20 Best Things to Do in Hadley, MA

Hadley, MA
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can feel the magic of Hadley, Massachusetts, the moment you enter this picturesque town.

The crisp New England air, the friendly faces that greet you at every corner, and the serene calm that only a place steeped in history can offer.

It's that quintessential charm that drew me in and made me fall in love with this hidden gem tucked away in the Pioneer Valley.

Sharing the nuances and uncovering the layers of this town is not just a pleasure but a privilege.

So, come and immerse yourself in the captivating allure of Hadley as I guide you through some of the best things to do in Hadley, Massachusetts.

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Discover the Town's Farming History at Hadley Farm Museum

Exterior of Hadley Farm Museum
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The scent of hay and the warmth of the old wooden barn is something that never fails to take me back to simpler times.

I consider myself fortunate to be ever so close to Hadley Farm Museum.

A place that encapsulates the essence of agrarian history in such a beautiful way, it's like a time capsule that brings the past back to life.

One of my most cherished memories at the museum was the interactive tour Qlater, one of the staff members, gave me.

A soul brimming with kindness, one who took me on a seemingly endless journey through the history of farming and agriculture.

His passion was so palpable and infectious that by the time we were done, I was left in awe, realizing that those 30 minutes were some of the best moments of my life.

Interior of Hadley Farm Museum
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

And that's the beauty of Hadley Farm Museum, you see. It's not just about the artifacts, the structures, or the farm animals.

It's about the stories, the feelings, and the connections that are rekindled.

It's about the people like Qlater who preserve and share this valuable piece of our heritage in the most heartwarming way.

It's about the undefined and undefined moments that make you feel a part of something larger than yourself.

So if you ever find yourself in town, I highly recommend making a trip to Hadley Farm Museum.

Tools in Hadley Farm Museum
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

See Birds of Prey at New England Falconry

It's always refreshing to learn something new and experience something out of the ordinary.

I found this rare opportunity at New England Falconry, here right in my hometown.

The world of falcons and hawks unfolded before my eyes, thanks to Chris, a knowledgeable and patient falconry instructor.

I remember it was Easter Sunday when I decided to take my grandson for a 45-minute session.

Undoubtedly, it was one of the most unique experiences we've ever had.

Learning about these majestic creatures' behaviors, their flight patterns, and the art of falconry was enthralling.

The highlight of the day was the hands-on experience with a Harris Hawk.

The moment when the hawk swooped down from the sky and landed on our outstretched arms is etched in my memory forever.

Each one of us got multiple turns flying the hawk, an experience that was both exciting and educational.

They offer classes for different experience levels, and we started with the entry-level one-hour class.

It was a perfect mix of an introductory lecture and practical hawk-flying training.

The pricing is reasonable, considering the rare experience they offer.

They even have special rates for those who just want to watch rather than participate.

Go Trekking to Remember at Mt Holyoke

A morning hike at Mt Holyoke is an experience that I look forward to every weekend.

The moment the sun begins to rise, I'm lacing up my hiking boots, ready to conquer the trails that wind up the mountain.

One thing to remember is that the road to the top is rarely open for vehicles.

But for those who have a sense of adventure, this just adds to the charm of Mt Holyoke.

The trails are quiet and peaceful, allowing me to have moments of tranquility amidst the hum of nature.

There's something magical about listening to the rustle of the leaves in the wind, the distant chirping of birds, and occasionally spotting wildlife in their natural habitat.

The hike to the summit is not a piece of cake, but it's worth every step.

The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking.

Overlooking miles of untouched wilderness, one can see a panoramic view of the rolling hills, the expansive sky, and the picturesque towns in the distance.

The landmark 19th-century summit house serves as a reminder of the rich history that this mountain holds.

Experience the Paranormal at Porter Phelps Huntington Foundation

Ah, the Porter Phelps Huntington Foundation, a cherished piece of history right here in our backyard.

Nestled in the heart of our town, it's a place where I love to kill a few hours and soak up the rich history that it is steeped in.

As you delve into the history of this remarkable site, you'll find intriguing tales that seem straight out of a horror novel.

They say the property has its fair share of haunting experiences, and boy, do I have a story to share!

During one visit, we were taken up to the attic, the one that's notorious for ghostly happenings.

I kid you not, we heard knocks on the walls, a thrilling experience until we found out there was an apartment on the other side, that is.

Don't forget to take your camera along.

Though indoor photography isn't allowed, the splendid exteriors provide ample opportunities for some great outdoor shots.

Remember the time when we had to dodge raindrops during our visit?

Still managed to get some beautiful photos!

The guides at PPH Museum are a treasure trove of knowledge.

