Although it has a turbulent past, this village now basks in a genteel aura. With 52 buildings on 93 acres, Historic Deerfield provides a vivid glimpse into 18th- and 19th-century America. Along the tree-lined main street are 12 museum houses, built between 1720 and 1850; three are open to the public on self-guided tours, and the remainder can be seen by guided tours that begin on the hour. At the Wells-Thorn House, various rooms depict life as it changed from 1725 to 1850. The adjacent Frary House has arts and crafts from the 1900s on display; the attached Barnard Tavern was the main meeting place for Deerfield's villagers. Also of note is the Williams House, the stately home for an affluent early New England couple.
The Flynt Center of Early New England Life contains needlework, textiles, and clothing dating back to the 1600s. There's a visitor center at Hall Tavern at 80 Old Main Street. Plan at least one full day at Historic Deerfield.
Hall Museum. In addition to the Memorial Library, this museum houses American Indian artifacts, quilts, furnishings from early settlers, and other objects. 8 Memorial St., 01342. 413/774–3768. deerfield-ma.org. May, weekends 11–4:30; June–Oct., Tues.–Sun. 11–4:30.