Wednesday, September 29, 2010
THE MOHAWK TRAIL Revisited!
Hello, it's been a year, but the post is ageless in it's info. Enjoy this year's Autumntime!
Driving the MOHAWK TRAIL in October is breathtaking. These photos were taken on a RAINY day. Even in the fog and rain, the Mohawk Trail is beautiful! The Mohawk Trail was America's FIRST Scenic Auto Route. The "scenic part" is 38 miles long (between GREENFIELD, MA up to NORTH ADAMS, MA).
Rte 2 was the main drag to get to NY until 1965 when the Massachusetts TURNPIKE was built and took 1 hour less than the Mohawk Trail commute. Many of the once famous tourist attractions and little Mom n Pop roadside stands and motels went out of business. The remaining attractions and businesses are struggling, but thankfully hanging in there in these turbulent times.
Starting out in GREENFIELD, MA head WEST on Rte 2 up the hill from the rotary.
There is a striking tower that comes up suddenly on the right, just as you begin the serious climb. This is one of the coolest historical tourist spots in Massachusetts. THE LONG VIEW GIFT SHOP. Pay $2.00 to the gift shop lady and you go through the store to get to the stairs to the tower. The lady told me they are making improvements to the place right now, and will soon have the MINI GOLF operating. It is open for those who want to climb the tower during renovations. This tower was originally opened by 2 sisters back in 1923, then rebuilt with steel in the 1950s.
It is quite dizzying a climb (if you look down). Imagine all the thousands of people who have clumped up these old wooden stairs.
The view of RTE 2 is unique and pretty in both directions. To the back of the tower view is Greenfield in all it's glory.
On a clear day, this would be even more terrific!
Climbing the stairs is fun!
Autumn makes the view even better!
Back onto Rte 2, your next town will be SHELBURNE.
Stop into the MOHAWK TRADER which has been Native American owned since 1984. Great Indian crafts and souvenirs and it's just plain fun to have a looksee around the joint.
In Shelburne, you come to HAGERS FARM STORE, where you can get wonderful fresh vegetables & fruit,
Pumpkins, Maple Syrup,
Milk in glass bottles, Cider, baked goods like yummy Fruit Pies, Pumpkin Pudding Bars, and Apple Cider Bread.
It's great to support the local farmers who have a sense of humor. Loved this outhouse!
SHELBURNE COFFEE ROASTERS is worth a stop for a cuppa java and one of their pastries. Their cute little shop on the left side of the road is decorated nicely. Walk across the street to STRAWBERRY FIELDS ANTIQUES and have a browse.
GOULDS SUGAR HOUSE has that impressive stacked wood out front. They have pancake breakfasts and a gift shop that is OPEN on the weekends (for breakfast and lunch).
Look for the sign that says RTE 2A SHELBURNE FALLS and take that into one of the sweetest towns I have ever visited. It is only about a mile off of Rte 2 and takes maybe 20 minutes to walk around.
SHELBURNE FALLS is famous for it's BRIDGE OF FLOWERS. This was created back in 1929 when Trolley Cars went out of style and Auto cars became the mode of transport. Originally a Trolley Bridge, it is 400 feet long and connects Buckland with Shelburne Falls.There is a Veterans Memorial in the center.
There are over 500 varieties of flowers and plants and this bridge is kept up really nice and open all year long!
There is a real bridge next door that you can drive over, but the flower bridge you have to walk over. It is maintained by a group of volunteers and relies on donations to stay afloat. Sign into the Guest Book and drop a coupla coins or bills into the Donation Box.
The town around the Bridge is really artsy and quaint. If you have a few minutes, walk around a bit.
I stopped into MO's FUDGE FACTORY.
Got meself a chunk of chocolate,
...but was quite taken with the TAFFY TUB and the row of penny candy jars.
Nearby is McCUSKERS MARKET which is a Co-Op grocery store that has fresh vegetables, fruit, Natural Foods and Vitamins,
bulk foods and wonderful trail mixes (I got the Cape Cod Cranberry Mix). I love YOGI TEA and they have several flavors to choose from. McCUSKERS has a kickin DELI that makes a "1/2 Sandwich" that is HUGE for only $2.75! I got a Turkey n Cheddar on their homemade Honey Wheat Bread, with Lettuce Tomato and Mayo that was out of this world. They have soups too, and all the fixins to satisfy a hungry snack-luvin tourist.
There are actually "falls" in Shelburne Falls and they used power a Cutlery Factory.
Back out onto RTE 2 WEST, you go thru the whisper of a town (with a nice bridge to cross) called BUCKLAND before reaching CHARLEMONT, which is chock full of places to see.
The aptly named BIG INDIAN GIFT SHOP is a place everyone should walk through on this journey.
A really nice old fella runs it and there are many interesting trinkets and doodads to peruse. I got a funny moose statue and a "half cup" coffee mug I couldn't live without.