They don't just narrate the stories of the wealthy and influential but also make a sincere effort to honor the enslaved people who lived there by sharing their stories.

It's a touching tribute that truly adds depth to the experience.

The charm of this historical farm is not just limited to its past.

The summer concert series held at the outdoor venue here is a must-attend.

The setting is unique, the talent on display is top-notch, and the staff is always pleasant and courteous.

Think of it as a mini-Tanglewood where you can enjoy a delightful picnic, reveling in the music and soaking up the ambiance.

It's a hidden gem that deserves all the love and recognition it gets.

Climb the Mt. Holyoke Summit House

Exterior of Mt. Holyoke Summit House
John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Living in Massachusetts, you come across some truly breathtaking locales.

My personal favorite has to be the Mt. Holyoke Summit House.

It's not every day that you get to drive up a mountain, and doing so is an experience in itself!

Once you reach the summit, you're greeted by the most incredible vistas.

It's as if you're standing on top of the world, looking down below at the sprawling countryside.

I'm no stranger to the wonders of the Skinner State Park, where the summit house is located.

Even the park itself is a marvel, covered by a captivating forest canopy that changes colors with the seasons.

But nothing beats the view from the summit of Skinner State Park, especially on a clear day.

The Summit House isn't just about the views, though.

It holds a special place in the history of the area, having been a popular tourist attraction in the 1800s.

Despite multiple reconstructions over the years, the house manages to retain a palpable sense of history.

The experience is definitely worth the $5 parking fee, and if you're a nature enthusiast like me, you'll probably find yourself returning time and again.

I'll never forget the first time I hiked to the top.

The view took my breath away, and at that moment, I truly understood the beauty of my hometown.

Even on a cloudy day, the beauty of the landscape is undeniable.

Hike the Serenity at Silvio O. Conte Nature Trail

If there's one thing that defines the charm of my hometown, it's the Silvio O. Conte Nature Trail.

It's a place that gracefully combines nature's beauty and a sense of peacefulness that's hard to come by elsewhere.

The park holds a special place in my heart.

From casual family hangouts to photo sessions, it's always my number one choice.

The appeal is simple - the calmness of the trail takes you away from the city's hustle and bustle.

It's almost like stepping into another world, one where the chirping of birds replaces the honks of cars, and the rustling of leaves takes over the noise of traffic.

Just walking along the well-maintained trail, I'm always amazed by the wildlife here.

It's not uncommon for me to stop and admire the scene, thanks to the many benches and lookout spots scattered throughout.

Gazing at the critters and beasts in their natural habitat, there's nothing quite like it.

Silvio O. Conte Nature Trail is also a hit among the kids, whether it's to learn more about our local flora and fauna or just have a fun day out.

And for those worried about accessibility, the trail is not only wheelchair-friendly but also easy on the feet, thanks to the gravel path.

I always appreciate the little amenities too.

The wooden bridges add an enchanting aesthetic to the surroundings, providing perfect spots for a brief rest or even a picnic.

And for those long stays, there are even porta potties near the parking area.

Solve Puzzles to Escape at All In Adventures

Imagine being locked in a room, time is ticking, and the only way out is to solve a series of puzzles.

That's exactly what I experienced at All In Adventures Escape Rooms in Hadley.

I must say, it was an hour well spent!

One day, I decided to try out the Zombie Apocalypse room with my family. Being our first time, the challenge was real.

We struggled to finish it in time, but it felt like we were on the right track.

With every clue solved, our excitement and curiosity grew, making us totally engrossed in the game.

I also had the pleasure of experiencing the Hollywood room with a friend.

It was a different experience altogether.

Although a couple of clues seemed muddy and open to interpretation, the fun of deciphering them made it all the more thrilling.

We had so much fun at All In Adventures Escape Rooms that we didn't realize when the time flew by, and we ended up staying for a second room.

Hike the Skinner State Park

Scenic view from Skinner State Park
Nicklaus Cairns / Shutterstock.com

Every morning, I lace up my hiking boots and make my way to my favorite spot in town, Skinner State Park.

It's a sanctuary for me, a place where I can lose myself in the beauty of nature.

It's a place you can visit online at Skinner State Park Website, but experiencing it in person is a totally unique experience.

The park is home to the historic Summit House, a charming old hotel that now serves as a landmark at the top of the hill.

The journey to the top is an adventure in itself.

You can choose to park at the base of the hill and hike up, or if the gate is open, you can drive straight to the top.

I've done both, and both experiences have their own charm.

The hiking trails of Skinner State Park are beautifully maintained and offer captivating views of the river.

The sound of the flowing water, the chirping of the birds, and the rustle of the leaves are music to the ears.

