Hop on Route 112 for a leisurely drive through open farmland, rolling hills, deep forests and small new England town centers. From the Vermont border in Colrain to Huntington in the south, you’ll find panoramic views of active farmland, prime leaf-peeping in the fall, and small-town charm all year.
You’ll pass dozens of working farms growing apples, berries, squash and pumpkins, Christmas trees and maple syrup. Farm stands dot the landscape, from Atherton Farm in Buckland to unmarked roadside tables that operate on the honor system. You’ll find plenty of pick-your-own opportunities—a great excuse to stop the car and soak up the sunshine for a while. Both Shelburne Falls and Ashfield have seasonal farmers’ markets that will inspire even novice chefs with their bountiful local produce.
You’ll travel through several small towns—including Colrain, Buckland and Ashfield—each with historical societies and local museums that are often open only for a few hours on summer Saturdays. In Cummington, the boyhood home of celebrated poet William Cullen Bryant welcomes visitors through a stately maple-lined allée. The grounds are open year-round, and the self-guided Rivulet Trail takes you past the maple sugar bushes, old-growth hemlock and trickling stream described in Bryant’s 1823 poem “The Rivulet.” Call ahead to find out when the home itself is open for tours.
Looking for an active weekend adventure? With its breathtaking views and light traffic, Route 112 is a challenging but beautiful long ride for serious cyclists. Be warned: It’s hilly terrain, but there are plenty of farm stands and country stores where you can rest and refuel. Mountain bikers will find extensive trail networks in places like Charlemont, Ashfield, the DAR State Forest in Goshen and the Knightville Dam recreation area in Huntington.
The east branch of the nationally designated Wild and Scenic Westfield River parallels Route 112 through much of its southern half in Hampshire County. The best and most challenging paddling happens in March and April and after heavy rainfalls. In South Worthington, take a short drive up Ireland Street or from Worthington Corners east on 143 into West Chesterfield. See how the river has carved the spectacular Chesterfield Gorge, where there is a picnic area with views of the gorge and surrounding hemlock, ash, and oak forests, and for the adventurous, a foot path along the gorge. You can also access the river at a few locations along Routes 112 and at state highway turnout areas on Route 9.
Shelburne Falls has an artistic flair. Fine arts and artisan studios and galleries are often open to the public, and you’ll find everything from quilts and pottery to watercolors and photography. The area is also home to many innovative glass artists. Don’t miss Shelburne Falls’ Bridge of Flowers, blooming from April’s tulips through October’s chrysanthemums, and be sure to view the glacial potholes on the Deerfield River.
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