Local Gardens and Conservatories to Visit for Valentine’s Day

Feb 7, 2024
A campus stock photo of white and pink-flowered trees dotting the campus green. Several students sit in the background, along the green grass. It looks to be springtime, with flora in bloom.

Campus flora in the springtime.

No matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s an opportunity to be intentional about how you experience beauty and love. Because Westfield State is surrounded by a variety of scenic gardens and outdoor spaces, we encourage our community to explore all that New England has to offer in wintertime. Make sure to check out these scenic gardens for an enhanced, and free, Valentine’s Day experience.

Perhaps the most popular park to visit is Stanley Park. Located across campus, the park includes several points of interest for both students and community members. Visitors can enjoy the duck pond, Japanese garden, and rose garden all within the park’s grounds. For those who enjoy a light stroll, visitors can wander the various trails along the woods, with the Little River snaking along the paths.

Mittineague Park, located around the West Springfield border, is a 10-15 minute drive from campus and offers a greenhouse, community garden, rolling hills, easy hiking trails, and walkways along a quiet section of the Westfield River. Mittineague Park is free to the public and tucked into itself, making for a quiet, cozy experience for visitors.

One of the most well-known  area greenhouses is the Botanical Garden at Smith College. Renowned for its annual Spring Bulb Exhibition in March, the garden and greenhouse combination provides a peaceful yet stimulating viewing experience. The Lyman Plant House & Conservatory is known for its accessibility, with its hours ranging from 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. every day. Visitors also may schedule guided tours on their website for a more interactive adventure, or picnic at Paradise Pond, located across from the conservatory.

Grandmother’s Garden in Westfield is an idyllic choice for those looking for intimate exploration. Referred to as “Westfield’s Best Kept Secret”, the garden is organized and run by community volunteers, adding an extra significance to its grounds. Visitor hours are from “dawn to dusk” every day.

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardensis a popular venue in South Deerfield featuring a warm, well-kept greenhouse populated with various flora and greenery. Its most defining feature are the multitudes of butterflies flying freely through the air. The conservatory is home to butterflies of every kind and color, along with the rare hummingbird. Visitors may even find themselves a landing space for the stray butterfly. Magic Wings also offers a gift shop for those interested in souvenirs. Its hours are from 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. every Tuesday through Sunday. Entrance fees vary by age.

The Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke is a beautiful experience for those who like to walk along ribbons of calm, clear water. The reservoir offers 4.5 miles of flat, gravel paths to explore, as well as thick, plentiful pine trees bordering its trails. Visitors looking for a relaxed stroll will find themselves in awe of the New Englandlandscape..

Lastly, the Interfaith Meditation Garden on campus was completed in July 2023 and offers a wooden gazebo, situated among various flora, for a tranquil area in which to rest. The garden beautiful even in February, is free and open to the public.