Late one warm autumn night three years ago, I sat on the porch of the Red Lion Inn enjoying a local brew and chatting with friends. The restaurants inside had closed up for the night and the lobby had emptied. Before departing, I took a cheerful stroll down the long halls to the men’s room. My cheerfulness screeched to a halt upon rounding a corner on my return to the lobby. A chill ran up my spine and I felt as though I was being watched from behind. I snapped my head around to see what it was, to find nothing but the cozy lighting of the hall. Was it a ghost? I’m not sure, but I do wonder. After all, these are the Berkshires.
My whole life I’ve heard the stories of the real-life spooks and frights of these old hills. The dark groves of old growth trees deep in the forests, the rocky piles indicating the tragic end of long-forgotten inhabitants, and the native and pioneer lore that often accompanies rugged terrain such as ours, give those of us with active imaginations more than enough reasons to wonder what might be watching from the shadows. It’s not all bone-chilling though. There’s plenty of fun amidst the spookiness — especially this time of year. Whether you’re looking for a true scare or family-friendly halloween adventure, you’ll find the right spook for you in the historic hillsides of the Berkshires.
Combining the rich history of Edith Wharton’s Berkshire home with the swirling tales of the haunted rooms of the mansion, The Mount’s Friday evening ghost tours will delight fans of Wharton and eager ghost hunters alike. The tours leave at 5:45 and 7 p.m. every Friday through October 26 and explore the grounds of the estate where for over a century writers, actors, wealthy families and servants have lived and worked. The Mount invites you to come and find out which of those guests may still be there. The tours aren’t recommended for kids younger than 12, or those who scare particularly easy. Advanced reservations are required and the tours cost $22 for adults and $18 for kids 12-18 years old.
The story surrounding Jiminy Peak’s 13 Nights “haunts” is so well crafted, I wanted to ask a tour guide, “no really, is this a true story?” While the tours explore the grounds of the resort, the backstory is so well crafted it makes you wonder whether the Jericho Valley really does experience an unexplainable supernatural event over 13 nights every autumn. If the spooky tours aren’t your style, Jiminy will continue to operate a number of their summer park attractions during their 13 Nights operations, including their zipline and mountain adventure park. The haunt tours might be a little much for children younger than 10, but the rest of Jiminy’s adventures will keep all ages entertained. Visit 13nightsatjiminy.com for tickets and information.
For more fun and less scare, the annual North Adams Fall Foliage Parade and Festival on October 6 will be celebrating the Berkshires with a “Haunts, Legends and Ghost Stories” theme. The parade is fun for the whole family and has become a beloved tradition in North County with plenty of activities for kids and with this year’s historical theme, it should be particularly interesting for adults looking for some haunting tales. Not to mention, one of the more well known ghost stories in the area is that of the wronged-farmer who haunts the Stove Pipe trail area of Mount Greylock, which just happens to loom over the village of North Adams.
From the mountains to the valleys, there’s a spooky tale in every shadow and as the nights get longer, I encourage you to discover the (comfortable) haunts hidden these ancient Berkshires. You can find more spooky adventures on our site, Berkshires.org.