Yankee New England’s Magazine
By Laura Miller, September 25, 2014
Western Massachusetts Foliage Drive | Directions and Things to Do
This Western Massachusetts foliage drive follows the Connecticut River through the countryside, drawing you through multiple layers of time.
Distance: about 60 miles with summit detours
From the source of Route 47 in South Hadley and on along quiet roads to Route 63 in Northfield, our journey is a sinuous, hypnotic drive, with the Connecticut River flashing in and out of the trees like a bright ribbon. It’s a day for farmstand hunting and lots of stops.
Starting out, you’ll want to grab provisions at South Hadley’s Village Commons, from Tailgate Picnic or the Thirsty Mind coffeehouse, both across from the storied beauty of the Mount Holyoke College campus. Then launch yourself north on this sumptuously winding road.
In Hadley, pull over at Barstow’s Dairy Store & Bakery, which fronts Longview Farm, to watch cows grazing in the lower fields. Longview, designated a Massachusetts Century Farm, is actually a two-century farm, run by the same family since 1806, when Route 47 was a cart track. Drive through Skinner State Park to the summit of Mount Holyoke itself, where you’ll gaze upon the Oxbow of the Connecticut River as it winds through fertile fields and dense forests. The 19th-century Summit House hotel reminds you of those grand old society days at mountaintop resorts.