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Perfect New England Travel: Bike Paths and Farm Stands

Luscious farm stands: The key to perfect travel through New England!

Luscious farm stands: One key to perfect travel through New England.

There are several secrets to quality New England travel. As you may have seen from my first article about Western Massachusetts travel, my husband, two zany cousins and I have been putting in the research so you can merely sit back and follow our suggestions. It’s been hard work, I tell you! (Burp.)

The next essential New England travel element: A delightful Bed and Breakfast!

The next essential New England travel element: A delightful Bed and Breakfast.

First, research bike paths in the region of New England that interests you. Triangulate a bike path close to a bicycle rental store that is also near a wonderful Bed and Breakfast. Sites like TrailLink.com provide nice, dorky methods to do this via zip code searches and star rating systems.

Find a fabulous rail trail, and you're off!

Find a fabulous bike rail trail, and you’re off!

In our case, we zeroed in on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail (yes, that is a real name, I didn’t just sneeze) near Cheshire, Massachusetts. Other amazing New England trails that I’ve tried are the East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island and the Minuteman Trail near Boston.

See if you can find a terrifying newt gloopily sitting on the bike path like we did!

See if you can find a terrifying newt gloopily sitting on the bike path like we did.

Colin and I rented bikes at a store near the mouth of the trail. My cousin Eric has a tiny folding bike (perfect for his Manhattan home) which he simply brought with him on the bus to the Berkshires. Andrew transported his bike by car from Connecticut… And off we rolled onto the trail! The crisp autumn air blew through the rainbow autumn leaves and the miles flew by. YIKES! I jammed on the brakes to avoid smushing the disgusting newt pictured, above!

Find a farm stand. Enter and spend half an hour eating the samples.

Find a farm stand. Enter and spend half an hour eating the samples.

Amid the sparkling glory of New England fall, we conquered all eleven miles of the rail trail with our trusty bikes. Our tummies growled with anticipation as we turned around our spinning steel steeds, because we knew we had passed a farm stand… and were headed right back towards it!

Guard those bikes well!

Guard those bikes well.

Eric stood guard at the bikes. Doesn’t he look intimidating in the photo, above? Colin, Andrew, and I charged into the farm stand. The sample table was piled high with heaven: pumpkin fudge, fresh mango salsa, cinnamon donuts, hummus and crisp chips… We stuffed our faces. Then we bought a vegetable pizza and ate some more, olive oil dripping down our arms.

Awww-- a baby pumpkin guarded by beefy pumpkin bodyguards!

Awww– a baby pumpkin guarded by beefy pumpkin bodyguards!

The bottom line: You simply cannot have perfect New England travel without excessive eating at farm stands. Where else is there such a primal intersection of the great outdoors, pretty sights, fresh ingredients, and deep frying?

Belly full, head back on the bike path!

Belly full, head back on the bike path!

Back to the rail trail we whizzed, our bike wheels munching the golden leaves. Colin tried a few miles on Eric’s tiny folding bicycle and his six-foot-two frame towered precariously over it.

Ooooh, bike trails are so much better when they go by water...

Ooooh, bike trails are so much better when they go by water…

The bike trail hugged blue water and the purple Berkshire mountains. “I can see why this earned a five star rating on that biking website!” said Andrew. “This is crazy idyllic!”

Return your bike to the rental place which also rents canoes!

Return your bike to the rental place which might also rent canoes.

We returned to the shop which rented our bikes, triumphant, and the owner’s dog was highly excited to see us. Then I accidentally locked Colin’s keys in the car and we sat in the parking lot for an hour until a leathery auto-mechanic chugged up and popped open the door. We recommend you do not lock your keys in your car during perfect New England travel.

Congratulate yourself on a New England travel day well spent!

Congratulate yourself on a New England travel day well spent.

The perfection was re-achieved once we hopped in the car and headed for an astoundingly eccentric and scrumptious meal at a place in Pittsfield called Elizabeth’s. Another perfect New England travel tip: There are GREAT restaurants out there. Consult your B&B host and/or Yelp to find them.

Go back to the Bed and Breakfast and find... cookies?!

Go back to the Bed and Breakfast and find… cookies?!

When we returned to our Bed and Breakfast– WHOA!– tea and freshly baked cookies greeted us! What more could you want? We went to bed full of fresh air and wholesome baked goods, eager to see the breakfast that would greet us in the morning. Ahh, New England travel… you treat us right!

Wake up to a delicious home-cooked breakfast! Yes, those are pumpkin-chocolate muffins.

Wake up to a delicious home-cooked breakfast. Yes, those are pumpkin-chocolate muffins.

How many places around the world can I do backbends? Next to cliffs?
A Hidden Hike in the Beautiful Berkshire Mountains
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