33 Best Things to Do in the Berkshires

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What are the finest issues to do in the Berkshires? This a part of Western Massachusetts is so particular — not simply lovely, however idyllic, like a portray; not simply attention-grabbing, however certainly one of the most fascinating areas in the state.

Most individuals come to Massachusetts to go to Boston, or Cape Cod, or Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. But there are treasures ready for you if you happen to’re keen to head out west.

Despite rising up in Massachusetts, I’ve barely seen the Berkshires — I went to summer time camp in East Otis for a number of years, however that’s it. And I do know it’s human nature not to go to what’s proper in entrance of you. You at all times assume you’ll find a way to do this sometime, so why do it now?

But in 2021, a time when individuals have been wanting to nearer, native getaways, I made a decision it was time to go to the Berkshires — not solely to have enjoyable, however to analysis extensively, and finally create guides like this one to show you how to plan your individual journeys to the Berkshires.

Did my journey go properly? OH, IT DID! I had the finest time in the Berkshires — and I can’t wait to present you all the finest issues to do right here.

I would love to acknowledge and honor the Mohican, Wabanaki and Pocumtuc individuals, the Indigenous stewards and conventional homeowners of the unceded land now referred to as the Berkshires.

This submit was final up to date in June 2021.

A line of blooming orange and yellow tulips on a hill in the Berkshires overlooking a country road, evergreen trees, and mountains in the distance.

Why Travel to the Berkshires?

The Berkshires are well-known for plenty of issues — Tanglewood, the summer time live performance sequence in Lenox. Canyon Ranch, the fancy spa. Art museums and dance and stay theater, all set on a mountainous panorama, evergreen forests crisscrossed with nation roads.

But the Berkshires aren’t only for wealthy individuals doing fancy issues. They’re for everybody. There’s tons to see and do in the Berkshires, together with a number of low-key actions — and also you’re only some hours from both New York or Boston.

Where the Berkshires excel, in my opinion, is being each an outside vacation spot and an arts vacation spot. You can find yourself becoming loads of selection into a brief getaway.

I do know loads of {couples} the place one individual is into the arts and the different is extra into the nice outdoor. Often, planning a visit for these sorts of {couples} means somebody is at all times compromising. But some locations mix tradition and nature seamlessly! Like Asheville, North Carolina, or Oaxaca, Mexico, the Berkshires are excellent for vacationers who need to combine the outdoor and the indoors on their journey.

What’s the finest method to get to the Berkshires?

Most individuals drive to the Berkshires, and also you want a automotive to discover the space sufficiently. If you’re flying in, the Albany airport is about 45 minutes away.

What are the finest low-cost issues to do in the Berkshires?

Head outdoors! Loads of outside websites like Bash Bish Falls totally free; the Berkshire Botanical Garden is free on Tuesdays; get the finest $1 cider donuts of your life at Hilltop Orchards, discover the cities, try cool coffeeshops like Six Depot Roastery.

What’s the finest time to go to the Berkshires?

If you’re wanting to attend concert events, exhibits and occasions, purpose for summer time. Fall is attractive however very busy; late spring is one other sensible choice.

A map of Berkshire county, showing that it's the westernmost county in Massachusetts.
Berkshire County, Massachusetts, with the city of Stockbridge in crimson. Wikimedia Commons picture by Rcsprinter123.

Where are the Berkshires?

The Berkshires are positioned in Western Massachusetts. Berkshire County is the westernmost county in Massachusetts; something inside Berkshire County is taken into account “the Berkshires.”

It appears like the Berkshires are comprised of a southern half and a northern half. In the southern portion, common cities to base in embody Stockbridge, Lenox, and Great Barrington. This is the basic small city Berkshires space that most individuals have heard of.

The northern portion consists of cities like North Adams, Williamstown, and Pittsfield. It’s a unique really feel up right here — extra city, not fairly as photogenic — however nonetheless very a lot price visiting.

Even so, the Berkshires are sufficiently small which you could base in one half and discover the entire area. The drive from Great Barrington in the far south to North Adams in the far north, for instance, takes simply over an hour.

Even so, culturally talking, individuals from the north don’t at all times go south and vice versa. One native informed me individuals from Pittsfield see going to Stockbridge as one thing you do for an important day — although it’s lower than half-hour away.

On my journey, I needed to get to know all of the Berkshires in depth — so I cut up my time between two bases, Stockbridge in the south and North Adams in the north. More on the place I stayed beneath.

Berkshires Map

The map above is a whole information to the Berkshires, together with every little thing talked about in this submit, color-coded based mostly on the kind of vacation spot. Hope it helps you get the lay of the land.

White cottages with signs and awnings on them on a quiet street in Lenox underneath a partly cloudy sky.

Best Things to Do in the Berkshires

Some of my associates go to the Berkshires to get away from busy metropolis life. They hire a cabin on a lake, learn books, hit up the farmers’ markets, and grill.

That’s a pleasant method to spend a weekend — however the Berkshires are SO far more than a quiet place to unwind. There is an insane variety of issues to do in the Berkshires!

I’ve damaged it down into 4 classes: arts and tradition, outside actions, historic websites, and food and drinks.

The Norman Rockwell Museum: a pale blue room with several paintings, including one of Ruby Bridges, the first young Black girl to integrate a segregated school in the South in the sixties.
The Norman Rockwell Museum is certainly one of the Berkshires’ finest websites.

