Ride the Connecticut River on Two Wheels

My husband, Paul, and I love to explore by bicycle, and we love a water view. When you can combine the two, it’s a recipe for a great day out. The Connecticut River affords many attractive options. In this article, I describe one on the lower Connecticut and one in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Brattleboro Hinsdale Bridge

A greenway with historic bridges and an island park, community connections to businesses, social services, recreational trails, and revitalization of downtown Brattleboro, Vermont: these are among the many benefits associated with a long-anticipated new bridge at the Connecticut River Route 119 crossing between Brattleboro and Hinsdale, New Hampshire.

Hiking the New England Trail over Mt. Tom

Formed by ancient volcanoes some 200 million years ago, Mount Tom’s summit ridge is one of the most unique and spectacular natural areas of western Massachusetts.


Dating back to the 1800s, it’s been an image tied to the Connecticut River: rowers in shells—long, impossibly slim boats—cutting through the water, powered by four or eight students, each hauling on an oar and steered by an ever-encouraging coxswain.

Duck Hunters

The Hartford portion of the Audubon Christmas bird count is unlike any other in the Connecticut River Watershed.


Fall is for walking, and among the many attractions in the lower Connecticut River Valley are the numerous and varied trails in the 1,000-acre Preserve, which one
can enter from the north via Ingham Hill Road in Essex, where there is public parking.

Deerfield River

With a largely undeveloped watershed stretching from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the Berkshire Hills and Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts, the Deerfield River is one of New England’s most picturesque and historically significant waterways.

Fort River

The Fort River Birding and Nature Trail is a well-engineered, universally accessible trail that opened in 2014. It allows visitors of all abilities and ages to experience the diverse habitats and wildlife.


You walk into a dark grove of trees, chanting the rhymes of a poem. You note the bundles of five needles and long cones that mark these as white pines. And then it is on to the next clue, and the next.

Rail Trails

Diverse rail trails help preserve the central Connecticut River watershed’s rich railroad heritage. After many of the region’s railways, including the extensive Boston and Maine Railroad network, discontinued during the twentieth century, conservation and community organizations created trails on the abandoned corridors.

Sailing into the Wind

Among my favorite memories is when my sailing camp got the whole day to race against each other in different sailboats.

Cold Weather Safety

“Maybe better that we die because then we won’t be embarrassed.” So muttered I to my duck hunting partner as the outgoing tide took our eight-foot pram and us, shivering and soaked to the skin, out from the mouth of the Connecticut River towards the grim waves of Long Island Sound on a freezing winter day many years ago.

Turners Falls Area Winter Birding

In March 2019, a flock of 20 tundra swans made an unexpected overnight visit to a historic canal at Turners Falls, Massachusetts, one of the Connecticut River watershed’s finest winter birding destinations. The swans, which breed in the Arctic and overwinter on the mid-Atlantic coast and other regions, delighted fortunate observers before departing the next morning.

Early Morning Row

The best time to row is early in the morning when the water is quiet and the only people on the river are morning fishermen and crabbers.

My Secret Ledge

When I go there now, two or three times every week, I walk to the end of one road and trudge up a broken old
woods road into the state forest.


The first thing that hit me was the
smell—a damp, woodsy, uplifting
aroma that can only be described
as the scent of Christmas. After
several hours in the stale air of my
car, the pungent aroma of balsam
fir was invigorating

Nature’s Heart

Everyone has a favorite place in nature. Ours is a rocky outcrop rising 300 feet above our village on the Connecticut River. Native Americans called these ledges above the stream valley Tomheganompakut, meaning “at the Tomahawk Rocks.” The hard, granitic schist was the source of their stone axes, or “Tomhegan.”

Cycling the Valley

There’s good reason that magazines such as Outside and National Geographic have repeatedly recognized Northampton, Massachusetts, and the small communities surrounding it, as one of the best places in America for outdoor activities. The three counties hugging the banks of the Connecticut River in Western Massachusetts boast easy access to dozens of state forests and parks, a national scenic trail, dramatic views and, of course, the ever-present river, threading through the center of the Valley.

Take Me Fishing!

Can you take me fishing?” If you are a parent who fishes, that request from your child may prompt the proverbial happy dance. Most anglers pray that their kids will follow in their waders. However, if you can’t tell an improved clinch knot from a Windsor, or a yellow perch from a bullhead, you probably would rather be asked where babies originate.

My Love Affair With Kayaking

When I was nineteen, I moved from Texas to Massachusetts to attend Hampshire College. I had lived my whole life up to that point in a hot, flat landscape, so when I moved North, I wanted to get to know the landscape as intimately as I could.