New England | Three Great Conservatories in the Pioneer Valley

(As I'm currently headed out west, I thought that it was about time to post some Western Massachusetts // New England-y sort of content! more to come in later posts)

Massachusetts is just plain miserable in the winter. There, I've said it. It's cold, raw, windy, snowy, icy...and Amherst and the surrounding areas are just as bad. But if there's ONE thing that makes those winters more bearable, it's the conservatories + greenhouses located in the area. UMass Amherst, Smith College and Mt. Holyoke all have conservatories of varying sizes, and they're all lovely,  a welcome breath of warm air when it gets to be too much, and all slightly different.

#1. Durfee Conservatory
UMass Amherst, Amherst MA






I have a special spot in my heart for Durfee--after all, since it's located on my alma mater's campus, I took many a walk-through during my undergrad years. It's small, maybe four rooms, but it has a wonderful main spot with a koi pond and bridge. There are benches and a little bamboo hideaway, and it's perfect for a quiet moment or some meditation. 

#2 Talbott Greenhouse 
Mt. Holyoke College, South Hadley MA




Talbott is much larger than Durfee, and much older as well. It's housed in a beautiful building, with terracotta floors, glass panes and delicate framework. There are a few rooms with varying gardens and collections of flora and fauna, and overall it's a nice little place to spend a half-hour or so. 

#3 Smith College Botanical Gardens 
 Smith College, Northampton MA 





The biggest and baddest of the gardens in the area, Smith College is something special. It takes a while to wander through the conservatory--room leads to room leads to room--and each one focuses in on a certain climate or area. Deserts? check. Lush, dense jungle? check. Temperate climate with pretty flowers? check. The only downfall to Smith is that it is just as beloved by the entire community as it is by college students--meaning it was full of people both times I went. (No meditation or quiet moments here) But it's a photographer's paradise, and if it gets me out of the cold I do not care at all. 

What are your favorite botanical gardens in your area?






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