Small Town Explorations on Mother’s Day

Small Town Explorations on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day festivities here in New England are simple and sweet. They usually include a shared meal with family and meaningful time spent together. Now that the weather is warm, consider a picnic or outdoor explorations as a way to celebrate the mothers in your life while connecting to special places in Western Massachusetts

The Bridge of Flowers (Shelburne, MA)
Once a trolley bridge, The Bridge of Flowers spans the Deerfield River, connecting the Town of Buckland with the village of Shelburne Falls. Nearly 100 years old, the gardens on the bridge feature a variety of flowers in bloom not only in May but all season long. A shared walk across the bridge followed by perusing local art galleries and shops offers a flavor of the creativity and culture that support the micro-economies sustaining our small towns. From April 1 through October 30, visitors to the bridge can expect to see well-marked bulbs, perennials, annuals, shrubs, and trees in bloom during different times of the season, supporting an interest in plant studies and reuse of industrial spaces. Visit the website to find out what flowers are in bloom before you go, and see how many you can find in bloom.

Pulaski Park (Northampton, MA)
A sweet little park in the center of downtown Northampton, MA, this newly (2016) renovated park is adorned with market lights and has cozy seating areas. This park provides a space for families and neighbors to gather in conversation and enjoyment during the day or evening. In the warmer days of May, ice cream from a nearby vendor enjoyed in the park before taking in a play or concert at the Academy of Music Theatre would be a lovely way to enjoy downtown Northampton and an evening on the town with your favorite mother figure.

Other parks rich in history, botanical beauty, and creativity include:

Nature and Outdoor Recreation

We are so fortunate in Western Massachusetts to have a variety of hiking areas and beautiful places to discover and explore with those we care about. Honor the mothers in your life while celebrating the local landscapes that inspire creativity!

William Cullen Bryant Homestead (Cummington, MA)
Every year, the William Cullen Bryant Homestead hosts a Mother’s Day Tea and poetry reading. This catered tea service takes place in the historic home and, weather permitting, on the veranda. Throughout the tea, poetry by Bryant and other prominent 19th century poets is read aloud for everyone to enjoy. In addition to the tea, the Rivulet Trail is always available for folks to hike through old growth forest and see ancient specimens of hemlock and an incredible tall stand of Eastern white pine. In our March/April Season issue of Learning Ahead,, we featured the Rivulet Trail as a local resource to support an interest in ecopoetry. Look back and give that another reach and check out the homestead this spring.

Notchview Reservation (Windsor, MA)
Have you ever considered star-gazing as a Mother’s Day excursion? At the Notchview Reservation in Windsor, some of the best star-gazing is available. Given the reservation’s high altitude, a clear night offers incredible views of the star-studded night sky for constellation lovers.

Bear Swamp Reservation (Ashfield, MA)
Hike the 3 miles of trails at Bear Swamp and witness the beautiful wildflower blooms during the spring. Bring a picnic with you to enjoy at the Apple Valley overlook! (Click here to download map.) While hiking, see if you can identify the remnants of water mills and maple sugaring.

Skinner State Park (Hadley, MA)
Beautiful day outside? Consider hiking up Mt. Holyoke at Skinner State Park! This mountain view inspired the Hudson River School painter, Thomas Cole, to paint his famous “Oxbow” painting in the 1830’s (featured in the Oct/Nov Season issue of Learning Ahead.) At the top, enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the many picnic tables near the Summit House.

DAR State Forest (Goshen, MA)
Donated to the Commonwealth in 1929 by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), this state forest has two lakes, camping opportunities, swimming, a beach and 15 miles of hiking trails available for all to enjoy. Although May might be too cold for swimming, consider boating to explore the lakes, or perhaps reserve a camping site for early season summer camping.

Savoy Mountain State Forest (Savoy & Florida, MA)
A deep woods feel with 41 campsites and a group site located in an old apple orchard; there are many places to swim, fish, hike, and picnic. Hiking trails feature breathtaking views of the hills and surrounding areas.

[Photo credits: (c) Sienna Wildfield]


Download our May/June edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

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