The Berkshires Blog

The Berkshires, Home to Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

By Josh Weatherwax

As anyone who has visited the region can tell you, the Berkshires is a magical place. From the amazing arts and culture scene to the beautiful vistas, there is something romantically enchanting about the area. Now, thanks to author J.K. Rowling, Mount Greylock in Adams just got a little more spellbinding.

With its gorgeous views, family-friendly trails, and the impressive Veterans War Memorial Tower, Greylock has always been a big draw for visitors. J.K. Rowling’s latest short story adds to this list the great North American school of magic, Ilvermorny. The story begins with an Irish immigrant and witch, Isolt Sayre, fleeing her evil aunt to America aboard the Mayflower. As the Puritans were not the most magic friendly community she soon fled west into the Berkshire Hills, started a family, and opened the school.

See the Berkshires from the highest point in MA.

Co-founded in the early 1600s by a witch and a ‘No-Maj’ (what wizards in the Harry Potter series call Muggles), Ilvermorny is more liberal and accepting than the more traditional European schools and has grown to become the premier wizarding school in America. Massachusetts is a very fitting home for the school as we are one of America’s most liberal states and home to other such prestigious universities as Harvard, Williams College, Smith College, Amherst College, MIT and so much more.

Mount Greylock itself has a long and storied history. The Berkshires were originally home to the Mahican Indians, whose Mohawk trail still passes the edge of the mountain. Early European settlers called the mountain Grand Hoosuck and it was later called Saddleback Mountain. Early students of meteorology at Williams College in Williamstown built a wooden observation tower on its peak. The mountain has been a strong part of the history of Berkshire County since before there was a Berkshire County.

Ilvermorny may have brought the magic and wonder of the Harry Potter world to our doorstep, but the charm of the Berkshires is eternal. To plan out your magical vacation, visit berkshires.org!

Read the New England Today Travel article entitled The New American Hogwarts is So New England and We Love It.

Read The ARTery article entitled How Western Massachusetts’ Mount Greylock Became Inspiration For Literary Legends.


Josh is the Special Projects Associate at 1Berkshire, which means he is a jack of all trades. He spends most of his time at work doing graphic design, marketing, and content creation and editing. He is a Navy veteran and a freelance graphic designer.