Berkshire Family Fun: Summer 2019

Berkshire County Summer Highlights

“The Berkshires” refers to the highland region of Western Massachusetts west of the Connecticut River and lower Westfield River. The region is bordered by the Taconic Mountains, the valleys of the Hoosic River and Housatonic River and by the Hudson Highlands. Culturally, the region is a popular area for exploring art, learning about history and discovering the local, natural landscape. Particularly during the summer, the various Berkshire towns feature festivals, art shows, and events to enjoy. Find out about community events and learning opportunities happening throughout Berkshire County this summer with our list below. We’ll be adding to this list as the summer progresses, so be sure to subscribe to our weekly eNewsletter to keep up with what’s happening around the region.

To find out what’s happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, check our comprehensive list of Weekly Suggested Events, published every Thursday!


Berkshire Family Fun is also supported in part by a grant from the Tyringham, Hinsdale/Peru, Mount Washington, Northern Berkshire, Washington, and Windsor Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


North Berkshire

Adams | Cheshire | Florida | Hancock | Lanesborough | Monterey | North Adams | Williamstown | Windsor

Central Berkshire | South Berkshire

SELF-GUIDED TOUR/SCENIC BYWAYS: The Summer is a time that encourages time spent outdoors, so why not plan an excursion along one of the many Western Massachusetts scenic byways! Along the way, you can stop at different farm stands, take photographs of beautiful country views, take a hike, and enjoy a picnic lunch at one of our many vistas. (See September/October Season issue of Learning Ahead for a list of area vistas.) Scenic byways to explore can be found at www.bywayswestmass.com. While traveling these back roads, look for rivers and their tributaries and see if you can identify their impact on local history as you travel through different mill towns, taking the time to learn about the different manufacturing industries that resulted in the 19th-century industrial age. Note the architecture of the mill buildings, the infrastructure remnants of rail transportation, and the repurposing and transformation of spaces once used for industry. You’re sure to also encounter covered bridges, museums, historic districts, landmarks, and wooded landscapes while traveling, so plan accordingly and arrive feeling curious! Western MA.

ADAMS

Berkshire Arts And Technology Charter School. 1 Commercial Street.
Adams Visitor’s Center
. 3 Hoosac Street.
Adams Library
. 413-743-8345. 92 Park Street.
Adams Lions Club
Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum.
413-743-7121. 67 East Road.

CHESHIRE

Saturday, July 13, 11am-4pm – LOCAL HISTORY/CHEESE: Do you know the story of Cheshire Mammoth Cheese, a gift from the town of Cheshire, MA, to President Thomas Jefferson in January 1802? Read more about it HERE, and then head over to the annual Cheshire Cheese Fest where the story comes to life. A “cheesy, fun-filled day” is perfect for kids, and pairings of local artisanal cheeses with wine, beer, and cider is a delicious treat for adults. A great placemaking event that celebrates local history, supports community connections, and explores the art of cheese and cheesemaking. Cheshire Elementary School, 191 Church Street, Cheshire, MA

FLORIDA

Abbot School. 56 North Country Road.

HANCOCK

June, 10:30am – ANIMAL STUDIES/AGRICULTURE: It’s difficult to overstate the significance of the pig in human history. In China for example, the pictograph representing “home” is comprised of the graph representing pig, under a roof. Hence, in China, you literally can’t have a home without a pig. Numerous mythologies and folklore from around the world feature pig gods and the ancient central Asian Kyrgyz people believed themselves to be descended from a wild boar. Part of the reason for the enormous cultural significance of the pig is due to its amazing adaptability. The wild boar, the ancestor for today’s domesticated pig, is thought to have originated during the pleistocene in Southeast Asia. It quickly spread throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa. Since then the domestic pig has become one of the most numerous livestock animals. What’s more, escaped domestic pigs often return to a feral state and thrive, regardless of the habitat. Come get to know this amazing animal, up close and personal, at the Hancock Shaker Village “Farm Friends” program. Children ages 2-5 and their caregivers will have the opportunity to meet a pig, listen to stories, and do craft projects. Hancock Shaker Village. 413-443-0188. 1843 W Housatonic St, Pittsfield, MA.