There are a zillion wall plaques lining the walls with various animals like horses, wolves, deer and bear, as well as all the predictable Indian stuff like dolls and beads.
Real nice Moccasins, Kids Headresses, Arrowheads, Pretty Stones Jewelry and little statues. Great Stuffed Bear section too!
Many nice wooden boxes with decoupage' indian paintings or animals.
I loved all the various Toys, like the animal Slingshots and almost got one. ;-) They even had a Chewing Gum Holder for the nightstand!
Those (way cool!) Elvis clocks (with swinging hips) hanging over the maple syrup products are mighty tempting.
They had House Hex Signs too. A nice Maple Leaf one caught my eye. After waltzing thru there, take your picture outside by one of the animals, the Big Indian himself, or a teepee.
Down the road, CRAB APPLE RAFTING is open limited hours in the FALL, and tons of fun!
Tackle the DEERFIELD RIVER in style!
There are scenic farms and even a covered bridge just north of Rte 2 in Charlemont (over Mill Brook).
Real Indian Tribes have weekend POW WOWs at the POW WOW PLAZA.
There is the ZOAR ZIP LINE Tours that allow you a glide through the Autumn Trees. I have not tried this yet...maybe next weekend!
MOHAWK PARK was created in 1932. The statue is of an Indian Brave paying homage to the sunrise.
HAIL TO THE SUNRISE is very photographed and famous. Ironically, the Mohawk tribe was only one of many who traveled this path, which spans from New York to Boston. The local tribe is actually called The Pocumtucks.
In front of the statue is a round memorial with plaques from all the area tribes.
Our young warrior is kind of hot don't you think?
He does not have such a great view, looking out onto a diner and a trailer park-campground, as well as passing cars and trucks on Rte 2.
Just after the MOHAWK PARK is a giant field of Sunflowers. Now gone past, they bow their heads in respect to the brilliant yellow trees on the mountain behind them.
Now you are entering the BERKSHIRES section of the Mohawk Trail.
The MOHAWK TRAIL STATE FOREST welcomes you with it's inviting entrance and bridge.
While I jumped out to take photos, Barney the WonderCar smoked his own "peace pipe"... his infamous tailpipe! There goes my carbon footprint up a notch. : (
The park has 6,457 acres of beautiful forest. There are 56 campsites and 6 log cabins to stay over night in. You can swim or hike one of the awesome trails. There is a fee to park or camp here.
Most parks here in "Taxachusetts" charge a small fee of $2 - $5 just to park your car and take photos...
Looking up Rte 2 East from the exit drive is pretty too.
Brace yourself for the next leg of our journey. . .
SAVOY and FLORIDA, MA are incredible foliage towns. Walls of trees majestically unfold before you, as you drive slowly up the mountain, awestruck by the beauty. Babbling scenic brooks alongside the rock beds beg to be photographed.
I of course, gaped and gawked and stopped my car in the middle of the roadway, swerved dangerously up the curvy hillside, staring at the vast and amazing vistas.
Florida never looked like THIS!
Catch your breath...stop up at the EASTERN SUMMIT GIFT SHOP (and OVERLOOK). The misty mountains are gorgeous at dawn or dusk. Again, even in the rain, there is a spectacular view. The prices are fairly cheap here and there is an interesting assortment of thingys to thumb through.
Up around the bend is yet ANOTHER SUMMIT...this one is called WHITCOMB SUMMIT and there is a statue of an ELK here. Great view just beyond the little rascal. This statue memorial was put up to honor ELK members who had died during World War I.
Next door to the statue (and scenic view) is a climbing tower similar to Greenfields.
THE SAVOY MOUNTAIN STATE PARK is off Rte 2 in this area.
It has a nice boat launch area and some walking trails. It is confusing to locate the park entrance because there are so many signs for the trails and many begin on the roadside. Look for a large parking lot for the visitor cabin. There is a fee to park here.
It sits on the side of the mountain and most of it's 11 thousand acres are too "wild" to walk through.
Very pleasant milder walking trails are by the North Pond area.
Stairway to Heaven?
It's a nice drive getting to the park, though a little longer than my comfort level for a side trip.
South County Road and a few other side streets are quite scenic. Continuing on RTE 2 WEST, you will come to a sharp corner and a WIGWAM GIFT SHOP (now closed, sadly) is right there at the top of the hill. Pull into this lot and have a look.
You are viewing North Adams and Williamstown.
Be careful and use your lower gears now...you are headed for the HAIRPIN TURN...it sounds awful, but GO THE POSTED SPEED LIMIT or LESS. This turn is a serous sharp turn on a very high mountain.
Just before you reach the Hairpin itself, pull off into a parking lot on the left. You will want to park and get out and see this view...the CROWNING GLORY of the MOHAWK TRAIL.
Questions or comments? e-mail me at: Celebrate@1896House.com