The Crossroads of New England accurately describes Springfield's major function and contribution as the shipping nexus from New York City, Boston, Montreal and the Great Lakes and it sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River. Boston is about 80 miles northeast. The Amtrak rail station serves Vermont, Chicago, Boston and New Haven. Founded in 1636 by Puritan William Pynchon as part of the Connecticut Colony it was renamed for his hometown of Springfield, Essex, England after joining the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1641. In 1777, George Washington helped establish the National Armory at Springfield which operated until the end of the Vietnam War. The 19th and 20th centuries brought innovations such as Webster's Dictionary, vulcanized rubber, the first horseless and gasoline powered cars and basketball. Hartford, Connecticut is 23 miles south. The Hartford-Springfield region is home to 32 universities and liberal arts colleges. It has a climate of four distinct seasons. The city has 17 neighborhoods and an estimated population of more than 155,000.
West from I-291 and south of I-90 (Mass Turnpike), Sixteen Acres is a large neighborhood with apartments, condos and single family homes for families and students. It has lots of WWII architecture and Western New England University. Great public and private schools and parks make it a comfortable family environment. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Baystate Health and the many schools and universities provide job opportunities. The Peter Pan Bus lines provide area transportation. Median home prices are $160,000, rents $5-600 and average incomes $58,000. The Sixteen Acres Shopping Center on Wilbraham Road is easy to get to along with other shopping plazas and a Walmart Supercenter. Bruno's Original Pizza on Wilbraham Road has been open since 1975 and is a neighborhood favorite and staple. The Lucky Strike Restaurant in Chicopee on Grattan Street serves Home Cooking at reasonable prices. Christopher's Tavern on Cooley Street has craft beers on tap, food and is a good place to watch sports. The kids will love seeing their favorite characters at Dr. Seuss' Memorial Sculpture Garden in the Quadrangle on Chestnut Street.
Southeast of Sixteen Acres is East Forest Park and one of the top neighborhoods in Springfield. Median prices of $160,000, and rents above $600 make it a good choice for families. More than 50 public and private schools and parks support this neighborhood. Amedeo's on North Bridge has a good menu of pizza, steaks, chops and Grinders for family dining. Or maybe you are in the mood for Jack Chen Chinese Restaurant on Sumner Avenue. Nathan & Bills Bar and Restaurant with a heated outdoor patio for friends to gather and watch sports is on Island Pond Road. The Century Shopping Center is handy for your needs. You are right in the center of beautiful drives and tours to spend the day enjoying the beautiful fall colors.
On the eastern edge of the city, Boston Road is home to the Eastfield Mall, various box stores and is considered a commercial and retail center. You do need a car to get around and take advantage of the shopping, parks and amenities. Single family homes and some apartments are median priced at $140,000, rents in the $900's and incomes range over $42,000. There are a variety of dining and entertainment choices around the mall area including a movie theater. Hana Saki Hibachi and Sushi Steak House has great specials and a variety of American and Japanese favorites on Boston Road. Try D'Angelos Grilled Sandwiches also on Boston Road, featuring Sandwiches, Rice and Grain Bowls and Grilled Topped Salads. Donovan's Irish Pub is down the street to meet friends and neighbors for a drink. Lake Lorraine State Park is ideal to spend the day for a picnic, exploring, swimming and fishing. You can take in professional sports like baseball, hockey and basketball in Boston about 2 hours away.