The Journey is the Destination

Memorial Day Weekend: Riding through New England

in Massachusetts/Motorcycle Trips/New Hampshire/Vermont by

 

Bee Sting in Peterborough, NH at Nonie's RestaurantAh, finally, a long weekend! Even though it had only been a short couple weeks since our last trip, the need for adventure coarses through the veins at times, and it felt like we would never begin our trip! Originally we were headed to Gettysburg, Pennslyvania, but weather, time constraints, and wanting to do our first overnight motorcycle trip together kept us closer to home. No complaints here – it was awesome!   We watched the weather close, did some projects around home, and were ready to hit the road on Sunday. We started off from Nashua, NH and our first stop was in nearby Petersborough, NH at a quaint little cafe, Nonie’s. It’s pictured to the right in the shot of me sporting a bee sting. Yup, that’s right! A bee sting within the first hour of our trip… not one sting, but TWO! That nasty little bugger was hanging out on the back of my chair, just waiting… Bill flicked him off my back after the first sting only to have him land on my arm and get me again. Nothing a little ice and the best, “cleanest” breakfast burrito either of us has ever had, couldn’t cure!

Our first day of riding kept us in between the storms and clouds Clouds parting for us as we found our way out of New Hampshire and in to Massachusetts. The first day, I must say, was perfect. We experienced a couple drops when we left Petersborough but the temperature, sun exposure and company (of course!) were ideal. It’s a lot different on a motorcycle than in the car. As Bill pointed out, “Out here on the bike, you are part of the weather versus being a spectator in the car.” It’s so true! I’ve never been so aware of approaching storms, the blazing sun, or oncoming traffic as I was on the back of his bike! Oh, and how could I forget the bugs…   Our route was loosely planned but based partially on a trip we took in the fall of 2013. On that trip we discovered that many of the attractions we wanted to see were closed for the season. It had been such an amazing time, even with it all buttoned up for the winter, that we really wanted to go back. While we didn’t make it all the way to Lake George, NY and Barre, VT this time, we did hit many of those sites and yay for us – they were all open! Old Historic Deerfield, MA transported us back in time. Some of the houses date as far back as 1669 And even though we were there during graduation for the private school, Deerfield Academy, that operates there, it was tranquil! We walked the main street, looking at the old buildings, imagining what it must have been like to live during that time. During a simpler time before cell phones and texting… At the moment (and hundreds of other moments), I realize that in any setting, I’m glad Bill is at my side.

 

bridgeflowers The Bridge of Flowers in Shelbourne Falls, MA is absolutely beautiful and I love the concept! The great thing about my boyfriend is he knows all these interesting little facts and spots and the Bridge of Flowers is one of those places! This trolley bridge that was built in 1908 to connect the towns of Shelbourne and Buckland was unused starting in 1927 when the railway company went bankrupt. The towns people of Shelbourne Falls decided to plant flowers on the bridge as far back as 1928! Pictured to the right is the bridge with gorgeous blooming flowers and a romantic setting Bill and I wished we could experience over and over! We wanted to make sure we went up Mount Greylock but if we had more time, we would have explored both sides of the bridge. Shelbourne and Buckland are sleepy New England towns but they both offered a few unique shops and a bar or two! There’s always next time as we are sure to make it back there again!

 

mountgreylockDon’t get me wrong, riding on the back of Bill’s motorcycle is a rush already! But riding UP 3,491 feet on the back of his bike is another story all together! As we went up, and up, and up, winding our way around the road, dodging hikers here and there, I noticed the trees got smaller and smaller and I began to catch glimpses of mountainous views. It’s funny because Bill kept telling me, “wait until we reach the top!” but in my mind, I was thinking, “yeah, okay. I’m from Maine and this is Mass. I know about big mountains and this looks like a little hill”. Ha! Was I wrong! At the top, I was exposed to a 360 degree view of mountains! We stood at the highest point in all of Massachusetts! I didn’t realize there was a Veteran’s War Memorial (pictured left) on top of the summit of Mount Greylock but as I stood there, staring up at it, I felt… small, humbled and proud to be an American. As I mentioned, riding up Mount Greylock was an experience, but riding DOWN… well, let me just say, I was happy when we stopped at the bottom to plan our next stop! Bill, as always, was an excellent motorcycle operator! I gained a new respect for him and hairpin turns that day. Once safely at the bottom, we noticed it was getting later and our rear-ends were tender from our first long ride of the season. Now what to do? Ha ha, neither of us had made plans past this point. We took out our iPhones, pulled up our apps and went through some nearby options… this is how we landed in Great Barrington, MA.

 

Great Barrington, MA Children playing in the alleyGreat Barrington, Massachusetts is located in the southern part of the Berkshire region of Mass. And I fell in love with it! It’s not a very large town but it offers a lot on the two streets we walked. The two highlights of this place, in my opinion, were the kids playing instruments in a little alley and The Gypsy Joynt. The Gypsy Joynt was the place to be that night! The atmosphere is laid back and friendly and the best part is they put an interesting twist on their menu. For example, as an appetizer, we order the Frito Lay Chili and it is served in a snack size Frito Lay bag! Clever and tasty! My only disappointment was they don’t serve French fries. I have a love of French fries beyond words… right, Bill? But there fried sweet potatoes were a nice replacement. Our night in Great Barrington was a blast!  We hung out for a while and then made the 2 mile walk back to our hotel. It was just what we needed since we had been sitting all day.

We were happy to find a hotel since it was a last minute decision and a holiday weekend. Thank God for Priceline! Instead of paying $234, our hotel was only $100! I love being able to place my own bids for a room!

 

The next morning, we pulled out our trusty phones again to decide where to go. The weather was supposed to be gorgeous so we wanted an early start. We settled on Brattleboro, Vermont and took off! The weatherman pegged it wrong though and for the morning we went in and out of showers. One thing that stood out to both of us, I’m sure, was North Adams, MA. We took a minor detour for an ideal shot of some picturesque flags on Main Street and the GPS sent us all over the mountainside before putting us back on track. I have to give credit to Bill. He was put in some sticky situations on the motorcycle, and that was one of them, but he never lost his cool.

 

Hogback Mountain, VermontOn our way to Brattleboro, we came across Hogback Mountain. The name is funny but the view was awesome! I felt it was a little reward for the “sketchy” time in North Adams. They have a gift shop there with just about everything including a bathroom that was badly needed! Just as we were getting ready to leave, a fellow Valkyrie owner pulled up and Bill and him shared their love of them through a couple of stories about their bikes. Just what he needed to re-energize! We both fell in love with Vermont roads, as we raced down the mountain. It was such a smooth ride that we probably could have gone all day if our bellies didn’t start to grumble a different story. It was like we controlled destiny when Bill told me he was hungry, I said me too and then a mile down the road we saw a diner. It was the first place we had seen in over an hour! We took it as a sign and pulled in. I’m glad we did too as we uncovered a famous diner called the Chelsea Royal Diner. YUM! There’s a reason this diner has been around since 1938! Bill’s baked chicken dinner and my buffalo chicken sandwich for some of the best I’ve ever had! I’m drooling now just thinking about it! And yes, they had french fries!

 

After our bellies were satisfied, we continued on with our journey. Luckily, the sun was shining and we enjoyed our walk around Brattleboro, Vermont. I’ve never been to Burlington but Bill said it has that feel. There were a lot of unique shops and I noticed a lot of repurposing and interest in preserving our Earth. I didn’t get a picture of it, but there was a young woman watering the local flowers. She had a large pushcart, full of various containers of water. It touched our hearts to see someone care so much. We suspect she is a volunteer, donating her time, even on a national holiday. It speaks volumes to me and I begin to notice all the flowers in this little New England town. We had fun in Brattleboro. We were silly adventurers just happy being in love! The entire trip was amazing. And of course, I can’t wait for the next one!

Brattleboro2Brattleboro3

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