Berkshire Family Fun Late September – Early October, 2012

Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
Sept 22nd – Oct 5th, 2012

This past spring, MA Cultural Council named downtown Pittsfield one of the first state-designated Cultural Districts. This designated district is now called the Upstreet Cultural District, in honor of the longtime nickname for downtown used by generations of Pittsfield natives.

History comes alive in Berkshire County the weekend of Sept 22nd & 23rd with over 15 hiking, walking and behind-the-scene tours of local landmarks and outdoor spaces.  Peruse the list for a plethora of ways to explore Berkshire County while taking in its rich history!

Other notable events happening over the next two weeks include the Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Festival in North Adams, Hopkins Forest Fall Festival in Williamstown, production of “Lord of the Flies” in Pittsfield, and the Hancock Shaker Village Country Fair.

Many of the libraries host story & craft hours every week (see full list in our list of Weekly Suggested Events) and several of them are hosting special upcoming events. Lenox Library will host the Nutshell Playhouse for a Saturday afternoon performance. Local author, Ty Allen Jackson, will be at the Berkshire Athenaeum for a special weekend author event. The Ramsdell Library will screen an evening family film for teens. Lee Founders Weekend and Lenox Apple Squeeze happen all weekend too!

Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through Oct 5th, 2012:

North Berkshire
Central Berkshire
South Berkshire

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday! There you will also find our list of ongoing weekday playgroups, storyhours and events both in Berkshire County and throughout the region.

List of Weekly Suggested Events


North Berkshire

Hancock | Lanesborough | North Adams | Williamstown

Central Berkshire | South Berkshire

HANCOCK

Jiminy Peak — For the season of Halloween, visit Jiminy Peak for a scary tour called 13 Nights at Jiminy – that’s based a little bit on legend, and mostly in some spooky local history.  There are special tours of the location (which depart every 15 minutes), as well as a haunted mountain roller coaster and a scary tree-top zipline.  Open to families with older kids (minimum age is 10, but it’s pretty creepy!), the tour explores the former hillside Plantation of Jericho – settled by sheep farmers to avoid a sickness believed to exist in the valley – and explores the 13 Nights legend, in which sheep at the plantation disappear overnight for thirteen nights out of the year. Starts Saturday, Sept 29th and happens every weekend (and Columbus Day)  through the 27th, and then Oct 29-31. 6:30-10:30pm. — 413-738-5500.  37 Corey Road. Hancock, MA.  ($$)

LANESBOROUGH

Mt. GreylockSaturday, Sept 22nd from 8pm-12midnight, view the stars from the summit of Mt. Greylock! Dress warmly, and meet near the War Memorial Tower to view the night skies using a variety of telescopes provided by members of the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomers’ Association. From the telescopes – varying in size from 10 inches to 8 feet – visitors can see numerous stars and constellations, planets, the Milky Way, and more. — 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road. (FREE)


NORTH ADAMS

Childcare of the BerkshiresMonday, Sept 24th from 5:30-7pm, Childcare of the Berkshires is offering a 4-session series of parent workshops on positive discipline. Parents will learn strategies for managing communication gaps, dealing with power struggles, holding children accountable, learning cooperation, building on children’s strengths, and more. Registration is required – call to sign up! Childcare and transportation available. — 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. (FREE)

Downstreet ArtThursday, Sept 27th from 6-9pm, visit numerous locations in downtown North Adams to see artwork by local artists along with feature fun activities for families. — 413-664-6180. (FREE)

Fall is the perfect season for children and families to explore MASS MoCA in North Adams together. Educational programming at the museum abounds

Mass MoCAFamily Fall Adventures at MASS MoCA! — 413-662-2111. Mass MoCA Way.

Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage FestivalFriday, Sept 28th at 5pm, kids are encouraged to create their own costumes and march in the annual Children’s Parade, part of North Adams’ Fall Foliage Festival! This year’s theme is “Toys on Parade,” leaving lots of room for creativity! The event is surely fun to watch, too, if kids aren’t interested in making a costume. Participants must meet at 5pm; parade begins at 5:30pm. Winners of the parade will get to march in Sunday’s Fall Foliage Parade. — Saturday, Sept 29th from 8am-12midnigh, events include a morning farmers’ market, a pet parade, family music, a family dance, and more! — Sunday, Sept 30th from 7am-3pm, events include a community breakfast, a 5K road race, and, of course, the fall foliage parade! — (FREE)

St. Elizabeth’s of HungaryThursday, Sept 27th from 4-7pm, warm up (and fill up) for the Fall Foliage Festival a ziti dinner! St. Elizabeth’s of Hungary’s annual dinner features ziti and meatballs with sides and, of course, dessert! 413-663-7331. Marshall Street. ($)

WILLIAMSTOWN

The ClarkFilm Series Explores the Lives of Artists at The Clark this Fall! 413-458-2303. 225 South Street.

Hopkins Forest Sunday, Sept 23rd from 1-4pm, Hopkins Forest celebrates fall during their annual Fall Festival! There will be apple butter, fresh apple cider (and a chance to see pressed cider production), live music, woodworking demonstrations, a tree canopy walkway, and fun hands-on activities for kids! Families can learn about the apple harvest and cider production, and woodworking demonstrations will be centered around the skills necessary to build a barn. — 413-597-4353. Northwest Hill Road and Bulkley Street.

Sweet Brook Farm — Sweet Brook Farm is celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days on Saturday & Sunday, Sept 29th & 30th from 10am-3pm. Families can come learn about these animals and the gorgeous fiber they provide local farmers.  There will be spinning and weaving demonstrations and hands-on opportunities to participate in both. Wagon rides take a scenic tour around the farm all day.  Families are invited to BYO picnic lunch and to come enjoy an fun and educational day at the farm.— 413-884-4246. 580 Oblong Road.

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Central Berkshire

Becket | Dalton | Lee | Lenox | Pittsfield | Richmond | Stockbridge | West Stockbridge

North Berkshire | South Berkshire

BECKET

Becket Land Trust —Becket used to be home to an operating quarry – however, today it’s a big, rocky pool of water. Hike to the quarry on Sunday, Sept 23rd at 2pm and learn about its history both within the community and the land trust. The hike is best for older students, as it is 2-3 miles and will take roughly two hours. Registration required by e-mailing landtrust@becketlandtrust.org. — 413-623-2100. Quarry Road. (FREE)

Jacob’s Pillow — Take a tour on Saturday, Sept 23rd at 9:30am of the home to a renowned dance school and hosts numerous creative dance performances for the public throughout the summertime. Visitors can tour the facility, then watch a short film to learn more about its history and role within the world of modern dance. Registration required. — 413-243-9919. 385 George Carter Road. (FREE)

DALTON

Dalton CRA — On Sunday, Sept. 23rd from 2-3pm families can enjoy a free family concert with local musician, David Grover. Will be held on Memorial Lawn or indoors at the CRA if it rains. — 413-684-0260. 400 Main St. (FREE)

LEE

Lee Founders Weekend runs Friday, Sept 21st – Sunday, Sept 23rd.  Hometown Parade down Main Street. Terry a la Berry at the Lee Library. Music, history, community meals… so much more! 413-243-1705.

LENOX

Berkshire Scenic Railway — Once upon a time in the Berkshires, a railroad ran from Pittsfield to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Today, all that’s left are a few tracks and some passenger cars. Families can learn about the history of the railroad (and why it no longer exists) Sunday, Sept 23rd from 1-2:30pm at the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum! There will be a special walking tour (covering only .25 miles) just for families. Meet at the Lenox Station. — 413-636-2210. 10 Willow Creek Road. (FREE)

Lenox Apple Squeeze — On both Saturday & Sunday, Sept 22rd & 23rd is the 33rd annual Lenox Apple Squeeze in historic downtown Lenox. Celebrate autumn with your community at the family fun event. — Main Street. (FREE)

Lenox Library — Nutshell Playhouse presents, “Tutti Frutti,” at the library on Saturday, Sept 22nd at 1pm. The show features a fierce and funny parrot named Taco Carumba, as well as original music, puppets, and lots of clowning around. — 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. (FREE)

