Rafting, fishing, kayaking and other outdoor sports locations.
The original Arthur A. Smith Bridge was a single lane bridge built in 1868 which served as a main crossover for the North River in the western portion of the town for 120 years. The bridge was named for Civil War Union Army veteran Arthur A. Smith whose land was the site of that first bridge. Replaced in 1951 by another wooden structure, it in turn was removed in 1991 to dry land by oxen team in preparation for an extensive restoration. The 99 foot bridge was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1983. Fully restored in 2007 it is open for pedestrian traffic. From Rt. 2 on the east side of the Deerfield River, take Rt. 112 north to the section of Colrain known as Lyonsville, turn left on Lyonsville Road and you will see the bridge.
Just a few hundred feet north on route 8A in the center of Charlemont is the newly rebuilt 92 foot Bissell Covered Bridge, the third bridge on this site. The original bridge that crossed Mill Brook was built about 1840 and was replaced in 1951. The current bridge, which reopened in May of 2009 after two years of construction, replaces the old bridge which had been closed to vehicular traffic in 1995. The site of the bridge was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2004.
It took several years of discussion with the residents of Charlemont and state engineers before it was agreed to do a restoration of the bridge rather than demolish it and erect a modern concrete and steel bridge. As a compromise the new bridge has some special added support and guardrails, but to the casual observer the new wooden covered bridge maintains the character of the two preceding bridges at this location.
A special dedication of the new bridge, reminiscent of the one held in 1951, is planed for sometime in the fall of 2009.
The Heritage State Park is located in a restored 19th century fire station. It offers self-guided exhibits that trace the sliversmith and furniture making industry in Gardner, also know as "Chair City"
Park directions from Route 2 east or west: take exit 22, then Rte 68, North to downtown Gardner. At the junction with Rte. 101, bear right onto Central Steet and the park is immediately on your left
Wild and rugged Monroe State Forest has beep valleys, steep mountains and tall trees reaching for the sky. To view this forested landscape with valley-filled fog is an unforgttable experience. A hike to the top of Spruce Mountain or to Raycroft lookout offers magnificent panoramas of the surrounding Hoosac and Green Mountains and Deerfield River. From the parking area off River Road, hike the Dunbar Brook Trail through shaded stands of old-growth old-growth Eastern Hemlock and associated northern hardwood trees. The pristine brook tumbles and drops 700 vertical feet in two miles, over huge moss-covered boulders forming entrancing waterfalls, rapids and pools.
The forest has reclaimed much of the farmland and pastures that previously existed here in the 1800's. Only cellar holes and stone walls remain; stark memorials to the rugged individuals who once wrested a living from this rocky soil.
The forest is open sunrise to sunset year-round. Access is free. No services are available.
All terrain vehicles and alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Snowmobiling is available conditions permitting (4-inch minimum hard-packed snow base.
Discover a geologic wonder at this 48 acre park. Examine the only naturally formed white marble arch and man-made white marble dam in North America, and tour an abandonded marble quarry. The "natural bridge" for which the park is named, according to geologists, is 550 million years old bedrock mable, carved into an arch by the force of glacail melt water over 13,000 years ago; one of the best places in New England to demonstrate the effects of glaciation. The bridge spans rushing Hudson Brook as it twists and tumbles through a steep 60-foot deep gorge. This site was an active commercial quarry from 1810 to 1947, producing coarse grained white marble used in local buildings and cemeteries. From 1950 to 1983 it was a privately-owned and popular roadside tourist attraction off the Mohawk Trail. Natural Bridge became a state park in 1985, to preserve its unique geologic features. In the sumer months, knowledgeable park interpreters are on hand to explain the natural forces that created the bridge and its more recent human-related history.
There is a 0.25 mile walkway above and through the chasm, and a 0.5 mile wooded walking trail.
The park is open from Memorial Day - Columbus Day 9am - 5pm. Parking fee is $2.00.
Picnicking: tables and grills are available. Please carry-in, carry out all belongings and trash.