Arts and Culture in the Berkshires

Don’t even consider planning a visit to the Berkshires with out taking in the arts and tradition! Whether you’re in search of museums or performing arts, there may be a lot to get pleasure from right here. Though if you happen to’re right here for performances, it’s best to strive to time your journey for the summer time months.

Norman Rockwell Museum

Norman Rockwell is legendary for his scenes of small-town New England, and plenty of of these scenes come from the city of Stockbridge, the place he made his house. The Norman Rockwell Museum is a complete assortment of his artwork, from the 300+ Saturday Evening Post covers to his private gadgets, bigger artistic endeavors, and works by different artists impressed by him.

I really like deep dives right into a single artist, watching their work evolve over time. What I particularly cherished about this museum is how they confirmed Rockwell’s journey to activism, together with the work that went into his portrait of Ruby Bridges, The Problem We All Live With.

Admission to the Norman Rockwell Museum is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and veterans, and free for energetic army and kids beneath 18.

The red brick theater of Tanglewood with a big open door; in front of it are people sitting in lawn chairs, listening to the music on a summer night.
Tanglewood, simply certainly one of the finest issues to do in the Berkshires! Via Shutterstock.

Tanglewood

If something about the Berkshires, you’ve in all probability heard of Tanglewood! This venue in Lenox is the summer time house of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and performances are in a theater that opens to the nice outdoor, letting individuals get pleasure from excellent music beneath the stars.

Each summer time, you possibly can expertise the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Tanglewood Music Center, and extra. (One of the hottest occasions is John Williams evening, which a few of my associates go to see yearly!)

See the full schedule of Tanglewood performances right here.

A pale lavender room at the Clark Institute with several gold-framed Impressionist paintings on the walls: in the foreground, several marble and metal sculptures. Two are of small horses; one is a man sitting and thinking with his head on his hand.
Who knew there was a lot Impressionist artwork in the Berkshires?

Clark Institute

Did that the Berkshires are house to certainly one of the finest collections of Impressionism in the world? I had no thought! The Clark Institute in Williamstown is a museum that includes American and European artwork from the Renaissance by means of the early twentieth century.

Most spectacular, although, is their huge assortment of Renoir work. I felt as if I have been in Paris. What a particular discover this place is.

There are rotating displays all through the yr, and ensure to depart sufficient time to discover the trails outdoors, a lot of which lead to much more sculptures.

Admission to the Clark Institute is $20 and free for college students with ID and kids beneath 18. The outside strolling trails are free to all.

A series of four modern shapes of sculptures set up on the campus of Shakespeare and Company.
The campus of Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, through Shutterstock.

Shakespeare and Company

If you’re in the temper for some basic theater, Shakespeare and Company performs the Bard’s exhibits in Lenox all summer time lengthy, and different performs all through the yr. In addition to the performances, Shakespeare and Company does a few of the finest theatrical coaching in the area.

See the full schedule of Shakespeare and Company performances right here.

A long room at Mass MoCA -- it's long, red brick, covered with super huge windows letting in lots of light, and dozens of modern orb lights dangling from the white wooden ceiling.

Mass MoCA

Mass MoCA — the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art — is certainly one of the most imaginative and beautiful museums in Massachusetts, in addition to an inspiring story of reinvigorating the former mill city of North Adams. The ever-changing displays listed below are supposed to cowl each medium and break standard boundaries.

The museum is in the former Sprague Electric Company, now an expansive constructing stuffed with gentle from each angle. Plan to spend loads of time right here, as a result of the campus has every little thing from an ice cream store to a craft brewery! Plus, you by no means know which artistic endeavors will find yourself fascinating you.

Modern artwork isn’t for everybody — however I wager you’ll get pleasure from this place, because it’s genuinely certainly one of the finest issues to do in the Berkshires.

Admission to MASS MoCA is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and veterans, $12 for college students with ID, $8 for age 6-16, and free for youngsters beneath 6.

A scene from a play, a man in a hat and blazer holding the hand of a woman in a nightgown holding a lantern. For some reason there's a shirtless dude in the background and I'm not complaining.
Come to Williamstown to expertise the theatre. Via Depositphotos.

Williamstown Theater Festival

If you’re in search of each basic and cutting-edge theatrical performances, ensure to try what the Williamstown Theater Festival has to supply throughout the summer time months. (Yes, they name themselves WTF!)

This regional Tony award-winning pageant options all types of exhibits and occasions in this little northwest nook of Massachusetts, from academic workshops to late-night cabarets.

See the full schedule of Williamstown Theater Festival performances right here.

A placard at the Berkshire Museum about Elizabeth Freeman and Theodore Sedgwick labeled Ending slavery in Massachusetts.
Learn about the individuals of the Berkshires at the Berkshire Museum.

Berkshire Museum

If you’re wanting to discover extra of what makes the Berkshires what they’re, look no additional than the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield. This museum has sections on the science, ecology, historical past, and tradition of the Berkshires.

Many of the displays are extra oriented towards youngsters — like the aquarium and animals in miniature part — however I did love the Feigenbaum Hall of Innovation, which profiles totally different notable residents of the Berkshires, like W.E.B. DuBois and Susan B. Anthony.

Admission is $13 for adults, $6 for ages 4 to 17, and free for youngsters beneath 4.

A ballerina in a black tutu, bright yellow leather jacket, and pink toe shoes, dancing on her toes as smoke is all around her.
If you’re into dance, don’t miss Jacob’s Pillow! Via DepositPhotos.