Friday, June 14, 8am-10pm
Saturday, June 15, 10am-Midnight
Sunday, June 16, 10am-5pm – MUSIC STUDIES/TRADITIONAL MUSIC: According to legend, the fiddle has been a part of the American musical tradition since 1620, when English fiddle player John Utie settled in Virginia. Since then, the fiddle has played an important role in many of the most distinctively American musical genres. But what is the difference between a violin and a fiddle, anyway? As it turns out, the distinction may be somewhat arbitrary. Many musicians use the terms interchangeably but there are some common differences in the construction of the two instruments. The fiddle, for instance, is more often played with steel strings. The height of the strings may be lower on a fiddle and the bridge may be flatter. Learn all about fiddling and the rich tradition of American Old Time music at the annual Northeast Fiddlers’ Convention, hosted by the Hancock Shaker Village! This all day event will feature workshops, fiddling competitions, and square dancing. Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA ($)

Saturday, June 22, 6pm  – SPORTS/BASEBALL: Be a part of a great American pastime this summer and head to the ballfield! Families can explore everything from art and design to American history by using baseball as a lens through which to explore local museums, online resources, and fantastic children’s literature. Read more in our post, Hit a Home Run with Community-Based Learning this Summer through Local Baseball! Catch a game plus fireworks tonight with the Pittsfield Suns! Wahconah Park. 413-445-7867. 105 Wahconah Street. Pittsfield, MA.

Hancock Shaker Village. 1843 W Housatonic St. 413-443-0188

LANESBOROUGH

Bascom Lodge 413-743-1591. 30 Rockwell Road.
Lanesborough Library — 413-499-5981. 83 North Main Street.
Mt. Greylock: The tallest peak in Massachusetts and a part of the Appalachian Trail, Mount Greylock’s summit stands at 3,491 feet. The mountain is Massachusetts’ first wilderness state park, acquired in 1898. There are different ways to reach the summit with a landscape that continuously changes as you ascend. At the top, hikers are greeted by a beautiful boreal forest featuring spruce and balsam fir as well as old growth. The misty clouds that hang around the mountain’s peak, imparting an ethereal or mystical feel, inspired Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, to set her next wizardry story in North America atop Mount Greylock. 413-499-4262. 30 Rockwell Road.

MONTEREY

Bidwell House Museum – 413-528-6888. 100 Art School Road.
Ashintully — 413-298-3239. Sodom Road

NORTH ADAMS

Northern Berkshire county has a rich history with the construction of many mills in the 19th century that doubled some of the towns’ populations. The North Adams and Adams Historical Societies can provide history buffs with more information regarding the county’s stories, mills, and early settlements. The North Adams Historical Society includes the Museum of History and Science.

Interested in railroad history and the local landscape? The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum offers the Hoosac Valley train service from North Adams to Adams. These rides offer beautiful views of Mount Greylock and the Hoosac Valley and provide onboard interpretation of railroad history in the region. Visitors can also visit the museum, based in Lenox. For more information on this season’s train service schedule visit www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com.

Mass MoCA: The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is located in a converted factory building in North Adams. It is one of the largest facilities for contemporary visual and performing art

SPORTS/BASEBALL: Be a part of a great American pastime this summer and head to the ballfield! Families can explore everything from art and design to American history by using baseball as a lens through which to explore local museums, online resources, and fantastic children’s literature. Read more in our post, Hit a Home Run with Community-Based Learning this Summer through Local Baseball! Then check out a home baseball game with the SteepleCats (visit their website for summer schedule)! Joe Wolfe Field. 310 State Street. North Adams, MA.

