15 Best Things to Do in Longmeadow (MA)
On the east bank of the Connecticut River, this wealthy suburb of Springfield was first settled in the mid-17th century.
Until 1894 Longmeadow was one with East Longmeadow, and the town was famous for its sandstone quarries, producing the material for major projects like the Smithsonian Institution Building (1855).
The Town Green, preserved as a U.S. Historic District is a prototypical central common, bounded by impressive old houses, and still a place for public gatherings like the Long Meddowe Fall Festival.
Downtown Springfield is a stone’s throw from Longmeadow, and the town is within easy reach of two summer farmers’ markets, the elegant Forest Park, and the region’s largest theme park at Six Flags New England.
1. Longmeadow Historic District (Town Green)
If you had to picture a scene to epitomize a well-to-do New England town, it might look a lot like Longmeadow’s distinguished Town Green.
Oriented north to south, this grassy space is on a long sandy ridge, about a mile east of the Connecticut River.
On the sides are stately examples of 18th and 19th century architecture, and the presiding First Church of Christ, which dates to 1768 and is backed by the Olde Burying Yarde, with gravestones from the 17th century (more below).
This has all been the nucleus of Longmeadow for more than 300 years, and the oldest house still standing is from 1725.
The only commercial building in the entire district is the Old Country Store (776 Longmeadow St), raised in 1805 and open as The Spa on Green at the time of writing.
2. Forest Park
Longmeadow shares a boundary with this sprawling Victorian park, landscaped in the 1880s on high ground overlooking the Connecticut River.
At 735 acres, Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country, and as well as containing a wide assortment of recreation facilities, also has blissful natural swaths for passive activities.
On the south side, near Longmeadow, you can hike along the rugged banks of Pecousic Brook, which is crossed by charming old footbridges.
Elsewhere are scenic lookouts, flower gardens, water gardens, and a farmers’ market that has been going for more than two decades.
In the holiday season you can come for Bright Lights at Forest Park, a two-mile driving trail with high-tech light installations, often paying tribute to Springfield native, Dr. Seuss.
3. Fannie Stebbins Memorial Wildlife Refuge
The sanctuary protects more than 330 acres of beautiful and diverse frontage along the bank of the Connecticut River in Longmeadow.
Created in the early 1950s, the Fannie Stebbins Memorial Wildlife Refuge contains a portion of the floodplain known as the Longmeadow Flats, made up of forest, meadows, and marshes, each comprising varied habitats for birdlife in particular.
In the 2010s a large swath of the property was transferred to the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge, which has installed interpretive boards outlining the many species of flora and fauna, from skunk cabbage to great blue herons, that thrive on the floodplain.
4. Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center
Forest Park’s top year-round attraction is a zoo that has been a fixture since 1894. Run by a non profit organization, the Zoo in Forest Park is home to more than 200 native and exotic animals, and works with wildlife rehabilitators across the United States.
For a brief summary of the many different species at the zoo, there’s Arctic foxes, spotted leopards, timber wolves, fennec foxes, ring-tailed lemurs, black-handed spider monkeys, pythons, boas, axolotls, American alligators, and a diversity of cockatoos and macaws.
The zoo also has a barnyard area, with cute domestic breeds like miniature donkeys, pot-bellied pigs, pygmy goats, miniature horses, llamas, alpacas and baby dahl sheep.
In the winter and summer school vacations there’s a camp for children aged 6-13 who are curious about wildlife and the natural world.
5. Longmeadow Historical Society
The local historical society was founded in 1899, and maintains the Storrs House Museum, a fine Colonial house built in 1786 and facing the Town Green.
Each room of this building has been furnished to reflect a different period or facet of Longmeadow’s History.
Making your way through this residence, you’ll be confronted by hundreds of years worth of furniture, textiles, clothing, paintings, newspaper clippings, official documents, decorative arts, and other memorabilia.
Recent exhibits have studied regions, national and international History from the perspective of this small town south of Springfield, along with the story behind Longmeadow’s split from its industrial sibling East Longmeadow in 1894.
6. The Olde Burying Yarde
For those intrigued by the History of early Longmeadow there’s much to learn at the town’s original cemetery.
This is a section of Longmeadow Cemetery behind the First Church of Christ, off the Town Green, where the oldest marker is dated to 1682.
Starting at the west end next to Williams St, the Longmeadow Historical Society has produced a self-guided walking tour of the Olde Burying Yarde that you can access on their website.
Labeling each stone, this guide goes into rich detail, interpreting inscriptions and symbolism for a vivid insight into life and death in Longmeadow in the 17th and 18th centuries.
7. Riverfront Conservation Area
Another public place in Longmeadow where you can get onto the bank of the Connecticut River is this town-owned conservation area on Anthony Road next to the Pioneer Valley Yacht Club.
With 300 feet of serene grassy shoreline in the shade of mature trees, the Riverfront Conservation Area is somewhere to pause and take in the view, which is nothing short of magnificent late in the day.
