Looking for a weekend getaway with the perfect variety of summertime activities? Nestled high in the lush green mountains of western Massachusetts, the Berkshires is this, and so much more. It’s a quiet country escape that hums with opportunities for all individuals to make the most of every moment, and enjoy the season to its fullest. Whether it is attending a concert or show, enjoying an annual festival or putting on your hiking boots for a scenic climb up the tallest peak in the state, the Berkshires has something for everyone.
All music lovers must visit Tanglewood, located in Lenox, Mass., for an evening of unbeatable talent. From James Taylor and Renée Fleming to various classical performances including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which makes this its summer home, a wealth of musical performances fills this Berkshire County stage every summer. With over 78 scheduled summer concerts, the music never stops. The Berkshire hills are also alive with music in more intimate settings, presenting a myriad from reggae to chamber music, from folk to blues and rock.
As for theatre, anyone looking to relive the glory of Shakespeare should visit Shakespeare & Company. Watch your favorite Shakespeare classics like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” or “Henry IV” come to life this summer on two stages presenting the work of the Bard, along with work by other playwrights.
For dance enthusiasts, the Berkshire region offers a variety of options. World-class companies grace three stages at Jacob’s Pillow, the nation’s premiere summer dance festival, while Paul Taylor Dance Company enlivens the stage at the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington, one of two beautifully restored historic theaters here. The Mahaiwe and the Colonial in Pittsfield showcase a variety of shows.
Meanwhile, art aficionados will find plenty to enthrall them, from Williamstown’s Clark Art Institute, which this summer unveils a new wing by internationally acclaimed architect Tadao Ando, to MassMoCA, known for its stunning contemporary exhibitions. Add to these the Norman Rockwell Museum, Chesterwood and its annual outdoor sculpture show, the Berkshire Museum, and Williams College Museum of Art, and museum goers will discover plenty of visual delights.
And let’s not forget culinary delights! This rural yet sophisticated region is also rich in organic farms, farmers markets, and Zagat-rated chef-owned farm-to-table and ethnic restaurants. These evoke the natural bounty of the region, a feature well-known to outdoor enthusiasts.
With all these cultural activities available, it’s important not to forget the wonder that is present in the great outdoors of the Berkshires. Home to 15 state parks, six state forests, pristine recreational lakes for boating and swimming, rivers for fishing, miles of country roads for bicyclists, numerous hiking trails including the Appalachian Trail, stables, scenic areas and campgrounds, this New England paradise is ideal for getting the adrenaline pumping and breathing in the fresh mountain air. Visit Kennedy Park in Lenox for its over 500 acres of land and more than 15 miles of trails, or check out Mount Greylock, the tallest peak in the state, which reaches 3,491 feet. Once you make it to the top of this challenging hike, it all becomes worth it as you overlook 60-90 miles of clear visibility and the pure beauty of the Berkshires.