Berkshires

The Berkshires have something to satisfy any traveler to New England, and for a complete vacation experience, consider this popular destination in Massachusetts. Whether you’re interested in skiing on the snowy mountains, boating on Lake Garfield, hiking through beautiful parks, or spending a day antique shopping, the Berkshires provide unlimited opportunities for an exceptional vacation experience.

The towns in the southern Berkshire region include Great Barrington and Monterey, and both are delightful to visit. Great Barrington has an interesting history. Founded in 1766, the city’s Main Street was the first in the area to have electric lights, from William Stanley’s alternating-current transformer, built along the Housatonic River in 1886. The town had the first instance of armed resistance involving the British prior to the Revolutionary War, and it features art galleries, boutiques, and fine restaurants. It’s also close to the village of Housatonic, which also has a selection of galleries. The Housatonic Riverwalk, a meandering greenway trail, winds its way along the banks of the Housatonic and provides a maintained walkway through lush scenery.

Monterey, located on Lake Garfield, is the place for sunning and swimming. The beach area is monitored by lifeguards from June through Labor Day. Lake Fest, an annual event, has lake tours, fireworks, food, and music. During the winter, the town hosts daily ice skating activities free of charge, making it a great destination for families to visit year-round.

For vacationers looking for the best skiing destinations, the Berkshire Hills offer great places for downhill skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. An outstanding ski area located in Great Barrington is Ski Butternut. Covering 112 acres of downhill trails, this well-kept skiing venue in the Berkshire Hills provides trails for beginning, intermediate, and experienced skiers. Plenty of lifts are available to get you to the top of the hills, where you have a choice of 22 slopes or you can enjoy the fun at the five-lane tubing center. For extended stays, Ski Butternut offers weekend and mid-week ski and lodging packages with discounts at affiliated accommodations in surrounding towns including Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Sheffield, and Lee.

Another skiing area found in the Berkshires is at Catamount. This lovely 119-acre skiing and snowboarding venue in the Berkshire Hills area first opened in 1939, making it one of the oldest skiing venues in the northeastern US. Skiers have 32 superior trails available for snowboarding or downhill skiing. Catamount boasts the longest downhill run in the Berkshires, at 2.5 miles. Terrain Park has areas dedicated to jumps, halfpipe, jibs, and boardercross with plenty of banked turns, drops, and rails to keep boarders entertained for hours. Catamount also has night skiing and safe areas specifically for children.

Serious hikers and outdoor enthusiasts have two magnificent state parks to choose between, both providing spectacular views, a variety of birds and wildlife, and camping. There are also waterfalls such as Bash Bish Falls, which is located next to Mount Washington State Forest, a 4,169-acre park. Mount Washington has 30 miles of trails that offer plenty of chances to watch the cascading waters of Bash Bish Falls make their way through forests and gorges to a pool below. Mount Washington State Forest adjoins Taconic State Park located in New York.

The other state forest, Mount Everett State Forest, is 1,356 acres and offers picnicking areas at Guilder Pond and trails to the top of the mountain where visitors can have panoramic views of three states. The Berkshires are a terrific destination for travelers interested in the outdoors, and this state forest offers plenty of opportunity to appreciate the natural wonders of western Massachusetts.

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