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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Weekend in central/western Mass -- Help needed

    Hi all - The wife and I are looking to spend a weekend in central or western Mass in September, mainly because it's an area neither of us has spent much time in. I'm an avid biker and hope to find a place where I can shred some trails for a few hours, and she's looking for a quaint or fun downtown, with maybe a rail trail nearby for her hybrid. Anyone got any ideas?

    I was reading Wendell State Forest has loads of new singletrack, though with Northampton and Amherst more than a half hour away I'm not sure what towns would be a good jumping off point. Ideas?

    The MTBR trails reviews say Leominster State Park is a great time -- agreed? And what would be a cool town to crash at nearby?

    I've also read Vietnam is a great ride -- are Milford or Woonsocket or any other nearby towns fun?

    Lynn Woods over in the east is a possiblity, maybe crashing in Marblehead.

    I appreciate the help and suggestions. I'll happily guide a group through Ringwood in northern NJ as a thank you.

    Justin

  2. #2
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    Could check out millbury. Rayburn and Singletary are the trails for you. Rayburn can be ridden in about 2 hours. I think singletary might be a little bigger. Its all really tight singletrack. Millbury also has a bike path its probably only a mile or two long. starts in millbury and ends in worcester. The bike path parking on the millbury side is right next to Blackstone Shoppes. Basically bunch of stores and restraunts. I wouldnt plan a week end here but if you have time stop off on your way through it could be worth it.

  3. #3
    pepito
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    northampton/amherst is hard to beat for what you're describing. noho's downtown scene is great on the weekend, and there are miles of nice rail trail, not to mention great mtb'ing.

    there's a bike shop in amherst , and they'd be more than willing to hook you up with some excellent area rides. http://www.laughingdogbicycles.com/

    another shop right in noho to check out: http://bikeshops.mtbr.com/cat/united...8_6256crx.aspx

    enjoy the trip!
    "Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling" ~James E. Starrs

  4. #4
    achiever
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    Northampton is what you're looking for. A great place to ride is Mount Holyoke Range State Park. Do a search for Mount Holyoke map and you'll find more than enough riding for a weekend.

    Red

  5. #5
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    What red said,

    Hit NoHo and look to ride either over at Earl's/ Batchelor St OR take rte 9 west out of Noho and ride the DAR State Forest in Goshen.

    The DAR is beautiful, great trails-all on the map available at the entrance (which is on rte 112 North in Goshen--go 25 minutes on rte 9 west and make the turn in the middle of Goshen onto rte 112 North the entrance to the DAR State Forest is about .5 miles up on the right hand side. Great swimming lake and camping facilities there as well.

    Batchelor St and Earl's Trails are also wonderful--best bet is to find the dirt parking lot off of Batchelor St in Grandby, MA (use mapquest, etc)-the lot is on the left hand side about a mile down-you'll see the cars-try to hook up with some locals (always very friendly) in the lot if you can--and, if you're a strong (very strong) rider you might want to try to go out with the Competitive Edge Bike Shop gang in Hadley on their sunday morning ride (be warned-that ride is for self-sufficient rippers only). Anyway here's a link to a very comprehensive, color coded map of the Holyoke and Skinner State Forests (Earl's and Batchelor St)-:

    http://www.hampshire.edu/cms_html/Holyoke_Range.htm

    Either way-Batchelor St or DAR-both are great and very mountain bike specific destinations!


    From a purely great place to go standpoint-you can't beat the hip and artsy (great food, music and bars) scene of NorthHampton. There's a nice rail trail in Northhampton that links it with Hadley and Amherst.

  6. #6
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    Awesome, thanks guys. I figured Northampton was a good place to stay but I didn't see any mention of Holyoke Range State Park on the MTBR's trail reviews. I'll check with one of the shops when I get there, but anyone have any directions for the trailhead and best 2 or 3-hr loops? Also if I show up at the trailhead on a Saturday morning, will I be able to hook up with any riders going out? Thanks again!

  7. #7
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    For the Holyoke range do a mapquest search for Batchelor St. in Granby MA, and you should see it on the map that Superbman gave you, also this bike shop www.peakbikes.com is right near there and I've found them to be very helpful.

    If you spend a night in Northampton I would recomend the deck at the Northampton Brewery or The Dirty Truth, both are great bars

  8. #8
    achiever
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    Northampton bars? Ye Old Watering Hole is the place to go, it's a beer can museum, too!

    ... or maybe not

    Red

  9. #9
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    Northampton has every type of restaurant you can want. The rail trail there is particularly good. If you start on the NOHO side of the river, your first 1/2 mile takes you across the CT river. Along the ride are ice cream stops, bike shop, turn outs for Wal-Mart/EMS plaza, Medium Size mall/Movies, etc. Ten - twelve miles out you are at the back door of Amherst college. Amherst itself is a cool little college town. There are 5 colleges in the area so both towns will be buzzing. For neearest hotels check - NOHO, Hadley, Amherst.

    Batchelor St is just over the mountain from Amherst. Closest and all around best (IMO) of the above named trails.

    Depending on which weekend, the Big-E will be going - largest fair in New England (potential concerts). Six Flags is open weekends. Yankee Candle is twenty minutes up the road from NOHO.

  10. #10
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    NoHo is what you want. Nothing more to add about that town, I think everyone else has covered it pretty good.

    For info on riding in that area. check out Crankfire.com
    http://www.crankfire.com/trails/trail.php?trailid=65

    or this link for a good map of the area
    http://www.hampshire.edu/cms_html/Holyoke_Range.htm


    Also, if you post the dates you are going to be in the area, I am sure you could find a fellow MTBR member to be your guide.

  11. #11
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    Awesome, thanks again guys. Great info!

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