The 6 best ways to experience spring in the Berkshires
Posted on April 04, 2023Written by 1Berkshire Marketing Team
Whether you love hiking and biking or strolling and forest bathing, you’ll find it here.
Does spring make you crave more time in the great outdoors? When you find yourself daydreaming of your next long weekend in the Berkshires, go ahead and book that trip. Spending time outside when the weather is nice can boost mood and cognition – so tell your boss that your PTO request will actually help your productivity and motivation.
Whether your idea of a perfect day in nature involves hiking and biking or strolling and forest bathing, the Berkshires has you covered. Here are six must-do itineraries for springtime in the region.
1. Hike to the highest point in the state.
At 3,491 feet, Mount Greylock offers impressive views from its peak – up to 90 miles away on clear days. The roads don’t open until May 20 for cars, which may mean smaller crowds on the trails. (If you’re a novice hiker, remember that the Mount Greylock State Reservation offers hikes that range from casual to extremely difficult and technical.) There’s also a visitor center, restrooms and scenic viewing areas.
If you want more lower level hiking the region boasts over 12,000 acres of hiking/walking trails – from hour long excursions to the multi-day “pilgrimage walks” led by Berkshire Camino – so you’ll never run out of places to explore. Bucket list item: Visit the highest waterfall in Massachusetts, Bish Bash Falls, via one of three different hikes.
2. Bike the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.
With 13.7 miles of paved trails, this former railroad track delivers excellent views from two wheels (or your own two feet). It passes through Pittsfield, Cheshire, Lanesborough and Adams, with stretches along the Cheshire Reservoir and Hoosic River. Not into biking? The 10-foot wide mixed-use path is dog- and stroller-friendly (with parking lots and restrooms along the way). You’ll see people biking, running, walking and even inline skating.
3. Swim or paddle at the Stockbridge Bowl.
While technically a “great pond,” this lake has 2,875 feet of shoreline – and is 372 acres with a max depth of 48 feet. Whether you take a dip or a paddle, the Stockbridge Bowl is a pristine and tranquil way to connect with nature. Rent a stand-up paddleboard at Arcadian Shop, or rent a boat, canoe or kayak at Onota Boat Livery. Springtime on the lake is a welcome respite from the blazing sun of summer, with fresh breezes and crisp air but plenty of warmth.
4. Slow down and stroll through historic gardens.
You need to slow down on vacation, and a stroll through one or more of the historic properties in the region is a lovely way to soak up some sun while catching up with your travel partner(s). Notable writers, artists and entrepreneurs called these lavish properties home, but now the rest of us get to enjoy their beauty.
Fans of Edith Wharton can’t miss a free visit to the grounds at The Mount. (Pro tip: pack a picnic!) While in Lenox, check out the 46-acre estate and Bauhaus-inspired modernist home of two American Abstract artists, George L.K. Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen. There’s also Naumkeag, a 44-room Gilded Age “cottage,” and Chesterwood, the former home to sculptor Daniel Chester French. Both have lovely outdoor spaces and often host arts and culture events.
History buffs should check out the Berkshire 18th Century Trail, featuring six preserved historic homes stretching from Sheffield to Pittsfield.
5. Get an adrenaline boost with some outdoor adventures.
Craving something more thrilling? While whitewater rafting season doesn’t start for another month, you can still try your hand at kayaking or zip-lining at Zoar Outdoor. Prefer to see things from a different perspective?
Explore nature from the tree canopy at Ramblewild. And once ski season is over, feel that adrenaline rush at Berkshire East with a trip (or two) on the Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster – the longest of its kind in North America.
6. Catch up on R&R with forest bathing
If simply reading about the previous itineraries makes you tired, rest and recharge with a slower nature experience. Forest bathing – simply being in nature to absorb all its helpful benefits – is low-energy but so much fun. Book a self-care weekend at the Guest House at Field Farm or learn about the area’s unique boreal spruce-fir forests at Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center. Or wander the 1,000-plus acres of Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
You can also book a day pass at the renowned Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Wander through the meditation garden or explore their healing and wellness offerings. If you’re into bird watching, they even offer a program that combines it with meditation.
For more fun travel ideas in the Berkshires, visit berkshires.org.
Funded, in part, by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
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