Massachusetts's Central and Berkshire Mountains regions have lofty peaks and gorgeous river valleys that are ideal for seeing the leaves change color during fall foliage season. Great views of fall color – starring the sugar maple -- also are found in the North of Boston Cape Ann region, and around Plymouth, where cranberry bog harvests brighten the landscape. Choose a scenic foliage drive below. Watch for farm stands and pick-your-own farms!
Click here for useful information about when to visit, how to find color, and what to wear and pack.
Route 2, also called the Mohawk Trail, is a historic road that travels through the northern Berkshire Mountains. This Route describes a tour from Greenfield in the east to North Adams in the west, with a side trip to the summit of magnificent Mount Greylock at Mount Greylock State Reservation.
Side Trips: Before leaving or after arriving in North Adams, swing southward for a drive to the stunning summit of Mount Greylock.
The trip to the top of Mount Greylock in the Berkshires is a magnificent adventure. October foliage colors are glorious. The summit is 3,491 feet and it yields views of the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Taconic Range. At the top is Bascom Lodge, offering meals and overnight accommodations. Also at the top is an elegant tower dating from 1932 and honoring the state’s fallen soldiers. Access road closes November 1. The map above gives directions from North Adams to the north (10 miles to the summit) and from the town of Lee, on route 90 to the south (27 miles to the summit).
Brake for Farm Stand! – If you are headed up Mount Greylock from the south, make a stop at Lakeview Orchard at 94 Old Cheshire Road in Lanesborough. Enjoy the panoramic views of Hoosac Lake and stock up for your adventure with apples, apricots, plums, and homemade pierogi, golumpki, ravioli, and gnocchi. (413-448-6009).
A north-south transit of Massachusetts that more or less follows the Connecticut River southward from the town of Northfield to the city of Springfield takes the traveler through the Pioneer Valley region. This 50-mile trek (or a bit longer, if you take a brief swing eastward to visit the beautiful Quabbin Reservoir) travels through a river valley graced with rolling hills and farmlands. The route is dotted with excellent museums, including Historic Deerfield, a living history museum; a major casino; several small colleges with public-friendly art museums and botanic gardens; and lots of opportunities for kayaking and river rafting. .
This drive threads between Northampton and Amherst, where several great eating places reside. Get your falafel fix and more at Pita Pockets. The Northampton Nourish Juice Bar opened the full-service Nourish Wellness Café, serving juices and smoothies and a signature Wellness Bowls. Foreign food choices in Amherst also now include Lebanese cuisine at Malek Shawarma and food of Nepal, India, and Bhutan at Himalayan Friends Corner.
Brake for Farm Stand! North Hadley Sugar Shack at 228 River Drive in Hadley is a fun place to browse and stock up on maple products, honey, pancake mix, jams. Open daily. For kid travelers, the Farm Tale is a farm animal play park, May to October, where families can learn about farm animals and enjoy all of the kid friendly play equipment. 413-585-8820.
At the western end of this drive, plan to take a swing to the southwest to visit Historic Deerfield in Deerfield (413-775-7214). The real 330-year old village is a museum of 12 houses dating to the 18th and 19th centuries and three exhibition galleries at the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. Tours, seasonal events, classes, and village walks reveal the inner daily lives to our ancestors, There a museum story and bookstore, and a place to get a good, filling meal at Champney’s Restaurant & Tavern at the Deerfield Inn.
This drive tour will take you past or through some of the prettiest coastal towns of New England. You will see beautiful foliage and other autumnal sights, like pumpkin patches and corn mazes. The drive comprises two sections that you can combine any way you like. One section is centered on the town of Newburyport, midway between Salisbury Beach and Plum Island (details below). Great trip for people who love walking beaches and watching marine plant and animal life.
The other drive begins (or ends) at a historic house, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate with a breathtaking vista above a large estuary, and then meanders through the towns of Essex, Gloucester, and Rockport. This last town, in particular, is noted for its many galleries and gift shopping, and views of the iconic Motif #1 lobster shack, painted and photographed by generations of artists.
Brake for Farm Stand! – If you go to Ipswich, be sure to stop at Russell Orchards, 143 Argilla Road in Ipswich. It’s a lush farm stand – actually, a beautiful barn -- with food, wines, plants, books, food and farm gifts, pick-your-own crops in season, and animals to visit. (978-356-5366).
This drive, starting in the town of Lexington, is only six miles, but it takes you through beautiful scenery and also the flash points of the early years of the American Revolution. History buffs may want to park in Lexington and take a narrated bus tour with Liberty Ride. The tour passes sites like the Lexington Battle Green, North Bridge, Battle Road, Orchard House, Colonial Inn, the Old Manse, Concord Museum, and Emerson House. (Tours offered through October 25).
From Lexington, drive to the Minuteman National Historical Park at 250 North Great Road (Route 2A) in Lincoln, and explore this fine park. Next, get on Route 2A and then switch to Lexington Road, into Concord. This pretty town will charm you with its Colonial flavor. Stop for a meal at Concord's Colonial Inn, built in 1716 and Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The inn is surrounded by landmarks of literary and revolutionary history.
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