October 12, 2011

Zipping along the Mohawk Trail

An old Indian Trail, used by the Pocumtucks and the Mohawks was modernized to accommodate automobiles at the turn of the century and became the Mohawk Trail, one of the first scenic highways in the US when the Massachusetts legislature designated it as a Scenic Tourist Route on October 22, 1914.

The 63 mile stretch of Route 2  from Exit 16, between Petersham MA and Orange MA, all the way to the New York State border, just west of Williamstown MA, has become a popular tourist destination, especially in the fall.  There are lots of great towns along this quiet country road that takes visitors over the mountains and through the woods of western Massachusetts.

Thumbnail image for View of the Mohawk Trail from a Berkshire East Canopy Tour zipline platform

Among the many things to see and do along the Mohawk Trail, there is a marvelous spot about halfway along  in Charlemont MA, which combines the natural beauty of the landscape with a newly popular but actually ancient sport of ziplining.   Berkshire East, a wonderful ski resort in its own right, is now home to Berkshire East Canopy Tours.

Ziplining is a great adventure any time of the year, but especially breathtaking in the fall.  This innkeeper went on September 28th when the fall foliage was just starting to develop and is sure that this week and next will be even more glorious in the gentle Berkshire Mountains.

The Mountain Top Tour, the medium priced of the three offered, is a great experience and a bargain at $85.   There are 7 sip lines varying in length from 250 feet to 800 feet.  It is an exhilarating experience.  Not recommended if you are afraid of heights but otherwise there are no special skills required.  Two guides accompany the group through the whole trip.  Children must be at least eight years old and weigh between 70 and 275 lbs for the Base Tour and at least 12 years old and weigh between 100 and 260 lbs for the Mountain Top Tour.  On the Mountain Top Tour there is even one spot where 2 people can race!
The Race is on at Berkshire East

Three different tours are offered.  The Base Tour at $30 pp for four zips is a great place to start, the Mountain Top at $85 pp for seven zips is a great deal and the top of the line Valley Jumping Tour which takes you over the Deerfield River 200 feet in the air and back on 1half mile long zip lines at $110 per person.  (That's one of the next things on this innkeeper's Bucket List!)

With the Mountain Top Tour takes a couple of hours to complete, even if your group is small, so make a day of it or better yet a weekend or even a mid-week getaway with a stay at Clamber Hill Inn in Petersham MA.  Berkshire East is just an hour and 15 minutes west of the Inn and Clamber Hill is a great place to come back to and unwind with a cold one.   Berkshire Brewing Beer is available at the Inn to top off a great day in the Berkshire Mountains!

The back terrace at Clamber Hill, a good place to unwind

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