There’s so much beauty and life in the rural areas of Massachusetts that is sometimes overlooked. Tucked away amidst the rolling hills, dramatic mountains and peaceful farmland of the Massachusets countryside are small towns that are brimming with charm. Take a look at some of the small, rural communities in this state that are perfectly quaint.
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:
Deerfield is a small town steeped in history. Besides the beautiful downtown area, there are plenty of museums and craft shops to peruse. This town truly shines in the fall when the massive old trees turn to brilliant shades of orange, red and gold.
The main appeal of Heath is it's peaceful, quiet atmosphere. You won't find much nightlife in this small town of just over 700 residents, but you will find plenty of historic buildings, old trees, pleasant walking paths and friendly neighbors. If you're up for a hike, check out the Standing Stones at Burnt Hill. The enigmatic arrangement of stones is thought to pre-date colonial times, and Burnt Hill offers a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape.
Montague is a small town out in Western Massachusetts that has charm to spare. One highlight of this community is the Montague Book Mill, one of the most unique bookshops in the country. It's perched over a river and was once a functioning mill, but now plays host to a delightful cafe and rooms packed full of used books. Montague is also a great place to escape for some peace and quite, as it's one of the least populous towns in the state.
4. Mount Washington
Mount Washington is actually the smallest town in Berkshire County by population. There are just 167 permanent residents here, but plenty of charm. Due to its high elevation, this little community is frequently shrouded in mist. Its nickname is actually the "Town Among the Clouds." This makes it the perfect place for an atmospheric stroll, or a day of hiking through nearby Mount Washington State Forest. Despite its small size, Mount Washington holds frequent community events such as church fairs and Oktoberfest celebrations.
Hadley has a landscape like no other. In fact, the World Monuments Fund lists the "cultural landscape" of the town as a global treasure. While in Hadley, you'll see plenty of old tobacco barns, sunflower fields and whitewashed buildings. The town feels like it moves at a slower pace, and it's a great place to grab an ice cream cone (try Flayvors of Cook Farm) and stroll the countryside.
Stow is a fantastic place to get some fresh air. It's best known for the acres of apple trees that cover the area, and the small town draws plenty of visitors from across the region during the fall. Stop by Honey Pot Hill Orchards, Carver Hill Orchard and Shelburne Farm for some of the finest apples in the state. If you're a golfer, Stow also has over 80 holes available! That's a lot for a town with under 7,000 residents.
Adams is a small town in Berkshire County. If you've ever wanted to explore Mount Greylock, Adams is the perfect base camp town. In fact, the summit of the mountain falls within its borders. Adams hosts RambleFest in the fall, one of the best autumn celebrations in the state. It also is home to St. Stanislaus Church, a beautiful and historic structure.
Charlemont is a tiny town of just over 1,200 residents, but what it lacks in population it makes up for in heart. It's nestled alongside the Mohawk Trail with Todd Mountain in the background. There are several brooks that run through town and make scenic spots to stop for a photo. You can also check out Mohawk Park or zipline at one of the four canopy tour sites in Charlemont. Don't miss a drive over Bissell Bridge over Mill Brook (pictured).
The Cheshire Reservoir is one of this tiny town's main draws. Surrounded by lush forest and wooded hills, Mount Greylock serves as a backdrop for this charming town. Nature lovers will appreciate the town's access to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, a transformed railroad that has now become a prime path for biking, walking, roller-blading and jogging.
Tryingham is a sleepy community that boasts lovely scenery, friendly folk and a charming attraction: the Santarella Gingerbread House. This whimsical complex is composed of a main home, cottage and silo, and was once the studio of noted artist Henry Hudson Kitson. Today, it's available for events and overnight stays.