This tri-state route is perfect for viewing the autumnal splendor when the green forests of New England transform into the red, orange and yellow floral displays in the Fall months. Starting in the Berkshire region of Vermont, US-Hwy 7 plunges south along the western edge of Massachusetts all the way to the Atlantic Ocean at Norwalk, Connecticut. Along the way, picturesque towns and villages provide ample photo opportunities and historic attractions.
Here are some highlights along the route.
Bennington, Vermont (Starting point)
Bennington, which was established in 1749, has three historic districts that feature numerous walking tours. Bennington County is home to five covered bridges and the town of Bennington is home to the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum. Bennington is less than an hour drive from Albany, New York, and it is three hours from Boston, Massachusetts. US Highway 7 from Bennington south to the Vermont-Massachusetts border passes through the southwestern most corner of Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest.
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, (mile 34)
Pittsfield is the largest city in the Berkshires. It is home to the historic Colonial Theatre, the Berkshire Museum, and the 200-year-old Hancock Shaker Village. Perry Pond is the highest natural body of water in Massachusetts at an elevation of 2150 feet. Pittsfield State Forest is located a few miles west of Pittsfield. Note: This route intersects with RTA route Boston to the Berkshires: A Literary Journey in Pittsfield.
Lenox, Massachusetts, (mile 42)
The original path of US Highway 7 passes through the center of Lenox. The Church on the Hill is on Main Street and it was built in 1805. The Mount, which was the estate of Edith Wharton, is open to the public. The Ventfort Hall Mansion and Guilded Age Museum is on the U.S. National Register of Historic places. The Berkshire Scenic Railroad offers 90 minute, 20 mile roundtrip train rides through the Berkshires to Stockbridge. Lenox is located five miles from the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90).
Stockbridge, Massachusetts, (mile 49)
Stockbridge is home to the Bidwell House Museum and Norman Rockwell Museum. The Bidwell House Museum offers visitors a chance to see what life was like the Berkshires during the mid-1700s. Alice's Restaurant is in Stockbridge.
Great Barrington, Massachusetts, (mile 57)
Great Barrington is home to the church where the story of Alice's Restaurant begins. Great Barrington Housatonic River Walk is a National Recreation Trail. Searles Castle is a castle that is located in downtown Great Barrington. If you're hungry while in Great Barrington and since this is a US Highway 7 route, then you might want to give the Route 7 Grill a try.
Bartholomew's Cobble, Massachusetts, (mile 67)
Bartholomew's Cobble is a National Natural Landmark located near the Massachusetts-Connecticut border. Hurlburt's Hill provides hikers a panoramic view of the Housatonic River Valley. The area includes the Colonel Ashley House, which was built in 1735. Spring wildflowers can be seen from mid-April through May.
US Highway 7: A Connecticut River Road (mile 80)
Just south of Falls Village, CT, US Highway 7 becomes a river road the runs along the Housatonic River. It hugs the river to New Milford through the Housatonic State Forest, the Cornwalls and Kent.
Cornwall, Connecticut (mile 87)
Cornwall Association website claims Cornwall is the 'greenest town in CT.' Cornwall is a great place if you like to visit old cemeteries (it has ten of them). West Cornwall Covered Bridge crosses the Housatonic River and it has has been continuous service since 1864. In 2010, Yankee Magazine ranked The Cornwalls as the 18th most colorful spot in New England. Dudleytown is a ghost town located near Cornwall and it would be fun to visit, but sources on the web say police will fine people found trespassing looking for it.
Kent Falls State Park, Connecticut, (mile 93)
In 2010, Yankee Magazine ranked Kent number one in its list of top 25 foliage towns in New England. Kent State Park is a state park is a series of waterfalls on the Falls Brook, a tributary of the Housatonic River. Kent Falls State Park is located in the Litchfield Hills of the South Berkshires. Bull's Bridge, which in located in Kent Falls State Park, was built in 1842 and it spans the Housatonic River. The bridge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Danbury, Connecticut, (mile 127)
Numerous historic old buildings line Danbury's Main Street and the Flanders Historic District. Tarrywile Mansion and Park is one of Danbury's most popular parks. The Danbury Railway Museum is located at Union Station, which is on U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Meeker's Hardware Store is he only hardware store on the National Register of Historic Places.
Norwalk, Connecticut, (mile 151)
Norwalk is the southern terminus of US Highway 7. Norwalk is known as 'Oyster Town' and the Oyster Festival is held during September. South Norwalk is along the Long Island Sound and the Sheffield Island Light is a must see. Norwalk is considered part of the New York metropolitan area. Via I-95/US Highway 1, Norwalk is 50 miles east/northeast of New York City, NY, and 33 miles west/southwest of New Haven, CT.
Autumn in the Bershires region of Massachusetts
Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto.com / © Denis Jr. Tangney