This past Monday, Columbus Day, was a gift in many ways. Following several days of gloom and rain, Western Massachusetts was treated to three full days of warm sunshine. I took advantage of Monday’s loveliness to ride the Manhan Rail Trail from Northampton to Hadley with some friends and check out the progress of the new bridge over the Manhan River, and the trail extension to Southampton.
While I was excited to be riding on this beautiful day, I was just as excited to get to the section of the trail with the new bridge. The last time I was there in July, crews were doing the prep work for the bridge section, and I knew that the bridge would now be in place. I am so looking forward to riding from home in Northampton to Southampton without going on MA Route 10, which can be narrow and tricky in places. This completed bike path is going to be fabulous to ride, and a great tourism boost to Western Massachusetts [but I’ve told you that many, many, many, times before!].
As we rode by, there was a crew actively working on the site. Yay! I’m very glad that this bridge has the same beautiful rust patina as its slightly older sibling over Route 10.
Further along, we got a chance to ride on the new extension of the Manhan Rail Trail from Easthampton to the Southampton line. Smooth like butta! The landscaping was lovely, and a crew was at work putting down the root barrier to protect the trail from vegetation.
The end of this extension puts you in Southampton, on a lovely road which doesn’t look like you’d be a block away from the large grocery stores and shops on Route 10, but they’re at the top of the street.
We headed back to Northampton via the back roads through Easthampton and Westhampton. Of course, I missed the turn I always do, so we got in several more miles than we’d intended, but those extra miles included these views, so we couldn’t complain too much:
It was a good thing we had stopped for food in Easthampton, as those calories came in handy as we made our way back into Northampton. All in all, it was one super day of cycling in Western Massachusetts.