historic district in the United States
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The Mohawk Trail was a historical Native American migratory game path. Today it is Massachusetts Route 2, a 63-mile east-west highway that extends from the Massachusetts-New York line to Millers Falls on the Connecticut River. The Mohawk Trail features over 100 attractions and has been recognized as one of the best scenic routes in the United States.

View of North Adams from The Western Summit

Understand edit

Like many roads in New England, the trail got its start as a migratory game path originating somewhere west of the Taconic Mountains (in what's now New York state), and it wound eastward through what would become Massachusetts. Native Americans --primarily the Mohawks in the west and the Pocumtucks in the Connecticut River Valley to the east-- used the trail in their migrations, and they had long-established treaties regarding hunting and fishing rights along its length. Upon the settlement of the English in the Pocumtuck territory, and the Dutch, who were making inroads into Mohawk lands in the lower Hudson River Valley, political unrest began to develop amongst the two tribes. The Europeans hoped that political unrest between the tribes would further their own ends, and they began to manipulate one tribe against the other. Although the Europeans later attempted to arrange a peace conference to settle the differences of the two tribes, a full-scale war broke out, and the Mohawks gained the upper hand. The path became known as the "Mohawk Trail."

With the end of the Indian Wars and the beginning of the American Revolution, the old trail was gradually rerouted and widened to accommodate wagon traffic between the city of Boston and the interior towns, particularly North Adams.

By the early part of the 20th century people began to appreciate just how beautiful the region encompassing the trail was, so in October 1914 the Massachusetts State Legislature declared the "Mohawk Trail" a scenic tourist route. It was during this time that the mountainous, winding stretch of road --especially the section named "The Mohawk Trail Scenic Byway"-- really began to explode with popularity. Previously, the fastest route from North Adams to Boston was by rail via the 4.5-mile Hoosac Tunnel, which traveled through the Hoosac Mountain --one of the largest mountains that the Mohawk Trail climbs and winds over. But as cars were becoming more affordable in 1914, the thrill and challenge of driving over the Hoosac Mountain, instead of through it, began to draw families from everywhere in the Northeast. Stretching from the 1920s through the 1950s, the road became a travel destination in itself and small shops, campgrounds, and trading posts began to pop up. Today, the excitement and fascination with this stretch of road seems to be surging like never before, and it has drawn enough attention as a vacation spot that the towns and surrounding areas are now referred to as "the Mohawk Trail Region". The trail has been recognized by the "National Geographic Traveler" magazine and the American Automobile Association as being one of the top scenic routes in the United States.

Whether you live close by and are looking for a slow relaxing ride by the scenery, or you are looking to spend days exploring the side roads, stopping in different villages and towns, hiking its open public lands, visiting the campgrounds, and exploring some of the numerous other sites and attractions, you should definitely consider experiencing the Mohawk Trail.

Prepare edit

If you plan on venturing out on the Mohawk Trail on a motorcycle, keep in mind that helmet laws vary from state to state. Depending on where you are traveling from, there may be no helmet law in your state. Even if you usually don't wear a helmet, it is a good idea to bring one with you and check with the state laws when crossing borders. Any passenger you carry must be wearing a helmet at all times. Only motorcyclists who have held their license for over 1 year may have a passenger on the back of their bike in the state of Massachusetts.

Get in edit

Mohawk Trail Signage
Map of Mohawk Trail

From Boston: edit

Western route to the middle of The Mohawk Trail edit

  • From Boston via Springfield, Massachusetts I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) take I-91 North
  • From I-91 North take Exit 26 in Greenfield, Massachusetts and Route 2 East or West.

Western route to the western section of The Mohawk Trail edit

  • From I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) take Exit 2, North on US 20/7 to Route 2

Northern route to the eastern section of The Mohawk Trail edit

  • From Boston. I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) take Exit 11A I-495 North
  • From I-495 North take Exit 40, Route 2 West.

From New York Metro Area: edit

To the western section of the Mohawk Trail edit

  • Take I-95 North to I-91 North
  • Get off on I-90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) to Exit 2, North on US 20/7 to Route 2

To the middle of the Mohawk Trail edit

  • Take I-95 North to I-91 North
  • From I-91 North take Exit 26 in Greenfield, Massachusetts and Route 2 East or West.

Northwestern scenic route to the western section of the Mohawk Trail edit

  • Take the Taconic Parkway North to Route 295 East.
  • From 295 East take Route 22 North to US Route 20 East.
  • Take Route 20 to US Route 7 North and follow to Route 2 East.

