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So, where would Pioneer Valley fit into the regions of Massachusetts? --Evan 16:14, 4 Dec 2003 (PST)

It's interesting to contrast the Open Directory's take on Massachusetts regions. --Evan 16:18, 4 Dec 2003 (PST)

I'm fairly certain Pioneer Valley and Blackstone Valley are one and the same. -Christopher S. Penn

Not quite. The Blackstone River runs through Central Mass and Rhode Island. The Pioneer Valley, aka the Connecticut River valley, is in Western Mass. Rhobite 20:45, 5 Dec 2003 (PST)
Coolio. So, I added PV.
Hey, so, do we have all of MA covered with these regions? What about Martha's and Nantucket? Should they be their own regions? --Evan 21:55, 5 Dec 2003 (PST)

Is it "Martha's Vinyard" or "Martha's Vineyard"? Google seems to have entries on both. --Nzpcmad 18:36, 31 Oct 2004 (EST)

Wow, there's a lot of opportunity for boundary disputes here. It's really hard to delineate what region is where. On the other hand I'm not sure it matters whether something like Topsfield is put in North Shore or Merrimack Valley. Wikipedia shows considerable overlap and even refers to the squishy limits in the case of North Shore. Am I correct that we don't want to have every town listed on the region page?? OldPine 18:50, 26 June 2006 (EDT)

Since we get to pick what regions to use we can also define exactly the size and shape of that region, so in cases where there is "squishiness" in the boundary we can say (for example) "the Central region is here defined as the area between Interstate 10 and the foothills of the White Mountains". California has a lot of squishiness as well, so a map was created and (where possible) the region artcle pages describe the borders we have decided upon for the region. It's imperfect, and we generally just end policing things to make sure that (for example) Gilroy (California) stays in the Bay Area (California) region, and doesn't wander down to the Central Coast (California) (which it frequently does, see Talk:Bay Area (California)#Gilroy?).
In terms of lists of towns and cities, every town or city should be listed in its parent region. In cases where the parent region contains dozens of cities we usually break things down further. Using California as an example again we have:
It's fine to start out with long lists of cities in a top-level region page and NOT create sub-regions - eventually someone will come along and break things up when the list gets un-manageable. -- Ryan 19:10, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
Thanks for clarifying. So, every town needs to be listed somewhere. I've been wondering that. OK, I put SouthCoast as a state region. Pretty sure that's appropriate. What's left is sort of a mish-mosh of towns in this "Bristol-Norfolk" area that's not really a distinct region. Maybe with two sub regions it will make sense: one for the Taunton area and one more southwest of Boston. Thinking out loud a bit here I guess. OldPine 19:37, 26 June 2006 (EDT)

External links[edit]

removed External Links: see Where did the "External links" sections go?'

SHC 19:43, 3 May 2006 (EDT)

Metro West/Greater Boston[edit]

(Discussion moved from Jrdouce talk page.) 23 Jun 2006

Hi, Jrdouce. Welcome. I see you have started a Metro West region in Massachusetts for Framingham, Ashland and some other towns. These towns are already part of the Greater Boston region. What's your take on this? Do you think Metro West should be made a region within the Greater Boston region? Couldn't we just keep them in Greater Boston? OldPine 16:14, 21 June 2006 (EDT)

Hi OldPine. I live in Ashland, and the folks and businesses out there identify the area as Metro West. There is the Metro West Daily news, the Metro West telephone book Metro West YMCA, etc. Metro West is close to Boston, but no closer than towns listed in the North Shore (Massachusetts) or South Shore (Massachusetts). I think the towns West of Boston, outside Route 128 up to those through which Route 495 runs are a distinct area economically and culturally. Of course that is just my opinion. I'm new to this, and I haven't had time to read all of the guidelines. What are your thoughts? Jrdouce

