The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, has first-rate exhibits of regional history and a collection of 19th-century American portraits and landscapes. Genealogists will find a sizable collection of regional information at the museum and, just a few miles/kilometers from downtown Pittsfield, a branch of the National Archives.

At Arrowhead, the house where Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick, copies of the author's manuscripts lie on a desk, giving the eerie feeling that you're interrupting the writer at work.

Don't miss a visit to Pittsfield's Hancock Shaker Village, one of the best-preserved Shaker communities in New England. It's part historic recreation and part working farm. If you haven't seen the simple, graceful designs produced by this utopian (and industrious) religious sect, you owe yourself a visit. If you are there on a Saturday evening July-October, make reservations for one of the village's candlelight dinners. After interpreters sing a traditional Shaker grace, they serve a meal that usually includes authentic Shaker recipes. A tour and musical program round out the evening.

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