Exploring West Massachusetts

Venturing out to the west side of Massachusetts is always fun. A whole adventure is only a short bus ride away. A couple weekends ago I went to Longmeadow to visit a friend and discovered a beautiful part of Mass. I bought a peter pan bus ticket the day before, took it the next day at South Station and arrived a short and smooth hour and a half later. While the bus station at Springfield is not the happiest place on earth, there’re a ton of great things to do in this historically meaningful city.

Springfield

Forest Park

Springfield is home to one of America’s largest urban parks. The park was designed in the late 19th century by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also created Central Park in NYC.

We came directly here the day I arrived, walked around a little and enjoyed the beautiful greenery. We took a detour on our way out and ended up hiking a little. Nothing like an unexpected morning hike. But that’s the beauty of Forest Park–there are so many surprising trails. There’s even a zoo, aquatic gardens and a swimming pool! All which are on my to-do list for next time I come.

  

Public Library, Dr. Seus and the Art Museum

The Quadrangle is a grassy quad surrounded by four great museums. Within the quad is Dr.Seuss’ National Memorial–a sculpture garden featuring some of Dr. Seuss’ most memorable characters.

We stopped here the next day on our way to the bus station (to pick up another friend). I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to play with sculptures before. The Grinch, Horton, Cat in the Hat–all there. So many great childhood memories brought to life. We didn’t have time to see the two Art Museums, but I hear they are wonderful!


Dr.Seus  

Basketball Hall of Fame

Did you know basketball was invited in Springfield? Yeah, I didn’t know either. Apparently Dr. Naismith created it as a means to keep his YMCA gym class active during the winter. The game spread like wildfire and by 1898 the National Basketball League was established.Appropriately, the Basketball Hall of Fame was built in 1959. The modern building, which resembles a huge basketball, holds a museum and several restaurants and bars around it.

Although we didn’t check out the Hall of Fame, as none of us are huge basketball fans, we did come for some food and drinks. The area was popping with people, music and a few baskets to shoot some hoops.

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Northampton

This cute little town has a lot to offer. It’s commonly known for its great LGBTQ community, the women of Smith College and its artistic/counterculture population. We came here for a little afternoon stroll one day. Stopped to buy some bubble tea, candy from Sweeties and window shop. The stores were spectacularly unique–ranging from a very ‘Urban Outfitters’ style to Buddhist and spiritual.

   

 

Route 5

One of the fun things about west Massachusetts is its border with Connecticut. In a matter of minutes you can go from one state to another. The road from Springfield down to CT is pretty scenic–with so many farms and wide open air. We kept on passing these massive flower shops on our way to an outdoor shopping center. So, on our way back we stopped at one called Flower Power. The place was magnificent, booming with color and life.

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