Jacob’s Pillow

You’ve bought your music, you’ve bought your theater — why not add some dance into the combine? The Berkshires are house to Jacob’s Pillow, a National Historic Site in Becket house to the nation’s longest-running dance pageant. Each summer time, Jacob’s Pillow hosts greater than 50 dance corporations for stay performances, in addition to talks, workshops, and extra.

From basic performances to extra avant-garde choices, Jacob’s Pillow is a should throughout the summer time if you happen to’re a dance fan.

See the full schedule of performances right here.

The Williamstown campus: a gray church with a tall bell tower next to a red brick building with a gold dome.
Williams College couldn’t be lovelier!

Williams College Museum of Art

Set on the idyllic Williams College campus, the Williams College Museum of Art options displays by rising artists from throughout the world.

The museum is presently closed due to COVID, however we hope it is going to open quickly. Admission is free.

Kate standing in front of Bish Bash Falls, a wild waterfall, and several rocks. Her hair is down and curly and she wears pink leggings with moons on them, a purple tank top, and a black zip-up hoodie on top. She has her arms pointed in the air as if to say "I did it!"
Bash Bish Falls was a GREAT thought!

Outdoor Activities in the Berkshires

You don’t want to be a hardcore athlete to get pleasure from the outdoor in the Berkshires. If you’d like a easy and straightforward outside exercise, head to the Berkshire Botanical Garden. If you’re a hardcore hiker, Mount Greylock is asking your identify! And if you happen to’re a novice hiker who would love a straightforward stroll by means of the woods with a lovely waterfall, you possibly can’t beat Bash Bish Falls.

Bash Bish Falls

I do know, your thoughts needs it to be “Bish Bash Falls” however it’s really “Bash Bish Falls”! This is the form of hike that I really like — it’s simple, not too lengthy, and there’s an enormous payoff at the finish. I believe it’s certainly one of the finest free issues to do in the Berkshires.

This waterfall is in Bash Bish Falls State Park in the southwest nook of Massachusetts — however you possibly can really hike there from both the Massachusetts aspect or Taconic State Park on the New York aspect. The hike from the Massachusetts aspect is shorter (0.6 miles or one hour return) however steeper; the hike from the New York aspect is longer (1.5 miles or 90 minutes return) however not as steep.

Since I didn’t have my mountaineering sneakers with me, I selected to hike from the New York aspect — and I cherished the novelty issue of strolling from one state into one other! What a stunning method to spend the morning, having been fortified with a pastry from Berkshire Mountain Bakery.

Keep in thoughts that you just’re not allowed to swim in the falls. But I wager you’ll be happy even with out a dip in the river.

Admission is free.

The well-manicured grounds of the Berkshire Botanical Garden, including rocky pathways through gardens of short flowers, and several trees blooming with white flowers.
Spring is the finest time of yr for the Berkshire Botanical Garden.

Berkshire Botanical Garden

Located proper in Stockbridge, the Berkshire Botanical Garden is certainly one of the oldest show gardens in the Northeast US. The backyard shows all types of attention-grabbing vegetation from throughout the area, all landscaped fantastically and designed to educate you extra about them.

If you’re in search of an off-the-cuff stroll whereas having fun with the fantastic thing about nature, it is a nice choice. (And if you happen to’re right here on a Tuesday, you possibly can make the most of free admission!) The backyard additionally places on occasions like toga and tai chi courses amongst the flowers, workshops, receptions, and even courses in watercolors and birding.

Admission to the Berkshire Botanical Garden is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, and free for youngsters beneath 12. Admission is free to all on Tuesdays.

Five people in jackets and backpacks walking along a paved path through the woods in the Berkshires.
Enjoying a Berkshire Camino hike, through Berkshire Camino.

Berkshire Camino Guided Hikes

If you’re in search of a guided hike with a twist, check out Berkshire Camino — a mountaineering firm impressed by the Camino de Santiago, the life-changing pilgrimage throughout Spain. Owner Mindy Miraglia cherished her time on the Camino and at present she brings Camino magic to small mountaineering excursions in the Berkshires.

The Camino is all about mountaineering from one city to the subsequent, and discovering what lays earlier than you. That’s how these hikes are structured — you might begin out in Housatonic and hike to Stockbridge, or perhaps begin in Lee and hike to Lenox. There are shorter walkabout-style hikes inside cities, too.

Berkshire Camino has walkabouts from $18 per individual, half day hikes from $80 per individual or $150 for 2 individuals. Multi-day mountaineering journeys can be found, too.

View from the top of Mount Greylock -- a hillside covered with purple wildflowers leads to pine trees, and in the distance, more mountains.
One of the aspect views off Mount Greylock, through Shutterstock.

Mount Greylock

If you’re in search of an even bigger problem, take into account mountaineering Mount Greylock — the highest level in Massachusetts! Mount Greylock State Reservation, close to Adams, is house to greater than a dozen mountaineering trails, starting from “easy” to “aggressive.” Hiking to the summit of Mount Greylock is certainly one of the most strenuous routes.

Even if you happen to’re not up for a troublesome hike, you possibly can nonetheless get pleasure from certainly one of the simpler hikes whereas taking in the attractive surroundings.

Admission to Mount Greylock State Reservation is free; parking is $5 for Massachusetts residents and $20 for these from out of state. See the full mountaineering information right here.

A smooth paved trail, lush vegetation in fall colors on each side.
You love the fall colours on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail! Via Shutterstock.

