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A HIDDEN JEWEL IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS

The Most Criminally Overlooked Town And Why You Need To Visit

Massachusetts may not be the largest state on the map, but one thing is certain: if you live on the coast, venturing into the wild and woolly lands of central and western Massachusetts might feel like an expedition into the unknown. If you happen to live in these areas, you know how beautiful and charming the communities there can be.

A perfect example of one such sleepy, untouched gem is the town of Montague. Tucked into the hills of Franklin County, Montague is a quiet community that should be famous for two things: its absolutely gorgeous scenery, and the incredible Montague Bookmill. With just under 8,500 people, it offers the perfect balance of natural beauty and quirky attractions.

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The Bartlett Farm (Festival site)

12 ACRES, ROLLING FIELDS, AND A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT

Built in the 1840’s as a wedding gift from a Lexington landowner to his son, the Bartlett Farm embodies classic Greek revival architecture and is featured in “The Houses We LIve In”. During the 1900’s, the property became a working dairy farm. Cows drank water from the Sawmill River that encircles fields and grazed in twelve acre meadow. Flash forward to the 70’s - the place became an impromptu commune, home to free-thinking, creative utopians.

Today, Kathleen Lynch, Dean Garvin, and their three children steward the land, maintaining a network of meandering paths, hidden glens, and wide open spaces that abut the Sawmill Conservation Area. Bartlett Farm is located in the heart of Montague, just a five minute walk from the Book Mill.

MONTAGUE BOOK MILL

BOOKS YOU DON'T NEED IN A PLACE YOU CAN'T FIND

Part treehouse, part shopping center, part historical site, and part dining destination. The Montague Mill is impossible to categorize. But it’s entirely cool and timeless. Nice views, used books, and good food don’t go out of style.

The mill serves a diverse clientele including families seeking a fun day out, tourists, and college students longing for a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of their busy campuses. Five businesses share the space on the banks of the Sawmill River, which flows into the Connecticut River a few miles downstream.

The Montague Bookmill is the cornerstone store. Open since 1987, it occupies the most space, and has been owned by screenwriter Susan Shilliday since 2007. Home to more than 30,000 used books, the store is far more vital than its slogan — “books you don’t need in a place you can’t find” — would suggest. The shelves are overflowing with books about every imaginable subject, and there are many nooks to peacefully settle in, as Shilliday often did herself when visiting her older daughter at nearby Hampshire College. “I just fell in love with this place and the area,” she says.
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What's with the statue?

“José Gregorio has been our mascot and protector for now 10 years,” said Olivier Conan, “Someone stole the bust. We don’t think it’s funny.”
José Gregorio Statue
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