The MountMain Street Stage presents, “The King Stag,” on Sunday, Sept 23rd at 11am! The show features puppets, stilts, masks, music, and more, and has been touring all summer – this performance will be the final one! BYO seating – the show takes place outside. — 413-551-5111. 2 Plunkett Street. (FREE)

Ventfort Hall — Ventfort Hall hosts, “Food and Feasting in the Middle Ages” on Tuesday, Oct 2nd at 4pm, a tea-and-talk featuring tastings of traditional medieval foods and interesting facts about the intersection of food and social class during the middle ages. Best for older students & adults, the event will also cover food-related beliefs and practices popular during the middle ages. — Mark your calendars for the Medieval Faire happening on Sunday, Oct 7th!— 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. ($$) [CANCELLED]

PITTSFIELD

Arrowhead — Hike a trail likely once hiked by Herman Melville himself at the Arrowhead Museum on Sunday, Sept 23rd at 2pm! The path is hilly, but has benches along the way and offers hikers some incredible views. The walk is 1 mile, and takes roughly 45 minutes. Registration required. — 413-442-1793. 780 Holmes Road. (FREE)

Barrington Stage Company — Tour the acclaimed Barrington Stage Company on Saturday, Sept 22nd at 1pm and learn about it’s 100-year history! Visitors will see behind the scenes, and learn about the changes made to the building during its renovation in 2005. The tour includes a look at the company’s prop and costume areas, as well as the stage stars’ dressing rooms! — Oct 3rd-21st the Barrington Stage Company presents a theatrical version of William Golding’s, “Lord of the Flies.” The classic young adult novel, adapted for the stage, tells the story of a group of schoolboys stranded on an island and the struggles for power and control that ensue. Best for older students with audience skills, the show addresses topics of basic sociology and psychology, and can help kids begin thinking about the role that power and influence play in society. — 413-236-8888. 30 Union Street.

Berkshire Athenaeum — The library hosts author Ty Allen Jackson, author of YA books Fif15teen and Still Fifteen, for a special author event on Saturday, Sept 22nd from 12noon-2pm. Attendees can take part in a Q+A with the author, and learn about his creative process. There will also be a teaser for his newest book! — Starting Tuesday, Oct 2nd from 10-11:30am or 1-2:30pm, the library is hosting a 4-week basic genealogy workshop series!  Genealogist Alan Doyle Horbal will teach the workshops, from which participants will learn basic skills and resources for genealogical research.  The workshops could be useful for parents and older students (teens and mature tweens) interested in digging up some family history.  Working on a genealogical project is also a great way for students to put themselves into historical, cultural, and socioeconomic context.  Registration required.  — 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. (FREE)

Berkshire Museum — On Saturday, Sept 22nd at 12noon, the museum hosts a film festival! In conjunction with the museum’s current Rethink! Native American Art and Culture exhibit, the festival will feature three films about Native American history, culture, and life in New England. — On Monday, Sept 24th at 2pm and 7pm, the museum’s Little Cinema will screen, “Side by Side,” a documentary about the evolution of digital filmmaking and the simultaneous changes seen in traditional film recording. Actor Keanu Reeves hosts the documentary, and walks viewers through the history of film and the changes that digital filmmaking has created within traditional cinema. Great supplemental event for youth interested in film studies. — Saturday, Sept 29th at 11am, the museum hosts a workshop on quillwork as part of the museum’s current Rethink! American Indian Art exhibit. Visitors can try some hands-on quillwork themselves, while learning about its place in Native American history and culture. — 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Rte. 7. ($)

Families are invited to be citizen scientists in the Berkshires, Sept 22nd & 23rd at the Berkshire BioBlitz! From their participation in the bioblitz, kids will learn to identify plant and animal species that they see often, and learn about the role that each species plays within the local ecosystem. Great for budding naturalists!

Burbank Park — Saturday, Sept 22nd from 9am-11pm, families can catalog and count plant and animal species, and learn to identify at the annual Berkshire BioBlitz! The event is a full 24-hour event (taking place at Burbank Park), during which scientists and community members will work together to search for and identify as many species as possible! Along with the critter-hunt will be nature displays to learn from (including live specimens!), craft activities, and special workshops designed to teach visitors about specific types of plant and animal life while still searching for them! — Lakeway Drive. (FREE)

CYC of Pittsfield — The CYC of Pittsfield is starting a new competitive dance team! Open to ages 9-19 (there will be separate divisions based on age), auditions will take place both Saturday, Sept 29th & Sunday, Sept 30th from 3-5pm,- those interested must attend both days of auditions. Practices for the team will take place from 5:30-7pm on Wednesday evenings. — 413-445-5496. 26 Melville Street.