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Don’t you’re keen on when outdated railroad tracks are repurposed into one thing higher? The prepare tracks right here fell into disuse in 1990, so that they turned it right into a 10-foot-wide paved path, operating from Cheshire to Lanesborough to Adams. Throughout the rail path you get to get pleasure from views of the Hoosic River, mountains, and lakes — and if you happen to’re right here for the fall foliage, even higher!

If you’re bringing your bike to the Berkshires — and even your skateboard or rollerblades — this is able to be my high suggestion for you. But even if you happen to’re simply right here to stroll or run, it’s a stunning place to get pleasure from a little bit of nature in between all of your museum-hopping.

The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is free and there are a number of free parking tons alongside the path.

A gravel path along the river and through the woods in Great Barrington. The sun pokes through the trees like a sunburst.
The River Walk was a pleasant shock.

Housatonic River Walk

You’ll see the Housatonic River winding all through the Berkshires, however maybe its finest phase is in Great Barrington, the place they’ve created the Housatonic River Walk. Signs direct you between two non-public houses and all of the sudden you’re on a lovely path alongside the river.

There are two segments of the River Walk — you possibly can see them on a map right here — and there are shows at the entrances that inform you extra about what you’re seeing.

Great Barrington might be the finest city in the Berkshires to spend a day exploring the retailers and downtown. But nothing delighted me greater than the River Walk!

The Housatonic River Walk is free.

A bright blue lake with white houses on it in the distance, mountains behind them. It is grassy up to the lake's edge.
Not a nasty picnic spot!

Pontoosuc Lake

I used to be driving by means of Pittsfield and admiring a lake in the distance — then I noticed a parking zone main to lakeside picnic tables. I had to cease and go to! Pontoosuc Lake is split between Pittsfield and Lanesborough, and it’s a stunning place for a fast cease.

This lake is extra common for boating and fishing than swimming, and boat leases can be found. If you’re spending time in the Pittsfield space, it’s your decision to try the Pittsfield National Forest as properly.

Pontoosuc Lake is free.

The edge of Monument Mountain, jagged and gray and topped with several evergreen trees, looking out over a cloudy sky and mountains in the distance.
There’s no view fairly like that of Monument Mountain. Via Shutterstock.

Monument Mountain

One of the extra beautiful hikes in the Berkshires is up Monument Mountain in Great Barrington. There are three trails main to the summit, all beneath three miles. In addition to beautiful views of the rocky mountain and expansive panorama, you may see hawks or bald eagles!

Fun truth: authors Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne met whereas sheltering from a storm whereas mountaineering Monument Mountain — and have become associates for all times. Melville even devoted Moby-Dick to Hawthorne. (You are consistently reminded of this in the Berkshires!)

Admission to Monument Mountain is free; parking is $6.

A tall gray rocky natural bridge in the middle of the state park.
The marble arch of Natural Bridge State Park, through Shutterstock.

Natural Bridge State Park

North Adams is likely to be referred to as the funky artwork city, however in addition they have certainly one of the nicer state parks in the area: Natural Bridge State Park. This park is house to the solely pure white marble arch in North America — which was shaped 550 million years in the past!

If you’re a geology fan, that is the park to go to. It’s outstanding seeing how the water carves round the stones. You can hike by means of a white marble quarry — additionally the just one in North America.

Admission to Natural Bridge State Park is free. Parking is $5 for Massachusetts residents and $20 for these from out of state.

A quiet lake surrounded by trees and topped with thousands of green lily pads. In the center looks like a pile of tree branches -- it's a beaver lodge.
A beaver dam in Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, through Shutterstock.

Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

One of the hidden gems of the Berkshires is the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary — 1,000 acres of forest, meadows, wetlands, and mountain slopes, proper on the fringe of Lenox. Run by the Audubon Society, that is house to a few of the finest wildlife watching in the area, from beavers to birds.

Some of the highlights are a difficult hike to the summit of Lenox Mountain; an All Persons Trail, a universally accessible path with Braille, audio, and tactile descriptions; and an energetic beaver colony that may be seen from Pike’s pond.

Admission to Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $2 for youngsters age 2-12.

Two kids jumping on trampolines while wearing harnesses at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort. In the background, empty ski lifts.
Trampoline enjoyable at Jimmy Peak Mountain Resort, through Shutterstock.

Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort

Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort is a superb spot for mountain enjoyable in the Berkshires. This family-friendly park has every little thing from Alpine slides to mountain coasters, an enormous swing, chairlift rides, a mountaineering wall, a bungee trampoline, and extra.

Coming in the winter? They have loads of snowboarding.

For these over 54 inches, summer time admission to Jiminy Peak is $59 for six hours and $39 for 4 hours. For those that are 38-53 inches, summer time admission is $49 for six hours and $29 for 4 hours. Buy on-line forward of time as a result of there’s a $5 per ticket surcharge if you happen to wait to purchase at the door.

Several skiers skiing down a forested mountain, a purple sky behind them.
Skiing may be beautiful in the Berkshires! Via DepositPhotos.

Skiing in the Berkshires

If you’re up for a winter go to, the Berkshires have loads of locations to ski. In addition to Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, try Ski Butternut, Otis Ridge, Bousquet Mountain, and Berkshire East.

The Mount: an enormous white mansion with dark green shutters and a small porch overlooking the landscape.
Yep, Edith Wharton constructed this place to get AWAY from the snobs!

Historic Sites in the Berkshires

For centuries, the Berkshires have been a draw for artists, writers, and creatives of all sorts. It didn’t damage that it made a peaceable retreat that wasn’t too removed from each New York and Boston!

