Pioneer Valley
Planning Commission

Pioneer Valley Transportation Authority Bus
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Connecticut River Scenic Farm Byway

Project Overview

The National Scenic Byway Program is a federal transportation program that provides funding for eligible scenic byway projects. Scenic byways are eligible to receive funding if the road has been officially designated as a scenic byway and a corridor management plan has been completed. The Connecticut River Scenic Farm Byway is one of two state designated scenic byways in the Pioneer Valley. The Hampshire County section of the scenic byway was designated as such by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2003, and a corridor management plan was completed in November 1998. In the Pioneer Valley, the Byway travels 14 miles along Route 47 in the towns of Hadley, and South Hadley, and it continues north through Franklin County in Massachusetts and into Vermont & New Hampshire. The Connecticut River Valley’s landscape has distinct natural beauty and classic New England farm village patterns. These landscape and historic features that are the basis of the establishment of the Connecticut River Scenic Farm Byway.

Current Activities

The Connecticut River Scenic Farm Byway Corridor Management Plan was completed in 1998, and established recommendations and priorities for promoting economic opportunities while protecting the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Byway. PVPC is working to implement the recommendations of the Connecticut River Scenic Farm Corridor Management Plan. To date, a number of these projects and programs have been awarded funding through the National Scenic Byway Program, and the PVPC is working to advocate for and advance these projects towards implementation.  The projects include: two grants for land protection along the corridor totaling $1.5 million and a tourism signage project to direct tourists to farm stands and other features.

Future Plans

The PVPC will continue to work to secure additional funding to implement the recommendations of the Connecticut River Scenic Farm Corridor Management Plan.

Links

Federal Scenic Byway Program website

Connecticut River Byway in Vermont and New Hampshire

Travel Experience and Features of the Connecticut River
Scenic Byway

The Connecticut River Byway route passes through the predominant landscape elements in the Connecticut River Valley: the Connecticut River, rolling hills, farmland, historic buildings, scenic farmsteads and small villages. Hundreds of historic structures and resources can be viewed along the byway, including large concentrations within the following National Historic Register Districts: Northfield Center, Montague Center, Sunderland Center, Hadley Center, North Hadley Center, Hockanum Rural Historic District in Hadley, and the Woodbridge Street Historic District in South Hadley. These village centers are steeped in the traditional agrarian culture of the region and provide a unique experience of rural New England. The unique elements of the Byway are best experienced in late summer through fall over the course of two days, but on could drive the Byway in about 2 to 3 hours.

The following list describes some of the most interesting natural and historic features that travelers will find along the Connecticut River Scenic Byway:

1. Connecticut River
2. Northfield Center
3. Great Falls Discovery Center
4. Montague Center Historic District
5. Sunderland Center Historic District
6. Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation
7. Historic Deerfield
8. North Hadley Historic District
9. Porter Phelps-Huntington House Museum
10. Hadley Center
11. Hadley Farm Museum
12. Norwottuck Rail Trail
13. Hockanum Rural Historic District
14. Skinner State Park
15. South Hadley Center

 

 

CT River

Connecticut River

The Connecticut River is the longest river in New England, flowing 410 miles from the U.S.-Canada border toLong Island Sound. It is the Pioneer Valley region ’s premier natural asset, a highly scenic river flowing through some of the region’s largest cities. It has been integral to the region’s historical development, being the choice settlement location for Native Americans and Anglo settlers. It is one of only 13 designated American Heritage Rivers in the United States.
Top

 

Northfield Center

Northfield Center

The center for commercial activity and residential development in Northfield began and remained along Main Street, the present day Northfield Center. The Northfield Center Historic District retains the character of a 19th century village and includes thirteen 18th century and sixty-eight 19th century buildings. The Northfield Center Cemetery is also highly historic with grave stones dating from the town’s early history in the 1700s.
Top

 

Great Falls Discovery Center

3. Great Falls Discovery Center

Located within the industrial village of Turners Falls and adjacent to the Connecticut River and canals, the Great Falls Discovery Center teaches visitors about the Connecticut River Watershed’s rich natural, cultural and industrial history. It is part of a park-like complex that is linked to: a rail trail that runs from Turners Falls to Deerfield, a walking tour circuit through the historic downtown Turners Falls, and the fish viewing area at the Turners Falls Fish Ladder.
Top

 

Montague Center

4. Montague Center Historic District

Montague Center is a picturesque village with rich historic resources that date from the 18th and 19th century. The National Register Historic District contains 234 properties that represent a range of architectural styles and includes community buildings such as the Congregational Church (1834), Town Hall (1858), Grange (1835), Masonic Hall (1855), and Main Street School (1855). The Montague Mill is a very popular tourist destination with two restaurants and a bookstore.
Top

