Among the New England states, Massachusetts is fourth in size, with slightly more than eight thousand square miles, and is forty-fifth in size among the states of the Union. Though relatively small in area, Massachusetts is a giant in population, with about five million people, more than half the total for New England and ranking ninth in the United States.
Massachusetts is a central New Eng-land state, with its borders touching all of the other six states in the area except Maine. Most of it is a horizontal panel with straight-line borders r fifty miles from top to bottom, stretching one hundred and fifty miles from east to west. To its west is New York State. Along the northern border are t Vermont and New Hampshire. On the south arc Connecticut and Rhode Is-i land. On its eastern side, facing the
The panel spreads into a gaping mouth, which is the great harbor of Boston. The jaw of the mouth is the curious hook of Cape Cod.
The state flower of Massachusetts • is the shy, rare plant, the trailing arbutus, or mayflower. But there is nothing rare about the state tree; it is the American elm, of which Massachusetts has more fine examples than any state. The state bird is the chickadee. The name of the state derives from a corn-s bination of Indian words meaning “the place of the great mountain.” The • nickname is the “Bay State.” or the is ElICKTIaMe IS me nay stale, or we a “Old Colony State.” Massachusetts was es one of the original thirteen colonies, le the sixth to become a state of the in Union.
The surface of Massachu-le setts is divided into three areas: the western uplands, which lie west of the ly Connecticut River, the central uplands, le an area of rolling hills east of the h- river, and the coastal area. The western highlands are a southern extensionsion of the Green Mountains of Vermont to the north, running north to south through the state in parallel wooded ranges, both playgrounds and centers of regional culture. Among them, crests rise to more than three thousand feet, with Mount Greylock the highest point in the state, 3,491 feet. Called the Berkshire Hills, they are lived-in, civilized mountains, with many resorts and recreational areas. Be-tween the two upland areas of Massachusetts, stretching north to south. is a fertile, pleasant valley called Pioneer Valley, where flows the wide and beautiful Connecticut River. Scattered through the valley on both sides of the river are seventy towns and cities. including big, busy ones.
They include several of Massachusetts’ famed college towns. The central upland area of rolling hills contains some of Massachusetts’ best farmland area. It has one distinctive feature—a big lake. called Quabbin Reservoir, said to be the largest artificial body of water in the world, used only for domestic water supply. Dinosaur tracks, more authentic than those anywhere else, are an oddity of the region. The natural features of eastern Massachusetts include the rocky promontory called Cape Ann. South of this is a succession of harbors, including those of Salem and Boston, the latter one of the finest natural harbors on the Atlantic Coast. Some distance below Boston is Plymouth Harbor, and just below that, the strange, crooked arm of Cape Cod, a huge sandspit of low, rolling hills covered with scrub pine.