The Mount

Fed up with the snobbery of Newport, Rhode Island, literary legend Edith Wharton determined to transfer to the Berkshires in 1901. Her house in Lenox was christened The Mount, she spent a lot of her most prolific writing years right here, and at present it’s certainly one of the most beautiful historic houses in the area.

Wharton had loads of model — and I discovered myself eager for her furnishings! She really had a pale pink eating room with fuchsia and gold cutlery! The home is a outstanding portrait of how the rich lived throughout this time interval, and it makes you concentrate on how idyllic environment can encourage you as an artist.

Admission to the Mount is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $13 for college students with ID, and free for youngsters beneath 18. The grounds are free.

A fully set dining table at Ventford hall covered with gold-tipped china, crystal glassware, silver candlesticks, and silver vases filled with pink fake flowers.
I cherished the eating room at Ventfort Hall.

Ventfort Hall

Also in Lenox, Ventfort Hall is an imposing mansion constructed in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, sister of J.P. Morgan. Today it’s a totally furnished house that doubles as the Museum of the Gilded Age. It’s designed in a luxurious method educating you ways individuals lived in this attention-grabbing level in time.

I discovered the guides right here to be wonderful, passionate and well-versed in the historical past and architectural quirks of this property. Good guides positively make you extra enthusiastic about a spot!

Most individuals will inform you that The Mount is the finest historic house in the Berkshires — however I had a lot affection for Ventfort Hall.

Admission to Ventfort Hall is $18 for adults, $17 for seniors, $10 for college students age 18-23 with ID, and $7 for age 5-17, and free for youngsters beneath 5.

The entrance to the dining room at the Red Lion -- you see tables covered with white tableclothes, old-fashioned chandeliers, a dark wooden grandfather clock, and a shelf lined with all kinds of old-fashioned teapots for decoration.
The Red Lion Inn pays homage to its previous in model.

Red Lion Inn

Everyone in the Berkshires is aware of all about the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge — even informal Berkshires guests are properly versed in it. The Red Lion Inn was first established as a tavern in 1773, and although it’s gone by means of numerous iterations since then, that makes it certainly one of the oldest constantly operated inns in the United States.

It’s a bit of residing historical past, and it’s an attention-grabbing place to stroll by means of and luxuriate in the decor of centuries previous.

I stayed at the Red Lion Inn for a part of my journey (extra on that beneath), however you don’t have to be a resort visitor right here to get pleasure from it. Enjoy a glass of wine at the Lion’s Den pub, eat at the restaurant (certainly one of the few locations in Stockbridge open on a Tuesday, I discovered!), or just stake out certainly one of the rocking chairs on the entrance porch.

The marble statue of a naked woman lying on a rock, leaning back in ecstasy. Behind her is a marble sculpture of a super muscle angel, his arms held up as if to quiet her.
Daniel Chester French’s sculptures will transfer you.

Chesterwood

You might not know artist Daniel Chester French off the high of your head, however you positively know his work — he created the Lincoln Memorial. Today, his legacy lives on at Chesterwood, his house in Stockbridge, the place you possibly can go to his studio and be taught extra about his life and work.

French thought of the Berkshires his private heaven and spent the six hotter months of the yr residing right here, having fun with views of the mountains and creating easy, luxurious sculptures. I extremely suggest taking the guided tour so you possibly can be taught extra about his life and work.

Honestly, a lot of his life was comparable to artists at present — like when he did a job totally free as a result of they promised him paid work in the future — after which they gave him nothing. His pal Ralph Waldo Emerson bullied them into paying him!

Admission to Chesterwood is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $15 for energetic army or veterans, $10 for younger adults age 13-21, and free for youngsters beneath 13.

The brown brick-and shingle house of Naumkeag looking over a gray stone patio topped with sculptures and painted wooden poles that look a lot like the wooden poles in the water in Venice.
Naumkeag is gorgeous on a sunny day!

Naumkeag

The most troublesome factor about Naumkeag could also be announcing it (trace: it’s nom-keg, and it helps to image an animal nomming on a keg of beer). This historic shingle-style house has 44 rooms and was house to generations of the Choate household. While the inside is attention-grabbing to discover, the gardens are the large draw right here.

You can get pleasure from luxurious flower gardens, quintessential Berkshires views over the countryside, and even a Chinese-style backyard. I like to recommend pausing to get a beverage whereas sitting in Adirondack chairs wanting over the panorama.

Admission to Naumkeag is $10 for adults, $15 for seniors and college students with ID, $5 for youngsters 3-12, and free for youngsters beneath 3.

Two 19th century wooden homes, one blood red and one robin's egg blue, perched on a grassy landscape.
Learn a few forgotten society at Hancock Shaker Village.

Hancock Shaker Village

The Shakers have been an interesting sect inside American society, and their legacy lives on at the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, a historic middle and dealing farm. The Shakers believed in communal life, celibacy, confession of sin, racial and gender equality, simplicity, and pacifism.

In this village, you possibly can see the houses that have been divided into the males’s space and the ladies’s space (and sure, the celibacy is why they died out!), and you may find out about how they lived self-sufficiently on this farm, rising meals, elevating animals, and producing crafts. It’s an attention-grabbing look into a gaggle that will get little consideration outdoors historical past courses.

Admission is $20 for adults; $18 for seniors, AAA members, MTA cardholders, and energetic and retired US army; $8 for youth age 13-17; and free for youngsters beneath 13.

