Places to Visit

The World-renowned Bridge of Flowers

When the Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway ceased operation in the 1920s, the five-arch concrete span it used to cross the Deerfield River remained, and was crumbling into disrepair. However, a group of forward-thinking women in town proposed planting flowers on the bridge to keep it from becoming an eyesore. Eventually, maintenance of the bridge passed to the Shelburne Falls Women’s Club, a subcommittee of which oversees it to this day.

Today, nearly ninety years later, the Bridge of Flowers is maintained by a full-time botanical gardner and a team of volunteers. Both the span itself and both approaches offer an ever-changing display of flowering trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, bulbs, and annuals, blooming from April 1 to October 30. Tens of thousands of visitors from almost every country on Earth have logged their appreciation in one or the other guestbooks on either side of the bridge.

The Bridge of Flowers is a pedestrian thoroughfare between the Buckland and Shelburne halves of the village. From the front steps of the Dancing Bear Guest House, it can be reached by turning right and walking to the end of the block, where you can turn right on Cross Street and proceed two short blocks to Water Street. Turn left, and you’ll find the entrance to the Bridge of Flowers on your right.

Shelburne Falls Trolley and Trolley Museum

The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum is dedicated to preserving and operating Shelburne Falls and Colrain Street Railway trolley car No. 10. This car was built by Wason Manufacturing Co. in Springfield, MA, in 1896. It was delivered new to Shelburne Falls and has never left the valley. For thirty years, it served its namesake towns. For twenty years, it crossed the Deerfield River on what is now the famous Bridge of Flowers. 

Saved by a local farmer, it spent sixty-five years as a chicken coop, tool shed, and playhouse. Now, through the efforts of the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, you can ride it in the same freight yard where it used to load and unload passengers, apples, mail, milk, and other freight one hundred years ago. In addition to car No. 10, visitors can operate a handcar and see two streamline PCC cars from the early fifties (awaiting restoration), an early 20th c. passenger car, and a caboose, as well as numerous other items of railroading interest.

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Historic Deerfield

Historic Deerfield is an authentic 18th-century New England village within the town of Deerfield, about a twenty-minute drive from the Dancing Bear Guest House. This outdoor ethnographic museum is unique in that nearly all of the buildings are on their original foundations and were not moved there from somewhere else. 

Several houses are available to tour, each containing original furnishings and artifacts. Visitors can see demonstrations of colonial-era trades and crafts and explore Deerfield’s world-famous collection of early American crafts, ceramics, furniture, textiles, and metalwork. It’s a celebration of New England heritage.

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The Glacial Potholes

The “Glacial Potholes” began to form after the last glacier age, when the Deerfield River first started to flow over these rocks, about 14,000 years ago. The formation of these river-eroded features is thanks to the great glacial lake, Lake Hitchcock, that filled the Connecticut Valley and also extended into the lower Deerfield Valley. 

While Shelburne Falls was not under Lake Hitchcock, it was under the sediments of the Deerfield River that built a delta into the lake. When Lake Hitchcock drained, about 14,000 years ago, the Deerfield River was then able to cut downward into its delta sediments, exposing the gneiss bedrock, which began the eroding process that continues to this day.

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The Deerfield River

This major tributary of the Deerfield River invites visitors to some excellent water-related recreation. In addition to swimming, tubing, canoeing, and fishing, the Deerfield River has two sections of the river for whitewater rafting or kayaking: the Fife Brook section for class II and III paddlers, and the Dryway for class IV paddlers. 

In addition, there are tributaries along the Deerfield with class III, IV, and V rapids. Several local river trip companies along the Deerfield offer organized rafting and kayaking trips: Zoar Outdoor and Crabapple are both within a short drive of Shelburne Falls. For directions and reservations, please check out their webpage.

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Berkshire East Mountain Resort

Featuring the most skiable terrain in Massachusetts; the best downhill mountain bike park on the East Coast; three zip line tours; whitewater rafting trips in Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut; one of the longest mountain coasters in the world; an Adventure Park; and lots of facilities to host your event or to warm up in after a great day on the slopes, Berkshire East offers a mountain getaway for everyone.

The Blooming Inn is within 15 minutes drive of Colrain, Greenfield, Charlemont, Mowhawk Trail, Ashfield, Turners Falls, Adamsville, Buckland, and Highlands Disc Golf Course of Conway.

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