Right in Massachusetts’ cranberry country, Lakeville is a town with almost a fifth of its area taken up by water.
As well as dozens of cranberry bogs, Lakeville is home to Assawompset Pond, the largest natural lake in Massachusetts.
The pond is part of a massive complex, serving as a drinking water supply for New Bedford, and safeguarded by some 10,000 acres of conservation lands.
In Lakeville you can hike for miles next to these enormous sheets of water, discover rich birdlife, launch a kayak, go fishing, play a round of golf at three courses, or tour the commercial cranberry farms in the area.
1. Assawompset Pond
At close to four square miles, the largest natural lake in Massachusetts is the defining part of Lakeville’s landscape.
Assawompset Pond gives its name to the complex of interconnected bodies of water to the southwest and southeast, serving as a source of drinking water for the city of New Bedford.
It was on these shores in 1675 that the body of murdered “praying Indian” John Sassamon was found, triggering King Philip’s War (1675-1678).
Every spring the lake’s outlet, the Nemasket River, runs black with alewife herring swimming upriver to their spawning grounds.
Assawompset Pond is the anchor for 10,000 acres of protected nature, encompassing open water, swamps, and oak-conifer forest, much of which can be discovered on foot or by boat.
The complex has been declared an Important Bird Area by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and is a nesting site for bald eagles in winter.
2. Cranberry Bogs
As the headquarters of the Ocean Spray cranberry growers’ cooperative, Lakeville is a good starting point if you want to get in touch with cranberry agriculture, still going strong in Southeastern Massachusetts.
You’re never far from an active bog here, but there are several commercial bogs open to the public within a 15-minute radius.
Spring Rain Farm in East Taunton welcomes visitors to watch the cranberry harvest in fall, but is also open for PYO strawberries in June.
Stone Bridge Farm in Acushnet conducts bog tours in October, when the harvest is in full swing, while at Benson’s Pond in Middleboro you can become a cranberry bogger for the day, putting on a pair of waders for a hands-on intro to cranberry farming.
3. Long Pond
Covering 1,780 acres, Long Pond is on the southwest side of Assawompset Pond and is the largest natural pond in Massachusetts to be fully open to recreation.
Despite its size, the pond is remarkably shallow with a maximum depth of 15 feet and an average of just 6 feet.
At the north end is the Long Pond Conservation area, with a small boat ramp that gives you access to the sweeping expanse of salt marshes.
There’s also a concrete boat ramp on the southeast corner, off Route 18. In the angling community, Long Pond is well-known for its large populations of largemouth bass, and is a favored location for fishing competitions
4. Great Quittacas Pond
In the southeast of that network of lakes is Great Quittacas Pond, sharing its waters with Poksha Pond to the north and Little Quittacas Pond to the southwest.
The eastern shore of Great Quittacas Pond has an excellent waterfront trail, cutting south from Long Point Road for a 3.6-mile walk out and back. Come later in the day and the visitas of the sunset across the water are spellbinding.
Another scenic spot here is Between the Lakes, on the west side of the causeway on Long Point Road, where you gaze out for miles over both Great Quittacas Pond and Poksha Pond, and follow trails to active cranberry bogs.
5. Betty’s Neck
This broad nub of land on the southeastern shore of Assawompset Pond was purchased by Lakeville in the early 2000s, and is a fine place for a walk.
Betty’s Neck is rich with history too, as a summer encampment for the Wampanoag Native Americans.
They would traverse the Nemasket River here, which was eventually dammed in 1894, raising the level of the pond by five feet.
At the heart of thousands of acres of protected land, Betty’s Neck has around three miles of trails, weaving through fields, woods and along the picturesque shore of the pond.
The blue blazed trail here connects with a white blazed trail, which leads you to Jeremy’s Point, for an inspiring view over the pond.
6. Massasoit State Park
On the Lakeville-Taunton line there’s more than 1,200 acres of woods laced with lakes, ponds and cranberry bogs.
The landscapes at Massasoit State Park are marvelous in fall, when the ripe berries in the cranberry bogs are set off by the backdrop of evergreen trees.
If you’re looking for an easy walk there’s a long paved road that runs deep into the woodlands. This has a whole web of side trails, leading to ponds and bogs, and is traveled by hikers as much as mountain bikers.
The largest body of water is Lake Rico, which has an indented shoreline that kayakers could explore for as much as day.
7. Tamarack Park
Wedged between Assawompset Pond and Long Pond is a park on land acquired by the town with the Betty’s Neck purchase in the early 2000s.
Tamarack Park is the site of a restaurant, which was deemed unsalvageable and razed, while the encompassing woods and fields were cleared of invasive species.
One element of the park is The Meadow, a conservation project in which native grasses have been allowed to flourish once more, producing wildflowers in spring and early summer.
