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By Mary Lhowe
The variety of Massachusetts, from Cape Cod Bay to the Berkshire Mountains, is on display in the selection of fall foliage drives, below. The western mountains yield beautiful color and wide vistas. Areas that are burned into the story of America’s Revolutionary War, like Lexington, Concord, and Minuteman National Historical Park, echo with history. The Connecticut River Valley, cutting a path through the center of the state, is filled with charming towns and waterways. [Map of Massachusetts] Below is an overview of some of the best drive routes. Find more drives and details at our Massachusetts foliage drives page.
Mohawk Trail / Route 2 from Harvard to Greenfield — This rural route includes stops at two fascinating places in New England history. One is Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, originally an 1843 utopian community. Today, visitors can explore an old farmhouse, a Shaker Museum, galleries of art by American Indians and painters of the Hudson River School. Stretch your legs on the property’s trails. A delightful side trip takes you to Historic Deerfield in Deerfield. This 330-year old village has 12 houses from the 18th and 19th centuries and three art galleries. Enjoy a hearty meal at the Deerfield Inn. Route map.
Mohawk Trail / Route 2 from Greenfield to North Adams – This part of the Mohawk Trail passes through the northern end of the Berkshire Mountains. The Greenfield terminus places you near Rocky Mountain Park on the Connecticut River. Enjoy a vigorous walk around or near the Poet’s Seat Tower. Shelburne Falls is a pretty riverside town, with views of a downtown waterfall and pleasant galleries and walks. Plan ahead and schedule a zip line tour at Zoar Outdoor or Berkshire East, both in Charlemont, close to Route 2. At Natural Bridge State Park, a natural arch of white marble reminds you of nature’s artistry. Route map.
Summit of Mount Greylock — Driving to the peak of Mount Greylock in the northern Berkshires is an experience you don’t want to miss, and fall colors make the views extra special. The summit is 3,491 feet and the drive up the mountain is a twisty road with beautiful woodlands on all sides. From the summit from it you can enjoy views of the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Taconic Range. At the top, visitors may wander about among local wildflowers and photograph the majestic tower honoring the state’s fallen soldiers. At the summit is Bascom Lodge, offering meals and overnight accommodations. Region map.
Lexington to Lincoln to Concord Drive — This drive is only six miles, but it travels through the places where the American Revolution began (stealth history lesson for kids and adults). The tour passes Lexington Battle Green, North Bridge, Battle Road, Orchard House, Colonial Inn, the Old Manse, Concord Museum, and Emerson House. An option is to park temporarily take a narrated bus tour with Liberty Ride. Try not to miss Minute Man National Historical Park in Lincoln. Concord will delight you with is Colonial flavor. Concord’s Colonial Inn, built in 1716, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Route map.
NORTH OF BOSTON / CAPE ANN REGION
Rockport / Gloucester / Essex / Newburyport Drive — This drive tour will take you near the most lovely coastal towns of the state. The two arms of the drive encompass the town of Newburyport, packed with art galleries and restaurants, and located midway between Salisbury Beach State Reservation, a long, beautiful beach anchored at the north end by a slightly honky-tonk commercial area, and Plum Island. The other drive begins Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, a historic house on a hill above a large estuary, and then travels through Essex, Gloucester, and Rockport, home of the famous Motif #1. Route map.