Oh Sweet Mama’s Vegan Bakery

22 Chestnut St., Florence, MA

Offering an eclectic mix of delicious vegan dishes and delectable gluten-free desserts, Café Evolution serves up large portions of fantastic organic food for just $4–$9. The menu includes savory daily soups served with organic sunflower oat bread, a vegetarian chili burrito and a wheat pasta with peanut or coconut curry sauce topped with a healthy heaping of fresh vegetables. The attached bakery sells fresh cookies, cakes, and other sweet vegan treats, including a mint chocolate chip cupcake and apple cardamom scone that patrons rave about.

Panjabi Tadka

1688 Main St., Springfield, MA

Cozy and aromatic, Panjabi Tadka offers a selection of dishes that reflect the diverse heritage of spicy Indian cuisine. The reasonably priced menu includes appetizers that cap at $6, a cup of lentil or coconut soup for $2.50, and daily lunch specials that average $6.50. The restaurant also offers an extensive selection of Indian vegetarian options, authentic desserts, and refreshing yogurt beverages. The vegetable samosas, Chicken Curry, and chickpea Aloo Chole come highly recommended.

Sylvester’s

111 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA

Housed in the historic home of Sylvester Graham—who invented the Graham cracker—Sylvester’s caters to meat lovers and vegetarians with its award-winning menu. While “Grahamites” happily wait for service on crowded weekends, the homey restaurant also serves up a delicious lunch menu that includes the triple-decker BLT Calvin Coolidge Club Sandwich, a hearty Gorgonzola Bacon Burger, and a homemade oatmeal sunflower seed roll with the soup of the day.

Be sure to browse the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website for a wide selection of fun things to do in Springfield, MA, after enjoying your lunch!

Pioneer Valley’s Strong Art Culture

Pioneer Valley’s Strong Art Culture

Throughout Pioneer Valley, you’ll uncover a variety of treasures that pay tribute to the arts. Nestled among the unspoiled forests and rolling hills are an exciting mix of galleries and museums featuring intriguing paintings, sculptures, illustrations, photography, pottery, and glass works. Here are some of the best places to explore during your visit to The Valley:

Must-See Art Galleries

While in Springfield, your art adventures will lead you directly to The Quadrangle, an extraordinary cluster of five museums located in the heart of the downtown district. As you weave your way from the Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts to the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum to the Springfield Science Museum, you’ll delight in the full-size bronze sculptures that bring Dr. Seuss’ whimsical characters to life.

The Pioneer Valley has a strong arts cultureThe region’s educational institutions have amassed impressive arts collections. The Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton displays a permanent selection of distinguished works by Picasso, Degas, Renoir, and Van Gogh as well as rotating contemporary galleries. In South Hadley, you can explore a diverse collection of ancient and modern cultural artwork for free at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Founded in 1876, this cultural laboratory offers lively, kid-friendly installations and an expansive botanical garden next door.

If your travels take you into Amherst, set aside some time to visit the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts, the Hampshire College Art Gallery, and the three-gallery Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art next door. The Carle is filled with more than 10,000 illustrations from beloved children’s books, including “Madeline” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Art aficionados can spend days exploring the numerous galleries that have taken up residence in Northampton. Proudly known as the “#1 Small Arts Town in America,” this thriving creative community is home to hundreds of eclectic artists who display their works in museums, galleries, and on the streets. The renovated bank vaults that make up the R. Michelson Galleries on Main St. feature an extensive collection of Barry Moser wood engravings, Leonard Nimoy black-and-white portraits, Dr. Seuss original lithographs, and other painted pieces by local artisans.

Just a few doors down the street, you’ll find the A.P.E. Gallery, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting contemporary artists in the area, ranging from high school students to renowned photographers. In the exquisite Don Muller Gallery down the block, you can shop for unique jewelry, sculptures, and glass artwork for your home under an enchanting sky mural.

For more ideas on things to do in Springfield, MA, browse our website, contact us online, or stop by for a personal chat. We’ll help make your visit to the valley an unforgettable one!

Start Your Own Holiday Tradition

Making new traditions in Massachusetts’s Pioneer Valley

Things to see and do during the holidaysDuring the holidays, families gather to celebrate cherished traditions and spend time together. As you grow older and start your own family, you may find yourself wishing that you could craft traditions of your own. Thankfully, making new traditions with your family doesn’t have to be tough.

Creating New Family Traditions for the Holidays

Creating new family traditions for the holiday isn’t only easy, it’s also a great deal of fun. As you look for ideas for new traditions, be sure to keep the cherished traditions of your own family in mind. You might not want to repeat your family’s Christmas Eve ritual in full, but it’s a good idea to incorporate parts of cherished traditions into your new holiday plans.

It’s also essential to look to what your family loves when crafting new holiday traditions. If your family loves being outdoors, consider choosing activities such as having a snowman-building contest or spending a day sledding and drinking hot cocoa. Celebrating what your family already loves is a great way to build new traditions.

Traditions in the Making in Springfield, MA

If you’re looking for new things to see and do with your family this holiday season, you’ll find a wealth of opportunities in the Pioneer Valley. From shopping to light shows to gallery displays, the local area boasts many opportunities for visitors and residents alike. Check out some of our favorite ideas below.

Enjoy Bright Nights in Springfield. The Bright Nights light display offers an awesome opportunity to see some of the best lighting in the local area all in one place. The display is open from November 26 to January 4. Pack snacks and a thermos with warm drinks so that your family can make the most of the drive through this winter wonderland.

Jump into hoops history at the Basketball Hall of Fame. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame celebrates one of the nation’s most beloved sports year round. During the holiday season, the Hall of Fame also hosts a Holiday Showcase that gives visitors an opportunity to see some of the most exciting collegiate teams in the nation hit the hardwood.

Head out on a shopping adventure and meet Santa. Shopping for gifts together can be a great holiday tradition. Head to the Holyoke Mall with your family to catch great sales and give the kids an opportunity to meet Santa.

Bask in winter at local museums. Many of Springfield’s local museums host special, winter-themed events during the holiday season. Find displays that will be of interest to your family and plan a day out enjoying art.

Looking for more ideas of fun things to do in and around Pioneer Valley this holiday season? Call or stop by the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau today.