Four Season Fun
Dust off those winter blues with a visit to the Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley. A burst of yellow daffodils, the smell of springtime rain, and the lush green of newly mowed grass make this a special time to visit.
March with the Irish as Holyoke plays host to the second largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the United States with bands, floats, the Mummers and more. Satisfy your need for something sweet with the taste of Maple at sugarhouses scattered throughout the hill towns of the Valley. You'll shake off that early spring chill with the warmth coming from weather-beaten sugarhouses, boiling sap from sugar maple trees into pure maple syrup. There's nothing like it. Be sure to bring home a jug to sweeten your favorite morning pancakes. Or, come on out for the World's Largest Pancake Breakfast, named a Local Legacy event by the United States Library of Congress. Springfield continues its friendly competition with Battle Creek, Michigan, serving up more than 70,000 helpings of pancakes in downtown Springfield.
For outdoor thrills, strap yourself in and enjoy ziplining at Berkshire East or Deerfield Valley Canopy Tours, both located in Charlemont. You’ll breeze through the trees and enjoy an unforgettable view of the natural beauty of western Massachusetts. If you want to kayak, canoe or raft along the Deerfield River – whether enjoying a leisurely float or a white-knuckle experience, contact Zoar Outdoor or Crab Apple Whitewater Rafting, both in Charlemont. April marks the opening of Six Flags New England (weekends only until Memorial Day Weekend) in Agawam.
Antique lovers will enjoy the thrill of the hunt as they search for that special treasure at the Brimfield Outdoor Antique Show, a trio of shows held in May, July and September, where more than 4,000 dealers from near and far come to shop and sell their wares. The Old Deerfield Spring Sampler Craft Fair takes place in April at Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, and you don’t want to miss the twice-yearly Paradise City Arts Festival, held at Northampton’s Three County Fairgrounds (held Memorial and Columbus Day weekends) where you’ll take in museum-quality crafts, live music and some of the area’s best cuisine.
Fishing enthusiasts know that springtime means the migration of shad, trout and other fish common to the area. To get a good look at the wonders of nature, make time to visit the Robert Barrett Fishway in Holyoke, the McLaughlin Fish Hatchery in Belchertown and the Turners Falls Fish Viewing Facility during those peak times of the year.
As the Valley lifts itself out of its wintry chill and lets in the warmth of springtime, there are endless opportunities to explore nature, recreational pursuits, arts and much more! Let spring in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts awaken your sense of adventure.
March High • 45 Low - 28
April High • 59 Low - 37
May High • 71 Low - 48
Let the Summer Sun Shine • June, July, August
Summer is the season that never sleeps - from a morning set of tennis, lunch-time picnic, afternoon golf game, to an evening concert outdoors, there's just no end to summertime pleasures in Western Massachusetts.
Some of the country's most notable artisans, craftsmen and antique dealers visit the region each summer and display their finest. The Old Deerfield Summer Craft Fair, "one of the 25 best craft fairs in America," brings together more than 260 exhibitors from throughout the country in the beautiful setting of a historic village. The picturesque town of Amherst hosts the annual Taste of Amherst each June, a multi-day food and music festival on the town’s historic town common.
The Fourth of July is celebrated in grand style, with most of the towns and cities holding fireworks displays and festivities. Two of the most prominent include Star Spangled Springfield, which is headquartered in Court Square in downtown Springfield and Old Sturbridge Village’s Independence Day Celebration.
Warm summer weather means more opportunities to enjoy great live music outdoors. Springfield is the setting for the Stearns Square Concert Series, which offers top blues, rock and pop acts for free on Thursday nights from June to September. Another notable event is the Annual Big Band Concert that is held at the Springfield Armory National Historic Site and features the toe-tapping sounds of 1940s big bands. Further up the Valley is Greenfield’s Green River Festival, a multi-day event with music, crafts, food, balloon launches and more, as well as the annual Glasgow Scottish Lands Festival, which salutes all things Scottish and Celtic, held in Northampton. Deemed one of only six “best small music festivals” by Time Magazine, the Sevenars Concert series, held in Worthington, features the celebrated Schrade-James family pianists.
Six Flags New England has over 100 rides, shows, attractions and New England’s largest water park, Hurricane Harbor. New in 2017, the park launches its 13th coaster THE JOKER 4D Free Fly Coaster. Riders are lifted up a 120-foot hill, as they “face their fears” and flip head-over-heels from four to eight times. Along the way on this 4th dimension free-fly coaster, thrill seekers experience exhilarating coaster hills and unexpected drops. THE JOKER 4D Free Fly Coaster allows adrenaline seekers to soar outside the confines of the track for an all-new coaster riding experience. Opening summer 2017. Visit sixflags.com to learn more.
Take in a new view of the Pioneer Valley from the historic Connecticut River when you enjoy the narrated river cruises on The Lady Bea Cruise Boat, out of Brunelle's Marina in South Hadley, and Northfield Mountain's Quinnetukut II.