I definitely see your point. Rt. 128 is definitely a convenient dividing line. I had the same thoughts about Concord, MA. I took a look at Wikipedia because I think a lot of the designations we use come from or follow theirs. They include Framingham and Concord (but we don't have to I guess). I could see moving Framingham and Natick to Metro West from Greater Boston. Would also like others to comment. OldPine 13:27, 22 June 2006 (EDT)
I just discovered that Ashland is also under Blackstone Valley. That is definitely incorrect. As watersheds go, Ashland (and Hopkinton) is in the Sudbury River Valley. How are issues like this resolved? Jrdouce
I discovered that, too, yesterday and deleted it. As you say, it was clearly wrong. As far as the proper region for Ashland etc, we solicited comment and got none, so it's up to us :). Then, when we make the changes, we'll explain what we're doing and why in the summary box before saving. I'm with you for making the Metro West the region for Framingham/Natick/Ashland etc. and will be happy to make the changes if you want. OldPine 13:36, 23 June 2006 (EDT)
Thanks, I'll leave the changes to you since you seem far more familiar with the organization of the site. Jrdouce 23 June 2006 (EDT)
All done structurally except... Wikipedia includes Southborough. Do you think we should move it from Blackstone Valley or leave it there? Also, I see it both ways, but principal usage seems to be MetroWest with no space. Should it be that?? OldPine 15:35, 23 June 2006 (EDT)

Discussion moved here at this point -- should have been earlier, but I didn't think of it. OldPine 18:41, 23 June 2006 (EDT)

I beleive that Southborough should be included in MetroWest. The people I know who live there consider it so. Marlborough and Westborough are probably the Western boundary, but I can't make that claim with authority. Westborough is not really in the Blackstone Valley watersed (It's still Assabet\Sudbury watershed), but it is outside Route 495. Any thoughts? Jrdouce 13:03, 26 June 2006 (EDT)


Is there some resolution on what all of the top-level regions for Massachusetts should be? Is the entire state covered, and do any of the current regions overlap? Here's the present list:
  • Greater Boston
  • Cape Cod and the Islands A summer vacation area of beaches, art and antiques.
  • North Shore (Cape Ann)
  • South Shore
  • Metro West (West of Greater Boston)
  • Blackstone Valley (Central Massachusetts)
  • Pioneer Valley
  • Berkshire Mountains
If any of Massachusetts is NOT included, or if there is some overlap of regions then we should probably consider a different regional breakdown. The Massachusetts department of tourism uses 13 regions (too many for Wikitravel) but I think they're lumping Blackstone Valley and Metro West into "Central Massachusetts" - see [1]. Does that make more sense? -- Ryan 13:25, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
We have 351 cities and towns in 14 counties to cover. It's hard to tell from that map exactly where they are drawing the lines. We are covering 10, 11 and 13 with Pioneer Valley and 6, 7 and 8 with "Cape Cod and the Islands". Regions 3 and 4 may not be covered. MetroWest is a pretty small area compared to these others (9 towns), but if we can be allowed 10 regions, could include it. OldPine 14:57, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
Just to be clear, we don't have to (and usually do not) use a state's department of tourism regions for anything other than guidance. The thought here was that since the area west of Boston seems to be a source of confusion that perhaps the state's region ("Central Massachusetts") would be a good (and more inclusive) substitution for Blackstone Valley & MetroWest. You two know the area best, so it's your call. Also, there is no hard and fast rule that we need 5-9 regions - many areas have fewer, and some (such as California) have more; the important thing is just to have logical regions that cover the entire state. The 7 +/- 2 thing is merely a guideline, and it shouldn't get in the way of doing what makes the most sense. Also note that it's fine to have sub-regions within a top-level region, so Blackstone Valley and Metrowest could easily be put within a larger region if necessary - see Monterey Bay for one example of how this is done elsewhere. I'll stop poking my nose into this discussion now since I don't know Massachusetts very well, and will leave those who know the state to work it out. If you have questions you might want to look at Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Dividing geographical units, which has a bit more guidance on this issue. -- Ryan 15:14, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
Good point. MetroWest is a very small region. It is very distinct from Boston, so Greater Boston doesn't quite fit, but it's only 20+ mile West of Boston, so Central Mass doesn't quite fit geographically. I also notice Wikitravel doesn't include Merrimac Valley (Lowell, Haverhill etc.), which is essentially the Northern end of the Route 495 corridor. I think the sub-region approach might be the best approach; after all, Massachusetts is smaller than the regions within some other states. I'll try to take a look at Monterey Bay and Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Dividing geographical units and make a proposal, don't feel obligated to wait for me, if anyone else get to it fist go for it. As an Ashland resident, I feel more connected to central mass, inspite of the proximity to Boston. Jrdouce 16:47, 26 June 2006 (EDT)
Nevertheless we are really pushing 7 +/-2. How about regions/subregions. I'll take a stab -
  • Northeastern (Maybe split Greater Boston out as a fifth state region??)
    • Boston/Cambridge
    • Greater Boston
    • Metro West
    • North Shore
    • Merrimack
  • Southeastern
    • Bristol-Norfolk
    • South Shore
    • Cape Cod
    • SouthCoast
    • Islands
  • Central (Divide)
    • Worcester/Blackstone Valley
    • Quabbin
    • Wachusett
    • South-central (Palmer, Sturbridge etc.)
  • Western
    • Greater Berkshires (includes Housatonic Valley and Taconics)
    • Pioneer Valley
    • Hilltowns
  • 15 sub-regions so far, perhaps 20 before everyone is reasonably content. 15:59, 26 May 2007 (EDT)