A mustard yellow house with brown trim and a small porch in front, set among trees.
Who knew Herman Melville’s house seemed like this?

Arrowhead

When you image the house of Herman Melville, what do you think about? Somewhere set on a cliff overlooking a stormy sea? You’re in all probability not picturing a yellow home with a crimson barn in the Berkshires, overlooking Mount Greylock in the distance! Melville moved to Pittsfield in 1850 to write in solitude; he lived at Arrowhead for 13 years. While right here he wrote a few of his finest works, together with Moby-Dick.

To see the home itself, you go on a guided tour and be taught all about Melville’s historical past and his life in the Berkshires. If you’re a Moby-Dick fan, it is a place it’s best to prioritize.

Admission to Arrowhead is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $10 for college students, and free for youngsters beneath 13.

Kate's hand holding a piece of crostini smeared with pork rillette (pork terrine mixed with several vegetables).
At the Prairie Whale, get pleasure from pork head rillettes from a farm down the street.

Food and Drink in the Berkshires

You may not consider the Berkshires as a culinary vacation spot — however wait till you see what this place has to supply! Some of my favourite experiences in the Berkshires concerned the fabulous native delicacies.

Be positive to double-check the opening hours, as a result of many locations are closed Monday by means of Wednesday.

Farm to Table Dining in the Berkshires

One good factor about visiting the Berkshires is that so many eating places serve farm-to-table delicacies. Here are some notable ones price visiting:

The Prairie Whale in Great Barrington, a cool and welcoming restaurant in the Brooklyn of the Berkshires, serves merchandise from their farm in close by Monterey. Don’t be afraid to strive the pig head rillette.

Mezze Cafe + Bar in Williamstown initially served Mediterranean small plates — however has since grown to supply dishes of all sizes with New England components.

The Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough is a little bit of the overwhelmed path however properly price the cease — particularly for the Sunday-Wednesday-Thursday prix fixe menu, with three domestically sourced programs for simply $46.

John Andrews Restaurant in South Egremont, positioned in an 18th century farmhouse, has been doing farm-to-table menus since 1990. They serve unique dishes from artisan producers and develop fairly a bit in their backyard.

cafeADAM in Great Barrington not solely makes use of native producers and dishes — in addition they function domestically foraged components, like mushrooms from Chef Adam’s secret spot.

The Old Mill in South Egremont options New England components interpreted into new and thrilling dishes — and has a dedication to utilizing solely wild or organically farmed seafood.

A clear glass pastry case filled with croissants, turnovers, and other baked goodies.
These pastries can go toe to toe with something in Paris.

Berkshire Mountain Bakery

If you’re in search of some wonderful baked items, I like to recommend stopping at Berkshire Mountain Bakery in the tiny city of Housantonic. (It additionally makes an amazing cease on the method to Bash Bish Falls, I discovered!) This small bakery specializes in sourdough and high-end bakeries, and folks from throughout the area drop by to choose up loaves of bread.

I grabbed a Kouign-Amann (as a result of I’m fancy — or, actually, as a result of I watch the Great British Bake-Off) and it was every little thing that pastry needs to be: delicate however robust, flaky, lined with sugar.

There is a second location in Pittsfield that doubles as a pizza cafe! And if you happen to actually miss the bread, they ship inside the US.

A dark blue restored home with a big sign reading "No Six Depot" in front' also, orange outdoor chairs and people sipping their coffee.
Are you in love with this cafe but??

Six Depot Roastery and Cafe

Some coffeeshops are price going out of your method — and Six Depot Roastery and Cafe in West Stockbridge is properly price the go to. This cafe takes espresso and tea SO severely. They solely serve espresso from sources round the world they’ve evaluated to be of the highest requirements.

This is a superb cafe to go to for breakfast or brunch. There’s loads of indoor and outside seating. They serve an assortment of bakery treats and lightweight meals. I loved a incredible espresso and a Spanish tortilla. And the city of West Stockbridge is lovable.

While Six Depot is my favourite coffeeshop in the Berkshires, there are a lot extra you possibly can go to! (I attempted to go to THEM ALL! And bought to virtually all of them!) My second-favorite is Tunnel City Coffee, which pairs properly with a go to to the Clark Institute. (There are a number of areas however I like to recommend their flagship in Williamstown, which is big, has an enormous case filled with attractive pastries, and has a jovial scholar crowd.)

Some different locations with wonderful espresso are Stockbridge Coffee and Tea in Stockbridge, Shots Cafe in Lenox, and Fuel in Great Barrington.

Kate holds a half-eaten cider donut in her hand and grins at it lovingly. Behind her are blossoming apple trees.
BEST. CIDER. DONUTS. EVER.

Hilltop Orchards

You may see Hilltop Orchards in Richmond in your Berkshires map — and are available right here for the apple choosing. Or for tasting the native artisanal cider from Jmash Cidery. And let’s not neglect the native wine tasting from Furnace Book Winery. There are even mountaineering trails with nice mountain views.

But one merchandise stands out right here. CIDER DONUTS.

Holy hell, these cider donuts could also be the finest cider donuts I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. They’re on the small aspect, virtually unfathomably moist, and lined with scrumptious cinnamon sugar.

I ordered two and in some way ended up with three in my bag. IT WAS NOT ENOUGH. I ought to have gotten six for $5!

Trust me…if for no different motive, you want to come right here for the cider donuts. This might be certainly one of my high three issues to do in the Berkshires. There’s a motive why everybody recommends them!

