photo credit: Paul Redstone

Recommended Reading

The Pioneer Valley has become a nationally recognized destination among nature and lovers alike, and has inspired many good books. Here are just a few. We recommend that you visit or call 1-888-BOOKSENSE to find an independant bookseller near you.

Harvesting History: Harvesting History: Amherst, Massachusetts, Farms 1700 to 2010.

The richly illustrated 343 pages of this high quality paperback book give voice to Amherst’s farmers and their families at a time when it is important for the general public to be aware of our local food supply and our farmers’ need for community support. We are grateful to the many writers, artists, individuals and institutions that have contributed original material for use in this volume in support of our efforts to record varied voices and views of Amherst’s rich cultural and agricultural history. This book includes colorful illustrations, photos, poems, and works of art. It is intended to appeal to the general reader and anyone who likes to eat. Kestrel’s Executive Director, Kristin DeBoer, contributed the final chapter to this new book.

Birding Western Massachusetts: A Habitat Guide to 26 Great Birding Sites from the Berkshires to the Quabbin.

By Robert Tougias. 1st Edition, 2003. This guide features over 26 great birding locations in Western Massachusetts, and shows how to use awareness of habitat to find birds.

Connecticut River Boating Guide: Source to Sea.

By Wendy and John Sinton and Elizabeth Farnsworth. 3rd Edition, 2007. This Falcon Guide is the classic, authoritative resource for boaters, canoeists, and kayakers on the Connecticut River, and covers the entire waterway from its source at the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, dividing the river into twenty-eight reaches with accompanying GPS-compatible maps. Practical information on boating facilities, ramps, access areas, mileages, difficulty, sources of flow information, and portages makes it easier than ever to plan your next adventure along the river.

Wild Plants I Have Known... and Eaten.

Written by Russ Cohen, with illustrations by Stephanie Letendre, published by The Essex County Greenbelt Association. This guidebook focuses on plants that can easily be found throughout Essex County (and most of New England, for that matter). The first two sections of the book introduce helpful general information about where and when to forage, related conservation issues, foraging with children, safety concerns, and foraging etiquette.

AMC Massachusetts Trail Guide.

Edited by Chrles W.G. Smith. 8th Edition, 2004. Completely updated edition of comprehensive trail guide covers Berkshires, Pioneer Valley, Wachusett, Boston metro, and SE Mass. Describes over 350 trails, including 91 new ones. Includes 6 new color, GPS-rendered folded paper maps of Mt. Greylock/northern Berkshires, SW Mass. (Mt. Everett), Mt. Tom Reservation, Holyoke Range, Mt. Wachusett, and Blue Hills 362 pp, 5” x 7”.

AMC Blue Hills/Mt. Tom Reservation/Holyoke Range Trail Map.

New color, GPS-rendered, large scale trail maps with 100-foot contours. Folded to 3 1/2” x 4 3/4”.

The Berkshire Hills & Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts: An Explorer’s Guide.

By Christina Tree and William Davis . 1st Edition, 2004. This guide for travelers provides detailed descriptions of individual towns, from Lenox and Williamstown through to Northampton and Amherst, and villages from Tryingham to Shelburne Falls; personal recommendations for inns and B&Bs, including numerous family-friendly establishments and those that accept pets; dining suggestions from classic diners to four-star restaurants; crafts studios, antique shops, and more.

Guide to the Robert Frost Trail.

3rd Edition, 1997. With color topos, published by Amherst Area Trails Committee.

Hiking the Pioneer Valley.

By Bruce Scofield. 3rd Edition, 2004. Describes 30 circuit hikes in Connecticut River valley region of Massachusetts, inclding Holyoke Range, Mt. Tom, and many more.

Hiking Massachusetts.

By Benjamin B. Ames, 2002. Falcon guide offers detailed info for 30 hikes across the Bay State, plus a nine-section description for the Midstate Trail. For each day hike there is a mileage log, statistics, map, elevation profile, and contact info. In the back is an informative 17-page section on "The Art of Hiking." 215 pp, 6" X 9".

Metacomet-Monadnock Trail Guide.

By Christopher J. Ryan. 9th Edition, 1999. A trail guide with maps of the 117 mile foot path through the 3 County-Pioneer Valley Region of Western Massachusetts & the Monadnocks.

50 Hikes in Massachusetts.

By John Brady and Brian White. 4th Edition, 2006. Good selection of hikes across the state, from the Berkshires to Cape Cod. Topo map included for each hike. Good natural history info - the authors are geology professors. 276 pp, 6” x 9”.

Nature Walks in Central & Western Massachusetts.

By Michael Tougias and Rene Laubach, 2nd Edition, 2000. Fifty outdoor rambles in the central hills, from the Connecticut River Valley east to Worcester County. Plenty of interpretive info for the natural history enthusiast. 262 pp, 6" x 9".

Map of Holyoke Range State Park - Western Section.

Cartography by Christopher J. Ryan, 1994. Color topographic trail map (paper, 50-foot contours) covering Holyoke Range west of Rt. 116, including Mt. Holyoke, Seven Sisters, Mt. Hitchcock & Bare Mtn. Background & trail info on reverse. Folded to 6 ¼” x 4 ½”.

Map of Holyoke Range State Park - Eastern Section.

Cartography by Christopher J. Ryan, 1996. Color topographic trail map (paper, 50-foot contours) of Holyoke Range east of Rt. 116, including Mt. Norwottuck, Rattlesnake Knob and Long Mtn. Trail descriptions & background info on reverse. Folded to 6 ½”x 4 ¾”.

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