Our favorites for food, parks, and outdoor movies this summer

Captain Jack’s Roadside Shack

232 Northampton St., Easthampton

Whether you’re looking for a fresh lobster roll in landlocked western Massachusetts or more unusual fare like a curry hot dog served with zesty cilantro, Captain Jack’s Roadside Shack in Easthampton is the spot to check out. The summer eatery features staples such as burgers, chicken, and fries, but also includes a variety of seafood offerings like fried clams and clam chowder.

Ken’s Roadside Diner

24 French King Highway, Route 2, Gill

If you’re planning to start your day early, there’s a place in Gill that’s ready for you starting at 6:30 a.m. Ken’s Roadside Diner opens in the early morning every day of the week during the summer. The menu includes breakfast staples, Polish food, hot dogs, and hamburgers as well as unique daily specials like meatloaf and blueberry perogies for dessert.

Janine’s Frostee

149 East St., Ware

Janine’s Frostee has been a local favorite in Ware since 1956. The summer restaurant features fresh seafood, sandwiches, salads, and wraps as well as 50 flavors of Gifford’s, Blake’s & Bliss premium hard ice cream. For more than 60 years, this family business has been known for its catchy radio jingles and its ever expanding menu.

 

Local Burgy

93 Main St., Haydenville

If you like barbeque, Local Burgy in Haydenville is one spot in the Pioneer Valley to check out. The Local Burger summer food truck satellite dishes out brisket and pulled pork quesadillas in addition to hamburgers and standard greasy spoon fare.

Summer House

552 College Highway, Southwick

The Summer House is open year round, which just means you can enjoy a milkshake and a hot dog while there’s still snow on the ground, if you’re so inclined. Summer food offerings include soup, sandwiches, burgers, fries, and ice cream as well as daily special with a picnic style atmosphere.

Public Parks


Stanley Park

400 Western Ave., Westfield

Westfield is known for its semi-mythical black-colored squirrels. You can see these furry little mammals in droves alongside quacking ducks near a lazy pond surrounded by fields and botanical gardens and wildflowers. The park also serves as a wildlife sanctuary that includes 198 acres of trails running beside Little River. But the piece de resistance is a display of dinosaur tracks where you can imagine what Westfield was like millions of years ago.

Forest Park

299 Sumner Ave., Springfield

One of the most prominent parks in the Pioneer Valley is Forest Park in Springfield. Forest Park’s 735 acres includes hiking trails, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, bocce courts, and even a zoo. There’s also a formal rose garden, the Barney Carriage House for weddings and other events, and if you like golf, there’s the 18-hole Franconia Municipal Golf Course in the neighborhood.

 

Look Park

300 N. Main St., Florence

Featuring more than 150 acres, there’s plenty to do at Look Park, whether you’re looking to play a game of mini golf, take a scenic pond trip for two on the peddle boats, bring your kids for a ride on the children’s steamer train, or splash around in the water spray park. There’s also playgrounds, tennis courts, walking paths, and dozens of grills for outdoor summer barbecues.

Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation

300 Sugarloaf St., South Deerfield

The view atop Mount Sugarloaf is what it’s all about at this state reservation. From the Summit House, you can take a bird’s eye view of the Connecticut River and the Pioneer Valley. There’s also steep hiking trails if you’re looking for a challenge with a picturesque view at the end of your hike.

 

J.A. Skinner State Park

10 Skinner State Park Rd., Hadley

Another state park where you can take in the view is at J.A. Skinner State Park in Hadley. The park offers hiking trails and views of the Connecticut River Valley from the summit of Mount Holyoke by road or trail at an elevation of 942 feet. There are also picnic and grilling areas, as well as a scenic viewing area.

Outdoor Movies


Cinema Northampton

54A Landy Ave., Northampton

Every year, Cinema Northampton hosts outdoor movies. You can enjoy free movie screenings in Northampton every month this summer at Maines Field on Riverside Drive. Cinema Northampton is a collaboration between Northampton Community Television, Forbes Library, the Northampton Arts Council, and the Parks and Recreation Department.

 

Mansfield Drive-In Theater

228 Stafford Rd., Mansfield  Center, Connecticut

Looking for a nostalgic adventure? Head down to Mansfield to take in a drive-in movie. Drive-ins are rare finds across the Northeast these days, but Mansfield screens double features on a regular basis. Upcoming films include the new Star Wars spin off Solo: A Star Wars Story, as well as the Marvel Comics anti hero Deadpool’s second cinematic outing.

Chicopee Summer Outdoor Movie Nights

Szot Park, 687 Front St., Chicopee

The city of Chicopee is hosting its annual summer outdoor movie nights in July. Expect a free outdoor family friendly movie that everyone can enjoy.

Northfield Drive-in

981 Northfield Rd., Hinsdale, New Hampshire

This year, the Northfield Drive-in is celebrating its 70th year. Enjoy action-packed adventures in the comfort of your car, luxury limo, or pick-up truck.

Pittsfield Outdoor Movie Nights

Location to be announced

There’s plenty of outdoor movies to watch in Pittsfield this summer. This year’s schedule includes Storks on July 13, The Lego Batman Movie on July 20, Zootopia on July 27, and Muppets Most Wanted on Aug. 3.