Um, well, this has already been settled for a long time now, with, hopefully, all the towns assigned. If you review policy on dividing states to regions, you'll see that this is way too many regions for state division. Ah.. Regions with sub-regions. I misread all that. I think you're biting off more than you want to chew there, but I don't know how much time you have. Frankly, I don't see it as an improvement. OldPine 17:01, 26 May 2007 (EDT)
On further reflection, I've changed my mind on this. I think I resist on aesthetic grounds--I like seeing all the areas laid out as they now are, but... you're right about the 7+/-2 being exceeded. It probably makes sense to reorg. I've taken the liberty of making changes to your suggested layout. I think it will go a whole lot easier if we try to stick to existing regions to start, set in the new layer between the state and the existing regions and then do the split-up of the old regions. Let's try to get consensus on the new hierarchy first. OldPine 13:42, 27 May 2007 (EDT)

Theme-based organization, fewer regions?[edit]

(Response to adding Hilltowns as a western subregion)

Split off from Pioneer Valley or does this include some Berkshire County?)

Good question. I'm waffling. West of the Connecticut River Valley, there is a subsistence-farming hilltown culture much like rural Vermont. There is a summer resort culture probably centered in the Housatonic Valley (e.g. Tanglewood). There is a milltown culture (e.g. North Adams or Woronoco). Is it possible to draw mutually exclusive regions on a map, or do they actually interleave? Well, they interleave.
OK, so maybe we should be organizing writing by themes more than by regions. With a thematic structure, we could develop historical narratives and cite places to illustrate them, instead of jumping from pillar to post around tiny regions. Themes might be: Boston as the capital of New England, colonial settlement, revolutionary war, seafaring (trade, fishing and whaling), farming (commercial and subsistence), mechanical industry, high-tech/computer/aerospace, regional cities, educational centers, tourism, quasi-wilderness (e.g. Quabbin, Mt. Greylock). For example the Industrial Revolution had fairly consistent effects all over the state, even if Lawrence and Lowell were precocious. Subsistence farming was about the same everywhere except in Pioneer Valley which had much better soil. Whaling was the same deal out of New Bedford and Nantucket. Within themes we could simply refer to east, southeast, central, Pioneer (Connecticut River) Valley, and western Massachusetts. If the average state with ~75,000 square miles only gets ~10 regions, five geographic regions may suffice for Massachusetts with ~7,500 square miles. LADave 02:14, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
If you are suggesting that the themes be applied and written about at the five regional levels or the level below that--i.e. the ones detailed above, I agree. At least as it relates to helping the traveler. History, while fascinating, can be overdone in Wikitravel, but if it provides flavor or understanding, that's a good thing. Encyclopedic See: Wikitravel:Welcome, Wikipedians (if you have not). I certainly look forward to any true "writing" as my skills are generally in formatting and listing rather than prose and style. What you suggest, applied on the five region pages (and the state itself!) would serve to draw readers down into the subregion pages. A good thing.OldPine 07:18, 29 May 2007 (EDT)
There's a discussion going on at Wikitravel_talk:Geographical_hierarchy#Listing_sub-regions? that makes me think that Cape Cod and Islands should be listed separately as a state level region due to it being the most famous tourist area of the state. OldPine 07:43, 29 May 2007 (EDT)


