Being a lover of bridges and flowers, ever since hearing that a bridge of flowers exists, seeing it has been high on my New England bucket list. And the experience was even better than I expected! Not only can you see The Bridge of Flowers, but there are also many cool things to do in Shelburne Falls, MA. Even better, I visited in peak foliage season, so the gorgeous flowers had a backdrop of colorful fall leaves.
History of Shelburne Falls, Ma
Shelburne falls is a village sitting between the towns of Buckland and Shelburne on the Deerfield River. It was initially a significant fishing spot for Native Americans. Tribes would gather to catch salmon from Salmon Falls. Later, farming became the predominant trade, bringing a railroad stop and a trolley line.
The village is now on the National Register of Historic Places for its Victorian architecture and village layout. It is an excellent example of how many New England villages looked in the 1800s.
Shelburne Falls Now
Shelburne Falls is now a vibrant art community that draws many tourists.
The village sits on the famous Mohawk Trail. The Mohawk Trail is the first scenic road in New England. It is a popular route for people looking to enjoy the Berkshires. The original Mohawk Trail gave the street its name. It was used for trading by the local native tribes.
Things to Do in Shelburne Falls
Beautiful gardens are planted on a retired trolley bridge by the Shelburne Falls Area Women’s Club, a group of volunteers. It sits over the Deerfield River and is right in the middle of Shelburne Falls. A background of the mountains and the village complement the gardens. The bridge is open from April 1 through October 31. Entrance to the bridge is free, but donations are appreciated.
The walk over the bridge is flat and easy, but there may be crowds.
View Salmon Falls from the Viewing Platform.
The viewing platform is just a short walk from Bridge Street. In front of a dam are beautiful cascading falls. Even more extraordinary are the glacial potholes directly below the viewing platform.
Walk Through Downtown Shelbourne Falls.
The brick and stone buildings are stunning, and there are many stores to browse through. The town has art galleries, coffee shops, and stores, as well as a bowling alley.
Read the Mosiac Murals Scattered throughout the Area.
There are 12 murals around the area, including two large ones in the village, teaching about the area and local history. Read more about the Shelburne Falls Mosaic Murals Project.
We asked a local for advice, and he recommended this local, no-frills dinner. I enjoyed my grilled turkey, cheese, and bacon on rye with Thousand Island dressing.
This open-air bakery with sandwiches and soups looked very popular.
Catch a View. (Otherwise known as Take a Hike.)
High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary
I am a sucker for a view and an area for birding, so I headed up to the local Audobhan area. High Ledges a short, flat hike, which ends in a stunning view of Shelburne Falls and the Deerfield River.
It was confusing to get to the parking lot and figure out the trail to take to the overview, so I will help you out.
The parking lot is not well-marked but is an opening in a stone wall on the left side of Patten Road (coming from Shelburne Falls), at the mountain’s peak. If you start going back down the mountain, you went too far. GPS did a good job getting us in the right area, just not to the precise spot. There are two parking lots, and we were fortunate to park in the closest lot.
Once you start your hike, stay to your left as the trail splits. You will go through three gates. The last veer (less than 1.2 a mile) to the left will bring you to the lookout of the Deerfield River Valley and Mount Greylock. Quite a reward for a pretty easy hike!
Because this is an Audobhan area, dogs are not allowed.
Check out their website for all the trails in this wildlife sanctuary.
Hike to the Top of Mount Massaemett.
If you are looking for a more strenuous hike, read further about climbing to the stone fire tower above the village.
Visit a Farm
On your way into Shelburne Falls, you will notice many farms and sugar houses. We stopped at Apex Farmstand.
Visit the Trolley Museum.
I had just gotten back from touring the Rock Hill Trolley Museum in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Trolleys are such an intriguing part of old-world nostalgia that I would love to come back to tour the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum. How cute would it be to take a trolley ride around the area?
Try your Hand at Candlepin Bowling.
This form of bowling with smaller balls is a very New England activity. And in downtown Shelburne Falls, you can try it at one of the oldest bowling alleys in the country.
Parking in Shelburne Falls
Street parking in Shelburne Falls is free but limited to 2 hours. If you go to the end of Deerfield Street, there is a lot where you can park all day.
Have you been to Shelburne Falls? It is definitely one of my favorite places I have visited in New England. I can’t wait to come back in the spring to see the bridge and town in bloom! It is an ideal way to spend a New England fall day.