Berkshire County Highlights for Families:
Sept. 8th – 21st, 2012
We’ve rounded the corner from summer freedom to the routine of autumn, with kids back in school, homeschoolers organizing their fall schedules, and prek & story hours starting back up. We’ve listed many ongoing activities below and will continue to add to the list as the season progresses.
Activities to look forward to over the next couple of weeks include Images Cinema’s International Family Film series, Lee Founders’ Weekend, the Tub Parade in Lenox, Youth Summit in Pittsfield, Oliver! and Story Pirates at the Colonial Theatre, International Talk Like a Pirate Day at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Hilltown Hoot in Washington, Housatonic River Walk in Great Barrington, among many others.
Find out about these events and other community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County through Sept. 21st:
To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday, and be sure to subscribe to our free weekly eNewsletter!
Abbot School — Ongoing: Tuesday afternoon playgroups at in the gym, sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires in the gym.— 56 North Country Road. (FREE) ♦
Brodie Ski Touring Center — Search for migratory songbirds and raptors with the Hoffman Bird Club at the old Brodie Ski Touring Center on Saturday, Sept 8th starting at 7:30am! Best for older students with an interest in ornithology and/or wildlife biology, the event includes a good amount of hiking (not to mention an early weekend wake up!). — 413-458-3664. 770 Route 7. (FREE)
Lanesborough Library — Ongoing: Tuesday morning story time at 10:15am. Stories, crafts, and music for all ages. — 413-499-5981. 83 North Main Street. (FREE) ♦
Mt. Greylock — Ongoing: “Nice and Easy” family-friendly hike happens every Wednesdays at 10am through Oct 24th. It’s about two hours long and will cover 1-2 miles of trail. Call to find out meeting place. — 413-499-4262. (FREE) ♦
Post Office — Search for migratory birds and visit the hawk watch with the Hoffman Bird Club on Sunday, Sept 9th starting at 7:30am! Best for older students with an interested in ornithology and/or wildlife biology, the event is a great way to learn about birds found locally and the intricacies of local ecosystems. Meet at Lanesborough Post Office. — 413-281-1017. Route 7. (FREE)
Town Hall — Ongoing: On Fridays from 11am-12noon a playgroup will be in the town hall community room, sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires in the community room. — 413-664-4821. 83 North Main Street. (FREE) ♦
Ashintully — Ongoing: Explore Ashintully’s beautifully landscaped grounds, gardens, and water features, a Trustees of Reservations property, on Saturdays and Wednesdays from 1-5pm. Families can hike to the ruins of the mansion once located on the site, as well. Open Wed. and Sat. afternoons until early October. — 413-298-3239. Sodom Road (Donation)
Haskins Center — On Monday, Sept 17th from 5:30-6:30pm, make some messy art outside on the playground! Be sure to dress in clothes that are easily cleaned or do not need to stay clean – the project will be very messy. In case of rain, event will take place in the gym. – On Tuesday, Sept 18th at 9am, the Center hosts Kids’ Cooking Club, a healthy food and nutrition learning experience for kids and their parents. Today’s class will be about making healthy breakfast smoothies, and kids will learn what foods are good for their bodies in the morning, as well as how to mix them to make a delicious creation! Call to register. Ongoing: Monday gym group at 5:30pm at the center and Thursdays at 11:30am, hosted by Childcare of the Berkshires. Tuesday preschool playgroups from 10-11:30am. Takes place on the lower level. On Fridays at 11am is a baby group.— 413-664-4821. 210 State Street.(FREE) ♦
Mass MoCA — Mark your calendars: FreshGrass Bluegrass Festival happens Sept 21-23! — 413-662-2111. Mass MoCA Way.
