Looking for a Fall weekend destination that is different from the usual classic New England village or rocky shore? Take a trip to the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts. This is a different corner of New England with green and gold hills, rivers and streams; full of alternative culture, creative energy and an abundance of seasonal local food.
Start with your stay, for a place away from the crowds book the Centennial House Bed and Breakfast in Northfield, a great base to explore the upper Valley. The inn is full of architectural detail and local history. Your hosts Joan and Steve Stoia provide exceptional hospitality and beautiful accommodations for a comfortable stay. Their freshly made breakfasts are a highlight of the visit and the sunlit dining area beckons in any season.
The inn sits on Main Street in quiet downtown Northfield. From here explore the scenic Mohawk Trail (Route 2) along the Deerfield River, find creative local boutiques in Greenfield or handmade arts in Shelburne Falls. You can get your fill of fall specialties like apples, pears, and cider at fourth generation Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Apex Orchards, or Pine Hill Orchards. Try the renowned Mike’s Maze (corn maze) in Sunderland and refuel with fresh cider doughnuts, a Fall specialty in New England.
A different setting awaits at the Old Mill Inn further South in Hatfield, a town in the heart of the Valley’s farmland alongside the Connecticut River. Not long ago this was a working mill which today has been beautifully restored with rustic wood elements and sleek industrial design, incorporating many of the original machine parts as well as a photographic history of the mill. But the most remarkable feature is the inn’s location next to a dam and falls on the Mill River. The rushing sound of the waterfall creates a soothing, rhythmic soundtrack to your stay that is unforgettable.
From Hatfield it is a short 6 miles into Northampton, with it’s bustling downtown packed with cafés, restaurants and bars as well as independent boutiques, booksellers and one of a kind galleries.
Fall weekends in the Valley are filled with outdoor fun whether you kayak, raft or paddle on the rivers, cycle on gentle flats or climb into the surrounding hill towns. There are ample opportunities to hike, walk along scenic trails, zipline or take a drive along the Mohawk Trail to view the colorful foliage.
You’ll find yourself surrounded by the local fall harvest in every orchard, craft brewery, vineyard and farmers market; and it’s featured in every restaurant, bar, cafe and shop. Festivals abound that celebrate the Fall bounty including Chilifest at Mike’s Maze, Art in the Orchard and Franklin County Cider Days (Cider Trail).
This Fall, escape the typical weekend getaway and go far from the ordinary in Western Massachusetts.