It was time for me to have a break. Just a day away, or overnight, helps me refocus and actually accomplish more when I return. But I was perplexed. Where do I go, and I thought and thought before remembering The Old Mill Inn in Hatfield, Massachusetts, that I had stumbled upon on-line, and filed away in my mind. That will be it for this escape. Their on-line booking was easy, and I booked the Waterfall Room for Monday 16 January. Why? You may not know that when moving to Walpole twenty years ago, my late-Cathy and I traded our shop and home atop a thirty foot waterfall in New Preston, Connecticut, for the sound of church bells here on the Common.
Former home and book shop of Ray Boas, Bookseller, in New Preston, Connecticut, from 1995-2002.
Why Hatfield, and where is it? Actually unless you plan to go to Hatfield, you will not just stumble through. Next door to Northamption, sandwiched between the Connecticut River and I-91 and US 5 and Route 10, you have to plan to go there. Close, yet remote. And once there you are experiencing fantastic architecture and river side flat land that has supported tobacco, onions and potatoes for ages. I am usually very good at planning my trips, and thought I had everything figured out. Ends up restaurants I wished to visit are now closed Monday nights, and many of my scouting stops (even though advertised as open) were closed. But “adapt and adjust” and I had a great time, and bought enough books for a profitable trip, and two Pullman Railway Car books for my own enjoyment.
Unlike Vermont and New Hampshire maps that are distributed everywhere to encourage tourism, Massachusetts maps are impossible to find. In fact, my last two I had to request from the Massachusetts DOT, and they mailed them to me. So, I just ordered another so I can mark up a map to show you my route on this adventure. I have been on all these roads before (except into Hatfield) but winter is different, you can see more, and I went in the opposite directions than I usually go in. So, here we go heading down Route 10 from Keene to Winchester, cross the state line, pick up Route 63 through Northfield, and into Millers Falls.
stopping in a shop in Millers Falls, I asked, and learned that Town of Montague includes: Turners Falls, Montague Center, Millers Falls, Lake Pleasant and Montague City. This is an interesting area, and worthy of further exploration. I arrived for lunch, as planned, at the Lady Killigrew Cafe at The Montague Bookmill which is in an 1834 grist mill — see a pattern to my explorations?
From this mill I headed down Route 47 to Sunderland, then looped up US 5 to scout, turning around to visit Yankee Candle’s massive store. Had not been there in years, and fun to walk through. Almost out the door I saw this Airstream cooler – let it stay there for $550. But I have been sharing my Vintage Camper Toy collection on various vintage camper Facebook pages, and shared this. The response was amazing.
You also may wish to browse the page of my collection – Ray’s “VINTAGE CAMPER TOYS” – and you are encouraged to do so. If you find one I do not have, let me know. Below one of my “treasures.”
Then back to Sunderland, south on River Road on the west side of the Connecticut River, onto Main Street then over to The Old Mill Inn.
I had booked the Waterfall Room — left corner top floor, three windows each side out from the corner. I will return.
and, looking out my window – sorry about the screen, but you get the idea. The roaring sound was so wonderful.
and, at night
on the porch looking across the river to an old metal bridge, closed and deteriorating. A vision of the past.
Marsha and Shannon run a great little cafe in the Inn, open from about 8 to 11 AM. Great breakfast sandwiches. So, the plan for daytime scouting and exploring escapes in BB1 or BB2 come springtime on the loop on the map above will be to stop here, get a bite to eat, and sit at a table on the porch.
And, below is the Inn as you enter the parking lot. A group of ladies had gotten their sandwiches, and were at a table off to the right, chilly but warmed by the sun.
After enjoying my breakfast sandwich in front of the pellet stove in the Inn’s common room, and chatting with folks, I headed off to Northampton for some shops. And, alas, just like I failed with restaurants on Monday night, my planned stops were either no longer there, or not open as advertised. But I continued west on MA 9 through Williamsburg to Goshen where I turned north on Route 112
I shared Williamsburg with you in August 2021, during a wonderful stay atop Mount Greylock. That trip (that pattern again) included mills at Hancock Shaker Village and in Williamsburg. I love revisiting and traveling my posts – and you also may enjoy again – BACK TO MOUNT GREYLOCK and WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS – 18-20 AUGUST 2021
Once on the Mohawk Trail (Route 2) I circled through Shelburne Falls, down to scout in Greenfield, and then home on the super slab. And, then it has taken me with all my other work almost six days to get to completing this journey to share.
1-Look at my map above, great territory to explore, get out there for a day trip. On the way home stop at the Whately Inn or Deerfield Inn for dinner.
2-Go out of the way – it is not really, but just remote – and see Hatfield. Great architecture, old farm land and tobacco barns (hope you know how to identify one).
3-Subscribe to many area history and travel email sources – I get many ideas this way
4-Stay safe and well
As always, luv, RAY