Video showing views from the top of Monument Mountain on a crisp, clear October morning showing the Berkshires in all its autumnal splendor.
How to get to the Berkshires
Here are inks for local and regional public transportation depots and stops, plus where to get Peter Pan bus and Amtrak train schedules and tickets: how to get to the Berkshires.
Apr 19, 2013 Article by Dave Read
We visited Bartholomew’s Cobble, a National Natural Landmark located on the southern edge of the Berkshires, for a hike on Sept. 22, 2013, the Autumn equinox. The hike was led by Rene Wendell, the affable and knowledgeable ranger who oversees the Cobble, which is a property of the Trustees of Reservations, the oldest regional land trust in the world.
Rocks,ferns, giant Cottonwood tree at Bartholomew’s Cobble
Bartholomew’s Cobble’s 60 acres contain a degree of biodiversity that matches the 60,000 acres of Acadia National Park in Maine. We hiked along fewer than half of the Cobble’s 5 miles of trails, in order to identify species of ferns, visit the Housatonic River floodplain area where 1,800 trees were planted in a recent restoration project, including Silver Maple, Box Elder, Cottonwood, Sycamore, Tulip Tree, Hackberry, and seven varieties of disease-resistant Elms, and to see Wendell enter the 2nd largest Cottonwood tree in the state, a 230 year-old specimen which was #1 until a storm felled a giant limb.
About Bartholomew’s Cobble
Bartholomew’s Cobble is a 329 acre site, owned and administered by the Trustees of Reservations, that was created by geologic upheavals when the Taconic and Berkshire ranges were formed. It is a 100′ high bedrock outcropping, containing 800 species of plants, that began as coral reefs, shells, and sand as many as 500 million years ago when this area was an inland sea. When the Taconic and Berkshire mountains were formed, the still-forming strata were pushed upward and flipped over, leaving the rough and rugged underbelly exposed for millennia.
The reservation’s more recent farming history lives on through herd of cattle grazing along the river. The cobbles consist mostly of quartzite and marble, whose alkaline soil supports an unusual array of flora – you’ll find one of North America’s greatest diversities of fern species here. The reservation also boasts one of the largest Cottonwood trees in the state. It’s this amazing diversity that led to the Cobble’s designation as a National Natural Landmark in 1971. Download Bartholomew’s Cobble trail map (PDF).
The high point at Bartholomew’s Cobble, Hurlburt’s Hill, rises 1,000 feet to a 20-acre upland field on the Massachusetts–Connecticut border that offers panoramic views northward up the Housatonic River Valley.
Bartholomew’s Cobble map and driving directions
- Weatogue Road
- Ashley Falls
- Sheffield, MA
- Telephone: 413.229.8600
- E-mail: email@example.com
How to get to Bartholomew’s Cobble
From Rt. 7 South in Sheffield, turn right onto Rt. 7A and follow for 0.5 mi. Turn right onto Rannapo Rd. and follow for 1.5 mi. Turn right onto Weatogue Rd. to entrance and parking (30 cars) on left. From Rt. 7 north in Canaan, CT, turn left onto Rt. 7A and cross state border. Turn left onto Rannapo Rd and follow for 0.8 mi. Turn left onto Weatogue Rd. Continue as above.
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail
Bicycling in the Berkshires is getting better for visitors and locals because of the development by the MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation of the The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, which is overseen locally by the Berkshire Bike Path Council. Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) and the Berkshire Bike path Council (BBPC) help the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) gather information regarding the popularity of multi-use trails state wide. The data we collect is used to advocate for greater trail development.
The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is a former railroad corridor converted into a 10-foot wide paved, universally accessible, passive recreation path. The Ashuwillticook runs parallel to Route 8 through the towns of Cheshire, Lanesborough, and Adams. The southern end of the rail trail begins at the entrance to the Berkshire Mall off MA Rte. 8 in Lanesborough and travels 11.2 miles north to the center of Adams. Parking lots and restrooms are available at selected locations along the way.
“If one were to imagine a hub of bike trails circumnavigating Mount Greylock, with spokes to all corners of the county, the Berkshires would become the best bike region east of the Mississippi and one of the top five in North America. The draw of that would be immense: something like Tanglewood, the Clark, and Jiminy Peak all rolled into one.”
– Joseph Thompson, Director, MASS MoCA
The rail trail passes through the Hoosic River Valley, between the Mount Greylock and the Hoosac Mountain Ranges. Cheshire Reservoir, the Hoosic River, and associated wetlands flank much of the trail offering outstanding views of the scenery and abundant wildlife. The name Ashuwillticook (ash-oo-will-ti-cook) derives from the Native American word for the south branch of the Hoosic River and literally means “at the in-between pleasant river,” or in common tongue, “the pleasant river in between the hills.” The name was adopted for the trail as a way to reconnect people to local history and the natural environment.
Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts, with an elevation of 3,491 feet. It spans the Berkshire county towns of North Adams, Adams, Lanesborough, Cheshire, Williamstown and New Ashford, dominating the Berkshire landscape; from the summit, dramatic views of 60-90 miles distant may be seen. It became Massachusetts’ first wilderness state park, acquired by the Commonwealth in 1898, to preserve its natural environment for public enjoyment. Wild and rugged yet intimate and accessible, Mount Greylock rewards the visitor exploring this special place of scenic and natural beauty.
