“Peace and quiet” means different things to different people. To some, it may be the sound of birds chirping in the morning, or owls hooting at night. To others, it might mean a charming harbor, or plenty of greenery and space to roam. Some might even find they are most at peace in a lively but friendly neighborhood. These communities across Massachusetts each offer a little something different in the way of tranquility, but they’re all places where peace and quiet are the rule rather than the exception.
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1. Montague, Franklin County
Montague has a population of around 8,000 people, and is actually composed of five smaller villages: Montague Center, Montague City, Turners Falls, Millers Falls and Lake Pleasant. The Montague Bookmill is one of the most charming spots in town. It's a used bookstore housed in an 1834 former gristmill. The slogan of the shop is "books you don't need in a place you can't find," and the store claims to have "40,000 books and one waterfall."
2. Stockbridge, Berkshire County
This place has just under 2,000 residents, so it's definitely a town where you're likely to get to know your neighbors. One of the most beautiful towns in Berkshire County (which is basically bumper-to-bumper with gorgeous small towns), Stockbridge was a favorite haunt of Norman Rockwell and his model for the quintessential, American small town. The town's Red Lion Inn was built in 1773, and still operates as a homey and welcoming waystop for travelers.
3. Dover, Norfolk County
This small town of around 5,000 in Norfolk county is just 15 miles southwest of downtown Boston, but it feels worlds away from urban life. It's official nickname is "The Town of Friendship," so you can expect a warm welcome wherever you go. Dover is filled with beautiful views of the Charles River and shady streets lined with historical homes. Check out the town's Swain Museum for a peek into Dover's past through the relics, books, photographs and artifacts of 19th-century Dover residents.
4. Hadley, Hampshire County
Hadley is a perfectly quaint, sleepy hamlet in Hampshire county. The landscape here is largely open-field farming, which is rare to find in Massachusetts. The population hovers around 5,000 people, and there's plenty of space for everyone to stretch out. The cultural landscape of Hadley is actually is actually on the World Monuments Fund's list of endangered sites, due to its similarity to the way New England towns were in 19th-century.
5. Adams, Berkshire County
The smaller sibling of North Adams, this town has a quaint feel and plenty of green space to enjoy. The town really comes alive in the autumn, with events like Fall Run Weekend and RambleFest celebrating the beauty of the area during the changing of the seasons.
6. Sunderland, Franklin County
Sunderland was actually originally known as Swampfield, but the name was changed in order to attract more residents and tourists. Today, Sunderaland is a quiet village of just over 3,600 people. Nature is close at hand, and the downtown area is very picturesque. Sunderland is also home to the famous Buttonball sycamore tree, which is the largest and oldest of its kind.
7. Rehoboth, Bristol County
This historic town is one of the oldest in Massachusetts, and full of peaceful fields and roads. The town is actually home to 53 historic cemeteries, which are beautiful places to stroll. There are plenty of spots that cater to equestrians in Rehoboth, and the town farming operations grow lots of vegetables, fruit, hay and Christmas trees.
8. Middlefield, Hampshire County
Middlefield is one of the least populous towns in the state, with only 521. Coupled with its remarkable scenic beauty and low crime rate, settling down in this town practically guarantees a life of peace and quiet.
9. Sutton, Worcester County
Sutton is a town of about 9,000 people. It's part of the Blackstone Valley, and there plenty of charming small businesses to explore. Eaton Farm Confectioners makes delicious candy from historic recipes, and locals can also get fresh milk from Whittier farms.
10. Groton, Middlesex County
Groton is a bit more urban than many of the small towns on this list (it has a population of about 10,000 people) but it still offers plenty of cozy charm and serene spots. It's home to a slew of private and public schools, making this town a great spot to settle with youngsters.
11. Hull, Plymouth County
Hull is a gateway to the Boston Harbor Islands, and an incredibly pretty coastal town. Though it does get a bit more lively in the summer, this town is dotted with quiet harbors and bays that are perfectly tranquil in any season. It's also home to Nantasket Beach, which offers fine, white sand and some of the loveliest swimming waters in New England.
12. Hamilton, Essex County
This sleepy town is located on the North Shore and is full of nature reservations, beaches and boating opportunities. It's not uncommon to see horses traveling by the roadside here, especially near the town's historic equestrian club.
13. Dennis, Barnstable County
The town of Dennis is actually made up of five separate villages and they all have their own unique and charming flavor. Besides lovely beaches and a laid-back, coastal feel, Dennis is full of historical sites and manicured parks. It's a great place to visit for a day, or stay for a lifetime.
Would you prefer to live somewhere with as few neighbors as possible? Check out our list of the
15 super tiny towns in Massachusetts that most people don’t even know exist.