Massachusetts – Days 2-3: Flowers, Potholes, Peace, and Authors

Brittany Swanson   October 5, 2015   Comments Off on Massachusetts – Days 2-3: Flowers, Potholes, Peace, and Authors

To, I’m sure, no one’s surprise, I got off to a late start on day two in Massachusetts. I hadn’t realized the night before was a Friday until my host was staying up way later than I’d expect for a workday. I finally asked him what time he had to go to work in the morning and he laughed and told me that the next day was Saturday and he didn’t have work. I laughed and said, well it’s hard to keep track of the days of the week when it doesn’t really matter. We ended up staying up super late chatting and hanging out and so I didn’t get an early start the next day.

By the time I actually left I figured I wouldn’t be doing a whole lot that day, but that was fine with me. I’d had a great night and got to sleep in in the morning, so I was happy. My host had suggested I check out the Bridge of Flowers and Ancient Glacier Pot Holes in Shelburne Falls, MA. It was sort of on the way to my next host’s house and I wasn’t going to get to anything else I had planned for the day, so I figured, why not?

I’m glad I did. It was cool. The bridge had all these really gorgeous flowers that made me want to have a house with a garden so I could plant these flowers and look at them every day. It was kind of like the High Line in NYC, except shorter and with way more flowers and a scenic view of nature rather than concrete.

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA.

Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA.

The Glacial Pot Holes were cool too. According to the sign nearby, the potholes were created by whirlpools of water and stones in the glacial age. There were over fifty potholes in the area, including the largest pothole on world record – measuring thirty-nine feet in diameter. Pretty nifty, huh?

Glacial Potholes, Shelburne Falls, MA.

Glacial Potholes, Shelburne Falls, MA.

The host I was traveling to also suggested I check out something on my way. His suggestion was the Peace Pagoda in Leverett, MA. So I did. It was also really cool. They had you park down the hill and then walk up to the pagoda. At first I thought I was awkwardly creeping on someone’s house because I heard a lawn mower, but you know my motto, well, they can just ask me to leave, so I kept going. It was incredibly peaceful. I saw five deer on my walk up. The first one just stopped and looked at me for a minute and then ran off ahead followed by the others. I also saw like fifteen wild turkeys, just hanging out right off the road. It was awesome. When I finally came to the Pagoda I was impressed. I didn’t know what to expect but the architecture was so different from anything I’ve seen lately that it really struck me.

Peace Pagoda, Leverett, MA.

Peace Pagoda, Leverett, MA.

I wasn’t sure where I was allowed to go, and didn’t want to trespass and be chastised and ruin my happy vibe, so I just stood there for a while soaking in the positive atmosphere and asking the universe for continued guidance on my journey. Then it was getting dark and I wasn’t sure I’d have service to figure out where I was going next, so I headed back to my car.

Good thing I did, too. I did not have enough service. Thankfully, Google Maps is awesome, so I could see where I was on the map and knew the general direction of where I was headed. I managed to get myself somewhere where I had service and got the directions to my host’s house without any issues.

The following day I checked out Northampton, MA which a number of people had suggested. I didn’t stay for very long, but I loved it! It was the perfect size “small” town. It had a decent downtown area and seemingly a lot to do. The old school architecture was beautiful and all the shops added their own personality to the mix. I would’ve loved to have hung out and explored longer, but since I wasn’t buying anything I figured I’d gotten the gist of it from wandering around.

Northampton, MA.

Northampton, MA.

Next I headed to Walden Pond, yes, that Walden, the one Henry David Thoreau wrote about. Unfortunately, it cost a small fortune to park, especially since I had out of state license plates. I had only planned on stopping by, taking a picture, and then heading to the next place, so it wasn’t worth the $12, or whatever outrageous sum it was. I figured I’d drive and see if I could find somewhere else to park further down and just walk back.

I found a place, but it was a bit far and I was trying to make a walking tour put on by the National Park Service, so I decided to skip Walden Pond and go do the tour instead and maybe come back later. The tour was called Authoring a Nation and it took place at Minute Men National Historic Park. It wasn’t really a walking tour so much as an hour long lecture about a couple of the more famous authors from the area.

We met up outside the Wayside, the childhood home of Louisa May Alcott (author of Little Women) and later home of Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of The Scarlet Letter). Over the course of its use the Wayside housed twelve published authors. Which I thought was pretty impressive. The final resident being Margaret Sidney (Harriet Mulford Stone Lothrop) who apparently published famous children’s books (a series called the Five Little Peppers), though I’d never heard of her.

The Wayside, childhood home of Louisa May Alcott, later home of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Concord, MA.

The Wayside, childhood home of Louisa May Alcott, later home of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Concord, MA.

Our guide, fully dressed in park ranger attire, including the funny park ranger hat, told us about the history of the house and gave a short overview of its inhabitants. Then he launched into a big long spiel about Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was interesting, though some (most?) of it went over my head. It was pretty chilly outside so just standing in the shade was getting quite cold. In the end, I learned a few things and am glad I did it, though it definitely wasn’t riveting.

Still tired from my lack of sleep two nights ago, I went and took a nap in the car. I thought about going back to Walden Pond, but decided I’d seen enough of it through the trees as I drove by. It was pretty spectacular and I’d probably go back someday, but it was a little chilly and getting late, and I had a lot of blogging to catch up on. So, I headed to find internet and that was the end of day three.