Skip to main content

New England Road Trip Day 4 - Return to the Mohawk Trail

Back in October 2006, I took a vacation daytrip along the Mohawk Trail.  It was one of my favorite autumn drives.  So on our return trip back from Maine on our way to Schenectady, we took MA 2 and the Mohawk Trail, did some return visits to many of the attractions on the way, but also saw a few new items or two.

For the entire photo set from this trip, head over to flickr.

885

879

The French King Bridge over the Connecticut River pretty much marks the Eastern Terminus of the Mohawk Trail.  East of here MA 2 begins to transition into a freeway connecting to Boston.  West of here the road takes on a more rural and scenic drive.  The bridge has spanned over the Connecticut River since 1932. 

Our next stop was Shelburne Falls and the well known Bridge of Flowers.

906

Many shades of purple

924

The Bridge of Flowers is a concrete arch bridge that originally served as a trolley bridge over the Deerfield River.  Opened in 1909, the bridge carried freight and passengers for the Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway for nearly 20 years until the railway company went bankrupt.  It was in 1928, when members of the local Women's Club, petitioned and fund raised to convert the old trolley bridge to an open air garden.

949

889

908

Shelburne Falls is actually the combination of the towns of Shelburne and Buckland which sit on opposite sides of the Deerfield River.  Both towns have a number of cafes, galleries, and other local businesses that keep the central areas very lively and full of local and nearby residents plus tourists from near and far.

946

952


We continue east on MA 2 to Charlemont and with a turn on Mass 8A North - we come across the Bissell Bridge.  When I first visited the bridge in February 2005, it was closed to traffic with a temporary bridge in place.  Seven years later, the Bissell Bridge, built in 1951 as the second covered bridge at this site, handled vehicular traffic once again.

984

A little further east, and where the Mohawk Trail begins to exit the Pioneer Valley, sits the Hail to the Sunrise Monument.  Honoring the tribes of the Five Nations, the statue has been a popular stop along the Mohawk Trail since 1932.

991

Further east, at Whitcomb Summit, sits the Elks Monument.  Dedicated in 1923, to honor members of the Elks Fraternal Order that served in World War I.  Whitcomb Summit sits at 2800 feet above sea level and the views are amazing!

992

Our final and maybe the most known segment and popular stop on the Mohawk Trail is the Hairpin Curve.

Looking towards the Hoosic Valley

The views of the Hoosic Valley are impressive year round, but most spectacularly in the fall.  The Golden Eagle Restaurant and Lounge is a popular spot - and is one of a number of buildings and attractions that has occupied the Hairpin Curve since the road first opened in 1914.

Golden Eagle Restaurant and Lounge

If you are ever in Massachusetts and want an alternative to driving the Mass Pike from Boston to Albany, I highly recommend the Mohawk Trail and all of MA 2.  It's certainly worth the extra time.






Comments

Jim said…
The garden bride is outstanding!
Jim said…
Er, garden *bridge*.

Popular posts from this blog

The story behind the ghost ramps around Pittsburgh International Airport

The roads around Pittsburgh International Airport have a lot of history and intrigue.  The growth of the airport and resulting land acquisitions has changed the routing of many roads in Western Allegheny County.  As the airport grew and traffic around the airport increased, the need for new roads would also change the landscape.  Of course, the fact that this is Pittsburgh means there were also plans for highways that never came to be.  Two of these never built highway plans, the Beaver Valley Expressway (BVE) extension and the full-speed connection to the Southern Expressway at Flaugherty Run Road have traces - specifically ghost ramps - of highways that never came to be.

Beaver Valley Expressway Extension:

For close to three decades this unused piece of roadway along the southern end of Beaver Valley Expressway puzzled Pittsburgh area travelers.  Located near the current-day maintenance hangers for Pittsburgh International Airport, this concrete stub of a highway was supposed to be …

Quemahoning Tunnel

The Quemahoning Tunnel may have never been built by the Pennsylvanina Turnpike Commission, but it still has a history unto itself.  Originally planned to carry rail along the South Penn Railway, the tunnel never would not see any trains until 1909 when a small line named the Pittsburgh, Westmoreland & Somerset began utilizing it.  The use was brief and by the end of 1916 the PW&S was no longer in operation and abandoned the facility.  Twenty-some years later, the newly formed Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission considered using the abandoned tunnel, in fact it was shown on some original plans.  However, the PTC decided against using it, and the tunnel remained empty.

The eastern portal of the Quemahoning Tunnel is easily accessible from the PA Turnpike.  The portal is located at mile 106.3 along the westbound roadway.  The tunnel is one of the many "What Could Have Been's?" of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Below, Bill Symons shares photos taken in late Fall of 1986 of …

Roebling Aqueduct

In a quiet and often overlooked corner of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the country's oldest surviving suspension bridge crosses the Delaware River into New York.  The Delaware Aqueduct, designed and built by famed engineer John A. Roebling, has withstood a very colorful history from being an important piece in the region's transportation, to uncertainty during the growth of rail, nearly eight decades of neglect and poor management as a private toll bridge, to finally being restored by the National Park Service and in use as an automobile bridge today.

Construction and Canal Era (1847-1898):
During the 1840's, the Delaware & Hudson Canal was looking at ways to speed up service along its route.  One of the major bottlenecks was where the canal reached the Delaware River.  Since it began operation in 1828, the D&H used a rope ferry to pull traffic along to Canal across the Delaware.  The conflicting traffic of vessels going down the Delaware to Trenton or Philadelphia and…