Add "Hilltowns" in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties west of the Connecticut River (or Pioneer) Valley. They are culturally differentiated from the valley -- settled by Scotch Irish subsistence farmers in the 1700s (where the CRV was settled by Puritans in the 1600s). Then Mill towns developing along rivers after the Civil War. Hilltowns have much in common with rural Vermont. Further west, Berkshire County has become more connected with NYC. 17:47, 24 May 2007 (EDT)
That may be something worth noting on the Pioneer Valley page, but a separate region might be rather confusing as towns would be in both the county and the hilltown region. I, personally, don't find it a compelling addition. OldPine 10:05, 26 May 2007 (EDT)
Well, they might not belong with PV because PV is (1) a valley, and (2) settled by "pioneers" starting in the 1630s. The hilltowns are mostly 1,000' higher than the valley and they weren't settled for over another 100 years. Despite proximity, the hilltowns have a very separate identity, except HT residents go to PV to shop. On a similar note, should Quabbin be lumped with PV because it's mostly in Hampshire County? LADave 15:15, 26 May 2007 (EDT)
We've kind of maxed out the Massachusetts level for regions. The directive is to have about 10 at the state level (if I recall correctly). Bear in mind that we are not trying to be Wikipedia here (but see their article on PV). We also avoid overlaps as they become confusing. We don't necessarily create a region just because of a cultural or historical difference. I'm not sure how the traveller is served better by making a distinct region rather than by just explaining what you have to explain withing the PV region. Quabbin could probably have its own article as a cohesive destination, but I wouldn't bother making a state-level region of it. I can see splitting out a fourth region within the PV article however. PV might be a misnomer for this area, but it is widely known that way. I did add a mention to the PV regions section. Were you planning on adding anything or just arguing on principle? OldPine 18:06, 26 May 2007 (EDT)


