Begin your day in Shelburne Falls, a village spanning the towns of Shelburne and Buckland. Shelburne Falls has no traffic lights but boasts two bridges, one for traffic and one for flowers – The Bridge of Flowers. It’s maintained by volunteers who create an ever-blooming garden of flowers, bushes and trees. This tiny village has a lot you can explore and is home to many restaurants, shops and artisans (check out the Shelburne Arts Co-op). Be sure to look for the giant glacial potholes adjacent to the Deerfield River. The Memorial Hall Museum is home to Pothole Pictures that shows classic, foreign and independent films plus the HD Live Metropolitan Opera. Close by is the Lamson & Goodnow Factory Outlet, a resource for American-made cutlery & kitchen tools.
Here in the western end of the Mohawk Trail where it reaches the Deerfield and Connecticut Rivers you leave Route 2 and head south along Routes 5 & 10 out of Greenfield. There are places here that historically reach back to very early settlements in America and where a host of battles took place between natives and settlers.
To get a real overview of the area, drive into downtown Greenfield and find the Poet’s Seat Tower. There are bright blue signs directing you from downtown on Route 2A going east. From there you can see the flat valley and the land of the pioneers who came here in 1677. Back in the center of Greenfield find Routes 5 & 10 and head south to Historic Deerfield. There are 11 museum houses to tour filled with world-class antiques and detailing the heritage of this early American settlement. Memorial Hall Museum in the village of Deerfield opened in 1880 as a “direct memorial to the inhabitants of this valley, both Indian and Puritan.” The Museum is also famous for its four Craft Fairs: the Spring and Christmas ones are held at the Exposition Grounds in Springfield but their Summer and Fall ones are held in the Village of Old Deerfield. Eat lunch or have a drink at The Deerfield Inn or make plans to stay the night there.
Just south on Routes 5 & 10 don’t miss stopping in to Richardson’s Candy Kitchen to taste their high-quality chocolates and candy which they have been producing for over 50 years. They were featured on the “Food Network” by Alexandra Guarnaschelli of The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Back on Routes 5 & 10 heading south, the next stop is Yankee Candle Village, the home store of Yankee Candle. Explore the Bavarian Christmas Village and the Nutcracker Castle. See more history in the Candlemaking Museum. As they say, “Come for the candles, stay for the fun.”
Head back up Routes 5 &10 and get to Turners Falls to visit the Great Falls Discovery Center to learn about the Connecticut River Watershed, its plant and animal life. You can view the canal and river and even visit watchable wildlife areas. Cross the bridge from Turners Falls back to Route 2 and a short distance from there is the very popular country drive-in, Wagon Wheel Restaurant. It has indoor and outdoor seating and a menu that includes locally made ice cream, home-made soups, fresh fish and grilled burgers.