Residents flee the oppressively hot streets of Boston and New York City in the summer and head to The Berkshires’ undulating hills, lush woodlands, and lovely resorts instead. It’s a well-liked weekend vacation from Boston to the region.
The Berkshires, a group of New England towns in western Massachusetts, are well-known for their rural setting, the wealth of things to do, and centuries of history.
There are numerous museums, historic sites, and countless miles of wilderness in The Berkshires, making it a popular destination for tourists.
Best Places to Visit in the Berkshires
Visitors may always find worthwhile locations and activities in The Berkshires, regardless of the season.
1. Attend an event at Tanglewood
The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home is Tanglewood, an outdoor music venue that has been in operation since the 1930s. Thousands of people come to the stage every summer to enjoy a variety of classical, jazz, current, and pop music performances.
The house is popular among locals and visitors alike and is located between two of Massachusetts’ most picturesque little towns, Lenox and Stockbridge.
Although the main building hasn’t altered much since its inauguration almost a century ago, the grounds now contain restaurants and indoor facilities, allowing it to serve as more of a year-round entertainment venue.
2. Jacob’s Pillow
You’ll soon learn that the Berkshires are a cultural sanctuary. Dance enthusiasts visit Tanglewood to see Jacob’s Pillow in addition to the music.
America’s longest-running international dance festival is held on the 220-acre National Historic Landmark, winner of the National Medal of Arts.
Each year, there are 500 free performances and events and more than 50 dance companies. It is also a well-known dance training facility for professional dancers.
3. Take in Some Nature
Despite being well-known for its fine dining establishments, fine art, and top-notch resorts and hotels, the Berkshires are still largely undeveloped.
In actuality, the Berkshire region is undeveloped to a degree of roughly 93%, much of which has been preserved in parks or reserves. Any time of year is a fantastic time to be outside in The Berkshires, and there are many opportunities to get close to nature there.
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For instance, Monument Mountain is a well-liked walk in the Berkshires’ Great Barrington region. Visitors can enjoy 360-degree views of the Housatonic River Valley from the peak, which is 1,642 feet high. Every year, more than 20,000 hikers visit Monument Mountain to investigate the cliffs and rocks.
4. Explore Museums
But let’s get back to culture because there is a lot of it in the Berkshires. In The Berkshires, museums are among the most popular tourist attractions, and you may choose from a variety.
For instance, the Clark Art Institute (225 South Street, Williamstown) is frequently cited as the greatest in the area. The Clark is a research center featuring an academic program, an art history library, and a public art gallery that was founded in 1955.
From the Renaissance until the early 1900s, European and American paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and photos were included in the permanent collection.
5. Engage in Exercise at Adventure Parks
The Berkshires are jam-packed with action in the winter, but there are also a ton of fantastic things to do there in the summer. One example of an adrenaline-fueled family day is an adventure park.
Let’s start with the tree-to-tree adventure park Ramblewild in Lanesborough, which is located in Feronia Forest. The eight aerial obstacle courses in this park are suspended eight stories above the ground under the forest’s canopy.
The courses’ many various components, including high wires and zip lines as well as rope ladders, cargo nets, hanging bridges, and more, can be experienced by daring visitors as they roam through the trees at this tremendous altitude.
6. Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount
If you’ve ever read one of Edith Wharton’s stories, such as The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, or The House of Mirth, you’ll probably enjoy a trip to her Berkshire estate and house, The Mount.
Wharton paved the way for women. She published 40 books in 40 years, became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, and won numerous other honors.
Speaking of old houses, while you’re in the Berkshires, you might want to see Naumkeag in Stockbridge.
A New York lawyer named Joseph Choate and his wife, Caroline, previously resided in this historic house. The opulent 44-room house is situated on 48 acres and is regarded as an architectural wonder. It has even been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Visitors are welcome to explore the house’s interior spaces as well as the grounds, which are renowned for their vivid, skillfully landscaped gardens.
8. The Shaker Village of Hancock
The Shakers are a religious organization that advocates communal life, peace, and celibacy. They are one of the most intriguing religious movements in America. They came to America from England in 1774, and through their art, craftsmanship, music, agriculture, and other endeavors, they made a name for themselves.
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Of the 19 Shaker villages that were founded in the US, Hancock Shaker Village is the third. The community had more than 3,000 acres and 300 residents during its height in the 1840s.
9. The Gilded Age Museum and Ventfort Hall Mansion
The Berkshires’ old houses are really magnificent. But none is more magnificent than the haunting, beautiful Jacobean Revival estate known as Ventfort Hall estate and Gilded Age Museum, which was constructed in the late 19th century for Sarah Morgan (the sole sibling of J.P. Morgan).
That this Gilded Age treasure is included on the National Register of Historic Places comes as no surprise. But things weren’t always like that. Ventfort Hall was one of Massachusetts’s top 11 most endangered properties in 1997 due to the state it had descended into.
10. Check out the Fall Colors
The Berkshires are among the best places in the world for leaf-peeping in the northeastern United States.
Rich, bright foliage graces the backdrops of the numerous picturesque routes that wind through the Berkshires region. The Berkshires’ trees virtually erupt with yellows, oranges, and reds from late September until mid-October.
Route 2 offers breathtaking views over the treetops from a higher height, making it one of the greatest drives to witness the Berkshires’ autumn color. Simply magnificent is the blanket of autumnal tones that covers the valley.
North Adams and Pittsfield are the two cities that makeup Berkshire County. In a region of around 950 square miles, 30 settlements are located outside these two cities. Less than 10% of The Berkshires is developed; the remaining 90% is covered in wilderness or is interspersed with ski, bike, and hiking routes.
In the summer, the fields turn a vivid green, cafés overflow onto the sidewalk, and live dance and music performances fill the air. The world is quiet and covered in white throughout the winter when snow covers the mountain slopes, including Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts.