As I was walking through Conway, Mary, who works at the Historical Musem, warned me to look out for the heron nest in the woods that would be visible as I walked out of town. I figured I’d never be able to see it…. But I did! It’s high in the trees, right in the center of the photo.

Pumpkin Hollow, which is a great name for a part

of any town, is the split of roads between Shelburne Falls (North), South Deerfield (East) and Whately (South). (By the way, I think I lost my Fitbit somewhere around here).

This Noble New England Church was hit head-on by a tornado in February 2017. The winds were so strong that it shifted the entire building off its foundation. These may be some of the last photos , as it’s scheduled to be demolished this summer. Hopefully the congregation can rebuild soon.

The Field Memorial Library in Conway, Mass. It was built in 1901 and paid for by Marshall Field, the 19th-century businessman. He was known for his retail stores in Chicago, but he was originally from Conway, Mass.

I also learned that Marshall Fields had nothing to do with Marshalls…. That’s named after Alfred Marshall, who was born in 1919 (Marshall Fields died in 1906). (And Jordan Marsh was named after Even Dyer Jordan and Benjamin L. Marsh, c. 1860’s).

I think most people associate stone walls to New England’s past, quaint relics along with sleighs and hats with buckles on top. Not so. This stone wall near Conway was “started in 1976 and finished in 2015.”

It is scenes like this that remind me why I chose the backroads across Massachusetts. A little harder, a little hillier, but worth it.

Shelburne Fall’s Bridge of Flowers. Hard to believe the plan was to tear this old bridge down once the new one was built, until a member of the community has the idea to preserve and plant it.

 

 

Shelburne Falls has a cool little downtown with cafes, bookstores, and little shops. Here, Marjorie of Print & Dye Workshop writes her message to the governor.

You know it’s going to be a good night when you find these two books lying on the floor in the bedroom of the house you’re staying in.

The Deerfield River runs through the middle of Shelburne Falls. The two sides are linked by two adjacent bridges, one for cars, and an older one that was made pedestrians-only. A local activist suggested that instead of tearing the old bridge down, the town cover it with flowers. It became a well-known tourist destination (called The Bridge of Flowers) and restaurants and coffee shops popped up around it. This is a shot from that bridge, looking west.

Day 1: NY border to downtown North Adams 10 miles, 27,165 steps.

Day 2: downtown North Adams to downtown Charlemont 18 miles, 43,524 steps.

Over the last two days I sweated out 5 lbs!

Route 2 has dozens of these restaurants, guest lodges, motels, and houses that are abandoned, overgrown, burned out and delapidated. I wish I could have seen this area when the region’s economy was better and these places were thriving.

Chatting with Jim outside his home in Charlemont. Jim was an amateur racecar driver and, later, a long-distance trucker. We talked about Canada, hitchhiking, randomly meeting people we know while out on the road, and what a small world it really is. “These politicians,” he says, “They get into office, and then they forget about the people who voted for them. That hurts. That really hurts.”

The original town charter hangs in the Charlemont Town Office. It was presented to the town at its 250th Celebration in 2015. Today, Charlemont has a population of about 1,300 people.

I’m down from the mountains and entering Charlemont (note this sign is actually on the east side of town, and I was coming in from the west… But still a cool sign).

On Thursday, my friend Kristin met me on Route 2 to walk with me for the afternoon. Props to her for keeping me company on one of the hottest days of the year.

A family from Springfield swims at Mohawk State Forest. “We come up here every year,” said one of the swimmers. When I asked her to write a message for the governor in my book, she declined. “I feel like he doesn’t listen to us, anyways.”

Kristin and I got off the road, ditchedvour shoes, and cooledbour heels in the Deerfield River. About five minutes after she took this photo, I realized that my packs’s hip pouch, we held my cell phone, was sitting in about two inches of water. Goodbye cell phone and goodbye pictures of the first two days. New cell phone now and right as rain.

Talking to a retired librarian at Tunnel City Coffee Shop in Williamstown. “When the government wanted to come and collect lists of the books that people borrowed, we librarians fought them… And we won!”

My Walk Itinerary

Berkshires -> Pioneer Valley -> Central Mass. -> Southeastern Mass. -> Cape Cod

Day# / Date / Start / Walk Along… / End in … / (Day’s Distance)
Day 01: Wed. July 04th Start in… NY-MA border / walk along… Rt. 2 / End in … N. Adams (10 miles)
Day 02:  Thu. July 05th Start in… N. Adams / walk along… Rt. 2 / End in … Charlemont (18 miles)
Day 03:  Fri. July 06th Start in… Charlemont / walk along… Rt. 2 / End in … Shelbourne Falls (8 miles)
Day 04:  Sat. July 07th Start in… Shelbourne Falls / walk along… Rt. 116 / End in … So. Deerfield (14 miles)
Day 05:  Sun. July 08th Start in… So. Deerfield / walk along… Rt. 116 / End in … North Amherst (7 miles)
Day 06:  Mon. July 09th Start in… North Amherst / walk along UMass Campus / End in … Amherst (4 miles)
Day 07:  Tue. July 10th Start in… Amherst / walk along… Rt 9 / End near … Quabbin Reservoir (14 miles)
Day 08:  Wed. July 11th Start near … Quabbin Reservoir / walk along… Rt 9 / End in … W. Brookfield (12 miles)
Day 09: Thu. July 12th Start in… W. Brookfield / walk along… Rt 9 / End in … Leicester (14 miles)
Day 10: Fri. July 13th Start in… Leicester / walk along… Rt. 9 / End in … Webster Square, Worcester (4 miles)
Day 11: Sat. July 14th Start in… DAY OFF / WEDDING 0 miles
Day 12: Sun. July 15th Start in… DAY OFF 0 miles
Day 13: Mon. July 16th Start in… Webster Square, Worcester / walk along… Cambridge Street and Rt. 122 / End in … Grafton (10 miles)
Day 14: Tue. July 17th Start in… Grafton / walk along… Rt. 140 / End in … Mendon (11 miles)
Day 15: Wed. July 18th Start in… Mendon / walk along… Rt. 140 / End in … Wrentham (13 miles)
Day 16: Thu. July 19th Start in… Wrentham / walk along… Rt. 140 / End in … Norton (12 miles)
Day 17: Fri. July 20th Start in… Norton / walk along… Rt. 44 / End in … W. Middleborough (18 miles)
Day 18: Sat. July 21st Start in… W. Middleborough / walk along… Rt. 28 / End in … Wareham (14 miles)
Day 19: Sun. July 22nd Start in… Wareham / walk along… Rts. 6 and 6A / End in … Sandwich (15 miles)
Day 20: Mon. July 23rd Start in… Sandwich / walk along… Route 6A / End in … Barnestable (12 miles)
Day 21: Tue. July 24th Start in… Barnestable / walk along… Route 6A – Rail Trail / End in … Orleans (19 miles)
Day 22: Wed. July 25th Start in… Orleans / walk along… Route 6 / End in … Provincetown (25 miles)
Day 23 Thu. July 26th Start in… Provincetown / walk along… Breakers / End in … Long Point Lighthouse (3 miles)

FINISH!!!

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