The beautiful town of Deerfield has so many intriguing stories to tell about its colonial past that your entire family will be fascinated. The charming village, set in Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley, seems to have been frozen in time with homes preserved just as they were in the late 1600s to the days of prosperity in the late 1800s. Today Historic Deerfield is a living museum with wonderful tales to tell as it is considered to be the most documented small town in America. Step out of the history books and experience life at the edge of civilization for early New England settlers.
While rich farm lands attracted colonial Bostonians to the valley, your family will find it just as appealing for the wide variety of activities and attractions waiting to be explored just a 2 hour drive from Boston.
#1 Explore Historic Deerfield
Entering Old Main Street in Deerfield is akin to becoming a time-traveler, stepping back to colonial life in a New England farming village. Stop by the Visitors Center at Hall Tavern to purchase your tour tickets and view the free orientation film. You’ll find over a dozen preserved homes along Old Main Street depicting life from 1740 through 1884, complete with stories of the families who lived there. Kids will love a stop at the Apprentice’s Workshop at the Dwight House where they can participate in a hands-on activity. Or let off some steam along The Channing Blake Footpath where you can meander past working farms and perhaps meet an animal or two. Don’t miss a visit to the Memorial Hall Museum where a dinosaur will point the way. The museum exhibits personal artifacts and memorabilia from families who lived in the village.
#2 Stay At An Historic Stagecoach Inn, The Deerfield Inn
Half way down Old Main Street, directly across from the Visitor Center, you’ll find the stately Deerfield Inn that opened its doors in 1884. Since the days when horse-drawn carriages brought guests to the door, this inn has been providing a warm welcome, comfortable accommodation and good food. The inn has just reopened after an 18 month restoration. It is gleaming and bursting with vintage charm. The inn features quite a few rooms that are designed to accommodate families.
#3 Discover Dinosaur Tracks
Long before Indian tribes or settlers came, prehistoric animals roamed this fertile valley. Follow the Jurassic Road Show to discover dinosaur tracks and fossils in the Connecticut River Valley. Right in South Deerfield, families can shop for fossils, while kids pan for gemstones and finding out what it’s like to be a mining prospector at the Rock, Fossil & Dinosaur Shop on Rt. 5/10.
#4 Visit A Butterfly Sanctuary
Just down the road a-piece in South Deerfield you’ll find the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens, home to nearly 4,000 exotic and domestic butterfly species. Be enchanted for the beautiful butterflies and vibrant flowers while learning all about the life cycle and importance of these delicate creatures.
#5 Sweeten Your Day At The Candy Kitchen
Mmmm, warm chocolates make right before your eyes, what more is there to say. You’ll find Richardson’s Candy Kitchen where they make signature chocolates and candy specialties, located on Rt 5/10 in Deerfield. Ice Cream too!
#6 Hop Scotch Through Country Stores and Local Farm Stands
When visiting in summer and fall you’ll find farm stands galore offering freshly picked corn, vine sweet tomatoes and all the abundance this verdant valley can offer. For more serious shopping, stop by the Old Deerfield Country Store that brings back the charm of an old-time country store. Also on Route 5/10, it is sure to put a twinkle in every kid’s eye. And not-to-be-missed, is Yankee Candle Village, the flagship store for the Yankee Candle Company. Store is not exactly the right word, for truly this is a shopper’s extravaganza. You’ll find everything from candles (of course), to just about every decorative item you could possible imagine. Allow at least an hour for a stop here. The kids can even design and make their own personal candle.
All in all, Deerfield, Massachusetts offers an abundance of fascinating experiences for families of every age.