Natural Bridge State Park — On Saturday, Sept. 8th from 1-3pm, tweens/teens interested in photography can visit Natural Bridge State Park for a workshop on nature photography! Lead by local photographer Michael Marlow, the workshop will teach kids basic (and useful!) shooting tips that will help them improve their photography skills and behind-the-lens creativity. The workshop includes a photo-walk through the grounds.— 413-663-6392. McCauley Road. (FREE)
Field Farm — On Saturday, Sept. 8th at 1 or 2pm, take a guided tour of the grounds at Field Farm’s Folly, a TOR site that is home to two stunning modernist homes, nestled amongst over 300 acres of beautiful Berkshire scenery. Families can learn about the history and design principles behind the homes, and explore the paths and foothills of the property. — 413-458-3135. 554 Sloan Road. (<$)
The Clark — On Sunday, Sept. 9th at 3pm, The Clark presents a lecture by Dr. Lillian Lan-ying Tseng who will introduce a group of precious objects excavated from the tomb of King Nanyue in the second century BCE, when China established the so-called Silk Road. She will elaborate a Chinese pursuit of eternity that was comparable to the Egyptian mummification and will articulate how ancient Chinese aristocrats consumed the luxurious goods that could have been imported from as far as ancient Iran. In conjunction with the exhibition Unearthed at the Clark, this lecture will position ancient Chinese objects more broadly in a global context. Best for older students studying ancient China. – The Clark is offering a film series focused on art and art history. The screening on Thursday, Sept 20th is, “Andrei Rublev,” a film in Russian (with English subtitles) detailing the life and work of the famous artist, as well as providing an overview of life in medieval Russia. Great for older students interested in international art and art history.— 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. (FREE)
Images Cinema — Images Cinema host a monthly International Family Films series, screening Miss Minoes on Saturday, Sept. 15th at 10:30am & 1pm. The film is for kids ages 7yo and older and is a live-action movie about a cat who turns into a woman after eating a toxic substance. From the Netherlands (86 mins.), the film is dubbed in English, so it will be accessible to younger children. — 413-458-1039. 50 Spring Street. (>$)
Milne Library — The library invites kids ages 9 and older to become Junior Librarians! A one-hour training session will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 12th at 2pm. Jr. Librarians get a hands-on experience in the library sciences, helping classmates research and work through tough assignments. — 413-458-5369. 1095 Main Street. (FREE)
Williams College – Experience the wonders of our universe at the Milham Planetarium, located inside the Old Hopkins Observatory at Williams College. Astronomy students at the college will host free planetarium shows for the public on the following Friday evenings at 7:30 p.m.: Sept 14, 21, and 28; October 5, 12, 19, and 26; November 2, 9, 16, and 30; and December 7. Audiences will be treated to shows from the high-precision Zeiss Skymaster ZKP3/B opto-mechanical planetarium projector. The Zeiss Skymaster is capable of demonstrating phenomena including: retrograde motions of the planets, phases of the moon, the varying temperatures/colors of stars, locations of neighboring galaxies, the mythological figures and zodiacal signs ascribed to constellations, the Southern Hemisphere’s sky, comets, artificial satellites, and much more. Shows will last about 50 minutes. Reservations recommended. — 829 Main Street. 413-597-2188. (FREE)
Williamstown Youth Center — Ongoing: Monday playgroups from 10-11:30am at the center, sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires. — 413-458-5925. 270 Cole Avenue. (FREE) ♦
Becket Arts Center — Mark your calendars: Becket Arts Center to host Autumnal Equinox Party & Community Celebration on Sunday, Sept. 23rd from 12noon-4pm!— 413-623-6635. 7 Brooker Hill Road.
Lee Library — Learn about home composting on Tuesday, Sept 11th from 6:30-7:30pm at the Lee Library! Offered by the Center for EcoTechonology, the workshop will teach skills for families to build an active and useful compost pile, helping them understand the biochemistry of how organic matter breaks down. Home composted materials can be used to grow perfect patio tomatoes, healthy indoor plants, and a gigantic garden bursting with veggies! Registration required. – Ongoing: Thursdays at 3:30pm there’s a children’s story time for kids ages preK-8. This is an interactive program with that encourages children to engage in the story being read, followed by craft activity that relates to the story. — 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street. (FREE)
MAIN STREET — Lee Founders’ Weekend kicks off on Friday, Sept. 21st from 5-8pm with “Taste of Lee” on Main Street. There will be sidewalk sales from 10am-8pm too, Corn Cook-Off at 4pm and music in the park starting at 5:30pm. Celebration continues into the weekend, all weekend long! — 413-243-1705. Main Street.
