The largest river in Massachusetts is the Connecticut, which flows for 106 km (66 mi) from north to south across the west central part of the state. The main tributaries of the Connecticut in the state are the Deerfield, Westfield, Millers, and Chicopee rivers.
The Charles River is the longest river wholly within Massachusetts. Rising near the state border with Rhode Island, the river follows a winding northeastern course of 76 km (47 mi), flowing into Boston Bay between downtown Boston and the Charlestown section. The Charles River joins the Mystic River, flowing from the north, to form inner Boston Harbor.
The Merrimack River, in the northeast, is the second largest river, crossing at least part of the state. It enters the state from New Hampshire northwest of Lowell and flows through Massachusetts before emptying into the Atlantic at Newburyport. The main tributary of the Merrimack in Massachusetts is the Concord. Other smaller but important rivers in the state are the Housatonic, Blackstone, Nashua, Ipswich, and Taunton.
There are more than 1,100 lakes and ponds in Massachusetts. By far the largest is Quabbin Reservoir, in the central part of the state, with an area of 101 sq km (39 sq mi). Other large artificial lakes include Wachusett Reservoir, East Brimfield Reservoir, and Cobble Mountain Reservoir. Assawompsett Pond, covering about 10 sq km (about 4 sq mi), is the largest natural lake. North Watuppa Pond and Long Pond are other large natural lakes.
Lake Chaubunagungamaug, near Webster, is usually called Webster Lake, because the Algonquian name is difficult to pronounce and spell. The full version of the Native American name is said to be the longest place-name in North America.
The state’s coast is 309 km (192 mi) long. The coastline is very irregular, however, and if all the small bays and islands are taken into account, its total length is 2,445 km (1,519 mi). The largest bays are Massachusetts Bay, north of Boston; Cape Cod Bay; and Buzzards Bay, an inlet west of Cape Cod that is connected to Cape Cod Bay by a canal.
Many islands lie off the Massachusetts coast. The largest are Martha’s Vineyard, a triangular-shaped island 8 km (5 mi) southwest of Cape Cod and covering 280 sq km (108 sq mi), and Nantucket Island, 30 km (20 mi) south of Cape Cod and measuring 148 sq km (57 sq mi). Other islands belong to the Elizabeth Islands, also southwest of Cape Cod. Many small islands are found in Boston Bay. The coast has many fine harbors. The largest is Boston Harbor, the inner-most part of Boston Bay. Other harbors include New Bedford, Fall River, Provincetown, Salem, Gloucester, and Plymouth. "Massachusetts" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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