For two off-the-beaten path attractions in Western Massachusetts, visit Shelburne Falls, which is home to the Bridge of Flowers and Glacial Potholes.
Each summer when my dad and I attend the Green River Music Festival in Greenfield, Massachusetts, we look for new places to explore on our way to or from my home in Boston. Together we’ve wandered around some of my favorite Massachusetts towns including Concord and Northampton, and once, after spending the night in Brattleboro, Vermont, we took a scenic drive home through New Hampshire.
This year as we were leaving our bed and breakfast, Poetry Ridge, on Monday morning following the festival, the owner recommended that we head to Shelburne Falls, a place that wasn’t at all on my radar. Even though it was about 20 minutes west – in the opposite direction of Boston – we decided to check it out and found two one-of-a kind attractions.
Visit Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
We found the village of Shelburne Falls to be a typical New England town – lining its main thoroughfare, Bridge St., is a church, book and antique shops, and restaurants. What draws visitors around the world to this quiet spot on the banks of the Deerfield River, though, are its two one-of-a-kind attractions, the Bridge of Flowers and the Glacial Potholes.
Bridge of Flowers
The Bridge of Flowers is exactly what it sounds like – more than 500 varieties of annuals and perennials camouflage an old trolley bridge that was abandoned in 1928. Volunteers have been continually planting flowers on the bridge since 1929.
The Glacial “Potholes” are actually 50 natural pools ranging from six inches to 39 feet in diameter – the world’s largest pothole– that have been carved into the metamorphic rock since the end of the last Ice Age 14,000 years ago. The potholes sit at the base Salmon Falls, and you can get a great view of the potholes, falls and hydroelectric dam from the lookout spot at the end of Deerfield Ave.
Tips & Recommendations for Visiting Shelburne Falls
- Shelburne Falls is about two hours directly west of Boston and about an hour north of Springfield, Massachusetts.
- Less than 2,000 residents live in Shelburne Falls, but its downtown has a lot to offer if you are going to stop and explore for a bit. There are art galleries, books shops, yoga studios, and even a bowling alley. We enjoyed some snacks and coffee at Mocha Maya’s on Bridge St.
- If you’re going to be passing through the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, I recommend visiting the Springfield Museums in Springfield, and the historic house museums of Deerfield, and the Eric Carle Museum or Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, which is also home to Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts.