Berkshires/Western MA



For more than a century, the tranquil hills in the far-west region of Massachusetts 110 mi/175 km west of Boston have attracted a stunning array of creative talent—from musicians to visual artists to giants of American literature. They've also attracted leisure travelers—and with good reason: Inns, bed-and-breakfasts, health spas, restaurants and ski resorts are nestled among the natural beauty of forests and sparkling ponds. Add the summer-long festival of the arts with its music, theater, dance, painting and sculpture, and you have an unparalleled combination.

A number of fine-arts events take place in the region. The Berkshire Opera offers performances in English at Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington. For 10 weeks every summer, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (the oldest in the country) hosts outstanding international companies in Becket.

Anglers will find good fishing spots in the Berkshires. A word of caution for those who decide to fish along the Housatonic River: Follow the catch-and-release policy. Though the water looks sparkling clear, PCBs dumped there until the 1960s collected in river sediments. Despite ongoing cleanup efforts, it is not safe to eat fish from those waters.

Downhill and cross-country ski areas dot the Berkshires. Many have skating rinks in addition to ski runs. Jiminy Peak, in Hancock, can accommodate downhill skiers of all abilities. Less challenging is Catamount Ski Area; it's better for beginners than advanced skiers. Butternut Ski Area, in Great Barrington, is family oriented.

If you like to hike, then you can try climbing Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts, in Lanesborough. Once you get to the summit, you can take in the dramatic scenery and relax a bit at Bascom Lodge.

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