Lenox Library — Ongoing: Tuesday story time at 11am for kids ages 18mo-3yo can sing songs, learn finger plays and listen to stories; Thursdays at 11am is preschool story craft for kids ages 3-5yo featuring songs, stories and craft activities; — 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street.
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary — Enjoy free admission to Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary on Berkshire Residents Free Admission Day, Saturday, Sept. 8th, from 10am-4pm! Grounds are open dawn to dusk, while visitors center and gift shop are open from 10am-4pm. The sanctuary offers 7 miles of groomed trails through hardwood forest, around a pond, and to the summit of Lenox Mountain. — 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road. (FREE)
Shakespeare & Company — The Tub Parade, an annual event that began in the late 1800’s, continues in the heart of Berkshire County on Saturday, Sept. 15th. The Tub Parade originated as a societal affair where residents of the “Berkshire Cottages” would proudly parade in their horse drawn carriages (tubs) adorned with harvest time flowers and bounty. The reenactment of this tradition will loop twice around the center of Lenox starting at 1:30pm, and all carriages will be on display on the grounds of Shakespeare & Company following the parade. Bring the family to enjoy a local ritual that is enriched in history and seasonal traditions. The event is put on by the Colonial Carriage and Driving Society. — 413-637-3646. 70 Kemble Street. (FREE)
The Mount — Ongoing: On Fridays at 5:45 and 7pm, take a spooky mystery tour of The Mount through Oct. 26th… beware – you never know what you might encounter! Visitors will not only be thoroughly creeped out, but will learn some of the building’s interesting history.— 413-551-5111. 2 Plunkett Street. ($$)
Ventfort Hall — Ventfort Hall hosts an old-fashioned ice cream social on their veranda on Sunday, Sept. 9th from 2-4pm. A tradition dating back to the 18th century, modern socials are fashioned after a Victorian Era community gathering called “Ice Cream Gardens.” At the Ventfort Hall, participants can enjoy scoops of ice cream and view miniature horses. — 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. (>$)
Berkshire Athenaeum — The Blafield Children’s Chorus rehearsals begin on Saturday, Sept. 8th at the Berkshire Athenaeum and will take place in the auditorium on most Saturday mornings. Ages 6-13 practice from 10-11:15am, and ages 13-19 practice 11:15am-12:15pm. To become a new member, just simply come to a rehearsal. ($$)- Later in the afternoon on Saturday, Sept. 8th at 2pm, VOICES Theater Company presents, “Acting Up with Melville’s Characters.” The presentation will feature dramatic readings of children’s versions of some of Melville’s classic stories by company members in full costume, as well as theater games and a Moby Dick treasure hunt for kids! — On Wednesday, Sept. 19th at 3:30pm, the library hosts LEGO Club (third Wednesday of each month). Kids can use LEGOs to experiment with basic principles of architecture, physics, and design. — 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. (FREE)
Berkshire Community College — The city of Pittsfield is hosting a Youth Summit on Saturday, Sept. 8th from 8:30am-4:30pm, to help empower youth in the community. Participating youth will be able to participate in multiple workshops of their choice – topics include rights and responsibilities, race and identity, art and music as personal expression, money management, healthy living, and getting a job. There will also be special guest speakers, group activities, and more. The event is centered around youth empowerment, and teaching young community members to use their energy positively and in ways that are productive to them. The summit will take place at Berkshire Community College. Bus transportation is available from Palace Park on North Street. — 413-841-8770. 1350 West St. (FREE)
Berkshire Museum— Ongoing: On Fridays at 11am, meet an animal at the museum! Friends from the aquarium will be shared, and kids can learn all about them through stories and activities.— 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Rte. 7. (FREE w/Admission)
Berkshire Music School — Berkshire Music School hosts a open house for prospective students and parents on Saturday, Sept. 8th from 10am-12noon. There will be an instrument petting zoo and opportunity to check out youth music classes. — 413-442-1411. 30 Wendell Ave. (FREE)