A brewery in a brick building. A big yellow sign reads BEER on top; you see two older man sitting at two bright yellow chairs outside, as a waitress walks into the front door.
How handy — a brewery constructed into the museum!

Bright Ideas Brewing

One of the cool issues about MASS MoCA in North Adams is the ecosystem that grew round it — cool new resorts, eating places, coffeeshops, and bars. And I loved spending a night at Bright Ideas Brewing!

This brewery includes a rotating number of scrumptious home-brewed beers — some made with worldwide components. I significantly loved the Northern Lights, made with an sudden ingredient — taiheke from New Zealand!

I additionally appreciated that the brewery was round the nook from my resort, Porches at MASS MoCA, so I may fortunately imbibe with out worrying about driving.

Other craft breweries price visiting in the Berkshires are Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield, Shire Breu-Hous in Dalton, Big Elm Brewing in Sheffield, and Barrington Brewery and Restaurant in Great Barrington.

An old-fashioned yellow house that looks like it has a widow's walk (a porch above the first story you can walk on). It's nestled into the trees like a storybook.
Stockbridge is a superb city to keep in the Berkshires.

Where to Stay in the Berkshires

If you’re wanting to keep in the Berkshires, it’s best to resolve whether or not you need to consider the south (Stockbridge, Lenox, Lee, Great Barrington) or north (North Adams, Williamstown, Pittsfield). Technically you are able to do all of it in one journey, as I did.

I selected to check out two nights in the south at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and one evening in the north at Porches at MASS MoCA in North Adams. These are two small, unbiased resorts, the sorts of locations I really like to keep. Both resorts hosted me on a comped media keep.

The Red Lion Inn: a giant white house with a big porch covered with rocking chairs. Two clay lions guard the entrance, and a sign as a red lion on it.
The Red Lion is the basic Stockbridge keep.

Red Lion Inn

As quickly as I informed my associates I used to be visiting the Berkshires, a number of of them informed me, “Oh, are you going to the Red Lion?” If anyplace is THE place to keep in the Berkshires, it’s right here.

The Red Lion Inn is certainly one of the oldest constantly working inns in the United States, having been open since 1773. Today, the inn has expanded and covers a number of buildings inside a number of blocks — together with Maple Glen, the constructing the place I stayed.

The Red Lion is positioned in downtown Stockbridge, which I believe is certainly one of the finest locations to base in the Berkshires. Not solely is it a lovely city with tons to see and do, it offers you quick access to Lenox, Great Barrington, and close by small cities; plus, in order for you to do Williamsburg and North Adams for the day, this a part of the state is lower than an hour away.

Hotel room at the red lion inn: a bed with a white bedspread, pink and yellow floral-print headboard that patches a rocking chair, and it's painted in an odd combination of teal, moss green, and chartreuse yellow-green.

This was my queen room with a enjoyable combine of colours and patterns.

The same room from another angle: you see another chair in the pink and yellow floral print, plus a wooden desk and chair with a much-too-small tv perched above it. A small coffee station and doors to a closet.

Lots of seating and a great space for working, if you happen to want to.

The hallway at the hotel: a white staircase and on a wall, several small shelves attached to the wall, each topped with a small glass sculpture.

I cherished the show sculptures in Maple Glen!

My room blended nation attraction with fashionable facilities. I appreciated the massive dimension — and that it got here with a decent-sized bathtub! The wifi labored properly — essential, as Stockbridge is a lifeless zone for cellphone sign — and it was good and quiet at evening.

I went to the restaurant one evening, which serves basic Yankee delicacies. The restaurant, the pub, and even the entrance porch really feel like a gathering place in Stockbridge, with attention-grabbing individuals passing by means of.

One tip: don’t carry all of your baggage if you verify in. I did, then I discovered I had to schlep them outdoors and down the avenue to one other constructing.

Rooms from $148 per evening.

Porches: four Victorian homes joined together with a big wooden porch in front. One is blue, one is gray, and one is yellow, all with brown trim.
Porches at MASS MoCA is such a cool idea.

Porches at MASS MoCA

North Adams is all about reinvention, and Porches at MASS MoCA is certainly one of the coolest constructing ideas I’ve seen. The resort is constructed from an extended strip of nineteenth century Victorian row homes alongside the Hoosic River, reconstructed and joined into one lengthy constructing.

Porches calls itself “whimsical” incessantly — and so they love the phrase “granny chic.” Personally, I cherished it! Such a cool mixture of classic and fashionable equipment, a vibrant shade palette, homey and comforting. It suits North Adams completely.

A room with textured stripe walls -- the walls are dark reddish orange and the trim is brighter orange, like the color of goldfish crackers. You see a white bed in the background in between two end tables with lamps that look like the sculpture of a man in green gauze.

I cherished the colours, these lamps, and the divider between rooms.

The room from the other angle: above the door frame four vintage plates are attached. You also see a desk and two chairs in the next room.

This is full-on granny stylish and I cherished it.

In the hallway, you see several entrances to rooms. It's an open concept and you can see the floor below, which has a vintage sign reading "Marcel's Cabins - Color TV."

This was the inside certainly one of the Victorian homes — the indoor/outside combine form of jogged my memory of Vegas, imagine it or not.

North Adams makes a great base for visiting the northern a part of the Berkshires — cities like Williamstown, Lanesborough, Pittsfield, Florida, and Cheshire. And Porches is true throughout the avenue from MASS MoCA — which meant I may get pleasure from two beers at Bright Ideas Brewing with out having to drive!

