Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Foliage Ride on the Mohawk Trail

Every year on Columbus Day, we head out for a Fall Foliage Ride in northern Berkshire County. For anyone looking for a foliage day trip (this one takes about 6 hours), here's our usual route:

  • Pittsfield to Cheshire: We start by picking up pumpkins at Whitney's Farm Stand on Route 8 in Cheshire. We'll carve those later in the month for Halloween. And, we pick up some cider doughnuts and apples in case anyone gets hungry during the ride before we reach our lunch stop. This is a great place to pick up fresh fall produce, mums, and delicious baked goods.
  • Cheshire to North Adams: We then head into North Adams and pick up the Mohawk Trail (Route 2) all the steeples amidst the fall splendor.
  • North Adams to Charlemont: Route 2 is just gorgeous this time of year, and has many scenic stops along the way. The Hairpin Turn has a spectacular view, and long-range binoculars are available...a great spot for photos. One of our favorit gift shops is the Wigwam Summit Gift Shop, whose owners moved all the way from Hawaii to come back to their roots and run this quaint store in its lovely location. Another must is the Hail to the Sunrise statue, a stirring tribute to the Mohawk Indians who once inhabited the area. On the way to Charlemont, an especially beautiful section of the drive is along the Cold River, where you'll wind through colorful trees and mountains towering above you on either side.
  • Charlemont to Shelburne Falls: Our usual lunch stop is The Charlemont Inn. But, this year we decided to go a little further up the road to Shelburne Falls because we wanted to try a new restaurant - The Mohawk Diner. I came across it during a Google search of restaurants along the Mohawk Trail, and we're ALWAYS up for trying a new place to eat. It was a cute country diner, no frills but clean and neat, and we had to wait in line! The food was basic, but good. In fact, the roasted butternut squash soup was heavenly and I'm going to try to duplicate the recipe at home. Stopping here made our ride a bit longer than we'd planned and we'll probably try a restaurant a little closer to home next year. We were hoping to check out the Glacial Potholes, but our day was zipping by, and we decided we just didn't have time this year. Another time.
  • Shelburne Falls to Pittsfield: After lunch, we turned around to head back. And, to the delight of the girls, we discovered a few new gift shops! The huge indian statue at one of the gift shops was quite cool. Another shop boasted a mural of a scene of daily Indian life. And, still another had a full-size teepee. At one shop, I was able to put together a gift basket of goodies - pumpkin butter, Mohawk Trail playing cards, maple candy, etc - which I'll put in a Yankee Gift Exchange this Christmas.

So ended our annual Fall Foliage Ride. All in all, a gorgeous day with beautiful weather and peak foliage. Couldn't have been better. (I'd love to hear about YOUR favorite ride.)

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