GEOLOGY/LOCAL HISTORY: The Natural Bridge State Park in North Adams is the only natural white marble arch in North America! The rock which forms the bridge is estimated 550 million year old bedrock marble. The arch itself was created by thousands of years of glacial melt water. Come experience the awe-inspiring majesty of this incredible local treasure with a short walking discussion of the geological forces that created this unique site. For more information visit Natural Bridge State Park. McAuley Road, North Adams, MA (FREE)

Dusk – OUTDOOR FILM/PLACEMAKING: Movies Under the Stars at Colegrove Park, a free monthly movie. North Church Street, North Adams MA:

  • Friday, June 21: E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial, Free, approx. 8:30 PM (dusk)
  • Friday, July 26: Trolls, Free, approx. 8:30 PM (dusk)
  • Friday, August 23: The Goonies, Free, approx. 8:00 PM (dusk)
  • Friday, September 27: The Wizard of Oz, Free, approx. 7:30PM (dusk)

Wednesdays from 6:30-8pm – LIVE MUSIC/PLACEMAKING: Concerts at Windsor Lake, a free concert series taking place at one of the most beautiful spots in the city, and feature great local talent. Kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and fishing are all allowed at the lake. Very family friendly. Intersection of Bradley Street & Kemp Ave. North Adams, MA.

Wednesdays, June 5, 12, 19, 26, 10-11am – WILDLIFE: Different themes each week: 6/5: Botany Walk; 6/12: Bird Walk; 6/19: Wildlife Walk; AND 6/26: Mushroom Walk. Join the park interpreter for a gentle, 3/5 mile walk on the Nature Trail. Observe natural features and get light exercise. Discuss the weekly theme and identify flora and fauna. There may also be a spontaneous discussion on the natural and cultural history of the park. The trail is mostly flat with some uneven surfaces (roots and rocks). All ages and abilities are welcome. Dress for the weather. Wear sturdy shoes. Bring a water bottle. Meet at the Visitor Center. DCR Natural Bridge State Park. 413-663-6392. McAuley Road, North Adams, MA

Steeple Cats Baseball Season: Home Games. Joe Wolfe Field. 413-398-4060. 310 State Street, North Adams MA.

  • Wednesday, June 5: SteepleCats v Sanford @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Friday, June 7: SteepleCats v Winnipesaukee @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Sunday, June 9: SteepleCats v Upper Valley @ Joe Wolfe Field, 6$3-7, :00 PM
  • Tuesday, June 11: SteepleCats v Valley @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Saturday, June 15: SteepleCats v Vermont @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Monday, June 17: SteepleCats v Vineyard @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday, June 19: SteepleCats v Vermont @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Sunday, June 23: SteepleCats v Upper Valley @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7,6:00 PM
  • Wednesday, June 26: SteepleCats v Sanford @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Saturday, June 29: SteepleCats v Keene @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Tuesday, July 2: SteepleCats v Valley @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Thursday, July 4: SteepleCats v Vermont @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Friday, July 5: SteepleCats v Ocean State @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Sunday, July 7: SteepleCats v Winnipesaukee @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Friday, July 12: SteepleCats v Valley @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Saturday, July 13: SteepleCats v Mystic @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Sunday, July 14: SteepleCats v Danbury @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:00 PM
  • Saturday, July 20: SteepleCats v Winnipesaukee @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Wednesday, July 24: SteepleCats v Keene @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Friday, July 26: SteepleCats v Upper Valley @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Saturday, July 27: SteepleCats v New Bedford @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:30 PM
  • Sunday, July 28: SteepleCats v Keene @ Joe Wolfe Field, $3-7, 6:00 PM

Fridays, June 21, 28, 11am-12pm – NATURE-BASED LEARNING: Kidleidoscope: 6/21: Birds; 6/28: Frogs. Geared for children 3-5, but all ages welcome. Guided nature-themed lesson or story, followed by a game or craft. Bring your lunch to enjoy in the picnic area before or after the program. Meet at the Visitor Center. DCR Natural Bridge State Park. 413-663-6392. McAuley Road, North Adams, MA