Birdhouses have helped turn this into a thriving habitat, and on your walk you’ll get glimpses of Long Pond’s marshes through the trees.
8. Poquoy Brook Golf Club
This exceptional parkland style course in Lakeville is considered one of the best public access golf courses in the region.
Poquoy Brook Golf Club first opened in the 1950s, and has a layout designed by renowned Massachusetts-based architect Geoff Cornish (1914-2012).
As a mark of its quality, the course has hosted qualifiers for the US Senior Open, as well as the Massachusetts Open Championship three times between 2004 and 2010.
This track is a long 6,762 yards from the tips, with tight fairways and a lot of water hazards to punish wayward shots. As well as the course, there’s a driving range with 25 stations, along with a short game area and putting green.
9. Baldie’s Craft Pizzeria
Few things go together as well as beer and pizza, and that is exactly what you get ar Baldie’s Craft Pizzeria.
The pizza is Italian-style thin crust, handcrafted and baked in an authentic brick oven that dominates the center of the restaurant.
These pies come in varieties ranging from a simple Margherita to more adventurous options like Prosciutto n Pear, Crab Rangoon, General Tso, and Nashville Hot Chicken.
Baldie’s Craft Pizzeria also has no fewer than 40 beers on tap, sourced from craft breweries across New England, and poured at a custom-made copper bar.
10. Lakeville Historical Museum
The Lakeville Historical Society runs a cute little museum in a former chapel near the junction of Bedford Street and Lakeside Avenue.
Previously the Grove Chapel, this building was erected in 1875. An interesting detail is that the cupola houses a bell, salvaged from a long demolished schoolhouse dating back to the turn of the 19th century.
The museum is open on weekends, and is loaded with curiosities from Lakeville’s 300+ years of history.
On show are Wampanoag arrowheads, Victorian doll carriages, preserved items of clothing, militaria, farming implements, pieces of furniture, and much more. One intriguing exhibit features two kitchens, one from the 19th century and one from between 1920 and 1940.
11. The Back Nine Club
This 18-hole executive course is perfect for golfers working on their approach shots, but also offers a great intro for younger and less experienced players.
The Back Nine Club is couched in a landscape of tall pines, with a choice of three tees. If you’re a seasoned golfer playing from the tips, you’ll face a real challenge, with tricky bunkers, and water coming into play on more than half of the holes.
You can relax after your round with lunch or dinner at The Pub, and there’s also a driving range and a fully-stocked pro shop.
12. Lakeville Public Library
In the town’s municipal center, Lakeville’s modern public library (opened 2005) is intended as a community and cultural center, with a wealth of events and programs to go with its large collections and array of services.
The library’s inventory is enhanced by the SAILS LIbrary Network, a consortium of 70 libraries in Southeastern Massachusetts.
One good reason to pay a visit is for The Great Ponds Gallery, providing exhibition space for Lakeville’s large contingent of artists. Shows here are updated every few weeks, and there’s an annual juried exhibit in the summer.
13. Ted Williams Camp
The legendary Red Sox left fielder, Baseball Hall of Famer, and 19x All-Star, Ted Williams (1918-2002) ran a baseball camp in Lakeville between 1958 and 1986.
Especially in the camp’s early years, Williams would give hitting clinics and advice on the game, and would often be seen fishing at the camp’s pond.
The land, set close to Lakeville’s center, was later purchased by the town, and a number of the camp’s buildings survive.
One is the lodge, which maintains a display of Williams memorabilia. This building is rented out for private functions such as weddings, while the camp hosts a number of events throughout the year, like the Cranberry Trifest, which we’ll talk about later.
14. Lakeville Arts & Music Festival
A highlight of fall in Lakeville is a diverse community arts event on the lawn next to the Town Hall.
The Lakeville Arts & Music Festival goes back around two decades, and offers a bit of everything.
There’s a schedule of live music performances throughout the day, combined with more than 50 juried artisans selling a wide range of handmade goods, from pottery to candles, organic soaps, leather items, jewelry and glass.
Younger members of the family are sure to have a great time, with children’s entertainers, face painting, s’mores, and much more going on.
15. Cranberry Trifest
Based at the Ted Williams Camp in late August, the Cranberry Trifest is a weekend of triathlon-oriented competition.
This event goes back more than two decades now, and in 2022 was selected as the USA Triathlon State Championship.
Over two days there’s a sprint distance triathlon with splash & dash, as well as an olympic distance triathlon with aquabike on Sunday.
Both events are open to competitors from a range of categories, from paratriathletes and open/elite athletes, to relay teams and beginners.
There’s a fun atmosphere around the Cranberry Trifest, with giveaways, post-race food, vendors, a DJ and live music.