Colonial Theatre — Berkshire Theater Group presents the musical Oliver! at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 8th at 2pm & 7:30pm and on Sunday, Sept 9th at 2pm. The musical is a classic, and tells the tale of an orphan, a band of thieves, and the search for a home. — Then on the following Saturday, Sept. 15th at 2pm, Story Pirates, a nationally respected education and media organization and creators of the pre-Broadway workshop, FOUND, perform a hilarious and kid friendly show.— 413-298-5576. 111 South Street. ($$)
Downtown Pittsfield — Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursday family friendly street festival theme for this month is “A Passion for Fashion+Walk A Mile in Her Shoes.” Come out and join the festivities on Thursday, Sept. 20th starting at 5pm.— 413-499-9348. (FREE)
Hillcrest Educational Center — On Saturday, Sept 15th from 11am-3pm, Hillcrest will host their annual HillcrestFest for families! Local musician David Grover will perform a family concert, surrounded by clowns, ponies, face painting, games, and lunch! All is free and lunch is just a buck! There will be a shuttle service running continuously from Berkshire Life Insurace Company. Park there and take a mile ride down to the celebration! — 413-499-7924. x133. 700 South Street. (FREE)
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts — Ongoing: Mondays at at 3:30pm a hip hop class for youth ages 8yo+ introduces hip hop styles and steps. Then at 6pm Aimee Gelinas leads a youth Afro-Cuban drum beats class. To register for drum class, contact Aimee at email@example.com — 413-499-9348. 28 Renne Avenue. ($)
Marketplace Cafe — The cafe will host a Young Artists’ Open Mic for teens and anyone 21 and under from 6:30-8:30pm on Friday, Sept. 14th. Katherine Winston is the emcee and youth have can take the mic to show off their talents! — 55 North Street. (FREE)
Tyler Street – Discover Tyler Street, a family street fair, celebrates with food, live music, services and children’s activities on Saturday, Sept. 8th from 11am-3pm. — Tyler Street. (FREE)
Berkshire Botanical Garden — Mark your calendars: Harvest Fest coming Oct. 6th & 7th! — 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road.
Chesterwood — It’s Berkshire County Family Day at Chesterwood on Saturday, Sept. 8th from 10a,-4pm! Visit the historic former home of American sculptor Daniel Chester French to experience the architectural and natural beauty of the site, and to learn about the home’s history and its significance within the community — 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road (FREE)
Naumkeag— Pollinators play a crucial role in every ecosystem – learn about bees, flies, and wasps, and how they benefit our lives, at Naumkeag on Saturday, Sept. 15th from 10am-12noon! Call to register Stay for the day and celebrate blooming crocuses. There will be special house and garden tours, bulb sales, workshops, demonstrations, and more! Fascinating for students interested in gardening and basic botany. Also makes a great supplement for kids studying nature biology. – Ongoing: Fridays from 10am-5pm tour the house and grounds. Visitors can learn about the home’s interesting history and tour the many beautiful gardens! — 413-298-3239 x3352. 5 Prospect Hill Road. ($)
Norman Rockwell Museum — The Norman Rockwell Museum hosts International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Wednesday, Sept. 19th from 10am-4pm. Bring your preK kids to practice their pirate slang. Bring them dress in their best pirate gear and admission is half-off. This event is nicely coupled with the current exhibition, “Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered.” — Ongoing: On Wednesdays from 10-11:30am, NRM hosts, “Creating Together: A Parent-Child Experience,” an art workshop featuring a gallery tour and hands-on art making. Each week brings a new theme and art style to explore. — 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183.
Stockbridge Cemetery — Take a special back-to-school themed tour of the Stockbridge Cemetery on Saturday, Sept. 8th from 4-5pm, now the final resting place of numerous former town residents of special interest. This evening’s tour will feature visits from ghosts of former schoolteachers and town residents who want to share their stories of learning in Stockbridge. — 413-298-5501. Main Street. (DONATION)
Stockbridge Library — Mark your calendars: 2nd Annual Stockbridge Library Pumpkin Walk-About happens Oct. 26th! — 413-298-5501. 46 Main Street.
