Day/Date: THURSDAY -10/13/22
Town visited: Ashfield
Had you ever been this town before? No
Drive to town: 118 miles Time spent in town: 3 hours
What did we do in the town/area?
Today was the start of a three-day visit to western MA to enjoy the fall foliage and have some new town visit adventures!
Our first stop was Ashfield. It had rained a little bit on our drive there, but luckily, the rain stopped once we arrived.
Once in Ashfield, we headed straight to our planned hike at the Trustee’s Chapel Brook/Chapel Ledge site. We chose the Chapel Ledge Summit trail, which was above Chapel Brook. We took the summit trail to the top. This area also has a climber’s trail, with a 100-foot rock face that looked like it would be fun for rock climbers. The summit trail took a reasonably easy incline up Pony Mountain and were rewarded with two incredible views; one mid-way through of an old sheep pasture and the other at the top overlooking the highlands and the foothills of the Berkshires. The colors were a vibrant mix of orange, yellow, and green, and we were in awe of this beautiful view and our luck that it was not raining! We headed back down the trail and realized that the Chapel Brook side of this area was just across the street from where we parked, so we walked the short distance to the brook. It was pretty, and Jenny discovered a few mushrooms that she ooh-ed and ahh-ed over.
After our awesome hike, we decided to head to the town of Ashfield for lunch. As we drove along the very scenic Rte 116, we passed a little self-serve farm stand and a local theater/performance site called Double Edge Theatre, which was situated on a dairy farm and looked super interesting. This theatre company/art justice cultural center was founded in 1982 in Boston. They moved to Ashfield in 1997 and have been growing there ever since. We stopped and looked around for a bit as the barn had a vision statement painted on it, and the grounds were lovely, but there was not a lot going on at that moment, so we took some pics and moved on. But they seemed like a pretty interesting company!
We went into town, which was so picturesque with a sweet white chapel sitting amidst red and orange trees and a handwritten sign out from that said “Climate Justice Now” placed on the sidewalk in front. Just up the street from there was the Ashfield Town Hall, and behind it was a strange-looking structure that looked a bit like a gazebo. A really nice man who worked for the Fire Department came out to talk with us and told us it was the top of the town hall building and that it had been taken down for repairs. He said we could go up the hill if we wanted to take a closer look at it. So we did, and we took a few pics.
Countrypie Pizza was the one place we found in town open for lunch. They share a building and porch with the local Ashfield Hardware Store (which is more like an “everything you might need” store). Jenny got a slice of the BBQ Chicken pizza and said it was delicious! (Jo got a turkey BLT sub which was also delish). This building is right across the street from the local library.
On our way out of town, we made one final stop at Belding Memorial Park to view Ashfield Lake. As we headed down a little slope towards the lake, an eagle flew by just over our heads which was awe-inspiring. That was a cool ending to our Ashfield town visit!
We got back in the car and headed to our next town destination and the site of our first AirBNB overnight- North Adams.
Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Nipmuc, Wabanaki, Pocumtuc