For old times sake, we drove to the Mohawk Trail. When I was growing up this was an annual trip during the beautiful autumn season to see the views. When my parents became grandparents, they often took our kids and they have fond memories of those trips too.
One of the biggest memories as a kid was the numerous gift shops that we stopped at on the way. My parents browsed in most of them and I would get some souvenirs, the most common one being a brown bag that was sealed so you couldn't see the contents but it said on the outside, "boy" or "girl". It was always a gamble what kind of toy you would get. I remember the aisles of the stores lined with moccasins, small log cabin houses that burned pine scented incense, beaded jewelry and knick knacks that said, "Mohawk Trail" or had some American Native theme.
There was another store that had animals to feed outside. Some had teepees or statues of Indians or wildlife to take your picture with. One had a wide wooden tower that you could climb the stairs to get a better view. Then there was the famous hairpin turn. It was all a unique experience that our family enjoyed.
It was sad to see many ghost-town like motels and gift shops, abandoned. Only a couple of shops remain. The wooden tower is there, but not in use--remnants of it's hey day, a time when I'm sure many families like ours took an annual trek. This served as a reminder that nothing is forever and to enjoy your moments and savor the memories you were able to make. Just as Mom is gone, so are some of the things that we enjoyed together. It was a bitter sweet experience being there again.
Off of the Mohawk Trail, we often stopped at Shelburne Falls, MA to see the glacial pot holes and the Bridge of Flowers. We were surprised that the bridge still had some beautiful flowers even though it was so late in the season. I imagine that in season it is beautiful, perhaps the only thing along the trail that has not deteriorated but continues to flourish. For that I am grateful.