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Massachusetts filled with hidden hotspots

By Pam Gaulin, Contributing writer
Published On: Aug 03 2011 01:48:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 12 2011 11:52:35 PM CDT
Mayflower replica, Plymouth Massachusetts

iStock / tjgupta

Beyond the popular cities and Cape Cod beaches of Massachusetts are some hidden hot spots you'll want to check out on your next outing. These areas are culturally rich, offer live entertainment, local and eclectic shopping, nightlife, local flavors and outdoor recreation.

Anyone looking for pure relaxation and the opportunity to indulge in the finer things in life should pay a visit to Lenox. Cocooned in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Lenox is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. It has long been home to wealthy families, and the attractions in this quiet town are posh and upscale.

Soothe your soul with a stay at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, the largest holistic health and yoga center in North America. The Lenox Fitness Center & Spa also will treat you well, with acupuncture, saunas and pedicures. For a day of beauty, also consider a trip to Essencials Day Spa, where you will be pampered, or swing by Canyon Ranch, a health resort and spa. This hidden hot spot is more than just health and beauty spas.

Cultural attractions in Lenox include the Andrew DeVries sculpture gallery, the Lenox Gallery of Fine Art and The Berkshire Museum . Finally, don't miss out on The Mount, Edith Wharton's Estate & Gardens, where you can enjoy the gardens and tour the house.

Rockport is one of those places that remains as quaint a New England destination today as it was 20 years ago. There are small beaches and some New England-style shopping at Bearskin Neck. From silver shops to candy and taffy shops and local artist galleries, Rockport has it all.

Northampton is small enough to explore by foot, yet rich enough in the arts, culture, theaters, galleries, local restaurants, events and shopping to keep anyone happy and busy. When in Northampton, stop by the Haymarket Cafe for a chair or your favorite coffee drink. Take yourself and a partner away for an hour when you soak in the rooftop hot tub under the stars at East Heaven Hot Tub Co, where the hot tubs are kept clean and pristine with silver catalytic purifiers. Shop in some of the most eclectic shops this side of Boston when you visit Faces, or any of Thrones Market's five floors of shops.

Plymouth is more than just the historic location you've read about. It features local wineries, whale watching, pirate cruises, art in galleries and the Art Complex Museum, not to mention the local beaches.

In the Berkshires, about 40 minutes north of Lenox, you will find Williamstown. Similar to Lenox, Williamstown is rich in culture and activities. Enjoy live theater at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. View fine art in the stately Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, which consists mostly of American and European art. Another Williamstown art venue is the Williams College Museum of Art.