Just when winter starts to wear on even the heartiest New Englanders, maple syrup season arrives.
In late February, when the nights are below freezing and the days are warming up, the sap begins to flow in the sugar bush. Visit one of the many sugar shacks in the area and watch as workers tend wood-fired evaporators to boil down 40 gallons of sap into a single gallon of maple syrup. Then enjoy the traditional sugar-on-snow with a side of pickles—or pancakes, if you prefer.
Every March since the early 1900s, this outrageous display of blossoming tulips, crocuses, hyacinths, lilies, and more, has dazzled visitors to the Spring Bulb Show at Lyman Conservatory.
Horticulture students carefully manipulate temperature and other factors to force some 5,000 bulbs, which would normally bloom at different times, to burst into flower simultaneously. The riot of colors, the wonderful scents, and the breath of warm air is a promise that spring is about to be sprung!.
In the spring, when the rivers and lakes thaw and the ground warms up, it's time to dig up some worms and go fishing!
There is plenty of freshwater fishing in western Mass—whether you prefer dropping your line from a pier or boat, or wading out to the middle of a stream. And, for the youngest anglers, many fishing holes are stocked with trout.
The spring runoff of melting snow signals the beginning of whitewater kayaking season.
Western Mass is fortunate to have several rivers where you can find serious paddling for the adventurous—try shooting Class V rapids through rocky gorges. A few outfits offer guided kayaking or rafting trips, including some drifting floats down a gentle river with a picnic lunch.