From Wikipedia: “The summit of Mount Greylock is located in Adams, but the mountain spreads into the towns of North Adams, Williamstown, Cheshire, New Ashford and Lanesborough. Mount Greylock is composed of a north-south oriented central ridge: Saddle Ball Mountain 3,247 ft (990 m); Mount Greylock, the high point (3,491 ft (1,064 m); Mount Fitch (3,110 ft/950 m); and Mount Williams (2,951 ft/899 m); flanked by two subordinate ridges: on the west by Mount Prospect (2,690 ft/820 m) and Stony Ledge (2,560 ft/780 m), and on the east by Ragged Mountain (2,528 ft/771 m). (Photo from Wikipedia, used according to GNU license.)
“Prior to the arrival of Europeans the Mahican people were closely associated with this region. The traditional trade route connecting the tribes of the Hudson and Connecticut River Valleys (today, Route 2, known as the Mohawk Trail) passes beneath the northern flank of Mount Greylock. The mountain was known to eighteenth century English settlers as Grand Hoosuc(k). In the early 19th century it was called Saddleback Mountain because of its appearance (Saddle Ball, the name of the peak to the south, still reflects this).
“The origin of the present name of Greylock and its association with the mountain is unclear. It first appeared in print about 1819, and came into popular use by the 1830s. It may be in reference to its appearance, as it often has a gray cloud, or lock of gray mist upon his head, or in tribute to a legendary Native American chief, Gray Lock. Gray Lock (c.1670-1750) was a Western Abenaki Missisquoi chief of Woronoco/Pocomtuc ancestry, born near Westfield (MA). Gray Lock distinguished himself by conducting guerrilla raids into Vermont and western Massachusetts in the conflict variously known as Dummer’s War, Three Years War, Lovewell’s War, The War with the Eastern Indian or Father Rasle’s War. Although it is not clear whether he was actually ever personally associated with the mountain, perhaps in tribute to his notoriety the mountain came to bear his name.”
Video shot October 18, 2008 on a hike on Monument Mountain during the Trustees of Reservations’ Monument Mountain Day, held to celebrate their 100th property acquisition. The first section of our hike was led by Bernard Drew, noted local historian who has logged 415 hikes and just published a book, Faded Tracks on Monument Mountain.
Where to ski in the Berkshires
Skiing is a favorite activity in the Berkshires and has been an important component of the local tourism industry for as long as Tanglewood has. In 1935, the first of the famous “ski trains” left Grand Central Station in New York bound for Bousquet’s in Pittsfield, MA, where the rope tow was perfected and night skiing was introduced. Before being discontinued in 1942, the ski trains to the Berkshires became very popular, delivering 4,000 skiers a day, and establishing Berkshire county as a skiing destination, with several ski areas and year-round resorts offering a variety of activities besides downhill skiing.
Berkshires downhill and cross-country ski areas
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This map shows locations and driving directions for skiing in the Berkshires; downhill skiing areas and cross county skiing areas are marked with distinctive icons. Each area also is listed below the map. Get more information, including contact information and links to the ski areas on our Berkshires skiing page.
Using the map: Use the “zoom” function when icons are bunched together; for directions, click “directions” and enter your location in the box that appears just below the map.
The Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, was founded in 1934 as the Berkshire Garden Center, and its public display gardens are among the oldest in the United States. Guest Gardener during 2010 at Berkshire Botanical Garden will be Anthony Archer-Wills, the author, broadcaster and lecturer, who has pioneered water-gardening techniques in Europe and South America, as well as the US, with more than 2,000 projects to his name over some 50 years.
Berkshire Botanical Garden – schedule and news
Berkshire Botanical Garden’s annual plant sale schedule is: May 7, 2010 –
8 a.m. – 11 a.m., members only; 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., general public. May 8, 2010 – 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., general public. Gardeners can choose from thousands of plants, shrubs and bulbs, many of which are grown right at Berkshire Botanical. New this year is a Garden Tag Sale offering pre-owned tools, pots and treasures. Friday May 7; 1 pm will feature a special event talk and sale of rare plants with Adam Wheeler of Broken Arrow Nursery at 1pm on Friday; $30, reservations required.
Berkshire Botanical Garden – directions and information
- Berkshire Botanical Garden
- Rtes 102 & 183, Box 826
- Stockbridge, MA 01262
Article updated Feb. 19, 2018 by Dave Read
The Berkshires are one of the ten best destinations on Earth, according to the National Geographic, which rated 133 places and determined that the Berkshires of Massachusetts shares a rating seventh-place of 76 with the Douro Valley in Portugal, Switzerland’s Engadine Region, and Wales itself, which would amuse Berkshire literary icon Herman Melville. While a global top-ten listing may justify a bit of boasting, we Berkshireites must gaze up (northward) and see that the whole state of Vermont sits in fifth place!
best destinations on Earth
Berkshires “…still undiscovered enough…(But) Gentrification is one of the biggest threats…”
- environmental and ecological quality;
- social and cultural integrity;
- condition of historic buildings and archaeological sites;
- aesthetic appeal;
- quality of tourism management;
- outlook for the future.
Among the panelists’ comments published in the article are these: “Still undiscovered enough, and with a tradition of slow-growth tourism to add cultural pizzazz to the lush scenery, the Berkshires seem to have the right balance. The landscape will need to come together around these values to maintain them for the long haul.”
“A cultural hideaway. Still favored more by New Yorkers than Bostonians, but never feels overrun even in the height of summer and during the peak of foliage.”
“Gentrification is one of the biggest threats. The area is stunning, but the demand for boutiques and Norman Rockwell experiences pushes out the mom-and-pop establishments. A balance must be maintained to preserve the area.”
This one minute video, made with the wonderful Flip ultra, shows the Housatonic River in early fall, shot on Oct. 10, 2008 along Rt. 183 just outside the village of Housatonic, MA.