the berkshires


Best Hiking Spots In Massachusetts

hiking 2

Hiking is a fun way to get some exercise, smell the fresh air, and see something new.  Here in the Bay State, we’re lucky that we have so many great trails to visit, but it can be hard to know which ones to choose, which is why we’ve come up with this list of the best spots to go hiking in Massachusetts!

Blue Hills Reservation – Located only a few miles from Boston, the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton offers visitors 125 miles of trails to explore.  There are a variety of plants and wildlife that you may see on your hike, along with historic structures, ponds, swamps, and much more.  Once you reach the rocky mountain summit you’ll see a beautiful view of the Boston skyline in the distance, the perfect spot to rest and take in the sights of the city while also enjoying the seclusion of nature.

Cape Cod National Seashore – When you think of hiking, you may not typically picture hiking on the beach, but the Cape Cod National Seashore is one of the best places to visit if you want to get some exercise in the great outdoors.  There are forty miles of beaches, marshes, ponds, and more that feature different kinds of wildlife, lighthouses, cranberry bogs, and beautiful views of the coast.  There are trails for both biking and walking, and two visitors centers, one located in Eastham, which is open year-round,  and one Provincetown that is open seasonally.  If you’re in the area trust us when we say you won’t want to miss a chance to hike this local treasure.

Harold Parker State Forest – This forest has so much to offer to its visitors.  It spans across Andover, North Andover, North Reading, and Middleton but the park headquarters are located in North Andover.  Guests can explore 35 miles of trails, go hiking, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, hunting, camping, or pack a lunch and enjoy a nice picnic!  There’s something for everyone here, so we’re sure you won’t be bored!  There are also 11 ponds within the forest, all of which allow non-motorized boating.  The forest itself is comprised of over 3,000 acres, so if you’re looking for a secluded trail to enjoy a quiet hike you’re in luck.

Mount Greylock State Reservation – Located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts!  At the top you can see stunning views of up to 60-90 miles away!  If hiking to the top might be too strenuous or take too long, there are roads that you can drive up and shorter hiking trails leading off of the road.  Access to the park itself is free but there is a parking fee of $2 for Massachusetts residents and $4 for non-residents, so make sure you have a bit of cash on hand when you go.  If you’ve never been to Mount Greylock we highly recommend making the trip just for the spectacular views alone!

So, have any of these spots peaked your interest?  We hope you’ll take advantage of these hiking spots at some point, they’re too beautiful to miss out on!

Photo By: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism

 

 

Ask The MassDrive Agent: What’s The Best Scenic Drive In Massachusetts?

scenic drive

Now that it’s officially fall, the leaves are starting to turn and we’re starting to see some beautiful foliage across the Bay State.  During this time of year, the brightly colored leaves and crisp weather don’t last too long, and taking a scenic drive is the perfect way to enjoy a gorgeous fall day!  There are so many different options to choose from, so we’ve asked our agents what some of their favorite drives are across the state to narrow down the list.

Route 2 – This historic drive goes through the back roads of Massachusetts, and is a favorite of our sales agent, Teresa.  It runs from Lexington and Concord all the way to the Berkshires, and is about 3 hours from beginning to end.  Not only does it have beautiful foliage during this time of year, it’s also much less congested than main roads in the area.  There are amazing mountain views that make the drive totally worth it, especially on a warm, clear day.

Chickatawbut Rd – This road is part of the Blue Hills Reservation Parkways and runs through Milton, Quincy, and Braintree.  Our sales agent, Jeff, loves the mix of country and city.  The road runs through the Blue Hills so there are beautiful views of fall foliage, and even a great view of the Boston skyline along the route.  Another great perk?  You’ll get to miss all the traffic on I-93!

Mount Auburn Cemetery – Our sales agent, Christine, loves going for a ride through Mount Auburn Cemetery in the fall.  This 72 acre cemetery is also an experimental garden, and features historical monuments, structures, art, and a wide variety of plants and wildlife.  It is located in Cambridge and Watertown, and has spectacular views of the city but also makes you feel like you’re getting in touch with nature.  It’s a nice spot to drive through, or even stroll through if you have the time.

Memorial Drive – Located on the north bank of the Charles River in Cambridge, this road is a favorite spot of our sales agent, Shawn.  It’s also known as U.S. Route 3 for its entire length, and Massachusetts Route 2 over the portion west of the Boston University Bridge.  He said the view of the Boston skyline is especially amazing on a clear night, and not to be missed if you have the chance to take a ride over there.  If you can find a parking spot, he recommends stopping to take a walk along the river.

Milestone Rd – Our customer service representative, Chrissy, love taking a ride down Milestone Rd in Nantucket.  She says it’s very quaint and secluded, you get to see the fall foliage and the beach on the same drive.  It’s also in the middle of a wildlife sanctuary, so you may see some animals if you’re lucky.   Taking a ride through Nantucket would be the perfect way to enjoy this beautiful weather we’ve been having!

