Travel off the beaten path for small-town hospitality and outdoor relaxation

This country road travels through wide-open spaces where you’ll find endless possibilities to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Historic town centers speak of the region’s agricultural and industrial past. Don’t miss the chance to experience local creativity and hospitality in towns like Adams, Ashfield, and South Deerfield.

Enjoy the “small town scene”

At the byway’s western end is the pedestrian-friendly downtown of Adams, where you’ll find artists’ galleries, small boutiques and some light fare. The visitor center is downtown on Hoosac Street and full of ideas for local activities, like walking, biking or cross-country skiing along the paved, 12-mile Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. Farther east near the junction with Route 112 is Ashfield, a close-knit and artsy town. Stop at the raved-about Elmer’s “big-time breakfast and sometimes dinner joint and old-timey natural foods grocery,” or get an ice cream cone and chat with the locals at Ashfield Hardware and Supply.

Yankee ingenuity and immigrant spirit

South Deerfield, at the byway’s eastern end, reflects the character of the many Yankee settlers and European immigrants who farmed and worked in the area through the 19th century. In addition to historic buildings and sites like the Produce National Bank and Bloody Brook Monument, you’ll find many fantastic examples of Craftsman bungalows from the 1910s. South Deerfield is also home to Yankee Candle Village, the world’s largest candle store, styled as a charming New England village with a restaurant, Christmas shop, hands-on demonstrations, and more.

Step back in time

Just north of the byway is Historic Deerfield village, a must-see for history buffs. This 18th-century English settlement features restored houses and a rich collection of early American crafts. The “Hidden Walls, Hidden Mills” program in Plainfield is a series of five self-guided walks through this remote town of just 600 people. Download the maps and stroll the fields and farms to discover cellar holes, mill foundations, tiny cemeteries and ancient apple orchards. The 1870 Burkeville covered bridge in Conway is one of the oldest surviving one in the nation. It was restored in 2005 for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

Cheshire cheese wheel

The Cheshire Cheese Press monument commemorates Cheshire residents’ gift to President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 of a 1,234-pound wheel of cheese made with milk from every cow in town. It was delivered to Washington on a sleigh because it was too heavy to be transported by stagecoach.

Open spaces and hidden gems

The Conway Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is one of many former farms that has been preserved as open space for wildlife and outdoor recreation. Old rock walls and building foundations are visible, as is a stand of mature sugar maples. Windsor State Forest features Windsor Jambs Brook, which plunges through a 25-foot-wide gorge with granite walls rising 80 feet on either side. Look for a precariously balanced rock, or glacial erratic, a reminder of the region’s glacial history. Savoy Mountain State Forest is one of the largest in the byway region at almost 12,000 acres. You can hike past floating bog islands, fish or swim in North and South Ponds, observe migrating hawks in the fall, bike on wooded mountain trails, and stay overnight in a log cabin. An old apple orchard is now home to more than 40 campsites, some wheelchair accessible.

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