It's a steep climb, but the effort is totally worth it when you reach the top.

The view from the summit of Mount Holyoke is simply breathtaking.

You can see the whole of the Pioneer Valley and the Connecticut River.

On a clear day, you can even spot the UMass Amherst campus and the Springfield Skyline.

The Summit House at the top of the hill is a delightful break from the hike.

It's a historical treat to walk through its corridors and look out from its windows.

Just remember to carry some bug spray to keep the insects at bay.

Test Your Strength and Endurance at Central Rock Gym

Well, let me tell you about a hidden gem in our town - the Central Rock Gym.

I've been to several climbing gyms over the years, but the Central Rock Gym in Hadley is unlike any other.

The distinct aroma of climbing shoes might not be for everyone, but for me, it's a comforting reminder of the countless ascents that have been made in this place.

The variety of climbing options is astounding.

Whether you're into bouldering, lead climbing, or rope climbing, there's something that will challenge you and suit your style.

Even if you're not a seasoned climber and dynos seem intimidating, don't fret!

They've set it up to cater to the fearless college kids with an extra shot of adrenaline.

The staff? They're the real rock stars here.

So supportive, so friendly, and always ready to assist you with any queries.

And let's not forget the community of climbers - except for one or two oddballs, they're a fantastic bunch.

The kids here, especially, they climb like they've got wings. It's a humbling sight, really.

But climbing aside, Central Rock Gym also offers yoga and fitness classes.

For me, it's the perfect way to unwind after a challenging climb.

Sure, it feels nothing like a kid's playground (Sorry, Chuck E Cheese).

It's more like a playground for fitness enthusiasts, with the added charm of the blossoming Hadley fields adding to its allure.

Indulge in the Milk Products of Maple Valley Creamery

Just another day in paradise, that's what it feels like every time I visit Maple Valley Creamery.

It's like stepping into a countryside dream, complete with a beautiful view of the surrounding farmland, that you simply cannot miss.

What makes this place exceptional is the careful attention to the quality of their products, especially their ice cream.

Trust me when I say their ice cream is an absolute delight to the taste buds, without any harmful ingredients, like carrageenan.

But it's not just the ice cream.

The store is a treasure chest of farm fresh goods, carrying everything from artisan cheeses, bread, pasta, to fresh produce and homemade jams.

Not to forget the unique gift items that you can pick up for your loved ones.

And the milk?

Oh, the milk is so fresh, it's almost like the cows are right in the backyard.

In fact, they are!

You can visit and see the well-cared-for Jersey cows and sheep, that's a treat in itself.

And let's not forget about the heart and soul of Maple Valley Creamery - the owners and staff.

I've never seen a more hardworking and friendly group of people.

They truly love what they do, and it shows in every product they offer and every interaction they have with their customers.

Buy Local Produce at Mountain Farms

My favorite place to shop in our town has always been Mountain Farms.

Here, I can find everything I need, from my every day groceries to my favorite books.

One morning, I decided to accompany my daughter, who has high anxiety, for a visit to Barnes & Noble located within Mountain Farms.

The staff was incredibly kind, going out of their way to locate a specific book she wanted and guide her toward certain sections.

Their patience and understanding made the experience pleasant for her, and for that, I am grateful.

Plus, having a Starbucks and bathroom within the same space is incredibly convenient.

Now, you might notice a bit of a farm-like odor in the mornings.

But once you get past that, the shopping experience is top-notch.

In fact, it's become a sort of charming quirk that adds to the uniqueness of the place.

Besides, where else could you find a shopping location as convenient as this, just a stone's throw away from home?

Other Things to Do Nearby

Bring Your Kids for a Fun-Filled Learning at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Exterior of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From the moment you pull up to the unassuming white building, you know you're about to step into a world of imagination at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

The museum is nestled snugly in our town, which is fortunate enough to have free parking and sidewalks, although they can be a bit hidden behind the hedges.

I must tell you, the place is quite stroller-friendly, perfect for families with little ones.

The museum consists of two art galleries, a lovely library, an auditorium, a gift shop, and a delightful art studio where kids can unleash their creativity with paints and pencils.

It's a self-guided tour, so you can explore at your own pace.

The artwork in the gallery is hung at the perfect height for kiddos between the ages of 4-8, making it quite an interactive and engaging experience for them.

A cozy sofa filled with books adds a comforting touch to the gallery.

The magic continues into the corridor, where a grand butterfly mural paints a colorful picture - a great spot for those memorable family photos.

Children love to play hide-and-seek on the butterfly shelf with two seats, while the interactive felt board and the cut-out head of the hungry caterpillar promise tons of fun and giggles.