 

Sunderland Center

5. Sunderland Center Historic District

Sunderland Center Historic District offers the experience of a traditional New England village with 180 historic properties along with outstanding views of the Connecticut River. The district includes numerous examples of architectural styles as well as community buildings which range from a Federal style bank to a Federal Revival style school. The immense Buttonball Tree, a several hundred year-old giant sycamore of national significance, is also located in the district.
Top

 

CT River from Mt Sugarloaf

6. Mount Surgarloaf State Reservation

Mt. Sugarloaf State Reservation offers a commanding view of the Connecticut River, the Pioneer Valley, the historic and picturesque Sunderland Center, and the Pelham and Berkshire Hills. From its summit can be seen some of the best scenic views of the broad agricultural landscape of the Connecticut River Valley and of the 18th and 19th century settlement patterns of the picturesque Sunderland Center.
Top

 

Historic Deerfield Map

7. Historic Deerfield

Historic Deerfield is a nationally-recognized open-air museum dedicated to the heritage and preservation of Deerfield, Massachusetts in its original 18th century village setting. Visitors can tour Historic Deerfield’s eleven house museums that stretch along an original, mile-long street. Museums and programs provide visitors with an understanding and appreciation of New England’s historic villages and countryside.
Top

 

North Hadley Historic Museum

8. North Hadley Historic District

The North Hadley National Historic District exhibits the character of a small agricultural village. It contains two hundred and two properties, including 18th and 19th century farmsteads, a village hall, a Congregational Church, workers’ cottages, a dam, and an early mill site at Lake Warner. Architectural styles include fine examples of Federal and Greek Revival farmsteads, Italianate residences and Stick Style barns.
Top

 

Porter Phelps Huntington House

9. Porter Phelps-Huntington House Museum

Built in 1752, the Porter Phelps-Huntington Museum is a Georgian period house with a long history of ownership by well-to-do farmers and land owners of the Connecticut River Valley. This historic house portrays the activities of a wealthy and productive 18th century household. Account books, diaries and other records created by the generations provide a rare insight into their farming and domestic practices as well as agricultural and social life in the Pioneer Valley.
Top

 

Hadley Center

10. Hadley Center

Hadley Center, settled in 1659, is a National Register Historic District that contains over eight-hundred properties, including fine examples of residential architectural styles; a historically intact town common that stretches almost one mile in length; a Greek Revival town hall; church; and school buildings. Archaeologists have discovered indications of an early palisade erected around the common to protect the settlement during King Philip’s War.
Top

 

Hadley Farm Museum

11. Hadley Farm Museum

The Hadley Farm Museum is located in a restored 1782 barn in Hadley Center. The museum is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting elements of the region’s Colonial farm life, and features the first broom-making machine, spinning wheels, a cobbler’s bench, a restored stage coach, and other historic artifacts of times gone by. The interior of the barn is a fine example of early American barn architecture with huge hand hewn beams, wooden pegs and rough-sawed boards and planks.
Top

 

Norwottuck Bike Trail

12. Norwottuck Rail Trail

Norwottuck Rail Trail is a popular 10 mile long pedestrian and bicycle path that connects Northampton, Hadley, Amherst and Belchertown along the right-of-way of an abandoned rail line. The Trail offers travelers an alternative transportation method of seeing and experiencing the historic and scenic agricultural landscapes of Hadley. An outstanding feature of the Trail is the bridge that takes travelers over the Connecticut River and into Northampton.
Top

 

Summit House and Farmland

13. Hockanum Rural Historic District

The Hockanum Rural Historic District is one of the few agriculturally based historic districts in the nation. This is an active agricultural district with forty-seven properties, including Georgian and Federal farmhouses, an 1840 intact schoolhouse, former inn, and fields, farm lanes and supportive agricultural outbuildings. The generations of families within this district followed traditional agricultural practices, rendering it virtually unchanged.
Top

 

Summit House on Mount Holyoke

14. Skinner State Park

The summit of Mount Holyoke at Skinner State Park offers one of the most famed and spectacular views in the entire Connecticut River Valley, famously painted by the Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole. The Summit House, formerly a 19th century resort, offers educational, interpretive material to visitors, including accounts from early writers of the 18th and 19th centuries who marveled at what the spot revealed of the valley.
Top

 

South Hadley Commons

15. South Hadley Center

The Byway concludes at the historic South Hadley Center Village Commons, just across the street from Mount Holyoke College. This area provides opportunities for shopping, lodging, and scenic strolls around the College. The College features a fine collection of buildings in the Collegiate Gothic architectural style as well as an art museum with a range of genres. The Woodbridge Street National Historic District is adjacent to the common and includes the Skinner History Museum.
Top

 

 

 

 

[an error occurred while processing this directive]