See edit

  • 1 The French King Bridge. The French King Bridge is a cantilever arch bridge spanning The Connecticut River on The Mohawk Trail that connects the towns of Gill, and Erving.  
  • 2 New England Peace Pagoda, 100 Cave Hill Rd, Leverett. The first Peace Pagoda to be built in the US, this large Buddhist stupa can be found in the woods of Leverett just a short trip off of Route 2.    
  • 3 Poet's Seat Tower, 70 Mountain Rd, Greenfield. Just off of The Mohawk Trail in Greenfield is The Poet's Seat Tower, a sandstone Observation tower on the summit of the Northern section of The Pocumtuck Ridge in Rocky Mountain Park. The Poet's Seat Tower offers visitors panoramic views of The city of Greenfield,and the Connecticut River Valley. Rocky Mountain Park where the Tower is located also has a network of trails on the mountain.    
  • 4 The Bridge of Flowers, Bridge St. Shelburne Falls (The bridge is just off of the Mohawk Trail. The easiest way to get there is to travel west from Greenfield on the Mohawk Trail/Route 2. About 12 miles after Greenfield, keep your eyes out for a sign for Route 2A West toward Shelburne Falls and Buckland and the turn is near the Sweetheart restaurant. Then another quick left following 2A west brings you to Bridge Street, and just follow it up to the business district.), +1 413 625-2544. Built in 1908 for trolleys to cross the Deerfield River, this 400-foot, 5-arch, concrete bridge is now one of the most unique attractions in the Mohawk Trail Region. The Shelburne Falls Fire Department bought the bridge in 1929 when the trolley service ended, and a fundraiser was launched to turn the bridge into a garden pathway. The popularity of the attraction led to a $500,000 renovation of the bridge in 1983 to ensure that the historic structure would survive a long future. Today the bridge is open from early spring through late fall, and over 20,000 people walk across the bridge each year. Over 500 different types of perennial and annual flowers are planted continuously throughout the season by a paid gardener and volunteers, in order to guarantee constant blossoming. There is no fee for you to walk across the bridge, but there are donation boxes at both ends of the bridge, which help to pay for nearly 80 percent of the annual maintenance fees and operating budget.    
  • 5 Hail to the Sunrise, 511 MA-2. Roadside park on The Mohawk Trail featuring the monument to the area's Native American heritage , a bronze statue depicting a Native American looking East in the direction of the rising sun. Free.  
  • 6 Mohawk Trail State Forest, 175 Mohawk Trail/Rte. 2, Charlemont, +1 413 339-5504. This forest consists of over 6,000 acres of mountainous terrain, and miles of rivers and streams. Some of the activities consist of canoeing, fishing, hiking, walking trails, swimming, and scenic viewing areas. The forest is open everyday, year-round from sunrise until sunset. From May until the middle of October only, there is a $5 fee per vehicle. Parking is always free for Parks Pass holders, handicapped, disabled veteran plates, and seniors 62 and over with a Massachusetts Senior Pass. With 56 wooded camp grounds and 6 overnight log cabins you can also choose to stick around for a while. The camping season is generally from mid-April through mid-October, but the cabins are available year-round, and off-season camping is available as well.    
  • 7 Whitcomb Summit. Whitcomb Summit is the Highest Point on The Mohawk Trail, and offers scenic vistas of the Northern Hoosac Mountain Range. Here on Whitcomb Summit you can also see The Elk on the Trail, a memorial in memory of those who lost their lives in World War I
  • 8 The Western Summit & The Hairpin Turn. This section of The Mohawk trail descends the Western face of The Hoosac Mountain Range, and is popular for it's Hairpin turn, expansive panoramic views of The Hoosic River valley, The City of North Adams, and MT Greylock.
  • 9 MASS MoCA, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, +1 413 662 2111. one of the largest Museums for contemporary visual and performing arts in the World The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is a sprawling museum within a rehabilitated late 1800's factory complex.    
MASS MoCA from The Mohawk Trail
  • 10 Mount Greylock. Mount Greylock is the highest point in the state of Massachusetts, and it's summit can be reached by driving up one of two auto roads to the summit or on foot via the Appalachian trail. Notch Road, One of the two Auto Roads to the summit can be accessed from The Mohawk Trail. At the summit of Mount Greylock is The 93-foot-tall (28 m) Veterans War Memorial Tower, and during the warmer months potential accommodations at the Civilian Conservation Corps built Bascom Lodge.    
  • 11 Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, 67 East Road, Adams. A Short trip off The Mohawk Trail, and you can visit the birthplace of Susan B. Anthony, a very notable historic figure in the Women's suffrage movement in the United States. Anthony was also a well known abolitionist who as a part of The Underground Railroad helped fugitive slaves to freedom.    

