Day/Date: FRIDAY -10/14/22
Towns visited: North Adams (City) & Clarksburg
Had you ever been to any of these towns before? Yes we have been to N. Adams but No, we have never been to Clarksburg
Time spent in town(s): 20+ hours
What did we do in the town(s)/area?
NORTH ADAMS: We arrived in North Adams on Thursday evening after our visit to Ashfield. We had reservations at the Wigwam Western Summit Cabins, located right on Rte 2, a.k.a; the Mohawk Trail. There is a pretty notable “Hairpin turn” on this road, and our cabin was just about 1/6 of a mile after that turn. Our very kind host, Lea, welcomed us from inside the gift shop she also runs. This gift shop and set of cabins have an incredible view of the Hoosac Valley and a mountainous range. It’s a place many people call America’s Switzerland, and fall is a fantastic time to be here. The forecasted rain had been holding off all day, and we were so happy to be able to get settled in and take in the scenery before it came. This place came with two wooden Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, and a wooden outdoor shower that faced the mountains. We had been hoping to use the fire pit, but after settling in, we went out to explore and grab a bite to eat for a little bit, and when we returned, it started raining. But that was ok because we were fed and had a scrabble game. Plus, there was actually something quite soothing about the rain.
In the morning, the rain subsided and it left behind an incredible scene over the mountains of a fog that we could see was coming our way. We took our time getting packed up and, we most certainly did use that outdoor shower. It was so awesome! So much so that, at different times throughout the rest of the day, one of us would look at the other with a smile and say, “that shower, though.”
Sure enough, the fog we had been watching lifted and headed in our direction. For a time, it was so thick that we were hesitant to drive as we were planning on heading down into the downtown part of North Adams, which meant going towards the hairpin turn. So we decided to take a short hike on the Hoosac trail, which was within walking distance of our cabin. As it had poured all night, and we didn’t want to fall in any mud, we took our time walking. It was kind of magical being in the forest amidst the fog. Jenny looked around for mushrooms and I just took in the smells and sounds.
At some point, the fog lifted enough for us to begin our descent into the downtown area to get some coffee and explore this city.
After we parked, we noticed a large outdoor sculpture sandwiched between City Hall and Mass MoCA. It’s called Big Bling by Martin Puryear.
This piece has been traveling as a temporary art exhibit in several cities. It is now a part of The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (a.k.a Mass MoCA), the largest contemporary art museum in the United States. Mass MoCA was once a shoe factory in this once very industrial old mill town. North Adams has seemed to reinvent itself by trying to use these old mill buildings in new ways such as artist workspace and housing lofts, pop-up stores and more.
We headed to another independent coffee roaster called Tunnel City Coffee in North Adams, which has cafes in both North Adams and Williamstown. Their North Adams Cafe is located at Mass MoCA. The coffee was really, really, yummy, and the place had a nice vibe. I kind of wished I had some work to do so I could have holed up in there! Anyway, we also bought some beans to take home.
There was also a taco truck within the Mass MoCA complex, and we were hungry, so instead of going to Jack’s (a hotdog place our bro-in-law told us about a while back), we opted for a couple of tacos, and wow, we were so glad we did! The folks at Chignon Taco truck not only made our delicious tacos, but they also treated us to their delicious spirit as they unabashedly sang along to Celine Deon songs while making our food.
Well-fed and caffeinated, we journeyed on to explore the North Adams Library. This library is in a beautiful building, once called the Blackinton Mansion. It was donated as a library in the late 1800s. And it feels like an old house generously loaded with books. There is a beautiful wooden staircase and a sitting room that feels like you have traveled back in time a bit.
After all these adventures walking around downtown, we decided to take another trek in the woods and head to the Cascades Trail. We parked at a school and wandered through a neighborhood before reaching the head of this 2-mile path. The trail follows along Notch brook. It is supposed to lead you to a cascading waterfall at the end. Unfortunately, due to the rain the night before, the last part of the trail that led to that waterfall was flooded, and there was no way to pass without getting soaked. But we got to enjoy most of the trail, which was lovely.
The last discovery we had in North Adams that we just happened upon was the area known as Blackinton. We were driving through it, and Jenny noticed a hiker crossing sign right next to a sign that said Blackinton Historic district. So we turned around on this fairly busy road, and Jenny got out to explore. It turns out the Appalachian trail crosses here, and the signs for the AT North and South go right through this neighborhood. People are obviously friendly about it, as there was a water hose with a sign telling AT hikers to help themselves to the water. We thought this was pretty cool.
After that little excursion, we journeyed on to the small town of Clarksburg, just to the north.
Just north of North Adams is a small rectangle of a town names Clarksburg, with a population of about 1600 residents. We drove to the town hall and then tried to find the library, but failed. (Looking back, we think it may have been behind the local elementary school). In looking for the library, we did find the Clarksburg Senior Center and a park for sports. The Senior Center was advertising an art show the next day for local seniors.
This town borders Vermont, so we drove to the state line. Interestingly, the sign that marks the entry into VT is a typical white sign with the seal of Massachusetts in the middle.
Our All Trails App noted a trail in Clarksburg State Park, so we headed there. This state park also has a campground, which was closed for the season. In fact, the sign said the whole park was closed for the season, but we went in anyway. We were unable to hike the pond loop trail around Mauserts’ Pond because it was washed out from all of the rain the night before. So, we walked along the camp road. It was really beautiful at the pond, as the lake was reflecting the clouds and the mountains.
After our visit, we found out that the Appalachian Trail goes through Clarksburg near East Mountain in the Clarksburg State Forest. We would have had to trek 3 miles in to actually come across the trail, so we didn’t do that.
There were no restaurants or stores in the town. We are guessing that residents go into nearby North Adams for their food and services.
Indigenous/ Native land info for this region:
NORTH ADAMS & CLARKSBURG: Wabanaki and Mohican