The Berkshires – Discover the Hidden Gem of Massachusetts

Simply beautiful The Berkshires of Massachusetts is one of the best-hidden vacation places in the USA with lots of natural beauty to enjoy as 90% of areas of The Berkshires are undeveloped and most areas are kept as preserves and parks.

When people think of vacationing in Massachusetts, usually Boston or Cape Cod comes first in their minds. However, if you’re looking for a peaceful and picturesque destination that’s off the beaten path, you should consider exploring The Berkshires. This charming region is tucked away in the western part of the state, and it offers a wealth of natural beauty, culture, and history.

The Berkshires is a mesmerizing place to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s a four-season destination, so you can visit the place years-round and find plenty of things to do. In the summer, you can enjoy hiking, swimming, and outdoor concerts. In the fall, you can admire the stunning foliage and attend fall festivals. In the winter, you can go skiing, snowshoeing, or cozy up by the fireplace with a good book. In the spring, you can witness the beauty of the region’s blooming flowers and trees. Overall all the seasons are enjoyable here.

stunning view autumn at The Berkshires of Massachusetts
Autumn at The Berkshires

Top 10 Places to Visit in The Berkshires

Tanglewood

Since 1937 this is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and it hosts a wide variety of concerts and events throughout the season. This 500 acres large area between Lenox and Stockbridge is visited by 350000 plus visitors during the year. You can also book weddings and private events at Tanglewood. Tanglewood Music Centre, Days in the Arts, and Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) are part of Tanglewood. For lists of events hosted during the year, you can visit their official website.

Norman Rockwell Museum

Founded in 1969 and located in Stockbridge just 13 kilometers away from The Berkshires, this museum celebrates the life and work of one of America’s most beloved artists Norman Rockwell, who lived and worked in The Berkshires for many years. This spacious museum is well-curated, with a collection of 574 original artworks by Norman Rockwell, also having more than 1 lakh items to showcase, and also hosts traveling exhibitions related to American illustration.

The Clark Art Institute

This is a public art museum with a research institute and an academic program opened in 1956 by Sterling and Francine Clark for their impressive art collections and this museum became the most beloved and respected art museum in the world. European and American paintings, prints, sculptures, decorative arts, photographs, drawings, and many more items are collected in this museum which is visited by more than 2 lakhs visitors per year.

The Mount

The Mount in The Berkshires of Massachusetts

This beautiful estate was once the home of Edith Wharton, the renowned author of The Age of Innocence, built in 1902 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971. The Mount is visited by 50000 people per year to explore this site and the lives of Wharton and her servants. Local organizers also manage many events here such as dramatic readings, workshops, lectures, theater, music, storytelling, films, outdoor sculptures, etc.

Hancock Shaker Village

Hancock Shaker Village community at The Berkshires of Massachusetts

This living history museum showcases the daily life and traditions of the Shaker community, who lived in The Berkshires for many years. This open space museum has 20 historical buildings, a large garden area, hiking trails, and more than 22000 art collections. During Fall and Spring, many events are hosted here.

Mount Greylock State Reservation

This is the highest peak in Massachusetts, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. If the weather is good, the summit of Mount Greylock is open. Bascom Lodge is located at the summit having overnight facilities to stay and there are also primitive facilities and campgrounds in remote trailside areas. In the reservation area, you can enjoy mountain biking, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and many more activities. Some part of the Appalachian Trail and Thunderbolt Ski Trail passes through the reservation.

Jacob’s Pillow

This is a world-renowned dance festival that takes place every summer, featuring performances by some of the best dance companies in the world. It was registered as a National Historic Landmark District in 2003 and hosts many community programs. All events are hosted in Jacob’s Pillow at two venues – The Ted Shawn Theatre and at outdoor space Henry J. Leir Stage.

Berkshire Botanical Garden

This is a lovely place on more than 24 acres to take a leisurely stroll and admires the region’s native flora and fauna with a collection of more than 3000 species and here you can educate yourself about the art and science of gardening.

Mass MoCA

Mass MoCA means Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in a former textile mill and features a rotating collection of contemporary art and performing arts, established in 1999 in North Adams.

Barrington Stage Company

Established in 1995 Barrington Stage Company (BSC) is a theater company that presents a wide variety of plays and musicals throughout the year, and it has launched several successful Broadway productions.

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Top 5 luxurious stays in The Berkshires

In The Berkshires, you will find luxurious to basic amenities stay to make your tour memorable.

The Wheatleigh

This historic Italianate mansion-turned-hotel and one of the leading hotels in the world is a true gem in the Berkshires. The Wheatleigh with its high ceiling and antique-designed 19 rooms and suites offer luxurious accommodations with fine linens, marble bathrooms, and spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The hotel also has a Michelin-starred restaurant, an outdoor pool, and a spa. You can host your private events, birthday parties, or even wedding also.

Blantyre

Spread in 110 acres of lust green areas and woodlands, this Tudor-style mansion is a Relais & Châteaux property that offers opulent accommodations in a country estate setting. The rooms are elegantly appointed with antiques and fine furnishings, and the property features a full-service spa, tennis courts, a pool, and a golf course. The atmosphere in the winter is amazing and you can do lots of snow activities.

Canyon Ranch Lenox

This award-winning spa and wellness resort is the perfect place to relax and refresh. Canyon Ranch Lenox offers luxurious accommodations with stunning views, a full-service spa, gourmet dining, and a wide variety of wellness and fitness classes.