Canoe MeadowsSaturday, Sept 22nd at 9am, explore Canoe Meadows and watch for migratory birds with sanctuary director, Rene Laubach. Students can learn how to spot and identify various species of birds, and will also be able to learn about habitats they prefer and what they eat! Registration required. — 413-637-0320. Holmes Road. (FREE)

Colonial Theatre — Take a free tour of the historic Colonial Theater, which hosts countless plays, concerts, and performances of all sorts. on Saturday, Sept 22nd at 10am! Built in 1903, the theater is a National Historic Treasure! Registration required. — Enjoy a parents’ night out on Thursday, Sept 27th at 8pm with a performance by Kenny Rogers. Having created over 65 albums, Rogers is known for his sweet, raspy vocals and the descriptive nature of his lyrics. ($$$)— 413-298-5576. 111 South Street.

First Friday Artswalk Pittsfield’s monthly First Friday Artswalk takes place Friday, Oct 5th from 5-8pm! Explore downtown and visit shops, restaurants, and galleries to see a wide variety of works in many different media by local artists. Artswalk offers families an opportunity to view and learn about art (and to help kids learn art appreciation), and also draws visitors to the newly designated Upstreet Cultural District, full of great local businesses. — (FREE)

Hancock Shaker Village’s annual Country Fair takes place on September 29th and 30th! The festival celebrates the fall harvest and all of the many food-related activities and traditions that the season brings. Especially exciting is the festival’s annual pie contest, which features an amateur division for young baker-extraordinaires!

Hancock Shaker Village — The Village hosts an old-fashioned country fair Saturday & Sunday, Sept 29th & 30th! The fair celebrates fall, and highlights many of the unique, interesting, and educational things that the village has to offer. There will be a farmers’ market featuring local goods, displays of art inspired by scenes at the village throughout all seasons, a quilt show (featuring both antique and newly made quilts), wagon and pony rides, a pie contest, and lots of fun activities for kids, including chicken races, crafts, Shaker games, and more! — 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic. ($)

RICHMOND

Cemetery — Take a tour of the oldest parts of the Richmond town burial grounds on Saturday, Sept 22nd at 1pm, and learn about community members who were part of the Revolutionary War! Learning about significant local history can help students put their knowledge of American history into context and help them better understand how their community was shaped. Registration required. — 413-698-2560. 1101 State Road. (FREE)

Hilltop Orchard — Explore historic Hilltop Orchard on Sunday, Sept 23rd at 11am and learn about the antique apple varieties grown there! The orchard’s operators are working to preserve the unique apples, and also operate a vineyard. Families can learn all about the ins and outs of orchard-keeping, and grown ups can taste the delicious local wines. — Route 295. (FREE)

STOCKBRIDGE

Berkshire Botanical GardenMark you calendars for the 78th Annual Berkshire Harvest Festival happening Saturday and Sunday, October 6th and 7th from 10am-5pm! — 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road.

Norman Rockwell Museum — On Saturday, Sept 22nd from 1-4pm, the museum hosts Girl Scout Festival: 100 Years of Girl Scouting. — 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183.

WEST STOCKBRIDGE

Neighborhoods — Saturday, Sept 22nd at 11am, explore two 18th century neighborhoods in West Stockbridge! Visitors will learn about the historic homes within them, as well as about the unique and beautiful architectural styles used for the buildings. Registration is required. Meet at 1854 Town Hall. 413-232-4465. 9 Main Street. (FREE)

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South Berkshire

Great Barrington | Housatonic | Monterey | New Marlborough

North Berkshire | Central Berkshire

GREAT BARRINGTON

Berkshire Co-op — On Saturday, Sept 23rd at 10am, the co-op invites kids to come learn how to make Rainbow Hummus in their Kids Can Cook program. Sign up at the front desk.  – On Friday, Oct 5th from 2-3:30pm, kids who love apples can learn how to make their harvest last all year long at a kids culinary arts workshop!  The workshop will teach kids how to preserve apples – parents must accompany their kids throughout the workshop.  Along with learning skills for a sustainable lifestyle, kids can practice basic math and kitchen skills while reading recipes, measuring ingredients, and preparing apples.  Registration is required – e-mail jschwartz@berkshire.coop. — 413-528-9697. 42 Bridge Street.

