New Salem lies at the southeastern corner of Franklin Valley, with its lands extending southward between Hampshire County and Worcester County. The town is bordered by Orange to the north, Athol to the northeast, Petersham to the east, Ware to the south, Belchertown to the southeast, and Pelham, Shutesbury and Wendell to the west. Because of the Quabbin Reservoir, there is no land link between New Salem and Pelham, Belchertown or Ware. The town has a total area of 58.6 square miles and has a population of approximately 990.
Swift River Valley Historical Society, located in the Whitaker-Clary House and North Prescott Church on Elm Street. Photographs and memorabilia offer a look at the history of the four towns that were flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir, as well as portions of New Salem that were lost. Displays include a fire truck, circa 1920, from the town of Dana and the New Salem guide post from the 1850's. The buildings housing the exhibits are historical structures. Open June through September, Wednesday and Sunday, 1:30 to 4:30 pm; or by appointment, call (978) 544-6882.
The Bear's Den, off Neilson Road, south of Lake Mattawa, a 100-foot deep gorge carved by the middle branch of the Swift River cascading off granite cliffs. Bear's Den is said to have been a meeting place for Indian tribes. Look for a sign reading "Trustees of Reservations."
Quabbin Reservoir, along Route 202, consists of 39 square miles of reservoir on 81,000 acres of reservation land. The Quabbin is a protected drinking water supply for nearly half the people of Massachusetts. Access is subject to many rules and regulations which are strictly enforced by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. Call (413) 323-7221 for further information.
New Salem Old Home Days, is an annual summer festival that features crafts, games, food and music. Held on the fourth Saturday in July. It is held in the center of town.