Western MA Wanderings | Quabbin Quest

quabbin STORM

Quabbin Reservoir possesses nearly every quality I could possibly love in a place–it features gorgeous forests and hills, great stretches of water that might look more at home in Scotland than Belchertown, an almost impossible-to-believe history…

…and a name that’s an absolute delight to say over and over again.

quabbin FERNS

For the uninitiated, a brief weird history lesson: the space that is now occupied by this “fake lake” was once home to several towns. Due to an increasing need for water, it was apparently decided that there was no way but Quabbin, and the area was flooded. Homes, stores, and cemeteries alike were abandoned as people relocated to other parts of the Valley, their former land now nothing more than the bottom of the great reservoir.

(Incidentally, a church from one of the “sunken towns” was snatched up and moved to South Hadley, where it became the home of the Skinner Museum, one of my other favorite curious local spots!)
quabbin SKY

There are many ways to Quabbin, but I personally prefer the land beyond the reservoir itself–the deep forests (home to elusive moose, it seems?) and small overlooks have a quiet beauty that contrasts with the dams and bridges and water. A climb up Quabbin Tower offers views all the way to Springfield on a clear day–as well as some particularly inspirational messages for anyone who didn’t particularly enjoy the stairs on the way up.

If you too feel the need to Quabbin, Mass Parks’ visitor information is the best place to start. The place even has an Atlas Obscura page, too!

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