My first job just out of college was teaching math and physics at the Academy at Swift River in Cummington. I was thrilled to finally be “on my own” living with my best friend in a super cute $480/month apartment right in downtown Lenox, and I wasn’t about to give it up. The trade-off was the loooooooong, daily drive up and down Route 9.
It wasn’t until many years later that I came to know and appreciate the many treasures along my well-traveled route. Particularly, alongside a 6.5-mile stretch of Route 9 spanning Dalton and Windsor, where my kids and I now frequent a hiking trail and swimming hole beneath a gorgeous waterfall, stop for treats and animal encounters at a roadside farm and agricultural treasure and regularly explore 25 miles of wooded trails nestled within a World-Class Nordic Ski Resort.
If you’re heading to Route 9 from most points south and west, head directly up Main Street in Dalton and bear left on Route 9 (just past Cumberland Farms). Just few miles up the road, on your left, you will spot the entrance to Holiday Brook Farm…
After saying “hi” to the animals or selecting the perfect pumpkin, grab a few pieces of fruit or a snack and head east toward Wahconah Falls. You will soon see the road sign on your right.
The current is strong just beneath the falls and the spray makes the surrounding rocks very slippery for young adventurers. “No Swimming” signs are well posted in that area, but it’s just a short hike further below the falls to several sandy-bottom, shallow pools that are perfect for wading in and picnicking nearby.
Now, back to the car for another short drive further up Route 9 to explore the “Magic Wood” trails at Notchview.
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Holiday Brook Farm is located at 100 Holiday Cottage Road in Dalton, MA. The owners are super friendly and visitors are always welcome to explore the property from dusk till dawn. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 – 5:00 (and on Sundays and Mondays by appointment or “by chance”). We recommend stopping by in the Fall, for seasonal goodies or in the Spring, during sugaring season. ATTN: Gardeners. Their Black Gold Compost verges on miraculous! And, ATTN: Locals. The farm also happily welcomes leaf drop-offs during the fall (no debris or bags). Visit http://www.holidaybrookfarm.com year-round for a list of “available now” products and produce.
Wahconah Falls is a state park, but there is no parking fee. Restrooms are not available, but there is a porta-potty on site between Memorial and Labor Day. The right hand turn off for North Street/Wahconah Falls Rd is 2.6 miles up Route 9 from the center of Dalton.
Notchview is a 3,100+ acre property with 25 miles of trails. It is open to the public in the non-ski season. There is a donation box located beside the large, mounted trail map, visible from the parking area. The park entrance is located about one miles past the intersection of Rt 9 and Rt 8A. (From the East: About 3.5 miles past the Cummington/Windor town line.)