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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Exploring the Mohawk Trail

Peter L. Tomyl is president of the Mohawk Trail Association, one of the Commonwealth’s 16 regional tourism councils.  We spoke with Peter about this beautiful part of Massachusetts and what it offers to tourists year round.

 

Tell us about your career background and your current role with the Mohawk Trail Association.

I started my career working for a textile printing company and then moved over to the North Adams Transcript newspaper, where I started selling ads and worked my way up to Advertising Director and Associate Publisher. I became publisher of the Berkshires Guide in 1996 and then general manager of See Orlando, both tourism magazines, working with the Miles Media Group in Massachusetts and Florida.

I’ve been associated with the Mohawk Trail Association as a board member since 1977 and in 1996 became president of the Association, a job I have proudly held for 27 years.  I’m always thrilled to bring my marketing expertise to the Mohawk Trail, to creatively brand the region as a premier destination.  I love sharing the hidden gems of the region,  connecting visitors to the wonders, adventures and joys of our natural landscapes, state parks, state forest, historic and cultural sites, art galleries, boutique shopping, restaurants and exceptional museums.

The region also offers high-value, year round hospitality, including unique shopping experiences, great restaurants and comfortable and cozy lodging as well as camping.  The Mohawk Trail offers something different in all four seasons.

Mt. Greylock

Mt. Greylock

 

The Mohawk Trail Association is unique among our 16 regional tourism councils. Tell us about its origins.

In 1914, state officials created the Mohawk Trail Byway that generally follows an ancient Native American path leading from the Hudson and Mohawk River Valleys in New York to the Deerfield and Connecticut River Valleys in Massachusetts.  The entire area is noted for its scenic beauty, both natural and man-made.

The Mohawk Trail Association itself was created in 1951 by local businesses and public officials as a way to increase traffic and visitors to the Mohawk Trail Region, and to make it a year round visitors destination.  The distance of the Mohawk Trail between Williamstown in Berkshire County and Shirley in Franklin County is about 108 miles, with the Scenic Byway portion of the Trail stretching from Route 2 in Williamstown to the junction of Route 63 in Millers Falls.

When the Tourism Trust Funds was established in 1969  to promote tourism to Massachusetts, the Mohawk Trail Association was designated as one of the original 13 regional tourism councils. The region stretches over Berkshire County, Franklin County and parts of North Central Massachusetts,  totaling 49 cities and towns, each with their own unique beauty and charm.

 

Your marketing campaigns emphasize that the Mohawk Trail is a four-season destination.  What are some of the outdoor activities our readers can enjoy this winter?

The Mohawk Trail is indeed a winter wonderland.  It offers downhill skiing, snowboarding and tubing at Berkshires East Resort in Charlemont and Wachusett Mountain Ski in Princeton.  The region has some of the most scenic woodland areas in Massachusetts; the Mohawk State Forest itself covers 6,000 acres of mountain ridges, gorges, and woods.  You can enjoy cross-country skiing and snow shoeing at Mount Greylock, Stone Hill at The Clark, Natural Bridge, Ashuwillticook Bike Trail, High Ledge Sanctuary, Northfield Mountain Recreational Area and Poet’s Seat at Rocky Mountain in Greenfield. Snowmobiling is also available in some places.  Hikers can find signs of wildlife from tracks in the snow or enjoy ice fishing on many ponds and stream throughout the region.

 

And what about Mohawk Trail region’s cultural and historical venues and destinations?  

The is so much activity here in cultural and historical tourism this winter. The  Clark Art Institute in Williamstown is offering free admission for all visitors from January through March 2023. In addition to amazing art exhibits, you can enjoy hiking, snowshoeing and outdoor sculptures around the museum grounds at both Clark and the Williams College Museum of Art.  MASS MoCA in North Adams has several cool exhibits in 2023, including Sol-Lewitt, Deep Water and Ej Hill – Brake Run Helix.  Historic Deerfield offers workshops, demonstrations and events pertaining to the storied history of Deerfield and the region and you can enjoy culinary events such as an Italian Wine Tasting Dinner and Robert Burns Night with authentic Scottish fare at the nearby Deerfield Inn.

MASS MoCA

Looking forward to 2023, what are some of the highlights visitors can expect to enjoy?

For outdoor enthusiasts, the annual Outdoor Winter Carnival in Greenfield takes place February 3-5, featuring ice sculptures, a parade of lights, a farmers’ market and a four-mile sleigh bell run.   The WinterFest in Downtown North Adams and the surrounding area returns on February 18, featuring ice carving and sculptures, a chowder competition, horse-drawn wagon rides, free indoor ice skating and face painting.

On February 15, the Susan B Anthony Birthplace Museum celebrates the 203rd birthday of this famed suffragette who was born and raised right here in Adams.  The town of Northfield (1673-2023) celebrates its 350th Anniversary in 2023 and has a monthly schedule of cultural and historical activities, plus educational and fun events for children and families.

And finally, Richardson’s Candy Kitchen in Deerfield continues to be an iconic destination for locals and visitors, as it gears up to celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2024.

Susan B. Anthony statue, Adams, MA

Susan B. Anthony statue, Adams, MA

 

Thank you, Peter.

For more information, visit MohawkTrail.com.