Road Scholar : Home
600 Million Years of Natural History From Pangaea to the Connecticut River

Program Number: 18828RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/15/2014 - 7/18/2014; 7/14/2015 - 7/17/2015;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Deerfield, Massachusetts
Price starting at: $648.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 9; 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Ancient rock formations in the Connecticut River Valley tell the story of billions of years of continental splitting and colliding. Explore the rich natural history of the 410-mile river stretching from New Hampshire’s Connecticut Lakes to Long Island Sound. Discover armored mud balls and see fossil specimens collected at the Natural History Museum of Amherst College — home to the largest collection of dinosaur tracks in the world — and examine the ecological diversity of the region at the Great Falls Discovery Center.


• Join local geologist Richard Little for a geologic exploration of Mount Sugarloaf, followed by a picnic lunch.
• Enjoy a geologist-led boat ride along Connecticut River through magnificent French King Gorge to Barton’s Cove.
• Identify flowers, trees, birds and insects during an expert-led walk along Channing Blake Foot Path.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile on mostly even terrain, short inclines.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Historic Deerfield.


With a history encompassing both native inhabitants and European colonists, Deerfield offers a portrait of New England in its earliest days. This quintessential western Massachusetts village is surrounded by working farms and rolling cornfields, and its museum houses contain one of the best public collections of art and antiques in America.

Charming inn with historically decorated rooms in the heart of Old Deerfield.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Richard Little

Richard Little is the founder and owner of Earth View LLC, a geology education services and products company. A Professor Emeritus at Greenfield Community College, he was inducted into the Massachusetts Science Educator Hall of Fame in May 2004. Richard holds a bachelor’s from Clark University and a master’s from the University of Southern California, and has published numerous papers on the Connecticut River Valley and New England geology.
Faith Deering

Faith Deering is the museum educator in Historic Deerfield’s Department of Museum Education. Before coming to Deerfield, she worked at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as an entomologist. Faith brings years of teaching experience, work with the public and museum interpretation to her position in Historic Deerfield. One of Faith’s strong interests is making connections between the natural world and human cultural history.
Daria D'Arienzo

Daria D’Arienzo worked with the Hitchcock family papers at Amherst College as archivist and head of archives and special collections from 1984 to 2007. She is co-curator and co-author of the Mead Art Museum exhibition and related catalog, “Orra White Hitchcock: An Amherst Woman of Art and Science.” Among other articles, Daria is author of “Orra White Hitchcock’s Classroom Drawings” and “The Union of the Beautiful with the Useful: Through the Eyes of Orra White Hitchcock."
Meals and Lodgings
   Deerfield Inn
  Deerfield, MA 3 nights
 Deerfield Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: The Deerfield Inn is a classic, full-service original country inn build in 1884 that continues to welcome travelers from around the world. Guests enjoy individualized rooms, and Champney's Restaurant & Tavern featuring creative American cuisine highlighting local produce.
  Ship Information: 81 Old Main Street, Deerfield, MA 01342.
  Contact info: 81 Old Main Street
P.O. Box 321
Deerfield, MA 01342 USA
phone: 800-926-3865 xor4137745587
  Room amenities: All rooms have a private bathroom, earth-friendly amenities, chamois robes (from recycled water bottles), comfortable seating, cable TV, AC and heat controls, telephone, and free Wifi.
  Facility amenities: The Inn's 24 cheerful, welcoming rooms are well appointed and pleasingly decorated. Eleven rooms are in the main inn where there is an elevator, and thirteen rooms are in its carriage house, where there is a staircase to the second floor. Two rooms are fully-handicapped accessible. Beds are reproduction high antique-style. Each room is equipped with step stools for guests to climb into them, There are four rooms available with two beds. All other rooms have one bed - a king or queen. Two bed rooms will be given to unrelated roommates first. The Deerfield Inn has beautiful surroundings, Champney's Restaurant & Tavern with seating inside and on the porch, and the Beehive Parlor for drinks before dinner.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: starting at $225/night + tax $225.00-243.00/room/night. Call 800-926-3865 to make reservations to come early late. Special Road Scholar rate for extended stay, based on availability, will be 10% off the season market rate of $250-270 (depending on program), plus 11.7% MA tax and service charge depending on the room. These rates include afternoon tea and cookies, a full country inn breakfast, and 3-month membership to Historic Deerfield.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: starting at $225/night + tax $225.00-243.00/room/night. Call 800-926-3865 to make reservations to come early late. Special Road Scholar rate for extended stay, based on availability, will be 10% off the season market rate of $250-270 (depending on program), plus 11.7% MA tax and service charge depending on the room. These rates include afternoon tea and cookies, a full country inn breakfast, and 3-month membership to Historic Deerfield.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 p.m room check-in You will be staying at Deerfield Inn that night.
  End of Program:
12:00 p.m. You will be staying at Deerfield Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
There is abundant free parking at the Deerfield Inn and museum areas at Historic Deerfield.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Deerfield, MA
  Nearest city or town:  Greenfield, MA
  Nearest highway: Located off Interstate 91 at exit 24/25; also within 6 miles of Route 2 heading east/west across the northern part of Massachusetts.
  Nearest airport:  Bradley International Aiport Hartford/Springfield
  From End of Program
  Location: Deerfield, MA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Bus Terminal




About Town Taxi
phone: 413-774-4000


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 


Peter Pan bus lines to Greenfield, closest stop for Deerfield. For schedules and rates call: 800-237-8747




From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Seemo Shuttle
phone: 800-908-2829
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$70/person shared shuttle or $120/ ride private service
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.25 hours. 




55 miles


Seemo offers both a per person shared shuttle that picks up at the airport on a rotating schedule or a private service. When travel with 2 or more people, it is best to get the private service.




From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Valley Transporter
phone: 800-872-8752
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.25 hours or more depending on # of other passengers 


Valley Transporter offers a shared ride shuttle. Reservations can be made online at Most cost effective option for single travelers. A wait at the airport or train depot possible.




From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Cool Rides
phone: 413-218-9054
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


~$100/ride (if two or more people ride is still ~$100)
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:




Cool Rides offers door to door service with no other passanger pick ups or drop offs. Charge is per ride not per passenger. The most cost effective service for multiple passengers. Visit company website:

Driving Directions
  Bradley Int'l Airport Hartford/Springfield Exit Airport, follow signs to Interstate 91 north towards Springfield, stay on 91 past Holyoke and Northampton about 55 minutes to exit 24, "Deerfield." Turn right off exit ramp to go north on Rtes. 5&10 for about 6 miles, following signs for Historic Deerfield. Car rentals available at the airport.
  From 1-91 Northbound in Massachusetts Follow signs for Historic Deerfield to exit 24, "Deerfield". Turn right off exit ramp. Deerfield Village is approximately 6 miles north on Rtes. 5&10, when you see Richardson's Candy slow down, turn left at the Sunoco Station, go right about one half mile to the Deerfield Inn, heart of Historic Deerfield..
  From 1-91 Southbound in Massachusetts Take exit 25 and turn left off exit ramp and the left at first light onto Rtes. 5&10 northbound. Deerfield Village is approximately 5 miles on Rtes. 5&10, when you see Richardson's Candy slow down, turn left at the Sunoco Station, go right about one half mile to the Deerfield Inn, heart of Historic Deerfield.
  From I-90 - Massachusetts Turnpike Eastbound or Westbound Exit 4 - I-91. Follow I-91 Northbound, towards Holyoke from tollbooth. Follow directions for I-91 Northbound to Deerfield.
  From Rt 2 in Massachusetts Follow Rt 2 westbound (from Boston's Northern suburbs and points in NH and ME) or eastbound (from points in Northern Berkshires and New York) to junction with I-91 south and follow directions for I-91 Southbound.
Equipment Requirements: Rain hat/sun visor, rain jacket and umbrella recommended for occasional rainy day. Pen and notebook for lectures and binoculars for field trips recommended.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival & Registration, Check-in & Orientation, Introduction to the Connecticut River Valley
(Tuesday, July 15)
 Arrive To: Welcome to Deerfield! Room registration at the Deerfield Inn is available starting at 3:00pm. Program check-in is at the Historic Deerfield Visitor Center in Hall Tavern. Your orientation to the program begins at 4:30 pm. ORIENTATION: Your arrival packet will contain an updated schedule of presentations, field trips, and other program related activities that we will review during orientation. Please be aware that local circumstances may require adjusting program elements. In the event of changes, we will notify you as quickly as possible. We appreciate your understanding. (If you arrive late due to travel delays, the hotel desk staff will give you your packet when you check-in.) Your packet will also contain an admission bracelet for the Historic Deerfield Museum Houses and the Flynt Center of Early New England Life that will be good until 4:30pm on Friday
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the Deerfield Inn.
 Evening: INTRODUCTORY TALK: "Sense of Place: Deerfield and the Connecticut River Valley" led by Faith Deering, Historic Deerfield museum educator. With humor and poerty, Faith will acquaint participants with the Deerfield as a natural setting with a long geological history that created a valley that has provided a rich haven to flora and fauna as well as the various human communities that have settled the valley.
Accommodations: Deerfield Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Dinosaurs, Dunes, and Drifting Continents: the Geological History of the Connecticut River Valley and "Between River and Ridge: A Nature Walk through Old Deerfield"
(Wednesday, July 16)
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the Deerfield Inn.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: We'll take a morning walk along Channing Blake Footpath in Old Deerfield led by Historic Deerfield museum educator, Faith Deering. Meadows, farmlands and forests offer a rich ecosystem with a great diversity of plants and animals. Through an interpretive walk, open your eyes and minds to the wildlife between river and ridge. Along the way, Faith will identify plants, birds and insects, answer questions about the natural history of the area and read some selections from naturalists of the past, who have loved and treasured this landscape. LECTURE: “Dinosaur, Dunes, and Drifting Continents: Natural History of the Connecticut River Valley” with noted local geologist and author, Richard Little, will illuminate 600 million years of geological time that created the Connecticut Valley, where you will find specimens of some of the oldest rocks in the world.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on "The Street," as Old Main St is know in Old Deerfield.
 Afternoon: LECTURE: Daria D'Arienzo, local archivist, on the life and work of Orra White Hitchcock, wife of Edward Hitchcock, professor and, later, president of Amherst College. Hitchcock (1793-1863) popularized the science of geology and led the movement to make geology part of the American college curriculum. He served as state geologist in Vermont as well as Massachusetts, made many geological discoveries, and joined the early serious study of dinosaur fossil footsprints. Orra was the primary illustrator of works and D'Arienzo will show and discuss the illustration of the natural world in the Connecticut Valley and illustrations of geological concepts that were used in Amherst College classrooms. FIELD TRIP: Later in the afternoon the group will visit the Memorial Hall Museum which features objects from Edward Hitchcock's early academic career at Deerfield Academy.
 Dinner: A hearty dinner from the Deerfield Inn featuring local produce.
 Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: Local Collector and Historic Deerfield Guide, Harry Sharbaugh, will present rock and fossil specimens from the Connecticut Valley that he has collected over many years.
Accommodations: Deerfield Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Rock Park, World-class Class Collection of Dinosaur Footprints and Local History of the Study of Geology
(Thursday, July 17)

Note: Rock Park is located on hillside behind the Greenfield Community College that is accessed by a walk up a hill or by an elevator through the building. Holyoke Dinosaur Footprint are found at the end of declined footpath.

 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the Deerfield Inn.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Greenfield Community College Rock Park. Richard Little will orient participants to the outdoor Rock Park that exhibits rock specimens collected by Professor Little and his students from around the Connecticut Valley. The specimens are highlighted with the Armored Mud Balls found when a bridge was torn down in Turners Fall. These rocks are among the rarest rock formations in the world.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch on Mt. Sugarloaf, South Deerfield. Composed of a prominent sandstone rock called Sugarloaf Arkose, Mt. Sugarloaf is a fine example of the Connecticut Valley's geological history. Its summit offers some of the best scenic views of the broad agricultural landscape of the Connecticut River Valley. Richard Little accompanies and orients the group on this part of the field trip.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst College. Following an orientation, we'll have an expert-led exploration of this quite amazing museum that tells the story of Edward Hitchcock's discoveries, including the largest dinosaur track collection in the world. The museum contains three floors of exhibits and more than 1,700 individual specimens on display. Participants may choose to enjoy a side visit to the Emily Dickinson Museum at her home, "The Homestead." Enthusiastic and expert guides will illuminate the life of this fascinating and captivating American poet. We will then travel to the Dinosaur Footprints reservation in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to see actual footprint fossil preserved in situ by the Connecticut River that are protected and maintained by the Trustees of Reservations.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant featuring a bountiful meal of home-style cooking near the Dinosaur Footprints Reservation.
 Evening: Return to the Deerfield Inn around 8:00 p.m. for a relaxing evening.
Accommodations: Deerfield Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Great Falls Discovery Center, Study Cruise on the Connecticut River and Program Concludes
(Friday, July 18)
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at Deerfield Inn. The group will have between 7:30 and 8:30 to eat breakfast and to check out of room before embarking on the morning's field trip.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: We will explore the Great Falls Discovery Center, the interpretive center for the Connecticut River Watershed, located in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. The Center is located in historic mill buildings. Exhibits include depictions of different wildlife habitats of the watershed and the different species found in each. STUDY CRUISE: Enjoy a relaxing, yet informative cruise on the Connecticut River from Barton Cove to the magnificent French King Gorge(river conditions permitting). Geologist Steve Winters will provide interpretation and commentary.
 Lunch: The program concludes with a lunch at the Deerfield Inn. With prior notification when participant arrives, take-away boxes will be available for those who plan to leave immediately. You will also have some time to visit the Historic Deerfield Museum houses of your choice with an entry ticket good until 4:30pm on Friday. We hope you have enjoyed this learning adventure and will join us for other fascinating and rewarding programs in association with Historic Deerfield. Best wishes for all your journeys!
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Deerfield, MA Amherst History Museum
Free time activity in Amherst Field Trip The Amherst History Museum opened in 1916 and is governed by the Amherst Historical Society, which was founded in 1899. Housed in the 1750-era Strong House, the Amherst History Museum takes visitors on a journey from the town's colonial past, through its industrial age and into the computer-driven present. The Museum is filled with decorative arts, paintings, household implements, agricultural tools and other pieces of history from the nearly three hundred years since Amherst was settled. The collections range from the ordinary to the unique, and capture a sense of every day life often missing from history books. The period rooms of the Amherst History Museum are a blend of the old and the new, of 19th century Victorian taste combined with the hallmarks of the 20th century. Floral motifs curl around imported Delftware, pewter plates, blue and white Staffordshire china mingles with an 18th century grandfather clock, and a Victorian calling card holder sits company with stately Georgian paneling. In addition to the period rooms, rotating exhibits and special programming, the Museum provides educational tours for school children and students throughout the year. The museum is about 5 blocks from the Natural History Museum of Amherst College that in destination of the day's field trip. Admission not included in program price. For additional information, visit
  Emily Dickinson Museum
Free time activity in Amherst. Emily Dickinson Museum consists of two historic houses,The Homestead and The Evergreens, in the center of Amherst, Massachusetts, closely associated with the poet Emily Dickinson and members of her family during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Homestead was the birthplace and home of the poet Emily Dickinson. The Evergreens, next door, was home to her brother Austin, his wife Susan, and their three children. The Emily Dickinson Museum was created in 2003 when the two houses merged under the ownership of Amherst College. The Museum is dedicated to educating diverse audiences about Emily Dickinson’s life, family, creative work, times, and enduring relevance, and to preserving and interpreting the Homestead and The Evergreens as historical resources for the benefit of scholars and the general public. The museum is about 3 blocks from the Natural History Museum of Amherst College that in destination of the day's field trip. Admission not included in program price. For additional information, visit
