We were getting stir crazy. Due to our recent move and some pretty exciting life events for our friends and family, money and time haven’t been in our favor. Needless to say, we were itching to travel again. During one of our nightly dinners, we looked at each other and decided that this weekend we would do something, whether it be a stroll down the Charles River Greenway or a drive to the beach. After some intense brainstorming and heated debates, we decided on MA Route 117.
There are a lot of scenic routes in New England. From the Kancamagus in New Hampshire to the Green Mountain Ribbon loop in Vermont, there are dozens of byways and highways that take your breath away. But one of our favorites has to be Route 117 in Massachusetts. This east-west state highway starts in Waltham, Massachusetts and weaves its way through Middlesex and Worcester counties.
In total, Route 117 is just over 30 miles, easily doable in a day. Starting just outside Waltham’s busy urban city-center, it’s almost impossible to believe that the route becomes instantly rural. But that’s why we chose this as our road trip. We wanted to feel removed from the city, to feel like we escaped from the chaos of our day-to-day. And let us tell you, we did.
We didn’t complete the whole route due to our commitment to pull over every time one of us saw something we wanted to photograph, no matter what it was. But we did go from Waltham to Bolton and back, and we loved every second of it!
Keep reading for our tips and tricks for tackling MA Route 117!
Road Trip Down MA Route 117
- Have a fun playlist! We completed our drive on a Sunday morning, so some acoustic tunes on a crisp fall-like day set the tone for our relaxing trip. In our minds, no road trip is complete without a killer playlist.
- For some of the best views, road trip this route during leaf-peeping season. The
golden hue of the leaves fill you with wonder and awe as you twist around every turn.
- If using a DSLR camera to capture the scenery, be sure to have a few lenses on hand. On more than one occasion, we saw a bird or scene in the distance that was just out of reach of our standard lense. We were kicking ourselves for leaving it in the car on our jaunts around some of the amazing trails in Concord.
- Wear comfy clothes. There are at least 10 different areas for leisure walking or hiking. In the spirit of adventure, be prepared for anything and don’t be held back by your clothing.
Where to eat, drink, and be merry:
- Cedar Hill Dairy Joy: Looking for a cold treat on your adventure? Stop in Weston for a sweet treat at Dairy Joy. Try the Java Berry, a coffee-raspberry soft serve. You won’t be disappointed!
- Emma’s Cafe: Hit up this Stow joint for brunch. They serve breakfast all day and have killer paninis and salads. We’re always a fan of local establishments versus the Dunkins right next door.
- Nashoba Valley Winery: We didn’t stop this time, but if you are planning on doing the entire route, this establishment is a must. With tastings year-round and a restaurant on the property, this place is heaven on Route 117.
What to do:
- Hike some of the Bay Circuit Trail: The Bay Circuit Trail is a 230-mile ring that starts at Plum Island and ends on the South Shore of Massachusetts. Route 117 cuts through this amazing greenway in Concord. It’s definitely worth the stop.
- Stop at a farm stand: From Sudbury to Stow, farm stands selling fresh, organic produce line the Route. Stop for a midday snack or grab an amazing veggie for dinner.
- Visit Stonegate Gardens: If you want a permanent reminder of your road trip, stop at Stonegate Gardens, a greenhouse selling seasonal shrubs and study succulents. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, just walking around the premises is worth the stop!