Easthampton to Northampton Bicycle Commuting, 2008

Nov 17 2008
Old Springfield Road

Old Springfield Road along the Pynchon Meadows

It was my pleasure to bicycle commute from Easthampton to Northampton once or twice a week during the summer of 2008. I tried a few different routes before settling on one that skirted the edge of the Acadia Wildlife Sanctuary and the Oxbow. On several evenings I was treated to an amazing firefly show along the Pynchon Meadows.

My route started in Easthampton. From the rotary, turn onto Pleasant Street and continue past Eastworks and Liberty Street (the Manhan Bike Path crosses there, as well). Turn right on to Clapp Street and watch for signs for the Acadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Travel along the edge of the sanctuary and over the metal bridge crossing the outlet of Halbert’s Pond at the Oxbow.

River View at Dusk

Oxbow, from the metal bridge at Halbert's Pond

The road turns to dirt from there, but was generally fine for my hybrid bicycle. The road travels along the edge of the Pynchon Meadows and the Oxbow and past the Northampton Crew building. Then you cross the Manhan meadows, which had a cucumber field along one side during the summer of 2008. As you approach Northampton, the road is paved again. There is a short, very steep section that takes you into the neighborhood off South Street that overlooks the meadows. South Street has a nice bike lane until it meets the light at Old South Street. From there you can either continue straight to the intersection at the Academy of Music, or turn right and head towards Pleasant Street.

I don’t recommend this route if you are on a high performance road bike, as the dirt section along the meadows can be powdery/slippery when it’s dry out, and one area just past the pavement coming from Easthampton is sometimes washed out and very stony. However, it is a beautiful ride, and the road is good enough that I had no trouble riding back to Easthampton on my hybrid in full dark with a headlight. If I didn’t sightsee, this route took me about 20-25 minutes from the Easthampton rotary to Pleasant Street in Northampton, and a bit longer coming back. If you have time, there’s lots of birdwatching opportunies, and side roads to explore off this route. If you decide to visit at dusk, you must either keep moving or use insect repellent; the mosquitoes are terrible in the evening.

Map of Easthampton to Northampton by Bicycle

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