Stories from the Road

Western MA Journey

Western Mass Journey

As you turn left onto Route 66 and head west you will find yourself crossing into the little town of Westhampton. Now we’re not on “that” Route 66 or in the famous Hamptons of Long Island, but instead we are traveling through a little section of Western MA.

Route 66 travels between the towns of Northampton and Huntington, it will bring you west to route 112. It’s not a long road, maybe all of 20 miles or less however it’s a beautiful road to travel. Rolling New England hills quickly come into view when you reach about a 1/3 of the way into your ride. Just a little tease of what this area will show you on this motorcycle journey.

Long fast sweeping corners will give way to a short little stretch of down hill curves as you dip down into Huntington. The pavement is smooth and fast and you can test your courage or your lean angle of the motorcycle on this last little section of 66

Turn left onto route 112 south and you’ll find yourself on another tight technical twisty road as it follows the Westfield River south. Just a mile or so down the road pull into the parking lot of the Huntington General Store. A classic New England store filled with everything you don’t need, as well as a few things you do. I love to start this ride with a cup of coffee, and something freshly baked from the store. Sitting outside on the porch and watch the traffic drive by and chat with some locals.

When you’re ready to ride take a left out of the lot and take 112 north from the store. Massachusetts Route 112 is one of my all-time favorite roads in the bay state. It’s long, travels from Huntington north all the way into Vermont and finally ends on Vermont’s route 100. It’s a true motorcyclist road too, it will give you everything you want, fast long sweepers, tight technical turns and everything in between.

The first sections thru Huntington are tight and smooth as it dances with the Westfield River. You’ll come up to the Knightsville dam project on your right. For a quick detour turn and go check out the dam. At one time you could actually go up and drive over the huge dam. There are picnic tables in few spots here so it’s also a nice place to have a little break if you skipped coffee at the general store.

Continuing up 112 you start to climb in elevation and you cross over the river on a very unique bridge. Two large concrete pillars on each side of the bridge greet you as you cross over. Just ahead on the left is a scenic pullover spot if you want to catch another view of the dam. Fro here 112 becomes a fast road, long gentle sweepers of smooth pavement and very little traffic out this way make for a fun ride.

You’ll quickly cross into Worthington and junction with route 143 at Worthington Center. You’ll see another little general store in the center. These off the beaten path towns usually have a small general store in the center of town. Not too many Wal-Marts out this way, and that’s a good thing. I always try my best to stop into as many of these mom and pop stores as I can.

Now when you turn left to stay on 112 and you lose 143 the road changes a bit. You’ll find yourself approaching the little town of Cummington and 112 will give you some fits if you are not prepared. Some tight turns with quick elevations changes and sometimes bumpy pavement can be a challenge. Use care and pay attention as you come into Bryant Four Corners.

If you’re a fan of poetry and or classic old homes you can detour here and go visit the William Cullen Bryant Homestead. Tour the old home and walk around the beautiful grounds of this poets home.

“ and the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn Beauty stood “

As you leave four corners the road dips you down onto MA route 9. Like many longer numbered roads in MA 112 junctions and runs along with a few other numbered roads. Right away you’ll notice a building with a big cow on the roof, yes a cow. This is the Creamery, yup another general store and great restaurant. It’s worth a stop in here and treat yourself to something from the deli or just get another cup of coffee and relax outside on a picnic table. I’ll give you plenty of places to stop and eat along this ride. Surprisingly for such a rural area there are some unbelievably great food stops.

From here you’ll ride due east for a few miles as 112 and 9 are together. When 9 stays straight towards Williamsburg you’ll turn north and be on just 112 for a bit. Here the road becomes straight and fast for a bit. You’ll pass a state park named for the daughters of the revolution. A small but beautiful little state park where you can pitch a tent for the night.

Just ahead on your right you’ll notice a large tin man stature with a ruby for a heart. Another very unique spot to stop and take a walk around the three sisters sanctuary. It’s a very cool place to walk around and check out the art installations. A place where they say you can heal your heart mind and body to the merging of art and nature. The good time stove company is also on the site and you can go inside and see some beautiful old wood stoves. Take your time here and walk around and enjoy all the little hidden treasures.

When you find yourself back on the road and heading north you’ll come to the intersection of 116 and 112. This is another unique spot on the roads of Massachusetts. Why? Because you’ll be traveling in two different directions at the same time. This is where you’ll be on Massachusetts route 116 South and Massachusetts route 112 North. Or another words a wrong way concurrency.

If you want to take a quick detour for a lunch or a ride on another great Motorcycle Road in Massachusetts take a right onto 116 South and soon you’ll find yourself in the Little Village of Ashfield. You’ll have two great choices for eats here one will be on your left and It will be a place called country pie pizza. Then a little further up on the right will be Elmer’s General Store. Both fantastic places to stop for food.

For a fun ride stay on 116 for a few miles through Ashfield into Conway mass. Riders come from all over to Conquer the tight twisty curves of this road. When you reach I91 u turn and do it again and work your way back too 112 north.

Now this section of 112 is one of my favorites, some tight corners give way to fast sweeping turns as you cut thru western mass farms. You’ll have to junction with Route 2 , or better know as the Mohawk Trail out this way. Another gem of a road.

You’ll now find yourself in the town of Shelburne Falls, famous for the bridge of flowers. An old Railroad bridge that crosses The Deerfield river connecting the towns of Buckland to Shelburne Falls. Long ago it carried trains but now is a garden of plants and flowers.

112 also follows north river as it snakes north into the final town in MA called Colrain. When you ride thru the town center, check your speed thru here as the town speed limit is 25mph and it’s enforced regularly. Then as you leave town the road opens up once again into some gorgeous fast sweepers and you’ll notice some large farms with fields stretching out all around you. As you approach the great state of Vermont 112 will throw in a few tight turns to test your lean angles and keep you on your toes as it gets a little bumpy here as well.

Then a few miles over the state line 112 will end in the little town of Jacksonville Vermont, where you’ll find another little general store to stop at. You’ve just taken one of my very favorite rides in my area. I’ve done 112 maybe a dozen or more times in the years I’ve been riding. I remember riding my little RZ 350 two stroke on it way back in 1986, and almost every bike I’ve owned since.

Matter of fact it’s been a while since I’ve had a slice of pizza at me oh my love that country pie, I think I’ll strap on my boots and pull the RE Continental GT out and introduced her to my favorite Road in my home state! Maybe I’ll start in Vermont an ride south this time!