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Why Go To The Berkshires

Home to winding roads surrounded by picture-perfect mountaintops, vast farmland and scattered herds of cattle, the Berkshires offer the perfect mix of lively fun and relaxation. Located about 140 miles north of New York City and a little more than 120 miles west of Boston, this rural region in western Massachusetts serves as an idyllic retreat for city dwellers in need of a countryside escape. Outdoor enthusiasts make the trek year-round to take advantage of sweeping mountains, which facilitate hiking, skiing, climbing or zip lining. Meanwhile, the region's many lakes offer countless opportunities for paddleboarding, fishing and kayaking. The Berkshires will also satisfy any culture hound thanks to its eclectic festivals and museums.

It's easy to get lost in one of the Berkshires' quaint towns, where antique store windows and vintage coffee shops abound. Meanwhile, foodies can get their fill at the many farm-to-table restaurants, or orchards and farms that welcome visitors during berry and apple picking seasons. And all visitors will enjoy a day at the beach admiring the spectacular panoramic views.

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Best of The Berkshires

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The Berkshires Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit the Berkshires is from June to August, when warm weather and vibrant flora provide ideal conditions for hiking, water sports and berry picking. In these summer months, outdoor performance centers fill their lawns with visitors eager to see world-renowned classical artists and spirited dance acts with the backdrop of a burnt orange sunset. Autumn is another ideal time to visit thanks to the brilliant fall foliage, which travelers can enjoy while hiking or apple picking. Meanwhile, winter is prime ski season. 

Weather in The Berkshires

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See details for When to Visit The Berkshires

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

What You Need to Know

  • Bring a pair of walking shoes The most satisfying way to see the countryside's luscious mountains and floral valleys is by foot. With hundreds of diverse trails to choose from, hiking boots and thick socks are your best bet.
  • Book tickets to shows in advance Tanglewood and Jacob's Pillow , two of the region's famed performing arts centers, host summer events that are especially popular as travelers flock to see the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Boston Ballet. Tickets are available to book on each performance center's respective website.
  • Base yourself in Pittsfield or Stockbridge These towns offer a variety of lodging options at various prices. Plus, both locations are equidistant to Tanglewood and close to many other major cultural centers and hiking trails in the region.

How to Save Money in The Berkshires

  • Pack a picnic Skip the typical lunch outing and dine atop a mountain with the best views the Berkshires can offer.
  • Take advantage of freebies There are free-entry events and activities offered all year, including a specialized series of summer performances in Jacob's Pillow, guided hikes and historic tours in the fall, and free admission to the Williams College Museum of Art year-round.
  • Purchase a combo ticket The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge offers discounted combo tickets for several local attractions, including the Clark Art Institute and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art . Some options also include lawn passes at Tanglewood.

What to Eat

Home to many orchards and farms, the Berkshires produces a variety of fresh meat, vegetables and fruits, which make for stellar culinary experiences. American cuisine is most popular here, and visitors and locals alike rave about Great Barrington's Prairie Whale Restaurant's area-sourced American fare, rustic feel and reasonable prices. The Red Lion Inn also offers a charming dining experience, especially on the old building's terrace.

For an intimate dinner in a restaurant lit entirely by candle, head to the Old Inn On the Green, which is also known for its impressive wine list. Meanwhile, stunning sunset views and handmade cocktails can be enjoyed at Wheatleigh. What's more, the Berkshires houses many wineries and breweries. Two popular options include Furnace Brook at Hilltop Orchards and Big Elm Brewing. If you're cooking, or just want to feast with your eyes, the Berkshires is brimming with fresh markets, some of the most popular including North Adams Farmers Market and Great Barrington Farmer's Market.  

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Getting Around The Berkshires

The best way to get around the Berkshires is by car so that you can explore the different towns and hiking spots on your own. If you don't have a car and don't want to invest in a rental, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority offers buses to 12 cities and towns in the area at an affordable price. To get to the Berkshires, Peter Pan Bus Lines and Greyhound Lines offer trips to the region from more than 30 locations, including New York City and Boston. The closest airport to the Berkshires is Albany International Airport (ALB), which sits about 60 miles northwest of the region. From the airport, travelers can utilize the airport's shuttle service, hail a cab or call a car service to get to the Berkshires. Amtrak also offers service to the largest city of Berkshire County, Pittsfield, on its Lake Shore Limited route.

Learn about Neighborhoods in The Berkshires

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Enjoy stunning views of the surrounding region at the top of Mount Greylock.

DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

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