These different roads will bring you by the beach, city, historical monuments, art,  and of course by some beautiful fall foliage.  Pack up the car, grab some friends, put on our road trip playlist, and enjoy!

Photo By: kimberlykv

Fourth Of July Festivities In Massachusetts!

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Fourth of July is right around the corner and it looks like we’re finally going to get some sunshine just in time!  This is one of the biggest holiday weekends of the year and there are plenty of celebrations going on all across the state.  Whether you’re celebrating with family, friends, or both, we’ve found the best places to spend the Fourth in the Bay State!

Boston – This is definitely one of the most popular spots in the state to celebrate the Fourth, there will be dozens of events going on across the city beginning  tonight with the kickoff of Boston Harborfest! On the Fourth kick off your morning at the Flag Raising Ceremony and Parade beginning at 9 AM at City Hall Plaza.  Other events include dozens of pub crawls including the Red White and Brew PubCrawl  starting at 5 PM at Mija Cantina Bar in Faneuil Hall.  Of course the main event is the Fourth of July Concert on the Esplanade beginning at 7:30 PM.  Keith Lockhart will be conducting the Boston Pops at this Fourth of July tradition.  The concert will conclude with a spectacular fireworks show above the Boston skyline.  For a full listing of Boston Harborfest events click here.

Hingham – Head to the south shore this year for the Fourth if you’re looking for a laid back day with the family.  The celebration kicks off at 7 AM with the Annual Fourth of July Road Race and a Pancake Breakfast hosted by the Kiwanis and Lions Clubs taking place from 7 AM – 10 AM.  At 10 AM make sure you get a good spot to watch the Fourth of July Parade beginning at Hingham High School.  This year’s theme is “Stars and Stripes Forever”.  On Saturday, July 6th the Independence Day Party is a big hit with kids and kicks off at 3 PM until 6 PM and is followed by live music and fireworks over Hingham Harbor.

The Berkshires – If you’re out in Western Massachusetts for the Fourth there are lots of events to keep you entertained.  The Pittsfield 4th of July Hometown Parade is the largest Fourth of July parade in New England, it kicks off at 10 AM and this year’s theme is “America the Beautiful: Land That I Love”.  Later in the day, stop by Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, for a la carte pricing at an outdoor all-American BBQ with burgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob, beverages, beer, and wine.  This event runs from 1:30 PM – 5 PM.   At Rose Meadow there will be a reading of the Declaration of Independence at 3 PM by Company actors.  In Williamstown the annual parade begins at 11 AM and at the end of the route, parade-goers will be treated to a free BBQ!  After the BBQ head over to the Williams College Museum of Art where visiting actors will conduct a reading of the Declaration of Independence.  Afterwards, drive to North Adams where at 6:30 PM the North Adams Steeplecats play the Stanford Mariners at Joe Wolf Stadium immediately followed by fireworks!

Nantucket – Spend the Fourth at the beach this year and enjoy the many activities this island has to offer!  Of course the beach will be a popular spot for all visitors and Main St will be bustling with activities!  Beginning with the singing of the National Anthem at 9:45 AM, the morning continues with a watermelon eating contest, pie eating contest, dunk tank, face painting, puppet show, and much more!  Don’t miss the water fight between town firefighters at 11:45 AM, be sure to bring your umbrellas!  From 5 PM – 6 PM children ages 6-12 are invited to participate in running races, potato sack races, three-legged races, wheel barrow races, and tug-of-war!  Fireworks begin at 9 PM on Jetties Beach and this year they will be synchronized to music so be sure to bring your radios and tune into 97.7 FM WACK.

Where do you plan on spending the Fourth of July?  Whether you end up in one of these hot spots or not, be sure you’re staying safe this holiday weekend and if you do plan on drinking be sure to designate a driver to get you home safely!

Photo By: ADupnik

Best Fall Foliage Drives In New England

The time for apple picking, pumpkin carving, cider drinking, and crisp fall breezes is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than by taking a scenic drive through New England to admire all of the beautiful foliage?  It may be a bit early right now, but the leaves are already beginning to change and it won’t be long before the trees are completely red, yellow, and orange.  Get your weekend plans in order and organize a few day trips to some of these stops, the views are breathtaking and there are other fun attractions to check out along the way!

The Berkshires – This is THE place to be if you want to experience anything and everything related to fall.  The Berkshire mountains span across western Massachusetts and offer one of the most scenic rides in New England. Take a ride to the top of Mount Greylock along New England’s first official scenic road, the views can’t be beat!  It is Massachusetts’ tallest peak (3,491 ft) and also features foot trails for hikers.  That’s not all that the Berkshires have to offer, there are many fall themed attractions including hiking, apple picking, pumpkin picking, or try some hard apple cider after a brisk walk outside.  If you’re there from September 22-30 check out the Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Festival in North Adams, MA.  There are events taking place throughout the week including crafts, farmers markets, parades, and numerous other events.  What better way to spend a fall day?