The Red Lion Inn

This 250-year-old historic inn is a Berkshire icon that has been welcoming guests since the 18th century. The Red Lion Inn offers luxurious accommodations with period furnishings and modern amenities, as well as a full-service spa, multiple dining options, a heated pool, a hot tub, a fitness center, and a cozy tavern. Live musical evenings are performed most of the time here.

Kemble Inn

This elegant boutique hotel is housed in a restored Gilded Age mansion that dates back to 1881. The Kemble Inn offers 13 luxurious accommodations with a blend of historic charm and modern amenities, as well as a full-service spa, a fine dining restaurant, and breathtaking views of the Berkshire Mountains. In the spacious event area, you can arrange your memorable party events, or wedding events also.

Top 5 restaurants in Berkshires

After exploring this beautiful tourist spot, you need to satisfy your hunger. In The Berkshires, you will find many restaurants to enjoy different foods and drinks.

Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar

Located on 34 Church St, Lenox, and opened in 2008, this farm-to-table restaurant offers contemporary American cuisine with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients with a wide range of wine. The menu changes seasonally, but some of the signature dishes include the grilled octopus, the beet salad, and the Berkshire pork chop.

Nudel Restaurant

This is a small, cozy, and intimate restaurant at 37 Church St, Lenox that serves up inventive and creative dishes using locally-sourced ingredients. The menu features a mix of small plates and larger entrees, and some of the standout dishes include handmade pasta, crispy pork belly, and buttermilk fried chicken.

The Old Inn on the Green

This is a historic inn and restaurant located in New Marlborough surrounded by greenery that specializes in traditional New England cuisine. The menu features classic dishes like roast duck, beef tenderloin, and lobster bisque, as well as some more innovative dishes like the foie gras torchon and the squid ink linguine, and also arrange candlelit dinner.

Rouge Restaurant & Bistro

This is a French-inspired bistro located on the West side of Stockbridge that offers a cozy and romantic atmosphere with frequently changing menus. The menu features classic French dishes like escargots, bouillabaisse, and coq au vin, as well as some contemporary American options like grilled salmon and roasted chicken with specialty cocktails and wines.

The Prairie Whale

This is a farm-to-table restaurant located in Great Barrington that focuses on sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients. The menu changes frequently, but some of the signature dishes include roasted bone marrow, fried oysters, and housemade charcuterie. They also have an impressive selection of craft beers, red and white wines, and natural wines that are sourced from a small local importer.

Activities to do in the Berkshires

The Berkshires is really a natural paradise where you can do plenty of recreational indoor and outdoor activities.

Hiking

The Berkshires are home to several great hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Popular trails include the Mount Greylock Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and the Monument Mountain Trail.

Cultural attractions

The Berkshires are known for their vibrant arts and culture scene. You can catch a show at the renowned Tanglewood Music Center, explore the collections at the Clark Art Institute and the Norman Rockwell Museum, or take in a performance at the Berkshire Theatre Group.

Outdoor recreation

The Berkshires offer a wealth of outdoor activities, from skiing and snowboarding at local resorts like Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort and Berkshire East Mountain Resort, to kayaking and fishing on the Housatonic River.

Shopping and dining

The Berkshires are home to a variety of charming towns and villages, each with its own unique shops and restaurants. You can browse antiques in Great Barrington, sample farm-to-table cuisine in Lenox, or explore the galleries and boutiques in Stockbridge.

Relaxation and wellness

The Berkshires are also a great place to unwind, recharge and refresh yourself. You can book a spa day at one of the area’s many luxurious resorts, take a yoga class at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health located in Stockbridge, or simply soak in the natural beauty of the region.

How to reach The Berkshires

Have you decided to visit The Berkshires this vacation? If yes, pack your bags, and get ready to discover this beautiful hidden gem of Massachusetts which is accessible by different modes of transportation.

By car

The Berkshires can be easily accessed by car from several major cities, including Boston (about 2.5 hours), New York City (about 3 hours), and Hartford, CT (about 1.5 hours). Major highways in the area include the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) and Route 7.

By train

Amtrak offers service to the Berkshires via the Albany-Rensselaer station in New York, which is about an hour’s drive from the heart of the Berkshires. From there, you can rent a car or take a taxi to your destination.

By bus

Several bus companies, including Peter Pan and Greyhound, offer service to the Berkshires from major cities in the Northeast.

By air

The closest major airport to the Berkshires is Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT (about 1.5 hours away by car). Logan International Airport in Boston and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City are also within driving distance.

FAQs The Berkshires

Q: What is the best time of year to visit The Berkshires?

A: The Berkshires are beautiful year-round, but many visitors prefer to visit during the fall foliage season which is from September to November when the trees turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Summer is also a popular time to visit, with warm weather and a variety of outdoor activities. Winter is also beautiful here to enjoy snow activities.

Q: What are some of the top attractions in The Berkshires?

A: Some of the top attractions in The Berkshires include Tanglewood Music Center, the Norman Rockwell Museum, MASS MoCA, the Clark Art Institute, and Mount Greylock State Reservation.

Q: What is the dining scene like in The Berkshires?

A: The Berkshires are known for their farm-to-table cuisine, with many restaurants sourcing their ingredients locally. There are also plenty of options for international cuisine, including French, Italian, and Japanese, and many restaurants to arrange any event parties.

Q: Are there any outdoor activities in The Berkshires?

A: Yes, there are many outdoor activities to enjoy in The Berkshires, including hiking, skiing, kayaking, and fishing.

Q: Is it easy to get around The Berkshires without a car?

A: While having a car is certainly convenient, it is possible to get around The Berkshires without your own car. There are several taxi and ride-sharing services available, as well as public transportation options like the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) and the Amtrak train station in Pittsfield.

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