Thursday, June 27, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/ART FESTIVAL: MCLA’s DownStreet Art. Downtown art festival, including monthly gallery openings, street performances, and public artworks. Various locations throughout downtown North Adams MA. 413-662-5253

Saturdays, June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 10am and 12pm – NATURAL HISTORY: Natural Bridge History Tour. Easy walking tour for all ages. Discover the mystery of Natural Bridge State Park. Guided discovery with short stories that makes this park so unique! 30-45 minute duration. Meet at the Visitor Center. DCR Natural Bridge State Park. 413-663-6392. McAuley Road, North Adams, MA

Sundays, June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 10am and 2pm – NATURAL HISTORY: Natural Bridge History Tour. Easy walking tour for all ages. Discover the mystery of Natural Bridge State Park. Guided discovery with short stories that makes this park so unique! 30-45 minute duration. Meet at the Visitor Center. DCR Natural Bridge State Park. 413-663-6392. McAuley Road, North Adams, MA

Sundays, June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 12 noon – HUMAN HISTORY: Building the Bridge. What were the natural forces that formed the unique landforms in the park? Uncover the human forces that altered them. 30-45 minute duration. Meet at the Visitor Center. DCR Natural Bridge State Park. 413-663-6392. McAuley Road, North Adams, MA

Thursday, July 4, Dusk/9:30ish – FIREWORKS/BASEBALL: North Adams Fourth of July Fireworks after SteepleCats Game. Celebrate the nation’s independence at this local fireworks display, which takes place after the North Adams SteepleCats baseball game. Joe Wolfe Field, 310 State Street, North Adams MA.

Saturday, July 13, 3:30-10pm – BEACH PARTY/PLACEMAKING: North Adams 21st Annual Eagle St. Beach Party. Literally tons of sand are trucked in to create a beach over 3 hours away from the nearest ocean! 3:30-6pm For the first portion of the event, children and families play in the sand. For the second portion, 7-10pm, there will be an adult Fiesta, complete with cash bar on the beach, and live music. Get a sitter for the evening and enjoy a parents’ night out! Free. (Rain Date: July 20). Eagle Street between Center Street and Main Street, North Adams, MA

Thursday, July 25, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/ART FESTIVAL: MCLA’s DownStreet Art. Downtown art festival, including monthly gallery openings, street performances, and public artworks. Various locations throughout downtown North Adams MA. 413-662-5253

Wednesday, wiAugust 14, 5:30-9pm – PLACEMAKING/COMMUNITY CELEBRATION: North Adams 23rd Annual Downtown Celebration. An outdoor festival/community expo featuring vendors, food, music, performances, and more. Rain date: August 15. Free. 413-664-6180. Downtown North Adams, MA.

Sunday, August 25, 9am-3pm – PLACEMAKING/TRANSPORTATION: Motorama! Car Show, featuring food, fun, classic cars, and live music. Main, Holden and Eagle streets will be closed to all but pedestrian traffic as downtown North Adams fills with cars, trucks, motorcycles, snowmobiles, tractors, food, swap meet and more! Anything with a motor is welcome. (Rain date: Saturday, August 31) Downtown North Adams, MA .

Thursday, August 29, 5-8pm – PLACEMAKING/ART FESTIVAL:  MCLA’s DownStreet Art. Downtown art festival, including monthly gallery openings, street performances, and public artworks. Various locations throughout downtown North Adams MA. 413-662-5253

Windsor Lake. Kemp Avenue and Bradley Street.
The Maker’s Mill. 100 Eagle Street.
DownStreet Art
. Main Street and downtown.
North Adams Farmers’ Market
413-664-6180. St. Anthony Drive & Route 8.
Western Gateway Heritage State Park 413-663-6312. 115 State Street.
North Adams Public Library 413-662-3133. 74 Church Street.
MASS MoCA 413-662-2111. 1040 MASS MoCA Way.
Haskins Community Center 413-664-4821. 210 State Street.
Natural Bridge State Park — 413-663-6392. McCauley Road.
Houghton Mansion 413-358-5239. 172 Church Street.
SteepleCats. Joe Wolfe Field. 310 State Street. North Adams, MA.