Do edit

  • The Mohawk Trail Scenic Loop - The Mohawk Trail has drawn the attention of people who enjoy riding motorcycles. The scenic route has been described by riders in the area as one of the most enjoyable paths in the north east. Climb 3,491 feet to the top of the highest peak in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock. Then descend down the mountain to find a hairpin turn, winding you up the Hoosac Mountain. Your journey up the Hoosac Mountain will provide you with views over several mountain ranges, a look down upon four states, and the view right down into the Hoosac Valley. Coming down the backside of this mountain you will be winding along side the Deerfield River, through the Berkshire foothills, and across the Mohawk Trail State Forest. Then tail off onto Route 2A East, and hop on 112. Whether you are looking for a relaxing ride to take in the scenery, or you are seeking a thrill ride through winding roads and hills, the average 325-350 mile journey on The Mohawk Trail Scenic Loop is a must for motorcycle enthusiasts.
  • The Sand Springs Pool, 158 Sand Springs Rd, Williamstown (off Route 7 and near Route 2 in Williamstown), +1 413 458-5205, . If you decide to wander off the trail a little bit into the Berkshire County, you might want to visit the Sand Spring Pools. It is a spa and fitness center, and the main attraction is the 74 °F Olympic-sized pool that is filled with pure thermal mineral water, which surfaces from deep within the earth and is directed into the pool.
  • 1 Jumptown, 31 C St, Orange, +1 978 544 5321. Originally opening in 1959 as Parachutes Incorporated, Jumptown Skydiving is the first commercial Skydiving company to operate in The United States.
  • 2 Berkshire East Ski Resort, 66 Thunder Mountain Rd, Charlemont, +1 413 339 6618. Ski Resort that opened in the 1950s that offers visitors skiing, snowboarding ,snow tubing, zip lines, Alpine coasters, and Mountain Bike Park.
  • 3 Crab Apple Whitewater Inc., 2056 Mohawk Trail, Charlemont, +1 800 553 7238. Company offering White Water Rafting excursions on The Deerfield River with different trips offered consisting variously of class I-IV rapids.

Eat edit

  • The 1761 Old Mill Restaurant, Cracker Barrel, Pub, and Country Store, 69 State Rd. East/Route 2A Westminster (off the Mohawk Trail on Route 2A between Fitchburg and Gardner), +1 978 874-5941, fax: +1 978 874-0914. Restaurant is open Tu-Th 11:30AM-9:15PM, F Sa from 11:30AM-9:45PM, and Su from 10AM-8PM. Once you walk into this restaurant, you can almost feel the history wash over you. The Old Mill was a sawmill in the 1800s that produced the logs from the homes that were being built in the surrounding neighborhoods. It has been a family run restaurant since 1946. The menu gives you a wide selection from burgers and sandwiches, to seafood (such as the Fresh Atlantic Haddock), to prime rib, to Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, all the way to Roast Country Duck. The food is a little expensive with the average meals ranging from an average or $15-25, but the service is pretty good and it has a real cozy atmosphere.
  • The Golden Eagle Restaurant and Lounge, 1935 Mohawk Trail, Clarksburg, +1 413 663-9834, . Late May to July 1: M-F 4PM-9PM, Sa Su noon-9PM; July 1 to early November: daily noon-9PM; mid-Nov to late May: F Sa 4PM-9PM, Su 4PM-8PM. Separated into two dining areas. Downstairs is more of a casual stop in to grab a bite to eat lounge experience, and upstairs is the scenic dining room. In the spring, summer, and fall you also have the option to sit outside on the restaurant's upstairs veranda. The view overlooks downtown North Adams, the Green Mountains in Vermont, Stamford Lake (Vermont), Windsor Lake (Vermont), Mount Greylock, the Taconic Range in New York, and the Hoosac Valley. The food is what you would normally expect from a place like this: burgers, sandwiches, salads, seafood, surf 'n turf, steak, chicken, pasta. The items on the lunch menu range from $5-10, and the dinner menu ranges from as low as $12 to as high as around $25 but most meals fall around the $15 mark. The size of the servings are definitely worth your money though.

Sleep edit

  • 3 The Porches Inn, 231 River St, North Adams, +1 413 664 0400. A boutique hotel across the street from MASS MoCA set in a string of 19th century Victorian row houses.

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