This Scenic Drive is Perfect for a Fall Day Trip

Posted: September 27, 2018

With the first days of fall upon us, Yankee has predicted a vibrant, colorful 2018 leaf-peeping season, which may start later than historic averages. Nevertheless we encourage you to grab a hot apple cider, jump in the car and take in the beautiful autumn landscape in Central MA. The scenic byway of Route 122 is a 40 mile rural route running north and south from Paxton to Orange. Not only is it a beautiful drive connecting forests and rivers for plenty of hiking, wildlife watching, boating, and biking opportunities - it also rich with historical significance.

The “Lost Villages Byway” winds along the route past historic towns that were displaced when they disappeared under water during the Quabbin Reservoir construction in 1930.

Lore and legend surround the lost villages. If you’re a history buff its worth taking a stop at the Quabbin Reservoir visitors center in Barre for the breathtaking views and fascinating stories.

Start your journey getting fueled up at one of Worcester’s trendy brunch spots.

Worcester has become quite the dining city as of late. Take advantage of the new wave of restaurants and old favorites. Check out our guide to the hottest brunch spots for ideas or visit a nostalgic diner. It's the only way to start the day!

Now you’re ready to hit the road and start your journey.

Don’t forget your camera and good walking shoes! Start off on Pleasant Street in Paxton near the Worcester Regional Airport and head north on 122. 

Moore State Park off route 31 in Paxton is a peaceful place worth a stop for sightseeing.

Set on 730 aces, you will find waterfalls and cascades, a covered bridge, impressive stone work, trails, and even an old saw mill. Suitable for everyone from families to avid hikers.

As you head back up route 122, keep your eyes open for interesting stops along the way. You never know what hidden gems you will find!

Farm stands, abundant wildlife, foot bridges, hiking trails, rivers and waterfalls are some of beautiful features that line the scenic route. 

Rutland State Park is the next stop. A portion of the 300 acre recreation area has been restored for the Central Mass Rail Trail system.

On any given day you can find visitors walking their dogs, cyclists, mountain bikers, strollers, runners and hikers taking the side trails. For some ideas, check out this MassWildlife article.

If you want to end your route with a bang, branch out to Hardwick Winery for a tasting, local cheese, and breathtaking views of the Quabbin Reservoir.

Read our post on day-tripping in Hardwick. Or head to Barre where you can explore the Barre Falls Dam and Disc Golf or the Cook’s Canyon Wildlife Sanctuary.