Enjoy the quiet solitude of your own thoughts or the laughter-filled companionship of friends or family while hiking or biking the roads and trails of the Pioneer Valley. Many of the region's parks and state forests allow biking and most have trails for a range of skill levels. Whatever your interests, you'll fill your summer days with endless fun in the Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley.
June High - 79 Low - 57
July High - 83 Low - 61
August High - 81 Low - 60
Visions of Autumn - September, October, November
As the summer heat slowly gives way to the soft breezes of fall, Mother Nature pulls out her brush and paints a canvas of yellow, red, and orange throughout Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley. If you're lucky enough to travel our winding roads at this special time of year, you will be richly rewarded with breathtaking vistas at nearly every turn. Some of the most colorful fall foliage can be seen along the Mohawk Trail (Route 2), Berkshire Trail (Route 9), and College Highway (Routes 5, 10, and 202).
There are plenty of detours along the major foliage routes that will take you into towns that offer some surprising events and activities. Be sure to stop at one of our apple orchards for a jug of fresh-pressed cider and a bag of apples for the ride - they'll be the best you've ever tasted. Let the kids run through a pumpkin patch and pick the biggest pumpkin they can find or take a laughter-filled hayride. Need to stretch your legs? We've got miles of easy hiking trails in our state parks and forests.
Basketball fans can glimpse at the legends of the game when they come to Springfield in early fall to take part in the annual Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend.
The Big E, New England’s largest Fair, takes place over 17 days at West Springfield’s Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds. Jam-packed with top entertainers, the Fair also offers countless agricultural exhibits and competitions, delicious food and cooking demonstrations, shopping, arts and crafts, a daily circus and a Mardi Gras-style parade that winds its way around the grounds. Let the good times roll! The Three County Fair comes to Northampton every September, offering music, food, midway rides and agricultural events.
Each autumn CityStage and Springfield Symphony Hall unveil another season of high-quality professional theatre. The AHL Springfield Thunderbirds take to the ice and kick off another season at the MassMutual Center Arena. Downtown Springfield is also host to the Mattoon Street Arts Festival each September, which also marks the annual Flagship Festival at Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, where candle fans can see what’s new at this one-of-a-kind attraction. The award-winning Old Deerfield Fall Craft Fair is also held in September
Things get downright spooky at Six Flags New England on weekends in October when the park presents Frightfest, their final hurrah before the end of the season. Also that month, the Volleyball Hall of Fame Induction takes place in Holyoke.
November brings more terrific events, including the Fall Chrysanthemum Show at the Botanic Garden of Smith College, the Old Deerfield Christmas Sampler craft show at Eastern States Exposition and the Parade of Big Balloons, featuring the beloved Cat in the Hat and other helium-inflated characters making their way down Main Street in Springfield.
So if this is your favorite time of year, make an autumn date to visit the Massachusetts' Pioneer Valley.
Autumn Average Temperature:
September High • 73 Low - 50
October High - 63 Low - 40
November High - 49 Low - 32
A Winter of Wonder • December, January, February
If you're a winter person, you'll find the Pioneer Valley's snow covered mountains and evergreens, icy lakes and chilly north winds invigorating. Winter in the Valley is the perfect time for some great outdoor fun.
Cross-country enthusiasts will want to explore the numerous groomed trails throughout the region. The 8.5-mile Norwottuck Rail Trail will take you from Northampton to Amherst, traveling through the town of Hadley and across the Connecticut River along the way. Or, shush along 25 miles of trails at the Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center. And, there's nothing like ice skating or enjoying a sleigh rally in the crisp New England air. When you're ready to relax, you'll find plenty of cozy inns and bed & breakfasts nearby. And once you come in out of the cold, there's nothing like the warmth of a season steeped in old New England holiday tradition.
December is a festive time of year in the Pioneer Valley. Townspeople and visitors come together to share in the joy of the season by attending the many holiday festivals, plays, concerts and church fairs held throughout the Valley. Share in the spirit at Bright Nights at Forest Park, which starts the Friday before Thanksgiving each year, and be dazzled as you wind along the 3-mile drive-through holiday extravaganza with more than 600,000 twinkling lights arranged in a variety of displays illuminating a celebration of the multi-cultural fabric of Springfield. You'll be enchanted!
The town of Northampton holds its popular First Night celebration on New Year’s Eve with parades, parties, entertainment and a variety of exciting activities for the entire family. Enjoy numerous live concerts featuring various music styles, a full roster of special events and then join in the countdown to the New Year as the ball rises over Northampton. Earlier in the day, the city of Holyoke kicks off the New Year with First Night Jr., a family celebration sure to delight all.
The winter months are an ideal time for a family trip or weekend getaway. So, dress warmly, pack up your gear and come to the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts for a winter of wonder.
December High - 37 Low - 2
January High - 32 Low - 15
February High - 36 Low - 18