Captain Truman Wheeler FarmsteadSaturday, Sept 22nd from 9-10am, take a tour of the Captain Truman Wheeler Farmstead, a collection of 18th and 19th century buildings that housed five generations of Wheelers (and their farm!). The tour is a mix of history and lessons about modern architecture – visitors will be able to learn about 21st century techniques that are being used to hold up a barn awaiting restoration. — South Main Street. (FREE)

Great Barrington Farmers’ Market — The market is holding an Apple Cook Off on Saturday, Sept 29th at 11:30am! The event challenges community members to produce unique and delicious dishes, the main ingredient of which is local apples. There are separate age groups for kids and adults, and prizes will be given to dishes that are most unique, most creative, and most delicious. The contest offers kids a chance to practice their kitchen skills, learn about local food, and practice basic math and literacy skills while creating their entry! — Castle Street. (FREE)

Great Barrington Historical Society — Hike the historic former trolley line from Great Barrington to Egremont on Saturday, Sept 22nd at 10am! The society hosts local historian and author Gary Leveille for an educational journey through history. The hike is just over two miles, and will take roughly two hours. There are remnants of the trolley line still located along the trail – it’s full of interesting local history! Meet at the VFW lot. — South Main Street. (FREE)

The Guthrie Center — The Center for Peace Through Culture host a day-long community family event celebrating International Day of Peace on Saturday, Sept 22nd from 11am-9pm. BYO family, picnic and blanket to The Guthrie Center for meditation, peace education and song. Three class for youth learning peace through the arts include: Peace Readings for Children, Peace through Music and Sound, and Peace through Art. — 413-644-9288. 2 Van Deusenville Road. (FREE)

Great Barrington Riverwalk — On Saturday, Sept 22nd at 9am, celebrate the 25th anniversary of Great Barrington’s RiverWalk with a walk-about! The hike will follow the Housatonic and end in the WEB Dubois Garden. Visitors can learn about the history of the path and enjoy the beautiful fall scenery!— Church and River Streets.

HOUSATONIC

Project Native — On Saturday, Sept 22nd at 2:30pm, explore the Project Native Farm, a working farm that works to bank seeds and provide demonstration gardens from which the community can learn about sustainable and responsible farming practices, native plants, and plants that grow best in the Berkshire landscape and climate. Registration required. — 413-274-3433. 342 North Plain Road. (FREE)

Ramsdell Library — The Ramsdell Library screens, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” on Wednesday, Sept 26th from 6:30-8:30pm- it’s a classic adventure movie! Rated PG-13. — 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. (FREE)

MONTEREY

Bidwell House Museum — Hike a path used by the first settlers of Township No. 1 (now Monterey) from the Bidwell House Museum to the settlers’ meeting house on Saturday, Sept 22nd at 10am! Learn about the very early history of the town, and enjoy the fall scenery. Registration required. Meet at the Bidwell House Museum. — 413-528-6888. 100 Art School Road. (FREE)

Gould Farm — Explore Gould Farm on Saturday, Sept 22nd at 1:30pm, by touring some of its 600+ acres, and learn about the land’s role in the town of Monterey’s rich charcoal-making history! 1.5 mile hike, roughly 2 hours. Meet at the Harvest Barn. — Gould Road. (FREE)

NEW MARLBOROUGH

Cookson State Forest — -Visit Cookson State Forest on Sunday, Sept 23rd at 10am to learn about (and visit!) a 19th century sawmill and shingle shop! The adventure will be lead by local historian and author Bernie Drew, and will teach participants about the forest and its place in local history. The forest is part of the New Marlborough Land Trust. — Hotchkiss Road. (FREE)

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