While the picturesque beauty of the Berkshires makes this region a year-round vacation spot, the summer months are the high-season for outdoor fun and the performing arts. Add farm-to-table restaurants, unique shopping and antiques, art museums, historic sites, and kid-friendly activities to the possibilities and you’re in for an exciting and memorable getaway!
Among the Berkshires’ best-known summer attractions are its film, theater, dance, and music festivals. This year’s festival season kicks off May 31 – June 3 with the Berkshire International Film Festival, featuring independent films, documentaries, and shorts screened at theaters in Great Barrington and Pittsfield plus opening night cocktail parties, filmmaker Q&As, and a special tribute to the award-winning actor, Rachel Weisz. With the beautiful Berkshires as a backdrop, this boutique festival is a film-buff favorite.
Also beginning in June are a season’s worth of star-studded performances at Williamstown Theater Festival (Matthew Broderick in The Closet opening June 26), the Berkshire Theatre Group (celebrating their 90th season with Church & State, Coming Back Like A Song, and Hair), Shakespeare & Company (Macbeth and Love’s Labor’s Lost), staged outdoors at The Mount. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Pilobolus, Nicola Gunn, and returning Dorrance Dance), and Barrington Stage (The Royal Family of Broadway and West Side Story) and Debra Rupp in The Cake at the St. Germain Stage.
There are even more performances scheduled at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra who this year celebrates Leonard Bernstein’s 100th Birthday all season long. Be sure to check out their popular artist series featuring Stephen Stills & Judy Collins, Steve Miller Band Steve Martin and Martin Short and more! With a variety of entertainment choices throughout the season, these venues truly offer something special for every audience.
For art lovers, the possibilities are vast. Choose from MASS MoCA in North Adams, Chesterwood and the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, and the Williams College Museum of Art and The Clark in Williamstown. In addition to special exhibitions, each offers engaging talks, concerts, and special events throughout the summer. Be sure to check out the newly opened Museum of Dog. Also of interest are independent galleries featuring work by acclaimed local and international artists in a range of mediums from photography and sculpture to ceramics and glass work. Most are located in our walkable downtowns, where you can also find enjoyable shopping and dining experiences around every corner.
If you’re a history or literary buff, the Berkshires have several places of note. Tours of Hancock Shaker Village, the Susan B. Anthony Homestead, the Bidwell House, Chesterwood or the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail reveal the diverse cultural influences of this area. A visit to Arrowhead, where Herman Melville wrote Moby-Dick, or The Mount, where Edith Wharton penned Ethan Frome, provides a glimpse into the Berkshire environs that inspired these literary greats.
Come and experience the panoramic views from the terrace of one of the Berkshires’ gilded age estates, the elaborate country homes built by wealthy industrialists in the late nineteenth century. Public tours and live music events at such notable historic landmarks as Naumkeag and Ventfort Hall invite you to experience a bygone era and have some modern-day fun in the process. With wander-worthy grounds and lush gardens in full bloom, summer is an especially wonderful time for your visit.
The allure of the Berkshires’ mountain setting draws nature lovers seeking everything from peaceful contemplation to adrenaline-filled adventure. From the Vermont border in the north to the Connecticut state line in the south, the region is rich in natural resources that offer the perfect outdoor playground. If you’re looking for heart-pumping activities, plan a visit to Berkshire East for their Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster (North America’s longest), the Mountain Adventure Park at Jiminy Peak, and the aerial tree-to-tree obstacle courses at Ramblewild for unforgettably thrilling experiences.
For wildlife viewing and scenic vistas, visit the Trustees of Reservations, Berkshire Natural Resources Council, Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley, or Mt. Greylock Reservation (the highest peak in Massachusetts). With sunny, bluebird skies during the day and star-filled evenings, Mother Nature shines her magic on the Berkshires.
After you are through with all the great activities be sure to check into Blantyre. After extensive renovations, they now offer Bistro dining option as well as a champagne cave. Also newly opened is 33 Main. Conceived and curated by home furnishings entrepreneur and Lenox resident, Annie Selke, 33 Main offers a delightful escape for the discerning traveler. Another spot to keep an eye on is Tourists in North Adams, set to open this summer.
If all of this has left you hungry there are a few new dining options too. Reserve a table at No. 10 in Great Barrington it is a steakhouse offering small plates, crafted cocktails and live entertainment or enjoy a meal provided for you by the Old Inn on the Green at Jacob’s Pillow. Here is all that is new!