Hi OldPine, I've been very busy lately, but I have given thought to a Massachusetts region breakdown. The Eastern most regions of Massachusetts including the North Shore, South Shore and Greater Boston are pretty well agreed. The biggest area of confusion\disagreement is pretty much anything West of Route 128 and East of Worcester. As a life-long resident of Massachusetts, I have always considered this area as Eastern Mass, although Greater Boston merits a distinct entry. I have no satisfactory name in mind for this are other than "Eastern Massachusetts". There are several river valleys in that area, the Merrimac, Concord, Sudbury, Nashua among others, and the Blackstone to the extreme southwest of that region. The region could be called "The Eastern River Valleys" or even "The Merrimac Watershed" if the Blackstone is left out of the region. I'm hesitant to push these names because I made up "Easter River Valleys" and anything with Merrimac in the name leads MA residents to think only of the Andover, Lawrence and Lowell area. Do you have any idea for a name? The rest of the state I propose "Cape & Islands"; "Central Mass", from Worcester to the West and "Berkshires" West of Central Mass to the Western boarder of the state. Also, please let me know if I'm being a pain in the butt. It's just that over the last 30+ years I've lived on the North Shore - twice, the South Shore and currently in Metro West. They are all very distinct and separated from each other by a long drive on eastern MA roads. My main logic in for proposing regions is proximity of travel time around the region. I can traverse the state from Ashland to Stockbridge in less time than it takes to drive 24 miles to Boston during rush hour. I think that grouping Ashland State Park in Ashland and Castle Island in South Boston in the same region is misleading, a tourist could spend all day driving between. Jrdouce Aug 17, 2006 2PM EDT
OK, well, I'm not sure what you're saying there. Perhaps if you look at how it is now and tell me specifically what you don't like. I've put all the towns I could think of in each region and think we have the whole state covered. It is pretty much patterned after the state website above. I agree that Blackstone Valley region might better be called Central Massachusetts as I don't think the valley truly extends to the NH border. Merrimack Valley probably includes towns to the NW that are not truly in the valley either, but they really aren't tourist towns and I couldn't see making another region for them. Bristol-Norfolk ended up being a catch-all for towns in those areas that were mostly non-destinations. Please remember to sign with 4 tildes (~). Good to have you back. OldPine 14:20, 17 August 2006 (EDT)
I guess the only thing I realy disagree with is the various and overlapping divisions of the region generally West of Route 128 out to and a little beyond Route 495. I created Metro West, but most of those towns were already defined as Greater Boston or Blackstone Valley. Ashland\Fraqmingham where I live isn't Greater Boston, but it's too far East to be Central Mass. There are other groupings like Blackstone and Merrimack that seem to compete; another user pointed out that adding too many small regions like that gives a small state like Massachusetts too many microregions. I do agree, but I can't come up with a much better way to define the area of Eastern MA between 128 and 498. At this point I just thought it best to group that whole area into one region Eastern Massachusetts?, but I'll defer to anyone with a stronger convivtion. What do you think? Thanks Jrdouce 13:38, 21 August 2006 (EDT)
I don't see any overlapping that you are talking about. Maybe there are some fuzzy boundaries, but by placing the towns into the regions, that is made clear. I don't see anything to be gained by making an Eastern Massachusetts region that includes Greater Boston, MetroWest, Merrimack Valley, etc. Do you? I think the 11 regions as is works pretty well. OldPine 14:20, 21 August 2006 (EDT)
OK. I give. I think my region discussion has gotten out of proportion. The discussion began when I created Metro West to hold Ashland. Someone pointed out that it was already listed in Blackstone Valley and Greater Boston. I disagreed with that grouping, so I wanted to propose an alternative. I can live with the current regions, although Blackstone Valley is a bit too big in my opinion. The river only runs South of Worcester into Rhode Island, yet the region runs to the New Hampshire border. 11 regions seems a lot for such a small state but I'm willing to leave well enough alone. Better to focus my attention on content. Thanks for your help and your patience. Jrdouce 10:17, 22 August 2006 (EDT)
I should probably let this drop, I think we should redirect Blackstone Valley to "Central Massachusetts". I think the eleven regions are justifiable in that the regions are somewhat distinct. I suppose we could have four upper level regions, Western, Central, Eastern, Cape Cod and then have subregions within those, but I think you end up with another problem then and a sort of tangled mess that makes it hard for the traveller to understand. OldPine 11:11, 22 August 2006 (EDT)


I think Revere, Winthrop, Saugus, and Wakefield should be included in Greater Boston. All of them are inside Route 128 and very close to Boston. Sumone10154 12:20, 15 January 2011 (EST)

Additionally Middleton should be part of the North Shore not Merrimack Valley. Can I go ahead and change it (in addition to the above)? –sumone10154 00:24, 2 February 2011 (EST)

If no one objects, I'm going to change it tomorrow (and I'll try to make a new map eventually). –sumone10154 16:06, 3 February 2011 (EST)

Almost NOTHING about the Pioneer Valley and Greater Springfield[edit]

In the list of Massachusetts firsts, no one mentioned the first gasoline-powered car, motorcycle, or fire engine--all produced in Springfield. For that matter, no one even mentioned that basketball was invented there!! Interchangeable parts was invented there as well, at the Springfield Armory. In Holyoke, Volleyball was invented.

In my edits, I've attempted to bring people up-to-date with the fact that Western Massachusetts has had quite an illustrious history in addition to eastern Mass. (It was founded only 6 years later, after all -- and Springfield was one of the 10 richest cities per capita for over 200 years.)

—The preceding comment was added by (talkcontribs)

Thanks for your contributions! Please keep in mind this is a volunteer project; we rely on input from people like you in order to advance our goals. You certainly increased the coverage of Springfield in this article. LtPowers 15:15, 17 April 2011 (EDT)

Why Weston canton nahant[edit]

Weston is clearly just as close to boston as wellesley and definitely is not Merrimack valley.canton by all means borders boston so it's like using any greater boston towns as another region. Also nahant and hull physically stretch toward boston and Marlborough boylston Hudson stow acton should be put in mw and acton in the valley. Metro west should definitely be its own region and map should be fixed.