We planned a quiet day with a number of stops.
First, we headed down the Mohawk Trail into North Adams to stop at my Aunt Leone’s house that I visited in the 1950s. It was still there with changes.
Then we headed to the Natural Bridge State Park. in the park are located the longest natural marble bridge and the only marble dam in North America. The marble quarry located here was active from the 1800s until an explosion and fire in 1947 destroyed the milling factory. (An accident in which two of my mother’ cousins perished.) After that the quarry was privately owned and operated as a tourist attraction, then purchased by the state for a park in 1984. The park is quite lovely and cheap — no parking fee was charged today — usually $6.00 for out-of-staters. It was interesting to see the carvings on some of the rocks — many 70 or more years old.
After viewing the park we headed to the Western Gateway Heritage Park which in addition to highlighting the history of North Adams, includes a lot of really interesting information about the building of the Hoosac Tunnel – the 4.5 mile tunnel through/under the Hoosac Mountains that connected Albany and upper NY to the thriving metropolis of Boston. Built between 1851 and 1875, the tunnel was an engineering marvel and is still used today although nothing like the era when 50 or more trains per day went through it.
It was now time for lunch so we headed to Clarksburg State Park which had a picnic area next to a pond. After lunch we decided to take the Pond Loop Trail around the pond. It turned out to be longer than we anticipated, so we eventually doubled back for a total of 3.3 miles. Along the trail we had enjoyed the hemlock forest, marshy areas with heron, and a beaver house.
After a quick stop at Walmart for groceries, we headed back to our campsite for a pleasant dinner while watching the sunset, birds fly, and moon rise.
-- Janet (text) and David (photos)