Exploring BGL Club Trails (Terry Holland)
Published on Thursday, January 20, 2011 in Guest Columns, News & Updates
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On this fine day, a small group of us headed out from the Worcester area to go riding. We had never been on the trails from Northfield Center heading west so we figured it would be a good day to go exploring. We parked behind the police station in Northfield and followed the trail across Main St. towards Gill. On this particular day there was not a lot of snow on the Rt. 10 bridge, making it a bit hard to stay on the sidewalk. Once we got past that, the riding got to be a much better. We followed Rt. 10 and found a turn for Bernardston, to the right. We continued on up to the Windmill Motel. At that point the trail crosses over Rt. 10 right beside the motel. If you’re ever looking for overnight lodging and a place to ride from, the motel is right beside the trail system. You should talk to the owners about leaving your trailer there for the day, but I would guess if you’re doing an overnight, they wouldn’t mind.

The loop down into Gill is Trail #10 on the SAM map. It is a pretty ride, the day was warm and a lot of riders were out. We followed the trail all the way down to Rt. 2 and saw signs for food and gas along the way. Like any other riders, we are always looking for those two things. We came upon a small lounge and headed inside to grab a bit of lunch. But, as luck would have it, they didn’t offer much food. As we mounted the sleds, one of us wondered out loud if anyone needed gas. Everyone said they were okay to go. Well, about a mile from the gas turn-off our friend Craig ran out of gas. Funny? Yes, but also typical of our trips. Andy and Craig took two of the machines back to the lounge to see about gas. The owner was great. He gave Craig the keys to his truck, a gas can and sent him in the right direction. The rest of us stayed back and enjoyed the sun and some sliding on the hillside.

Travel Tip: Trail #10, will take you all the way down to the French King Bridge and if snow allows, riders can cross the bridge on the sidewalk. On the east side of the bridge you will come to the French King Motel and restaurant. They are open during the winter with limited room availability. The restaurant is open all year long for dinner. From the rear of the French King Motel you can ride north on the trail to Northfield.

Once we were okay with gas and sure everyone was all set, we headed out again. Following the trail signs to Bernardston, we crossed back over Rt.10 and landed in town, then followed the Purple Meadow Road Trail (#10A). We found many of the trails on the map are named after the roads they cross or route numbers. Winding along this wonderful trail brought us to a connection with Trail #5. It was a wide trail, along the woods. There was an area where logging had been done, but it was not too bad at all. The woodsmen left the trail in pretty good shape. Continuing on Trail #5 we finally came to the bridges that cross over I-91. The town seems to leave a shoulder of snow on one side for the snowmobiles to use when crossing. There are two bridges, so it is a long bit of road work. Once you cross over 91, the trail goes off to the right.

We had heard that the Bernardston-Gill-Leyden Club was having a cook-out and figured we should pay a visit. Driving through the fields past the sugarhouse, we saw a campfire. They had just finished off the last of the food (as you know, we were now running a bit late), so we visited for a while then decided it was time to eat. A member gave us directions to a pizza shop.

We said our good byes and headed out of the fields back onto the trail toward the Hollywood Lounge. The signage was great and so were the directions. We had no problem finding the lounge. We rode through the parking lot, then out the backside. This is still trail #5. We crossed over Rt 5 and up a hill where the trails split at the top. Choosing to go right heads further north on Trail #5 into Vermont. Remember, you must be registered in Vermont to continue, so pay attention to the state line. At that same intersection you can also choose to continue on the loop trail bringing you back around and into Leyden. At intersection F-9 you can head back towards Bernardston or west towards Leyden on Trail # 5. This will turn into Trail #112 when you cross over the town line into Colrain. We chose to loop back on #5a towards Bernardston for food. At one point we came to a tall chain-link fence. The trail off to the left goes to the gas station in town, going straight leads to the restaurants. You have the choice of Antonio’s II Pizza or the 4-Leaf Clover Restaurant. Both have great food and good prices. They are located by car on Rt. 5 (close to the intersection of Rt. 10). We finally got our pizza after parking the sleds in the field behind the building next door and walking over. After dinner it was dark, so we decided to head back. Our ride back to Northfield went without any problems. We all agreed that the ride was a lot of fun and would do it again some time.

If you are trailering your sled on Rt. 5, there are two options to park and unload. One is at the Steel Shed, which is south of Bernardston, and the other is the Hollywood Lounge, which is north of town. You can take Interstate 91 to the Bernardston / Rt. 10 exit and that will put you in the center of town. There are good signs from both locations leading you to the trails. Don’t forget to gas up your machines in the center of Bernardston!

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