Unfortunately, the library was bustling during our visit, filled with eager young readers and their parents.

Interior of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you're looking for souvenirs or gifts, the museum shop houses a treasure trove of items in various price brackets.

One thing that caught my eye was the watercolor pencils in the art studio, an invitation for young artists to create their little masterpieces.

The studio also features a small section with building blocks, perfect for toddlers.

Throughout the day, the museum hosts story times and other engaging events for the kids.

The facilities are well-maintained, with clean bathrooms equipped with different types of toilets to cater to everyone's needs.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art also offers free admission passes if you have EBT, WIC, or ConnectorCare health insurance, or you can easily check one out from our local library.

While the museum might seem more appealing to children aged 4 or 5 and above, it does have a friendly vibe that even my 2-year-old found a bit entertaining.

After your visit, I strongly recommend making a stop at Atkins Farm Market down the street.

The donuts and ice cream are to die for, and their fresh local produce and deli meats are worth a try as well.

Walk through Literary History at The Emily Dickinson Museum

Signage of Emily Dickinson Museum
Tomwsulcer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

I've been living here for the better part of two decades, and there's something comforting about being able to stroll through the grounds of the Emily Dickinson Museum anytime I want to.

This birthplace and home of the renowned poet Emily Dickinson brings history close to our daily lives.

The museum offers exhibits, guided tours, and even a well-stocked bookshop.

There's a sense of solace I get from walking through the rooms where Dickinson once lived and penned her thoughts.

Anna, a guide at the museum, is a fountain of knowledge and handles questions with endearing patience.

I find myself often joining her tours to delve deeper into the life and works of Dickinson.

One intriguing aspect of the tour is the special room set up to discuss some of Dickinson's works, an experience enhanced by innovative boards with sliders.

The house has a way of making one feel at home. I particularly feel drawn to the salon or living room that houses a portrait replica of Dickinson and her siblings.

It feels like they're welcoming you into their personal space.

Exterior of Emily Dickinson Museum
Tomwsulcer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

What adds to the charm is the majestic tree that has been standing tall since Dickinson's time, making for a truly timeless view.

While there, don’t miss the chance to explore the souvenir shop.

It's a delight to find booklets of Dickinson's poems, shirts, stationery, and even umbrellas.

Walking around the museum is like taking a peaceful, educational retreat right here in town.

Emily Dickinson Museum is a sanctuary steeped in literary and historical significance, and I can't help but recommend it as a must-see for every literature enthusiast.

The sense of connection you feel with Dickinson's world through the stories, the house, and its surroundings is truly incomparable!

Have a Family Bonding at the Children's Museum at Holyoke

Interior of the Children's Museum at Holyoke
Susan Kelley, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite places to take my kids is the Children's Museum at Holyoke.

This place is an explosion of creativity and learning, with a perfect blend of art, science, and everyday life exhibits.

Here's a little of our experience: we walk in, and we're immediately greeted by a mock TV studio and a popular, elaborate climbing area.

Now, let's talk about the exhibits.

They have some pretty cool stuff that we spent a good two hours exploring.

Although some things were broken, there was still plenty to enjoy.

My kids’ favorites were the play store and this screen that would display our pictures when we scanned them.

Talk about interactive!

What I absolutely adore about the Children's Museum at Holyoke is how inclusive they are.

They offer a discount for food stamp recipients, which just shows how much they value making educational play accessible to everyone.

The appeal of the museum isn't restricted to a certain age group either. I have three grandkids, and their ages range from 3 to 12 years old.

You'd think it would be hard to find a place they all enjoy, but they all love it here.

Exploring the Majestic Mount Holyoke Range State Park

Ah, nothing quite compares to the natural splendor that is the Mount Holyoke Range State Park.

With its mesmerizing 3,000-acre spread that assembles a lava rock range, thick forest layers, and a vast spectrum of over 30 miles of hiking trails, it's a paradise for nature lovers.

Living so close to this park, I've had the privilege of exploring every nook and corner of the place over the years.

The park's proximity to I-91 and the bustling areas of Amherst and Springfield makes it a breeze to access, but once you're inside, it's like stepping into another world.

Every visit to this park feels like an adventure waiting to unfold.

One of my favorite trails is the White blazed Metacomet-Monadnock trail.

This trail weaves its way across the entire ridgeline, offering a thrilling blend of challenging climbs, diverse terrains, and breathtaking views that make every sweat and pant worthwhile.

Of course, if you're looking for something a bit more serene, the park's side trails give you an entirely different, calmer experience.

These trails are canopied by towering pine trees, making them darker and quieter.

