Great Western Massachusetts Day Trip Ideas for Arlington Residents: Part 1

Western Massachusetts has seemingly endless variety of attractions that are only a short distance away from Arlington. With warm weather ahead, you might want to spend some of these trips exploring the great outdoors. To that end, here are some great western Massachusetts day trip ideas that will take you outside.

Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary

Characterized by its evergreens, marshes and grasslands, the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton offers year-round greenery to visit. Spanning over 724 acres, the sanctuary offers a number of trails along with opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife. Among these are painted turtles and the great blue heron rookery.

Bartholomew’s Cobble

Located in Sheffield, the 100-foot-high bedrock known as Bartholomew’s Cobble boasts a unique landscape coupled with mountain views. Here, you will find a variety of hiking paths ranging from moderate to strenuous. Among these is Ledges Trail, which passes through two caves, and the hike up Hurlburt’s Hill, which offers panoramic views of the Housatonic River from 1,000 feet up. With the visitor’s center open year-round, you can enjoy the spring wildflowers in April and May while also watching the hawk migration in September and October. During the remainder of the year, spend time exploring the rocky knolls, trees and beaver ponds.

Bridge of Flowers

Constructed in 1908, the Bridge of Flowers was originally built to simply connect passengers and goods between Shelburne and Buckland. Once cars became more popular, however, the railway stopped maintaining the bridge and weeds soon overgrew it. Twenty years after the bridge was built, a local women’s club raised the funds necessary to repurpose the bridge into a community garden. In the 1980s, additional updates were made to make it the garden that it is today. Flowers can be seen blooming at the bridge from April through October, with the fall months also serving as a great time to see the bridge with a lovely background of colorful leaves.

Mohawk Trail

One of the oldest auto touring roads in the United States, Mohawk Trail in Millers Falls was established in 1914. Driving this 63-mile scenic byway can be completed in one day or spread over a weekend as you pass through some of the best foliage Massachusetts has to offer. Take in lovely views high above the Connecticut River and pull off the road in Gill to go over the French King Bridge.

Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation

Located in South Deerfield, Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation offers scenic drives and hiking opportunities. From late spring to late fall, you can drip up South Sugarloaf on a seasonal road. Or, if you prefer hiking, check out the View of the Valley trail via Pocumtuck Ridge Trail. The trail leads you to a pavilion at a summit boasting views of the Connecticut River, the Pelham and Berkshire Hills, and Pioneer Valley.

Misty River Ballooning

Driving and hiking through Western Massachusetts is a great way to see what this part of the state has to offer, but you might also want to head to Florence to get a look at it from a different vantage point. Misty River Ballooning offers pick up points from a variety locations throughout Pioneer Valley, with balloon rides offering amazing views over the Connecticut River and even to the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire.

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