Travel spotlight: Bridge of Flowers


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Long before renovating old bridges was cool — think New York City’s High Line — there was the Bridge of Flowers. The unique garden in Shelburne Falls, Mass., is actually an old trolley bridge, where hundreds of flowers bloom every year from April to October.

In the early 1900s, trolleys carrying people and food crossed the Deerfield River on the bridge between the towns of Shelburne and Buckland. When trolley service ended in 1928, the bridge remained and the people of Shelburne Falls left the bridge, as it was not sure what to do with one of the remnants of the trolley system heydays.

Nature began to reclaim the bridge, covering it with weeds and wildflowers, and a local resident named Antoinette Burham suggested turning the bridge into a garden.

People have used the bridge as a park for much longer than the time spent using it as part of the transportation system. For more than 80 years, the Bridge of Flowers has drawn visitors and locals to the free park. More than 30,000 people visit the park each year, and it has become a centerpiece of the village. Pedestrians — sorry, no dogs — stroll the bridge from Shelburne to Buckland. There are restaurants on the sides of the bridge that provide an aerial view of it. There is no cost to walk the Bridge of Flowers, but donations help maintain the bridge, along with a dedicated group of volunteers.