Today we traveled across Massachusetts to North Adams, a small town nestled in the Berkshire mountains in the northwestern part of the state. Though our goal was to stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art, we were waylaid by Addison’s nap, and had to put off our visit until tomorrow.
When she finally woke up, we had some time before dinner and decided to visit Natural Bridge State Park, home to the country’s only naturally-formed white marble arch. Spanning Hudson Brook, the arch was created by glacial meltwaters about 13,000 years ago, but the bedrock marble itself is 550 million years old. Below the arch is a 60-foot deep gorge, the sides of which also were carved into beautiful layers and curves by glacial meltwaters.
Prior to being named a state park, the area was a marble quarry from 1810-1947. As part of the operations, a mill was built onsite, as well as a marble dam.
We had a great time hiking up from the entrance of the park up to the parking lot, then through a small sculpture garden, on our way to see the dam and arch. Though we would have preferred to park at the top, the park closes at 5pm. On the plus side, we saved the $2 parking fee, and met quite a few locals as we wandered through the park.
Addison hiked almost the entire way, refusing to let us pick her up. She really digs moving on her own two legs! It was a good length for her – we spent about an hour walking through the park. Though she enjoyed touching the flora, she was most interested in watching the water flowing into the gorge.
It was a fun time for all, and we even saw a snake! (Though only for a few seconds – it quickly slid back under a rock as we walked by.)
Directions to the trailhead:
From East or West/Rte. 2: Take MA Rte. 2 to North Adams and intersection with MA Rte. 8 north. Turn onto Rte. 8 north and continue for 0.5 miles to McCauley Road and park entrance on the left. Follow the dirt road; it soon becomes paved.
From North: From VT Rte. 8/100 at the Massachusetts-Vermont line, follow MA Rte. 8 south for 3 miles. Turn right on McCauley Road and park entrance. Follow the dirt road; it soon becomes paved.
From South/MassPike (I-90): Take Exit 2 in Lee and follow US Rte. 20 west to US Rte. 7 north to Williamstown for 31.7 miles. Take MA Rte. 2 east for 6.2 miles, through downtown North Adams to MA Rte. 8. Turn left onto Rte. 8 north and follow for 0.5 miles. Turn left onto McCauley Road and park entrance. Follow the dirt road; it soon becomes paved.