Less traveled by most visitors, they make for a peaceful stroll or run, a moment of solitude amidst the bustle of life.

Mount Holyoke Range State Park authorities have been doing a commendable job maintaining the trails.

A third of the trails have been recently paved, making them safer for everyone.

And to top it all off, the view from the top is absolutely spectacular!

The sight of the sun setting over the ridges is a memory to cherish forever.

And if you're worried about bugs spoiling your day out, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

The park is remarkably clean and not buggy at all, thanks to the efforts of the park maintenance staff.

Explore History at Amherst Historical Society and Museum

Exterior of Amherst Historical Society and Museum
John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to step back in time at the Amherst Historical Society and Museum.

This historical gem was opened in 1916 and is currently housed in a classic 18th-century building.

An ideal spot for history buffs and art lovers alike, the museum showcases local art along with intriguing historical exhibits.

What I found particularly fascinating was the modest size of the collection.

Don't let it fool you, though.

Every piece tells a story.

For instance, there's a pair of glasses on display that once belonged to a renowned lady from a hundred years ago.

Seeing her personal items, I could almost feel the echoes of her life.

Amherst Historical Society and Museum is also home to her other belongings which offer a rare glimpse into the past.

Things are getting even more interesting these days because the museum is in the middle of some refurbishing work.

It's like witnessing history being dusted off and polished for the future.

The place has a slightly eerie vibe at the moment, but it only adds to the unique experience.

Take Snaps with Gorgeous Creatures at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory

Blue morpho butterfly at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory
Dan Hanscom / Shutterstock.com

If you're ever in our neck of the woods, I highly recommend a visit to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory - an enchanting trove of beauty and tranquility.

It's a haven I've stepped into countless times, and I never miss a chance to share this paradise with family and friends dropping by.

Discover more about this magical place at Magic Wings.

Every encounter with this vibrant ecosystem feels like a unique sensory experience.

The sheer variety and number of butterflies fluttering all around, the musky scent of the verdant greenery, the serene environment - it's as if you're walking into a different world.

But, the conservatory is not just about the visual delight. I find their efforts in education and conservation equally impressive.

It's a place where you can feed your curiosity and learn about the diverse species that inhabit the conservatory.

A treat for photography lovers and a fun-filled educational trip for families - Magic Wings offers something for everyone.

It's a must-visit for aspiring photographers in town.

Trust me, the stunningly vibrant colors of these delicate creatures fluttering against the lush green backdrop make for some awe-inspiring clicks.

A butterfly at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory
Shanshan0312 / Shutterstock.com

My most recent visit was particularly memorable.

I took home a Luna moth cocoon from their gift shop, which emerged into a beautiful moth right before our eyes.

As we released it into the evening sky, there was an inexplicable joy that filled my heart.

The thrill of witnessing the journey of a tiny cocoon transforming into a wonderful moth is an experience I eagerly look forward to repeating.

While the price may have increased a tad over the years, it's nothing compared to the joy this place brings.

Signage of the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory
Rusty Clark from Western MA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Peruse the Offerings at Atkins Farms

Exterior of Atkins Farms Country Market
Emma'sPhotos / Shutterstock.com

Let me tell you about one of my favorite spots in town - Atkins Farms Country Market.

This place is a one-stop shop for all your grocery, bakery, and floral needs.

My family has been going to Atkins Farms for years, and the quality of their products has never failed to impress us.

You will be greeted by the sweet smell of freshly baked goods from their bakery section. I must tell you, their apple cider donuts are simply divine.

They're always fresh, and soft and have a perfect balance of sweetness.

We once ordered these for a family gathering, and they were gobbled up before we knew it!

The floral department is another gem at Atkins Farms.

I remember once when I was in a complete bind for a centerpiece for a dinner party, they put together an arrangement that perfectly complimented my table setting and made me look like a hostess with the mostess.

But what impresses me the most about Atkins Farms Country Market is their commitment to freshness and quality across all their departments.

Whether you're picking up produce or browsing through their wide selection of meats in the deli, you can rest assured that you're getting the very best.

Final Thoughts

I've had the privilege of experiencing everything Hadley has to offer, from the majesty of the falconry at New England Falconry to the fascinating exhibits at Hadley Farm Museum.

I've indulged in unique local cuisine at Atkins Farms Country Market and taken in the breathtaking views at Skinner State Park and Mt. Holyoke. The diverse attractions of Hadley, such as the All In Adventures Escape Rooms and the Children's Museum at Holyoke, offer something for everyone.

Whether you're a fan of the great outdoors or prefer to immerse yourself in culture and history, this charming town has something to suit your tastes.

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