The Berkshires - also known as the Berkshire Hills, Berkshire Mountains and Berkshire Plateau - is both a geological and cultural area located in the western parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts, 2.5 hours from both Boston and New York City. The region was named "Berkshire" by the Royal Governor Sir Francis Bernard after his county "Berkshire" in England.
Things to Do
The Berkshires cater heavily to tourism with a large emphasis on arts, culture, history and recreation.
There are many beautiful trails in the Berkshires - most notably, the historic Mohawk Trail, and part of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (The Appalachian Trail), a marked hiking trail, much of which is in wilderness. Nature enthusiasts will also love exploring parks like Berkshire Botanical Garden, Kent Falls and Hebert Arboretum.
Other recreational activities include downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, biking, hiking, golf, whitewater rafting, canoeing, fly-fishing, backpacking, and more.
There are numerous prestigious art galleries in The Berkshires - for example, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Clark Art Institute, the Williams College Museum of Art, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Some of the great theatres and performing arts centres include Tanglewood Music Centre (host to the Boston Symphony Orchestra) and Shakespeare & Company.
If you're in the Berkshires in the summer, participate in such summer festivals as the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Berkshire Theatre Festival and, of course, America's first and longest-running dance festival, the internationally acclaimed Jacob's Pillow. Indeed, as Mikhail Baryshnikov himself said, "There is no place quite like Jacob's Pillow."
The Berkshires are well known for their charming small towns and villages. Williamstown, Pittsfield, North Adams, Stockbridge, Lee and Lenox (all in Massachusetts) are particularly popular among tourists, as is Hancock Shaker Village and its Shaker-style furniture. Take a trip to some of these villages and enjoy the antique and specialty shops.
Accommodations - Private Cottages, Bed and Breakfasts, Inns
In the Berkshires the accommodations range from private cottages bed and breakfasts and inns in quaint, rustic Colonial homes or Victorian mansions to various modern hotels, motels and resorts. Look out for such amenities as Jacuzzis, antique furnishings, and afternoon wine and cheese hours!