Created by The Atlantic’s marketing team and paid for by Toyota
Re:think Original / Toyota


T he state of Massachusetts was, in a way, responsible for everything we’re accustomed to in terms of American driving. Mile markers were born from Benjamin Franklin traveling the routes used by mail carriers to determine postage pricing; the Massachusetts Highway Commission brought standardized route marking to the rest of New England; it’s the home of the first officially designated scenic route in America.

In contemporary hustle and bustle, driving is usually seen as the most efficient way to get from one place to another. But look a little closer at the roadways we take for granted, and you’ll see living history, appreciation of nature, and a lasting, niche commitment to joy rides that’s distinctly American.

These scenic routes and tidbits of history don’t exactly get taught in schools, which is why even Massachusetts natives may not know the idiosyncrasies of the roads they drive on every day—nor seen the most beautiful sections of them.

stop oneOld State House, Boston Post Road

A scenic tour through Massachusetts might start downtown, at Boston’s Old State House—the starting point of the Boston Post Road. From here, the first mail routes in the country running from Boston to New York evolved into a number of major highways (I-95, I-91, and I-84). Those routes also followed paths commonly taken by Native Americans, making these thoroughfares monuments to multiple eras of movement and transportation in the country’s history.

Venza Feature Road Sign Assist

As you move out of the city proper, you can follow the Post Road west on U.S. 20. Speed limits and road rules vary between city streets, scenic roads, and interstates. Know your environment with road sign assist.

stop twoMorey Hill Summit on Jacob’s Ladder

U.S. 20 will eventually turn into Jacob’s Ladder, northeast of Springfield, MA. Completed in 1910, Jacob’s Ladder is the country’s first auto road over a mountain range. It follows trails taken by the Mohican and Woronoake tribes as they moved between Connecticut and the Hudson, and is now part of a highway system that crosses the entire country, from Plymouth Rock to Seattle, WA. At the 1,775-feet Morey Hill summit, visitors can still find the stone cairn built then to mark the overpass.

Venza FeatureFull-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

Glancing at the view will be more relaxing with the Venza’s dynamic cruise control.

stop threeMohawk Trail Scenic Byway

Departing from Jacob’s Ladder and driving north through a number of state forests, you will reach the Mohawk Trail at Shelburne Falls. This 69-mile historic byway criss-crosses and parallels five major rivers—the Millers, Connecticut, Green, Deerfield, and Hoosic. It evolved from traditional routes taken by Native Americans, and is now meant to showcase the significance of the Erie Canal, to which it runs parallel.

Venza Feature Automatic High Beams

Some of Massachusetts’s darker, twistier, forested roads will be easier to handle with the Venza’s automatic high beams.

stop fourSoapstone Hill Outlook

Taking the Mohawk Trail East, you can finish this scenic journey with the dramatic view from Soapstone Hill Outlook. Much of the land visible from the outlook was cleared in the 19th century, and the view then would have been a patchwork of agricultural plots. By the 20th century, many of those farms had been abandoned, and the cleared land reverted to today’s forest. The outlook also offers views of the reservoir that provides water for most of the state.

Toyota Safety Sense effectiveness is dependent on many factors including road, weather and vehicle conditions. Drivers are responsible for their own safe driving. Always pay attention to your surroundings and drive safely. See Owner’s Manual for additional limitations and details.