Difference between revisions of "Berkshire Hills"
Revision as of 11:02, 24 January 2011
The Berkshire Hills are in Berkshire County at the western end of Massachusetts. They are actually three separate mountain ranges, separated by the valleys of the Housatonic River in the south and the Hoosic River in the north. East of the valleys a hilly plateau rising as high as 2,600' extends eastward toward the Connecticut River. Beyond the limits of Berkshire County it is known as the Hilltowns and is covered in the Pioneer Valley region. West of the valleys the narrower Taconic Range rises along the New York state border. The third Berkshire range is Mount Greylock, at 3,487 ft (1,063 m) Massachusetts' high point, and its satellite peaks rising out of the valley between two upper branches of the Hoosac River.
Although the Berkshires were historically part of New England's traditions of intellectualism, idealism, subsistence farming, logging, and early industrialization, they are almost equidistant between New York and Boston. Because New York has grown considerably larger and wealthier, the Berkshires are increasingly drawn into its economic and cultural orbit.
Berkshire County is located at the western extreme of Massachusetts and borders Rensselaer and Columbia Counties in New York, Bennington County and Windham County in Southern Vermont, and the Litchfield Hills region of Connecticut.
Cities and towns
In this rural region a car is preferred.
Jiminy Peak Resort in Hancock offers a full slate of year-round mountain activities. Mountain biking is available there and at several state forests throughout the region. There are also extensive excellent hiking trails, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Mount Washington is home to some of the state's best trail scenery.
The Berkshires are a good place for walking and relaxing and perhaps taking in a summer play in the college town of Williamstown. In October this area shares in the colorful fall foliage show.
Charlemont-based Zoar Outdoor, Phone: 800-532-7483,  offers rafting and kayaking on portions of the Deerfield and Miller rivers, as well as other outdoor activities.
The area is home to a local currency experiment known as Berkshares . Berkshares banknotes can be purchased from several local banks and credit unions and spent at many local businesses. Buying with Berkshares gets you a 5% discount on any transaction. It also helps support the local economy.