When most people think of Massachusetts, they think of two things: Boston and the beaches of Cape Cod or the North Shore. Oh, and the Red Sox, of course. Even among native Massholes, there’s a tendency to think that everything west of Boston is a wooded wilderness with little to entice a traveler. While Western Massachusetts is indeed full of green woodlands and is famous for its scenic Berkshire Mountains, there’s more to do there than visit the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Pioneer Valley, about two hours west of Boston, is home to the Five Colleges — Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke, and the University of Massachusetts. The vibrant social, cultural, and adventure scene that has grown around these schools makes the area one of the most lively in the whole state, and well worth visiting for a weekend break from Boston.
Editor’s note: Travel is still widely restricted. Some places may be closed, and events may be canceled or postponed. Check the local health guidelines and plan now to travel when it’s safe to do so.