Cool Bike Rides
There’s a very popular story that occurred in the Berkshires in the 1800’s. A young man, William Saunders, left his family to fight for the Union in the Civil War in 1861. About a year later, his wife, Belle, received news of William’s grave condition. It was reported to her that he’d been wounded and was in grave condition and was in a military hospital. That was the last news she’d heard of him.
Unable to work their farm on her own, she hired a local man to work the farm with her so she could support her children. In time, Belle married this man and he adopted William’s children.
In 1865, a scraggly man wearing a rough beard and a Union uniform stepped off of a train in North Adams. William had finally returned home! Her returned to his home only to find his wife and children with another man, his children calling this man daddy.
With a heavy heart, he left his home and headed towards Mt. Greylock where he built a small shack in what’s called Bellow’s Pipe where he lived out his life as a hermit. He occasionally hired himself out to local farms and eventually became referred to only as “The Old Coot”. Nobody recognized him as William. There are even rumors that he worked his own farm from time to time, perhaps even interacting with his own children yet nobody knew but William.
Some say The Old Coot was crazy, having lost his mind from being alone for so long. One cold winter’s day, hunters had stumbled upon The Old Coot’s shack in Bellow’s Pipe and found The Old Coot dead. They were shocked when they saw The Old Coot’s spirit leave his body and head up the mountain.
Though this was the very first sighting of his ghost, stories say it wasn’t the last. Many folks who’ve hiked the Bellow’s Pipe claim to see his spirit wandering back up the mountain though he’s never been seen coming back down.
If you like to ride, and you also like to hike, pack a picnic lunch in those saddle bags and head on up to Bellow’s Pipe and enjoy a great ride/hike and maybe, just maybe you will see The Old Coot heading up the mountain.
Directions to Mount Greylock:
This can be reached several different ways. We will pick up the route here from the point where the Mass Pike intersects Route 20. Just a note, if you’re coming from the Southwick/Westfield area, pick up Route 20 in Westfield, and follow this west towards the Berkshires.
The image is a link to a Google Map on the left. You can zoom in to see these turns...
- From the Mass Pike take Exit 2 on to Route 20 heading towards Pittsfield.
- Follow 20 until it merges with Route 7.
- Stay on Route 7 through Pittsfield, and into Lanesborough.
- Roughly 1.25 – 1.5 miles north of Lanesborough Center, you should see signs for the Mt. Greylock State Reservation. Turn right on to North Main Street and follow the brown State Reservation Signs. It’s roughly 1.5 miles. This should be a slight left off of North Main onto Rockwell Road and straight into the park.
Haunted Destination The Ghost of the "Old Coot"
Originally featured in our Haunted New England handout at the Springfield Motorcycle Show...
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