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Where does ‘Western Mass.’ start?

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Worcester? I-91? Sound off!

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There is a bit of a brouhaha consuming the New York City area over the question of where “upstate New York” begins. Is it just north of the city itself? Farther north and to the west? Just beyond downtown Manhattan? (Seriously, there are some who argue that.)

This got us to thinking about “western Mass.” or “western Massachusetts.” It’s a catchall phrase for ... for what, exactly? The area in Massachusetts just beyond the Boston region? Okay—then where does the Boston region end and western Mass. begin?

Some would say it’s pretty clear-cut: You get beyond Worcester, with the Berkshires in view, and you’re pretty much in western Mass. or darn close. (Or you’re in something called “central Mass.”) Some would argue it’s well beyond that, perhaps when the Springfield exits are in your rearview.

Others might contend it’s a state of mind. Urban density and congestion have to give way to a more open terrain and a more leisurely pace—you’re in western Mass. when you feel you’re in western Mass.

What’d you think? Sound off in the comments section.