You can launch a canoe or kayak here, or simply pack a blanket, and take a peaceful picnic under the trees on a sunny day.
8. Alex’s Bagel Shop
Across the road from Laurel Park on Route 5 is a beloved and long-standing independent bagel shop, which moved to this location in 2018.
Alex’s Bagel Shop ended up here after their previous landlord, the Big Y supermarket chain, required them to leave their old premises.
This prompted an outpouring of love, with over 1,000 people signing a petition demanding that the supermarket guarantee the survival of the shop and not force it out of town.
A couple of generations have grown up on Alex’s Bagels, which are Boiled and baked fresh, and come in the typical varieties including ‘everything’, sesame, poppy, onion, caraway, and raisin. There’s also a big roster of cream cheese flavors, all coming in 8 oz containers.
On Longmeadow’s dignified residential streets it’s easy to forget that there’s a dynamic city a few short minutes away.
Springfield is the third-largest city in Massachusetts, and the place where the United States’ first Military armory was founded, where the sport of basketball was invented, and where treasured children’s author Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) was born in 1904.
Being on the famous Knowledge Corridor, with 30+ institutions of higher learning, it’s no shock that Springfield should have some great museums.
Many of these are clustered at The Quadrangle, where you can ponder Impressionist Art, visit the country’s first planetarium, admire workmanship from around the world, and learn all you need to know about Dr. Seuss.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is in a giant silver sphere on the waterfront, and the Springfield Armory is a National Historic Site, with one of the largest collections of firearms in the world.
10. Enfield Regional Farmers’ Market
One reason to make the short hop across the state line to Enfield, CT, is to browse this bustling farmers’ market, offering dozens of vendors each week.
A Sunday event, the Enfield Regional Farmers’ Market sets up on the Town Green June through October, and in recent years has relocated to the Enfield Square Mall with an indoor market that runs until the last Sunday before Christmas Day.
The selection changes with the seasons, and includes fresh produce from nearby farms, grass-fed meats, eggs, honey, herbs, baked goods, fresh roasted coffee, Pet treats, and ample craft vendors.
There’s always live music, as well as a handful of food trucks, for the likes of woodfired pizza and pierogies.
11. Greenwood Park
Right on the MA/CT line in Longmeadow there’s a park geared towards active recreation. For parents the highlight at Greenwood Park is the enormous Molly’s Playground, easily one of the best in the area.
This has separate sections for smaller and larger children, with an engaging playscape for toddlers and young children, with tunnels and shake bridges, and more challenging equipment for bigger kids to tackle.
There’s also a pool at Greenwood Park, open during the school summer break, as well as multi-use playing fields, tennis courts, and a multipurpose building used for childcare and camps.
12. The Longmeadow Shops
The closest enclosed mall to Longmeadow is Enfield Square Mall, less than ten minutes to the south. Much closer, an altogether more sedate shopping experience can be had at The Longmeadow Shops, an outdoor mall designed like an old New England village.
On a continuous sidewalk with brick storefronts are national and international retailers like Gap, J. Jill, Francesca’s, J. Crew Factory, Fleet Feet, and Ann Taylor.
In between, with plenty of outdoor seating, are dining spots for sushi, Italian, deli food, and upscale burgers (Max Burger), with a Starbucks for good measure.
13. Long Meddowe Fall Festival
Now sponsored and organized by the town’s American Legion Post 175, this long-running festival was previously known as Long Meddowe Days and has been going for more than 40 years.
Across a whole weekend in early October, the festival’s traditional location is the Town Green where you’ll find a long alley of craft, art and food vendors of all kinds.
There’s a wide variety of activities to appeal to younger members of the family, as well as musicians, attending nonprofit organizations, and a car show.
14. Six Flags New England
The largest theme and water park in New England is just the breadth of the Connecticut River from Longmeadow, although you’ll need to make a detour to Springfield to get there by road.
On 235 acres, Six Flags New England is the oldest park in the chain, attracting fun-seekers as early as 1870 when there was a picnic grove on the riverfront.
From those genteel origins, the park has evolved into a mecca for high thrills, with groundbreaking DC-themed rides like Harley Quinn Spinsanity, Superman The Ride, Batman: The Dark Knight, and The Joker 4D Free Fly Coaster.
Six Flags New England also has three dedicated kids’ areas, and the immense Hurricane Harbor water park, with 30+ slides and 500,000 gallon wave pool.
15. Max Burger
A restaurant with a reputation that goes way beyond Longmeadow, Max Burger—part of a chain of two—is an elevated burger joint with many of the hallmarks of a gastropub.
This means a menu of seasonal cocktails, and a beer list that encompasses imported Belgian ales and regional craft ales. Max Burger caters to people with plant-based diets, offering a veggie patty, but also an Impossible burger.
On the same theme, the sweet potato fries are some of the best around. As a starter, the candied bacon lollipop with an apple cider glaze are out of the ordinary, and the must-try main for meat-eaters is the Road Less Truffled, with gruyere, and black truffle relish.
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