Growing up in the Berkshires, I always knew it was a special place, but I didn’t quite grasp the magnitude of what our area has to offer, or what it means to people who plan their annual trip to travel to the Berkshires from all over the world.
When the world stopped, I grew a new appreciation for living in an area with so much outdoor space and things to do despite communities being “closed”. There is a reason we have seen an increase in second-homeowners making their Berkshire residence their full-time dwelling, and city-dwellers re-locating to the Berkshires to ride out the pandemic. The Berkshires earned the #3 spot in a list of the Top 50 Best Places to Travel To in 2021, and we get to live here full-time!
I grew up in the hilltown Peru. Our claim to fame is that it is the highest elevation town in Massachusetts. I had the joy of growing up with walking trails in the back woods where we could explore, play in the streams, and enjoy the outdoors. In the winter, my parents introduced us to snowshoeing and skiing, which made us appreciate the Berkshire winters and embrace ALL SEASONS.
After high school, I traveled and worked with Vail Resorts where I got to see the beauty of Islamorada in the Florida Keys; Vail, Colorado; and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. These are some of the most stunning places in America, and still my heart was always in the Berkshires, where I returned several years later.
My first five years of being back, I rented a cute little apartment in downtown Lee, which I loved. Lee is a great town, a lot going on with shops and restaurants on Main St, and truly a friendly place. Renting an apartment with a dog is when I really started to appreciate the beauty of the Berkshires. Since we could only leash-walk around downtown Lee, I began exploring places that I could bring my dog, Molly, to provide a little more freedom.
I was introduced to Beartown State Forest, less than 10 minutes from where I lived. AMAZING! There are so many trails to choose from, and at the top of the five-mile road you’ll find Benedict Pond, which is a great place to camp, fish, kayak or simply enjoy the incredible view.
Also within 10 minutes from my apartment was the Tyringham Cobble, another fantastic hiking spot with breathtaking views. These two places became my go-to hiking spots.
I later discovered October Mountain, which seems to have never ending places to explore. My husband and I bought a house in Pittsfield in 2017, and added our now three-year-old German Shepherd, Athena, to the pack. To this day, I make it a point to bring our dogs to hike these beautiful trails.
I feel so lucky to have the opportunity of traveling to these incredible places in our own backyard. It never gets old. Each time is a new adventure, and we are still discovering new trails all these years later.
The versatility of the hiking trails in the Berkshires is worth mentioning. Sometimes I can take it easy on a nice flat, groomed trail that overlooks the water. On days I want to push myself, I might do a ridge loop that has more elevation gain.
If you ask my husband, my hikes are “boring”. He prefers mountain biking, or skinning up Mt.Greylock with his AT skis first thing in the morning after a snow fall and skiing the Thunderbolt down. But that’s the beauty of the Berkshires. There’s something for everyone. There is no right or wrong in getting out and enjoying what nature offers.
I challenge you to get out there, explore our ‘backyard,' and make your own discoveries. You will not be disappointed!
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