SAVOY

Savoy Mountain State Forest: Over 50 miles of tranquil wooded trails to hike with spectacular natural features and scenic views.

WILLIAMSTOWN

Sunday, August 11, 11am-3pm – PLACEMAKING/COUNTRY FAIR: Hay Day Fair at the Williamstown Historical Museum. Bring the family to an old-fashioned small-town country fair with traditional and colonial games for all ages, craft demonstrations, a bake sale, a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, pony rides, and a petting zoo. Williamstown Historical Museum. 413-458-2160. 32 New Ashford Road, Williamstown, MA.

SELF-GUIDED HISTORIC WALKING TOURS: The Williamstown Historical Museum offers resources to support self-guided historic tours of Williamstown and South Williamstown. A town rich in historic sites, WHM offers a detailed reference map to use to tour the area by foot and vehicle, acquainting participants with the story of local cemeteries, historic homes, sites of historical significance, and much more. Download your map for free at www.williamstownhistoricalmuseum.org. Williamstown, MA.

Clark Art Institute: The Clark features a collection of European and American art from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. The museum has a particularly rich collection of French Impressionist paintings as well as the works of American artists Winslow Homer, George Inness and John Singer Sargent.

Field Farm: A 316-acre reservation with four miles of trails that wander through fields, gardens, modern sculptures and incredible mountain vie

Williams College Museum of Art: A part of Williams College, WCMA’s mission is to offer “dynamic art experiences to incite new thinking about art, museums and the world.” The museum holds over 15,000 works of art, including paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper.

Williamstown Theatre Festival: Since 1955, the Williamstown Theatre Festival has engaged audiences each season with innovative productions and a variety of public programming.

Milne Public Library. 413-458-5369. 1095 Main Street. Williamstown, MA.
Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation. 413-458-2494. 671 Cold Spring Road. Williamstown, MA.
Clark Art Institute. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA.
Images Cinema. 413-458-5612. 50 Spring Street. Williamstown, MA.
Sweet Brook Farm. 413-884-4246. 580 Oblong Road.
Williams College Museum of Art. 413-597-2376. 15 Lawrence Hall Drive. Williamstown, MA.
Williamstown Historical Museum. 413-458-2160. 32 New Ashford Road, Williamstown, MA.
Williamstown Youth Center. 413-458-5925. 270 Cole Avenue. Williamstown, MA.

WINDSOR

Notchview Reservation: Renowned for its Nordic skiing during the winter, Notchview also hosts an incredible trail system for summer outdoor explorations, trail running, and stargazing. Some of the best stargazing in the state!. 413-684-0148. Route 9. Windsor, MA.

 

Storytime with Goats! Cuddle with two French Alpine goats, Daisy & Aster, at Notchview in Windsor. Kids and their caregivers will sit on bales of hay with Notchview’s goat friends for a morning storytime followed by goat brushing, feeding, and snacks in the lodge. Storytime with Goats takes place every Tuesday in June from 10-11am and is recommended for ages 3-5. Please email acaluori@thetrustees.org to register. Cost: Member Adult: $Free; Member Child: $3; Nonmember Adult: $Free; Nonmember Child: $6. Notchview is a property of The Trustees of Reservations and located at 83 Old Route 9, Windsor, MA.

Teen Hiking Club with The Trustees of Reservations at Notchview! On Friday, June 28 from 10am-1pm, teens ages 13-16 are invited to join in a FREE monthly summer hiking club meeting at the Budd Visitor Center before traveling out to hike Notchview’s beautiful trails. After the hike, participants will head back to the lodge for a snack and work on a Notchview service project. For more information, email Andrea at acaluori@thetrustees.org. To register, click here. Notchview is a property of The Trustees of Reservations and located at 83 Old Route 9, Windsor, MA.

