Fringe Benefits: Springfield showcases an area sometimes overlooked by tourists – central Massachusetts. There’s plenty to visit in the Pioneer Valley, home to Doctor Seuss, the best cider doughnuts found anywhere, quirky college towns, and that famous hungry caterpillar we met in books as a child.
The city of Springfield anchors an area of rolling farmland known as the Pioneer Valley. The city is home to the Basketball Hall of Fame, a great collection of museums including a new museum dedicated to famous children’s author Dr. Seuss, numerous colleges, a stunning collection of more than 900 Victorian homes, and 19 parks within city limits.
Katie has a serious weakness for cider doughnuts, and at Atkins Farm, north of Springfield, she has a ton of fun with a baking lesson taught by doughnut master Carmen Santaniello. In the busy season, he and his team will bake up 900 dozen doughnuts a day to keep up with demand!
The popular children’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, comes to life at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts. The museum is dedicated to picture book art and authors, and displays Carle’s early caterpillar artwork used in the creation of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other works. Katie learns about the artists’ creative process, and tries her hand at a tissue paper craft with museum director Alexandra Kennedy.
For a unique experience, Katie meets master falconer Chris Davis at his New England Falconry. Chris trains and works with hawks for the purpose of hunting and interacting with guests. Katie gets up close with the birds, having them land on her gloved hand as they fly amongst trees and perches at the Falconry’s open fields. A really unique tourist experience!
Katie then heads to Northampton – a quirky, vibrant college town. Here we explore the historic Thornes shopping marketplace and meet artist and jewelry maker Rebekah Brooks. We also visit the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library where Kaite gets to see the former president’s cowboy boots, campaign pins and personal photos and letters. Katie also visits the beautiful Smith College botanical garden, where spring flowers are blooming.
For more information on Springfield area lodging, dining and attractions, visit the Destination Guide.