If you need to hang around at Porches, there are many rocking chairs on the entrance porches, in addition to a pool space in the again.

Rooms from $149 per evening.

Overall, these have been two nice locations to keep in the Berkshires, however they have been so totally different! Overall, I cherished the location and historical past of the Red Lion, however I most popular the design and vibe of Porches. If you’re coming to the Berkshires for 3 nights and don’t thoughts altering lodging, why don’t you strive each?

See extra locations to keep in the Berkshires right here.

Bish Bash Falls: an intense, furious waterfall, technically a single-drop but it looks like it's coming from two sides, emptying into a dark teal pool. It's surrounded by bright green vegetation and close to the edge of the pool, you see tiny people, which makes you realize how big it is!
Bash Bish Falls is certainly one of my favourite locations in the Berkshires!

Berkshires Travel Tips

Here are some issues it’s best to know earlier than touring in the Berkshires:

Phone sign is poor in elements of the Berkshires. In truth, the complete city of Stockbridge is a lifeless zone for cellphone sign, which shocked me. If you’re utilizing your cellphone for GPS, as I did, it’s best to load instructions when you have entry to wifi.

The Berkshires are quiet throughout the week, particularly outdoors excessive season. I visited from Monday by means of Thursday, which I believed would permit me fewer crowds. It positive did — and TONS of locations have been closed! You ought to verify to be certain that your favourite attraction isn’t closed if you’re visiting.

Prices can rapidly snowball in the Berkshires. Most museums and historic websites value round $20. That can rapidly add up if you’re doing three or 4 in a day! It’s finest to determine earlier than you go how a lot you need to spend and what your greatest priorities are.

Look for mixture tickets if you happen to’re hitting up loads of museums. You can purchase a mix ticket to MASS MoCA, the Clark Institute, and the Williams College Museum of Art for $34. Pick it up in any of the three spots.

Loads of coffeeshops in the Berkshires shut at 2:00 PM throughout the week. I discovered this disappointing, as I really like a midafternoon coffeeshop go to once I journey.

The Prairie Whale restaurant: a big navy blue house and many people eating outside on the porches and on the grass at distanced tables underneath Christmas lights.
Go to the Berkshires when you possibly can dine outdoors!

Best Time to Visit the Berkshires

Most individuals say that the finest time to go to the Berkshires is both the summer time or the fall. The summer time as a result of it’s when the most occasions are on — Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow, all the theater performances — and the fall is if you get the finest foliage.

Keep in thoughts that the absolute busiest time in the Berkshires is throughout summer time and fall weekends. You can count on large crowds and excessive costs with each peaking on the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

If you’re wanting to expertise the finest foliage in the Berkshires, time your go to from late September by means of mid-October. Columbus Day is often fairly stable for foliage. Though it’s at all times a sensible thought to verify an almanac as this could fluctuate from yr to yr.

I visited the Berkshires in mid-May and it was a surprisingly good time to go to. There have been no performances occurring, however the climate was completely wonderful; it was really a lot sunnier and hotter than Boston! (That doesn’t at all times occur, although. May in New England can typically be chilly and wet.)

Winter is a gradual and quiet time of yr — however it is a nice time to go to the Berkshires if you happen to’re wanting to ski, snowshoe, or bundle up by the hearth.

Keep in thoughts that early spring in New England is “mud season” — and most if not all of April falls into this class. Spring hits later right here than many elements of the US.

A modern sculpture that looks a bit like a bird built from an iron grid, a golden handle serving as beak and eyeball, overlooking a busy street in North Adams.
You’ll need to come to the Berkshires by automotive.

How to Get to the Berkshires

You want a automotive in the Berkshires. Can you do the Berkshires with out a automotive? I’m positive somebody has, however I actually don’t suggest it.

Everything requires driving. Even if you happen to base in a city like Stockbridge, getting to native sights like the Norman Rockwell Museum, Chesterwood, Naumkeag, and the Berkshire Botanical Gardens requires a 10-minute drive!

Most individuals drive to the Berkshires. Depending on the place you base, it’s a few 2:15-2:45 drive from Boston and a 2:45-3:15 drive from New York City.

If you’re flying to the Berkshires, the closest main airport is in Albany, a few 45-minute drive from Stockbridge.

There are bus and prepare connections to Pittsfield.

Norman Rockwell's little red cabin, sitting in a grassy area underneath a blue sky with a few clouds.
You’ll be very glad you visited the Berkshires!

Are the Berkshires price it?

Yes! Absolutely! I cherished my journey to the Berkshires, and my solely remorse was that I waited so lengthy to go to this glorious a part of my house state.

And to my fellow Bay Staters, New Englanders, and tri-staters — if you happen to haven’t been to the Berkshires but, perhaps it’s time for you to make the journey! Pick an extended weekend and begin researching. I believe you’ll fall in love with this lovely a part of the world.

Planning a neighborhood journey? I can assist!

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See all Massachusetts posts right here.

Thanks to the Red Lion Inn and Porches at MASS MoCA for internet hosting me for 3 nights altogether in the Berkshires. I additionally acquired comped admission to the Norman Rockwell Museum, Naumkeag, Chesterwood, The Mount, Berkshire Botanical Garden, Ventfort Hall, Hancock Shaker Village, Clark Institute, MASS MoCA, the Berkshire Museum, and Arrowhead. All opinions, as at all times, are my very own.

33 Best Things to Do in the Berkshires