From almost anywhere in Greenfield, look east for a view of the town's favorite landmark - Poet's Seat Tower. From its lofty perch atop Rocky Mountain on the ridge that forms the eastern boundary between Greenfield and the Connecticut River, the tower commands a near 360-degree view of the lush Pioneer Valley.
Geology of the Ridge:
Poet's Seat Tower sits on a 190 million year old (early Jurassic period) 150-foot thick basalt lava flow overlooking the Franklin County shire town of Greenfield and the Connecticut, Deerfield, and Green River valleys.
The lava and sedimentary layers were tilted by the Eastern Border Fault located several miles to the east at the base of the prominent uplands of central Massachusetts seen on the eastern horizon. This border fault was created by the stresses caused by the brea-up of the great Pangea super continent. If the faulting had been just a bit more extreme, you would now be viewing the Atlantic Ocean from Poet's Seat Tower.
Note that most of the surrounding hills have the same elevation. During the age of dinosaurs, about 65 million years ago, this was a great flat erosional plain called a "peneplain" The area was uplifted, and rivers cut the present valleys. On a clear day, Mount Monadnock, a hill of resistant rock that was not eroded away, can be seen in New Hampshire to the northeast.
The flat, evergren-covered area midway in elevation between the far hilltops and the Connecticut River is the site of ancient Lake Hitchcock which formed during the glacial retreats and stretched from Hartford, Connecticut to St. Johnsbury, Vermont, about 200 miles.
Rocky Mountain was an island in the muddy lake, The Flat residential areas and the center of Greenfield on the ancient lake bottom.
Poetry in the View:
The Rural Club of Greenfield erected a smaller wooden tower near the current tower's site in 1873. Poet Frederick Goddard Tuckerman,who was a resident of Greenfield from 1847 until his death in 1873, often wrote his poetry sitting among the rocks at the foot of the tower.
A contemporary and acquaintance of Emerson, Longfellow and Tennyson, Tuckerman was inspired by the western view when writing his nature poetry. The wooden tower burned in 1911 and was replaced the following year by the present native sandstone tower.
How to Get there:
To get to the tower, follow the bright blue signs that dot Greenfield's main street from the rotary at interstate 91 and route 2A east through the town's vibrant downtown. Two blocks east of the Town Common, turn left on High Street, hen right n maple Street. Follow the signs to the top of the ridge. Turn into the parking lot on the left side of Mountain Road, where an easy hike to the tower starts.
Savoy Mountain State Forest makes it easy to leave the everyday world behind. Scenic North and South Ponds, with wooded edges and hills rising in the distance, offer tranquil places to fish, picnic and swim. 45 campsites and 1 group sites are located in an old apple orchard. Four log cabins overlook South Pond, available for year round rental.
Over 50 miles of wooded trails invite year round recreational access to spectacular natural features. Hike the Bog Pond Trail, with its floating bog islands. Or climb up Spruce Hill on the Busby Trail for breathtaking views, especialty during fall foliage and hawk migration. Be sure to visit Tannery Falls (and nearby Parker Brook Falls), where Ross Brok flows through a deep cham, and then cascades over 50 feet to a clear pool below.
The park is open from 8am until dusk, year-round. Access is free, however a $5 fee is charged from mid May through Clumbus Day for parking only at North Pond day-use and for visitors to the campground.
The Bridge of Flowers is the only one of its kind in the world. Built in 1908 as a trolley bridge across the Deerfield River, between the towns of Shelburne and Buckland, the 400-foot, five arch concrete span was abandoned with the passing of the trolley line 1928.
Antoinette and Walter Burnham's vision of transforming the structure into a flower bridge became a reality in 1929. The project was spearheaded by the Shelbrne Falls Woman's Club and is still under their leadership through the Bridge of Flower Committee.
Over 500 varieties of annuals and perennials are planted and tened by local volunteers who work with the head gardner and her assistant to ensure continuous blooming throughout the season.
Open from early spring through late fall