The natural beauty of Massachusetts is something that residents and visitors enjoy year-round. From the rolling hills of the Berkshires to the sandy beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts’ landscapes are exquisite.
One thing that makes the landscape in Massachusetts unique is the variety of trees and the cycle most go through in the course of the year. They show signs of regrowth when covered in fresh green leaves in the spring, provide a breathtaking palette of colors as the leaves change in the fall, and even the bare branches of winter possess a certain beauty when perfectly outlined with freshly fallen snow.
The USDA forest service says approximately 82 species of trees have been observed in Massachusetts. One of the most prevalent and largest trees in the state is the American Sycamore. While they might pale in comparison to the size of Redwood trees that call the west coast home, the largest tree in Massachusetts is in fact a Sycamore.
The “Buttonball Tree” located in Sunderland, Massachusetts, about an hour and 15 minutes from The Berkshires, is believed to be the most giant tree of its kind on the East Coast, or as locals put it, “The widest tree this side of the Mississippi.” While experts can exactly confirm that, most do agree that the Buttonball Tree is the largest in the state.
Last measured in 2019, the tree is over 113 ft tall with a girth of 25 ft 8 in and a spread of 140 ft. The tree is actually a remnant of Sunderland’s forests. Because of their longevity, during the 17th and 18th-century sycamores were sometimes planted at the door of new houses for newlyweds as “bride and groom” trees. Though the age of the tree is unknown, it is estimated to be well over 350 years old, with many estimates saying that the tree is closer to 400.
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Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots–the Ozarks’ Branson, Missouri, or Arizona’s Lake Havasu–it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You’ll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country’s top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash’s prison blues.
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