Subject: Re: Backroads!
Hullo, Tom. And fellow Backroaders.

Tom, you are right about Blue Highways. It is a great read.

Petersham (Peters-HAM) is one of several timeless hill towns in central Mass. But that the roads in and out of these towns are now paved, you could well believe you're in the 19th C. Also notable about Petersham is its proximity to Quabbin Revervoir, the major water supply for Boston, about 60 miles east. The Quabbin story is fascinating: In the 1930's and 40's, engineers dammed the Swift River, and the valley slowly filled with water, submerging the villages there. In a nice gesture, the engineers did advise the residents to leave beforehand. Anyway, if we were allowed to scuba dive in the reservoir now, we could see those villages nearly intact.

There are old roads that used to cross the valley. Now they lead forlornly down to the reservoir's edge, where the water glistens on a clear day, where dear and bears and the occasional moose come to drink and where bald eagles make treetop aeries. The old roads are wonderful hiking opportunities. The ones near Petersham go through woods owned by Harvard University.

At the southern end of Quabbin, near the town of Ware, motorists can drive to a lookout high above the Reservoir. It is man-made, yes, but beautifully natural-looking, the way the water follows all the contours of its basin. Eagle-watchers often set up telescopes here, and visitors are always welcome to peer through them.

Best wishes to everyone. TJ New York