While the dogs are away, the cats will play! My husband, dad, and brothers went off on a birthday weekend getaway, so of course I couldn’t just sit back and have a quiet weekend home alone. I asked my mom if she would go out on a little adventure for leaf peeping and hiking. Due to covid (ugh), we decided to stay within the state. We headed North West, up to the Berkshires. On our way, we made a couple of fun pit stops.
First, the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. This was such a beautiful environment, filled with wonder. And turned out to be a great learning experience in more ways than one. They had exotic frogs and lizard exhibits when you first entered. Then we walked into the butterfly gardens. The amount of butterflies was AMAZING! The staff was very friendly and informative. So as we learned a lot about butterflies, we also were given a big lesson in patience and being present! It was so nice to sit down, slow down, and take it all in.
This was a true test of patience for my almost 4 year old. She was adamant about holding a butterfly. We had to tell her many times not to touch them because it would harm them. Her “angry eyebrows”, as we call them, were starting to come out. Several times over and over she would put her finger in front of a butterfly that was just sitting on a leaf in hopes it would just walk onto her hand. Of course they never willingly walked onto her finger…she pushed that little finger right under their tiny legs. If you knew my Aria, you would understand how strong-headed she is and she wasn’t leaving until she held a butterfly.
Theo however, calm as can be…thoroughly enjoyed watching all the butterflies and looking around at all the plants. Twice a butterfly landed on his leg while I was holding him. Go figure. They most have known he was a safe one.
We hand our packed lunch in the parking lot before taking off to our next stop, Shelburne Falls! I’ve heard about this quaint town but had never spent time there. They have a cute town center to check out with shops and dining. Two of the more well-known attractions are the Bridge of Flowers and the Glacial Potholes. They were both very close to the town center and an easy walk to make. Unfortunately the Bridge of Flowers was closed due to the pandemic and lack of space to maintain social distancing. Looks like it would be a lovely experience in the spring time though. The Glacial Potholes were pretty neat to see, nature at its finest! The shapes and patterns on the rocks were incredible.
Walking back to the car we saw this beautiful building wall covered in the best fall foliage you could ask for.
Back on the road again… we headed to our final destination, North Adams. It was starting to get a little late to begin a decent hike so we opted for a very short one. After pulling over for a quick birds eye view at Wigwams Summit or “America’s Switzerland” (worth the quick stop ), we drove to Natural Bridge State Park. If you ever plan to visit, be sure to park in the actual Visitors Parking lot (off of McAuley Rd). We were on the opposite side where one of the trails ended and felt as if we were trespassing even though there was no signs stating no parking. Anyways, this was a very brief and easy hike to view the natural bridge and marble quarry. There are stairs, so don’t bring a stroller. Very pretty views, more water and rock formations!
Dinner in North Adams. There were a few restaurants to choose from but we went with the Freight Yard Pub. It had a funky location under a bridge and nice lively atmosphere. There was a live band outside we would have loved to enjoy but it was getting late so we didn’t wait for an outside table. Our meals were great! Aria devoured the fried fish bites and fries. Mom and I split steak tips and a sesame chicken wrap. Theo loved the mashed potatoes. Drinks were lovely! Everything was reasonably priced. I would definitely recommend and even return some day.
The next morning we waited for it to warm up a bit. It was barely 40 degrees when we first woke up. So we utilized the hotel pool and took our time packing up, in our spacious room. I brought my favorite portable crib by BabyDelightInc. Hotel rooms are obviously not baby proof, so it’s nice to be able to put Theo in there while getting ready and know he is safe.
Off to fuel up, we decided on a late breakfast/early lunch at Renee’s Diner. They offered outdoor seating with an outdoor heater. The Pumpkin Bread French Toast was AMAZING!
OK tummy’s full all around, now on to our hike… As usual, I used AllTrails to find a suitable trail for all of us …with a waterfall! I love trying to find waterfalls anywhere we go. The Cascades Trail in North Adams was beautiful. You start at the parking lot of their Elementary School/YMCA. It leads you through a gorgeous little neighborhood then onto the trailhead. Following the river pretty much the whole way up, with a rewarding waterfall at the end! This 2.2 mile trail was kid friendly with just a few challenging spots and is open to dogs on leash, however some were not. The water was so clear and the fall foliage was just perfect. We got exactly what we came for.
Heading home is always tough when you make quick road trips. We’re grateful to be able to have such a beautiful place within the same state. Now…time to plan our next adventure! Where to go?! Are you headed anywhere?
>> The New England Momma