Perhaps the single biggest draw of Western Massachusetts is that it’s not eastern Massachusetts. That is, the sweep west of Interstate 91 is not a dense urban expanse, but rather a bucolic veld dotted with charming destinations.
Some of the most charming are farms where visitors can spend the night and, in some cases, get their hands dirty picking, tossing, and feeding—the sorts of chores one wouldn’t expect to be tasked with in Copley Square.
The five working and repurposed farms below also host events in some cases, though visitors should call or email. As one farm owner told us, Airbnbs, “farmstay” packages, and just general vacation rentals, have altered people’s expectations. “They want to get right into the farming,” the owner said. That can’t always happen. Sometimes it’s best to just relax and watch the chickens peck and the llamas hum.
The fourth-generation family farm covers 1,300 acres of forest and pasture. Guests can not only hike along Holiday Brook’s trails and roads, but also get their hands dirty milking cows, bottle-feeding baby livestock, and stacking hay.
“If you like cows, you’ll love Ingalls Crossing.” That’s the pitch from the fifth-generation family-owned dairy farm spread over some 700 acres. Guests can rent rooms in the ell attached to the main house. They can also take in the livestock and the goings-on associated with a working farm—though guests cannot actually help out and Ingalls Crossing does not host events.
Clover Hill is probably best known as a horse farm. It offers equine boarding and arena rentals, and riders are encouraged to take advantage of the farm’s trails. But there are other animals to commune with, including chickens, ducks, Suzie the goat, beagles, and cats. The farm is a walkable distance from downtown Williamstown, too.
This 100-acre farm advertises “an authentic farm vacation” for kids and a “quiet rural getaway” for adults. Eden Pond specializes in free-range poultry, and it sells the fruits of that labor on-site. The farm is also open to hosting small celebrations, including weddings.
Canterbury Farm goes long in its offerings. It not only hosts events such as weddings and business retreats, but also offers opportunities for skiing, sledding, kayaking, and snowshoeing. It hosts small concerts, organizes nature hikes, and encourages mountain bikers to stay a spell. To top it all off, Canterbury is a tree farm, with a variety of species growing on its 160 acres along with plants, blueberry bushes, and vegetables.