White Mountains, NH – The White Mountains are spread across New Hampshire and have many winding roads that will bring you on a beautiful ride.  Drive up Route 16 to North Conway, a small town in the heart of the White Mountains which features small country stores, outlet shopping, and last but not least the Conway Scenic Railroad which offers roundtrip train rides where you will experience all of the beauty that the White Mountains has to offer.  Nearby is the infamous Kancamagus Highway, a windy road with many scenic viewpoints along the way that will bring you to Lincoln, NH home to Clark’s Trading Post where they train native black bears to recycle, ride segways, play basketball, and entertain guests of all ages.  Franconia Notch State Park is also nearby and is the perfect place to get in touch with nature and go for a hike.  This ride is a little over 2 hours from Boston but has some of the most colorful and beautiful foliage in New England, we definitely suggest you take a drive up north this fall!

Green Mountains, VT – If you’re looking for a leisurely, rustic getaway this is your chance.  The Green Mountains in Vermont are one of the most popular areas to view fall foliage in New England.  The 400,000 acre Green Mountain National Forest follows Route 7 and brings you by major skiing areas such as Mt. Snow, Killington, and Sugarbush, all while taking you through some of the most scenic nooks and crannys that Vermont has to offer.  Don’t have any particular sights in mind?  Why not branch off down a road you have never been down before (only if you have GPS) and see where it takes you?  There’s nothing more fun than getting lost in nature, you really appreciate your surroundings and if you have nowhere to be it’s a lot of fun!  For those of you that are feeling really adventurous, the Ben and Jerry’s Factory is about a two hour drive from here and hosts tours daily.

These scenic drives all promise beautiful sights, fall foliage, and exciting activities and tourist stops to keep you entertained.  So pack up the car and hit the road, peak foliage season is right around the corner!

Photo By: kimberlykv

 

Sightseeing Attractions in Massachusetts: Day Trips and Museums

Spring is the perfect season for getting out and about, and exploring new places.  There are plenty of choices for sightseeing attractions in Massachusetts: the beach, the mountains, historical landmarks, a big city, National Parks, and many museums to take advantage of this spring.

The Arnold Arboretum– This is the oldest public arboretum in North America and the city of Boston has partnered with Harvard University to make it a center for studying plant  biodiversity as well.  The arboretum is 265 acres of plants, wildlife, art exhibitions, and a library.  It is a public park so there is no admission charge, although donations are appreciated.  Guests are welcome to take a self guided tour and maps are available.  This is a great day trip for children, teens and adults.  Who doesn’t love walking around outside and taking in some beautiful scenery?

Basketball Hall of Fame-Have a sports fan in the family? The Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield is the perfect place to visit.   They focus on education and create activities in various subjects that are centered around basketball and are designed for students of every age.  Educational and entertaining, this is a trip that kids and adults will be excited for as they get to study memorabilia from 313 coaches, players, referees, contributors, and teams.

deCordova Sculpture Park– Located in Lincoln, MA this outdoor art museum features 35 acres of modern sculptures that visitors are free to explore.  They have over 3,400 pieces of art and are especially proud of the permanent collection of New England contemporary art.  Admission is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors (65 and up), $10 for students,  and free for children 12 or under.

Cape Cod Beaches– Although we had a mild winter, Spring is a welcome change as the temperatures begin to rise even higher.  The beach is calling, and at the Cape Cod National Seashore visitors have 40 miles of coastline to explore in addition to natural cranberry bogs.   Parking lots are open year round but lifeguards are only on duty from late June until the last week of August.  The six different beaches that make up the seashore are often packed during the summer months but with the recent weather we’ve been having, why not go now? If you plan to stay a while, there are always plenty of Cape Cod beach houses for rent.

The Berkshires– The Berkshires literally have something for everyone.  Spread across Western MA, the towns that compose the mountain range have many trails for hiking or biking, a winery, wildlife sanctuary, a Norman Rockwell museum,  zip lining, white water rafting, golfing,shopping and countless other attractions.  Kids will love the event taking place now until April 29, Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm.  Baby piglets, calves, chicks, and lambs will be on display to meet and greet and children can also participate in arts and crafts workshops.  If you’d like to extend your stay in the Berkshires, there are plenty of campgrounds, inns, resorts, or bed and breakfasts’ to choose from.

Enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having and make time for travel and vacation; it’s the perfect time to take advantage of them before the crowds begin in the summer months!

Photo By: Dougtone

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