The Mohawk Trail: Erving, French King Bridge


Once I made it to Massachusetts Route 2 for the drive west through the state, I was trying to balance my desire to sightsee with the need to make good time.  It was already mid-afternoon, and in early October, the days were quickly growing shorter.  So, I didn’t make any stops for a while, until I saw the rusting water tower at Erving, Mass.

You can’t really see it in this picture, but the tank was, long ago, painted with the town’s name.

I turned off the road, following the water tower…

… and found the ruins of an old factory, surrounded by fencing and signs that warned of asbestos contamination.

The “hose house” across the street also made for some interesting pictures.

Aside from the old factory, Erving offered a few stores, including a nice antique store — the kind with wood floors and a porch filled with interesting junk.

Just a few miles outside of town, Route 2 crosses the…

French King Bridge

It’s hard to appreciate the French King Bridge from the top of the bridge.  It’s a beautiful steel-arch bridge that spans the Connecticut River.  That center span is 460 feet long, and it passes 140 feet above the water.  Before the bridge was built in 1932, traffic had to detour through Millers Falls and Turners Falls to get to the next big town along the highway, Greenfield.

There are parking areas at both ends of the bridge, and plenty of room at the side of the road to walk across the span.  You don’t see a lot, though — just the Connecticut River Gorge below.

The best pictures of the French King Bridge that I’ve seen on the internet were taken from below the bridge.  There is no observation area or trail that leads from the bridge to a lower vantage point, but you can turn off onto Dorsey Road, a left turn as you’re headed west, just before the bridge.  It should lead to a couple of better viewpoints.

Turners Falls

Just a few miles west of French King Bridge, you’ll have another chance to look at another old span.  The bridge to Turners Falls (the town) passes directly over Turners Falls (the falls).  There’s a turnout on the eastbound side of Route 2 (that’s somewhat dangerous for westbound traffic to use).  The view is limited by the trees, so I couldn’t capture a spectacular picture.  It also didn’t help that the bridge is under major reconstruction (as of 2010).

Drivelapse Video

Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Erving, Massachusetts, through Greenfield and Shelburne Falls.

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