Here are a few of the loveliest places in the Bay State to spread your picnic blanket.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Lake Onota, Pittsfield
What could be more magical than dining beside a beautiful, crystal-clear lake? Lake Onota has some of the bluest waters of any landlocked body of water in the state, and it's the perfect place to spread your blanket. Leashed dogs are allowed, and parking is a breeze.
2. Look Park, Florence
This amazing park is jam-packed with activities, so you'll have plenty to do before and after your picnic. Hop on the bumper boats, ride the small train, cruise around the park in pedal boats, play a round of mini golf, or visit the animals in the park's zoo. Don't worry about packing dessert and just head to the Sweet Shoppe for a cone of soft serve. This place has designated picnic areas, but you'll have access to grills and clean picnic tables. (300 North Main Street, Florence)
3. Fort Hill, Eastham
This is definitely one of the most beautiful hillside picnic spots on Cape Cod. Picture rolling fields, the smell of the sea and uninterrupted sunshine. There are two parking lots available, and a beautiful path around the hill and nearby marsh. For a more romantic picnic experience, plan on setting up at least a half an hour before sunset. The evening view from the top of the hill is spectacular. (Fort Hill Road, Eastham)
4. Greycourt State Park, Methuen
Greycourt State Park is a little-known North Shore green space adjacent to the restored ruins of the Charles H. Tenney estate. The park includes a beautiful scenic landscape of explorable stone structures and wooded walking trails. It's open from dawn until dusk, so plan your picnic accordingly. (37 Pleasant Street, Methuen)
5. Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich
Heritage Museum & Gardens is pretty much made for picnics. With its acres of perfectly landscaped gardens, 26-foot waterfall, blooming rhododendrons and an antique working carousel. When you've finished up with lunch, check out the Shaker-style round barn filled with a world-famous automobile collection.
(67 Grove Street, Sandwich)
6. The Solstice Stones, Andover
With an enigmatic name like that, you know you're in for something special. The Solstice Stones are a circle of rocks at the top of Holt Hill in the Ward Reservation. The walk to this spot will take you about 30 minutes from the parking area, so you'll have the opportunity to work up an appetite. The view from the stones is absolutely breathtaking, and there are some shady trees to lounge beneath.
7. Bartholomew’s Cobble, Ashley Falls, Sheffield
This 329-acre nature reserve offers breathtaking views and an unmatchable picnic experience. A quick hike to the top of Hurlburt's Hill will reward you with panoramic vistas of the Housatonic River Valley. You'll be able to spread out and enjoy a meal at an elevation of about 1,000 feet, without having to scale a mountainside.
8. Chapel Brook Falls, Ashfield
A quick walk to this spot will give your picnic an amazing backdrop. Chapel Brook Falls in Ashfield is a gorgeous cascade that slides over a large rock bed and into a swirling pool. There's a parking area right by the waterfall trail, which is easy and manicured. If you're in need of picnic provisions, check out the nearby Williamsburg General Store.
9. Chatham Light Beach, Chatham
There's nothing like a picnic by the sea. At Chatham Light Beach, you'll be surrounded by glittering waves, waving beach grass and beautiful sandbars. Plan on a late afternoon or evening picnic to dodge the summer crowds and catch the lovely sunset.
10. Dunn State Park, Gardner
At this hidden gem of a state park, you'll have access to over 132 acres of beautiful woods and clearings in which to lay out your meal. If you select a spot near Dunn Pond, the waterside ambiance will be absolutely lovely. Take a wander after your meal to stave off any carb sleepiness and take in the beauty of the area. (289 Pearl Street, Gardner)
11. Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston
At Tower Hill Botanic Garden, you can dine on the sweeping lawns or the designated picnic areas. Soak up the beauty of the manicured gardens and breathe in the scent of blooming flowers. There are 132-acres of land to choose from, and the higher areas offer spectacular views of Mount Wachusett and the Wachusett Reservoir. (11 French Dr, Boylston)
12. Cape Cod Lavender Farm, Harwich
What could be as enchanting as dining in the midst of beautiful, flowering lavender? The Cape Cod Lavender Farm is a tucked-away bit of fragrant heaven, and it's the perfect spot for a spring picnic. The far is one of the largest on the East Coast, and includes many walking trails and places to lounge on the grass. If you feel like a lavender-themed dessert, head to their honor-system cottage shop and pick up a jar of sweet lavender jam.
13. Coolidge Reservation, Manchester-by-the-Sea
This is the perfect picnic spot for lovers of surf and turf. With over 66 acres of beautiful ocean views and shady woodland terrain, you'll get the best of both natural worlds. Spread your blanket by the seaside, or head further inland to the cool shade of the forest. Don't forget to stop and smell one of the many blooming beach rose bushes.
14. Sages Ravine, Sheffield
A picnic here will feel like spending the afternoon in an enchanted forest. Depending on the season, you'll be treated to the sight of beautiful cascades threading their way through the dramatic rocks of the ravine. If you don't mind spreading your blanket on a smooth ledge of stone rather than a sweeping green lawn, you'll love this hidden picnic spot.
15. World's End, Hingham
This stunning park on the South Shore is just 15 miles from Boston, but it honestly feels worlds away. With panoramic views of the coast and plenty of lovely groves in which to dine, this is one picnic spot you'll be returning to for an encore "reservation." There are over four miles of old carriage trails turned walking paths, so you can stroll off those extra finger sandwiches.