It may still be summertime, but the time is right for planning a fall trip to the Berkshires. New England is a region that experiences a full four seasons, and is known the world-over for its spectacular fall foliage and festivals. Add the mountains of the Berkshires into the mix, and the “wow” factor multiplies.
September offers “What’s Out There Weekend” – a weekend of expertly guided tours, including exclusive deals on tee times at some of the region’s significant golf courses. The still-beautiful weather of fall’s first month is a great time to take in historic landscapes.
The Fall Foliage Festival in North Adams and Pittsfield was started over 50 years ago to celebrate the commencement of the fall season in the Berkshires. The 58th Annual Fall Foliage Parade, a centerpiece of the festival, is scheduled this year for October 6th – prime leaf-peeping time. Additional events, including an outdoor barbecue, fill out the week of the festival (the festival begins the week before the parade).
And of course…the leaves. Yes, the leaves, one of the crown jewels of the Berkshires experience. Berkshires.org offers these suggestions for taking in some excellent leaf-viewing:
“In the Berkshires, there are several routes that are especially dramatic and well worth the trip. Start on the Mohawk Trail along Route 2 near Clarksburg, a route that includes the famous Hairpin Turn and magnificent views of extraordinarily vibrant foliage. Drive through Williamstown (a quintessential New England college town, with historic brick buildings and classic white churches) and turn south on Route 7 for views of farms and orchards nestled along a picturesque valley. Cloud formations cast moving shadows on the soft hills that rise to the right and left of the road, and there are several places to pull over, stop the car, and drink in the quiet beauty.
Choose to motor south on Route 8, from North Adams to Mount Greylock, at 3,491 feet, the highest peak in Massachusetts. From Lanesborough, take the winding road to the top of Greylock for a spectacular display of foliage, golden yellow to blazing orange to vivid scarlet…and there are options for your group to hike (including a section of the Georgia-to-Maine Appalachian Trail) through the end of October.
Continuing south and west, Route 41 winds through Richmond and West Stockbridge, past open fields and pastures, wooded lots and family farms. Or choose Route 183 between Lenox and Stockbridge, meandering between stately trees shading the road, and then coming around a bend to a spectacular view of the Stockbridge Bowl, also called Lake Mahkeenac.”
Stay tuned…we’ll have more suggestions on how to enjoy the Fall as it comes ever closer…
It’s impossible to experience the Berkshires without noticing the most defining geographic features: The mountain peaks that rise above it all. As winter thaws away and spring comes to roost, roads and trails leading to these majestic treasures will be ready to greet you soon. Time to read up, and plan your tours!
The 3,941 foot peak of Mt. Greylock is the tallest in the Berkshires. It is visible for 60 to 90 miles around, greeting visitors to the region with a quiet, but authoritative beauty. It is full of hikes, drives, and views that are part of what give the Berkshires their fame. It is such an icon, that it has its own gin: Greylock Gin, from Berkshire Mountain Distillers. Greylock Gin received a #1 rating from the New York Times.
Learn a little more about hiking Mt. Greylock, visiting Mt. Greylock, or driving Mt. Greylock.
Berlin Mountain is another prominent presence, with a peak at 2,818ft. It straddles the Western border of Massachusetts and the Eastern border of New York state. Beautiful views of the Hudson Valley await hikers. A variety of trails on the mountain are shared by bikers, hikers, skiers, snowmobilers. The views make the hike worthwhile.
At 2,621 feet, Brodie Mountain is another of our peaks, and just southwest of Mt. Greylock. Formerly a popular ski area, it is currently awaiting its next incarnation.
1,739 ft is the height for Monument Mountain. It is a 2.5-mile long quartzite ridgeline, located in Great Barrington and Stockbridge, and it features hiking trails.
Tekoa Mountain is another hiking possibility, a relatively friendly, though steep, hike, with a dramatic view as payoff at the end. At 1,121 ft, though not technically a mountain, it’s a nice day trip. Located in the towns of Russell and Montgomery.
Check out some off-season photos here. You may want to try the Tekoa Mountain Unkamits Path Trail or the Woronoco Ma Trail.
If hiking is your thing, you’ll also want to check out Berkshires Hiking. They provide online information about the Taconic Crest Trail (a prominent hiking trail through the Berkshires and along the NY border into VT).
The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts website also offers links to great leads on outdoor adventures of all kinds.
And as always, we are happy to point you in the direction of whatever resources you may need, when you a planning your Berkshires vacation. Just give us a call (1-800-203-0656)!