  Memorial Libraries
Free time activity in Old Deerfield. The libraries of Deerfield’s two museums, Historic Deerfield and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, are housed together in one building, known as the Memorial Libraries. The Henry N. Flynt Library serves primarily as a research center for Historic Deerfield’s collections and programs. Holdings are particularly strong in the decorative arts, architecture, and material culture of early New England, and include approximately 21,000 printed volumes, numerous periodicals, and more than 2,000 microforms accessible through an online catalog. The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association Library collections document the life and thought of Deerfield from the close of the 17th century to the 20th. The library’s 24,000 books, many with histories of local ownership, include literature, sermons, history, travel, biography, and works on agriculture, animal husbandry, and domestic economy. The library also has an extensive manuscript collection, rich in material on families and local history. Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tues - Fri. For additional information, visit
  Memorial Hall Musuem
Free time activity in Old Deerfield. Museum hours: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, Tues. - Fri. Return to Memorial Hall Museum during the week after organized tour on Monday.The village museum, Memorial Hall, is one of New England's oldest museums. When Deerfield Academy's original 1798 school building became available, antiquarian George Sheldon organized the collection of artifacts he was assembling and in 1880, Memorial Hall opened. The museum's extraordinary collection of furnishings, paintings, textiles and Indian artifacts is "the finest collection of local antiquities in New England and one of America's oldest museums." For additional information, visit
  Historic Deerfield Cooks' Garden
Free time activity in Old Deerfield. This kitchen garden serves as a source of fresh ingredients for the museum’s open hearth cooking demonstrations and classes. The garden contains an assortment of useful plants commonly found in New England during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The Cooks’ Garden was dedicated in 2006 in memory of Margaret Quinn Orloske, a member of the museum who enjoyed open hearth cooking and gardening, and with thousands of others died on September 11, 2001. Funds from the Margaret Quinn Orloske Endowment are used to replenish heirloom plants, for general garden maintenance, and for support of the open hearth cooking program For additional information, visit
  Chaning Blake Foot Path
Free time activity in Old Deerfield; also there is a guide walk along the path scheduled during program. A fully accessible footpath open seasonally, the Channing Blake Foot Path takes visitors past a working farm and through meadows to the Deerfield River. Interpretive panels along the one-third mile walk describe local geology, natural history, and Native and European presence. For additional information, visit
  Historic Deerfield Museum Store
Free time activity in Old Deerfield. Historic Deerfield Museum Store offers a wide array of gifts and books. Find a variety of American crafts, jewelry, and reproductions as well as souvenirs. The bookshop features thousands of titles on art, history, craft, and architecture. A children’s book section offers books for young readers of all ages. For additional information, visit
  Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory
Free time activities in Deerfield accessible by personal car. Enjoy other local attraction along Deefield's main artery, routes 5 & 10. Magic Wings Butterfly conservatory, 8,000-square foot conservatory is home to nearly 4,000 free-flying butterflies from all over the world! Summer hours 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Spring, Fall and Winter hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admissions are not included. For additional information, visit
  Yankee Candle
Free time activity in Deerfield accessible by car. Flagship store for Yankee Candle, based in South Deerfield, Massachusetts. World's Largest Candle Store. It's a candle lover's dream - over 160 of our famous, true-to-life scents, plus beautiful accessories, accents and collectibles. Come Experience Wax Works - The Newest Area of Yankee Candle Village! Enjoy Wax Hands, Wax Souvenirs, Wax Art and so much more. Candlemaking Museum. Ever wonder how Colonial Americans lit their homes? See fascinating, free daily demonstrations of nineteenth-century candlemaking.Open everyday 10:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Dinosaurs, Dunes, and Drifting Continents:

Author: Richard D. Little

Description: 180 pages, 8.5 X 11 inches, color cover (Will Sillin’s “In the Late Triassic”), abundantly illustrated with maps, diagrams, and photos; plus a bit of humor, too. From plate tectonics, dinosaur discoveries, and rare armored mud balls, to Lake Hitchcock’s deltas and dunes, plus geologic resources and hazards; this book has it all. And it includes a “Where To See It” appendix to guide you to field sites from the Valley’s head to mouth; plus a glossary and index. ADOPTED in a number of classrooms! ISBN: 9616520-7-1 Available for purchase at

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768