Boston Traveler: The Berkshires

Whether you’re awed by art or nature’s beauty, there are plenty of hikes in the woods and strolls through museums to fill a fall weekend in Massachusetts.

The Clark Museum in Williamstown. / Photo by Tucker Blair


The most direct route to North Adams is a three-hour drive on the Pike. But if you’ve come for the foliage, it’s worth spending the extra time on the road via routes 20 and 9.


Tourists, the new 48-room, pet-friendly hotel on the banks of the Hoosic River in up-and-coming North Adams, is an impeccable combination of New England nostalgia and modern sylvan design. Many rooms feature decks with outdoor showers nestled in the woods, and tall windows that give the impression of sleeping in the trees outside.

Photo courtesy of tourists


Order room-service pastries from James Beard Award–winning chef Cortney Burns simply for the adorable canvas bag they arrive in, then begin the day with a mind-clearing romp in the forest: Hikes in the region range from an easy walk on North Adams’s Cascades Trail, which ends at the bottom of a dramatic waterfall, to challenging climbs up Mount Greylock, with trailheads beginning in Williamstown. If gazing at art feels more meditative, you could spend the whole day discovering the collections at the Clark museum in Williamstown, which features American and European works from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and Mass MoCA, the country’s largest contemporary-art museum, in North Adams.


In need of some afternoon retail therapy? Head an hour south to Great Barrington to flip through titles at the Bookloft, admire handcrafted jewelry at McTeigue & McClelland, and pluck an antique treasure from Elise Abrams’s legendary collection of museum-quality porcelain and stemware. With your arms heavy from shopping bags, kick back and relax with a cocktail at Prairie Whale, where restaurateur Mark Firth, of beloved Brooklyn eateries Diner and Marlow & Sons, serves up elevated American cuisine made from local ingredients. End the day with a trip to the theater—namely, Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company, which puts on its rendition of Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie in October—and consider your Berkshires culture crawl complete.