Washington Town Park — The annual Hilltown Hoot happens on Saturday, Sept.15th from 12noon-8pm! The event showcases local musicians like the Guthrie Family, The Faculty, and Modest Me, as well as children’s performer Terry a la Berry and local high school students! The event benefits Central Berkshire schools, and will also feature local artists and artisans, food, and family activities. — Route 8. ($)
Berkshire Co-op — The co-op presents DIY Kids: Tee Shirt Scarves. Youth can recycle old t-shirts into fashionable scarves on Friday, Sept. 14th at 4pm. Call to sign up! — 413-528-9697. 42 Bridge Street.
Berkshire South Regional Community Center — Ongoing: On Mondays from 5:30-7pm, enjoy an evening of friendly Scrabble! Open to anyone ages 8+, the game night offers families an opportunity to practice fair play and basic sportsmanship while allowing kids to expand their spelling, vocabulary, and basic practical math skills. On Tuesdays from 6:30-8pm the center hosts a free ukulele group! Beginners and kids without any knowledge of music reading can join in – the class will teach basic chord progressions and styles of playing from around the world. Registration requested but drop-in is OK. On Wednesdays from 7-8:30pm, teens are invited to sing their heart out with Berkshire Sings!, a community singing group. Singers of all abilities welcome (adults, too) to sing pop, jazz, folk, showtunes, and more. – All programs sponsored by Bobbie Hallig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. — 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. (FREE)
Mason Library — Ongoing: Wednesdays from 10:15-11am it’s story time for preK kids. Includes stories, songs, and crafts. In the afternoon on Wednesdays from 3-5pm, the library screens classic films. The “Mason Matinee” is best for tweens/teens and adults – call to find out what’s playing. The library will be screening the classic musical, The King and I on Wednesdays, Sept. 19th. On Fridays from 10:15-11am, the library hosts Young Children’s Storytime. On Fridays from 3:30-5pm the library hosts an Anime Club for tweens/teens.— 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street.
W.E.B. Du Bois River Garden Park — Celebrate 25 years of the Housatonic River Walk on Saturday, Sept. 8th from 10am-1pm. A new outdoor exhibition on W.E.B. Du Bois (one of the co-founders of the NAACP) will be on view, and there will be food, music, and family activities – all centered around garnering continued community support and appreciation for the trail, which offers access to a beautiful and fascinating local resource. — Church and River Streets. (DONATION)
Ramsdell Library —Spend the evening watching a classic movie at the library on Wednesday, Sept. 12th from 6:30-8:30pm! The selected film is, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” a classic amongst adventure film lovers ages 13yo and older. On Wednesday, Sept. 19th from 7-8:30pm, the library is screening “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” a film that explore the most ancient visual art known to be create by humans located in the Chauvet Cave in France, dating back to over 30,000 years. An excellent film for older students interested in art studies and ancient cultures.— 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. (FREE)
Bartholomew’s Cobble — On Saturday, Sept. 8th watch the sunset from Hurlburt’s Hill at Bartholomew’s Cobble, while listening to beautiful bagpipe music! It’s a short 20-minute hike to the top of the hill starting at 4:30pm, and there will be transportation of your picnic baskets and chairs so your family can enjoy a stroll up the hill. ($) — On Sunday, Sept 16th from 9am-12noon, canoe the Housatonic and Konkapot Rivers with the Trustees of Reservations! The adventure begins at Bartholomew’s Cobble – and guides will help boaters search for hawks and eagles in the sky. Equipment provided. Registration required. ($$) – On Thursdays at 9am, volunteer to help maintain the healthy landscape and walking trails at Bartholomew’s Cobble through November 2012. Named a National Natural Landmark because of its unique biodiversity and abundance of rare species, the Cobble is a valuable local resource. By volunteering time to help preserve the area, families help to ensure that the area will be available to them for years to come. Great project for homeschool groups. — 413-229-8600. Weatogue Road.