What does summer mean to you?
For many, summer calls to mind the sweet taste of fresh blueberries, homemade ice cream or strawberry shortcake. For others, it’s long afternoons spent in nature, hiking along lush paths, slicing through peaceful pond water on a canoe or strolling through the farmers market. And some dream of summer evenings spent around the campfire or swaying to the music at an outdoor concert.
If you’re pining for a classic American summer, look no further than North Central Massachusetts.
For Long, Sunny Days
There are many ways to cool off during the dog days of summer in Massachusetts.
Beat the afternoon heat with a frosty cup or cone of ice cream at one of the region’s many ice cream establishments.
Kimball Farm in Lancaster has been serving homemade ice cream since 1939, while Cherry Hill Ice Cream dishes out the sweet stuff at stands in Townsend and Lunenburg. And don’t forget Rota Spring Farm in Sterling, where you can also pick up some farm fresh produce.
With so much coastline to enjoy in Massachusetts, you might not realize there are ways to enjoy the water inland too. It’s easy to take the family to cool off at one of the area’s rivers or splash parks.
Keep it simple this year with a weekend getaway to Leominster State Forest or Otter River State Forest. Leominster offers outdoor swimming at Crow Hill Pond, a small, family-friendly beach surrounded by beautiful hiking trails. Beaman Pond at Otter River State Forest is a popular swimming spot for both day hikers and campers. The small beach area is a great picnic spot for families with young kids.
Of course, you can also check out Great Wolf New England’s sensational indoor water park, the massive water spray park at Davis’ Farmland or the free splash pad at Parkhill Park in Fitchburg, all perfect for sweltering summer afternoons.
For those looking to chill out with a beverage, North Central Massachusetts has plenty of breweries to quench your thirst. In Fitchburg, you can find summer ales at River Styx Brewing and Thirsty Robot Brewing. There’s also Wachusett Brewing Company in Westminster, Moonhill Brewing at the Gardner Ale House or the the Brew Barn at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston.
For a different kind of cold brew, try an iced coffee at one of the many coffee shops in the area, from Bolton Bean in Bolton to Smokestack Roasters in Lunenburg.
Do you prefer to stay active all summer? Take your pick of several fishing holes, scenic trails, golf courses and more throughout North Central Massachusetts.
To get even closer to the region’s wild side, try canoeing or kayaking on the Nashoba River, go for a walk in Doyle Community Park or head to Doane’s Falls in Royalston to listen to the roar of the water.
For Warm, Starry Nights
The summer fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down.
Picture this: After a day of fun in the sun, you’re ready to wind down with supper cooked over the campfire, toasted s’mores and an evening of conversation and music under the stars. The beauty of this image is that it’s within reach this summer. Because camping isn’t just fun, it’s affordable too!
In North Central Massachusetts, state-operated and private campgrounds offer sites for backcountry camping, tent sites and even cabin rentals. So, no matter how much (or how little) you like roughing it, there’s a camping experience for you.
For a private campground with oodles of family-friendly amenities, check out Pine Acre Family Camping Resort in Oakham, The Pines Campground in Ashby or Lamb City in Phillipston.
If sleeping outdoors isn’t your cup of tea, this region offers plenty of other evening entertainment options, especially in summer.
Many town commons in North Central Massachusetts have outdoor evening concerts when the weather turns warm. Summer concert series take place at bandstands and town greens across the country, but the history of these events runs deep in New England. Or take in a concert at the spectacular new Groton Hill Music Center.
No matter your musical preference, you’re bound to find evening entertainment you’ll enjoy this summer. Always check out the North Central Massachusetts events calendar for up-to-date happenings in the area’s towns and parks.
Ready for summer?
Start planning your next day trip or weekend getaway in North Central Massachusetts.