By Nancy Macy
On most weekends in the Berkshires, the pace of our small towns and villages is a bit quicker than usual. Out-of-state vehicles flow steadily through main streets. Pedestrians explore galleries, boutiques, and cafés that spotlight local artists, craftsmen, and artisanal food producers. First-time visitors discover the appeal of a region rich in cultural arts, history, antiquing and outdoor adventures. Second-home owners stock up with fresh meats and produce from a farmer’s market or CSA, then settle in for a few day’s respite from city life. The vibe here is welcoming and cool.
Visitors often ask locals what it’s like to live here all year round. The answer varies, of course, depending on who you ask. One thing we all agree on is that the idyllic beauty of the Berkshires never gets old. Another is that there is a deeply-rooted sense of community here. Whether you are a Berkshire native or have just relocated, there are countless ways to meet your neighbors and get involved.
People are often surprised to learn that one of the best healthcare systems in the country is here in the Berkshires. We also have top-notch public schools and are home to some of the most prestigious boarding schools and colleges in the nation. International corporations are headquartered here. Small-business owners have a solid customer base for their goods and services. Artists, authors, musicians and a growing film industry presence find inspiration. Farmers and small-batch food makers are well-supported as a vital part of the local economy. Outside of DC, the Berkshires has more nonprofit organizations per capita than any other area in the US.
In addition, the Berkshires are frequently recognized on ‘best-of’ lists in the national media for everything from food to festivals to fall foliage and outdoor fun. Imagine yourself living here and having access to all that, all the time.
Is it affordable to live in the Berkshires? Very, the cost of living here is just 51% of Manhattan, 66% of Brooklyn and 81% of Boston. You’ll find housing here to fit every lifestyle and budget, plus knowledgeable, experienced realtors, contractors and services to support your home or land purchase. From remote northern hill towns, such as Savoy and Clarksburg, to the centrally located Pittsfield-metro area and sophisticated Great Barrington in the south, there is a Berkshire community that suits everyone.
Located approximately 150 miles from New York City and Boston and accessible by train, plane, and automobile, the Berkshires have broad appeal. Young entrepreneurs, families with children, empty-nesters, creative types, and retirees all call this place home. You could too because here, in the Berkshires, life is calling, isn’t it time you answered the call?
Nancy Macy is a freelance writer and editor based in the Berkshires.