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Located just outside the town of Erving, MA, and less than an hour away from Northampton, Erving State Forest covers 2,422 acres of land with Laurel Lake as the main feature. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the facilities around the state forest back in the 1930s, making this place a favorite among campers from Massachusetts ever since. Maple, oak, and hemlock trees line the shores of Laurel Lake, creating breathtaking vistas.
Outdoorsy people could find something to do at Erving State Forest, regardless of the time of the year. Hikers and anglers prefer to visit Erving State Forest when the weather is warm. Cross-country skiers could be seen on the trails after the first snowfall. Erving State Forest offers plenty of outdoor opportunities, and campers who are longing for a nice weekend getaway could search for an RV in Franklin County.
Laurel Lake is the most popular feature of Erving State Forest. The lake got its name because of the blooming mountain laurel flowers that surround it in spring. Anglers often come here during the warmer months to catch largemouth bass, brook trout, rainbow trout, yellow perch, and bluegill. Laurel Lake has a small boat ramp next to the campground. Visitors who go camping at Erving State Forest and have a motorboat with them may use it to launch the vessel into the water. Additionally, there is a small beach by the lake. Swimmers and sunbathers frequent it. The temperature of the water is a bit cold sometimes, but it feels pleasant when the weather is warm.
With eight miles of hiking trails, Erving State Forest is perfect for hikers and mountain bikers. The wooded hills are suitable for hikers of all levels since they are not too steep. The woods are striking in spring when the flowers are in full bloom. Hikers who venture out into the forest will find paths to several scenic overlooks. Erving State Forest becomes a haven for cross-country skiers once winter rolls in.
Erving State Forest has a small campground with 27 sites that can accommodate long vehicles. The campground is near Laurel Lake and surrounded by the forest. Spacious and well equipped with features, the campsites are in deep shade. Each has a picnic table, a grill, and a fire ring. Erving State Forest campers will have access to showers and toilets. Unfortunately, this campground doesn’t have any hookups for your rental RV or a dump station.
Campers who enjoy dry camping could find plenty of things to do in this state forest. The campground has a boat ramp, and campers who have a kayak or canoe could use it. The pavilion with a charcoal grill is also nearby, and campers often go there for a picnic. Erving State Forest campground is pet-friendly, but owners are required to keep a close eye on their pets. Even though the state forest welcomes visitors regardless of the season, the campground is open from May to October. Campers who want to spend some time here could make a reservation in advance by phone.
Northampton is a cultural and educational center of this part of Massachusetts. The city is home to the famous Smith College, so the atmosphere is vibrant and youthful. Not to forget that Northampton is often called the most liberal city in the United States. The architecture here is gorgeous, with rows of Colonial Revival and Queen Anne houses in the Elm Street/Round Hill Historic District. Northampton is very pedestrian-friendly, and tourists could see all the important landmarks while taking a stroll.
Visitors who like fine art shouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit the Smith College Museum of Art. Experts often say that this is the number one college museum in the country. The museum was established in 1879, and the collection grew slowly over the years. Nowadays, there are almost 25,000 art pieces on display. But what makes it stand out is an incredible selection of European art from the 19th and 20th centuries. These include works by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Gustave Courbet, and Georges Seurat.
The Academy of Music is another interesting landmark in Northampton. This place was built in 1890, and it is the only theater in the United States that has public ownership. Many notable performers such as Boris Karloff and Harry Houdini took the stage here. During the filming of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton visited the Academy of Music almost every day to enjoy the latest movies. Nowadays, the Academy of Music is a place to go if you want to see a concert, a movie, or a theater performance.
Northampton’s culinary scene is extraordinary, with plenty of restaurants serving international, home-cooked, vegetarian, and vegan meals. You may find something delicious to eat here, no matter your dietary preferences.
Should you wish to continue your motorhome camping trip through Massachusetts, don’t forget to make a stop at a gas station before you leave Northampton. Load up the family and then head south to Springfield, a city often referred to as the birthplace of basketball.