Suggest Event


Central Berkshire

Becket | Dalton | Hinsdale | Lee | Lenox | Peru | Pittsfield | Richmond | Stockbridge | Tyringham | Washington | West Stockbridge

North Berkshire | South Berkshire

SELF-GUIDED TOUR/SCENIC BYWAYS: The Summer is a time that encourages time spent outdoors, so why not plan an excursion along one of the many Western Massachusetts scenic byways! Along the way, you can stop at different farm stands, take photographs of beautiful country views, take a hike, and enjoy a picnic lunch at one of our many vistas. (See September/October Season issue of Learning Ahead for a list of area vistas.) Scenic byways to explore can be found at www.bywayswestmass.com. While traveling these back roads, look for rivers and their tributaries and see if you can identify their impact on local history as you travel through different mill towns, taking the time to learn about the different manufacturing industries that resulted in the 19th-century industrial age. Note the architecture of the mill buildings, the infrastructure remnants of rail transportation, and the repurposing and transformation of spaces once used for industry. You’re sure to also encounter covered bridges, museums, historic districts, landmarks, and wooded landscapes while traveling, so plan accordingly and arrive feeling curious! Western MA.

BECKET
Jacob’s Pillow Dance. 413-243-9919. 358 George Carter Road. Becket, MA. (FREE)

DALTON

Wednesday, June 5 – Sunday, June 9, CARNIVAL: Dalton Carnival.  Fireworks on Friday and Saturday night at dusk. Dalton American Legion. 258 North St, Dalton, MA.

  • Wednesday 6/5 6-10pm
  • Thursday 6/6 6-10pm
  • Friday 6/7 6-11pm
  • Saturday 6/8 12-11pm
  • Sunday 6/9 12-5pm

Dalton Free Public Library 413-684-6112. 462 Main Street.
Crane Museum of Papermaking. 413-684-2600. 30 South Street.

HINSDALE

LEE

Spectrum Playhouse – 413-394-5023. 20 Franklin Street.
South Berkshire Kids – 413-464-5095. 100 Main Street.
Lee Library – 413-243-0385. 100 Main Street.

LENOX

The Montessori School of the Berkshires. Lenox Dale, MAMontessori School of the Berkshires inspires children to develop independent thinking, self-assurance, inner discipline, and a love of learning in an authentic Montessori environment. Serving children aged 15 months through grade 8 on 40 wooded acres, MSB supports each child’s innate curiosity and helps them to develop focus and motivation, and to embrace collaboration and cooperation. Engaging materials, designed for Dr. Montessori’s methods of hands-on learning through all senses, are continually adapted to meet each child’s needs, interests, and development so they are best prepared for the next level of education. Open 7:30 am to 3:00 pm; extended coverage until 5:30. More at: info@berkshiremontessori.org, 413-637-3662, www.BerkshireMontessori.org.”

NATURE STUDIES/HEALTH AND WELLNESS: 19th century Danish existentialist Soren Kierkegaard once wrote “Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.” Indeed, there are few things as salubrious as a good walk, particularly in a natural setting. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the woods around Pleasant Valley in Lenox and treat yourself to a morning of gentle peace and balance. Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley. 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox, MA

Wednesdays, June 12-October 16, 6:30-8pm – NATURAL HISTORY/BEAVERS: Did you know that during the 17th century the Roman Catholic Church ruled that for the purposes of dietary laws, beavers should technically be considered as a species of fish? This ruling meant that the ordinary prohibition on meat consumption on Fridays did not extend to beaver meat. Beavers, the second largest rodent in the world, are probably best known for nature’s engineers with their amazing ability to alter their environment by constructing dams and lodges. These structures serve a number of important functions for beavers, including protection from predators and storing food for the winter. Spend an evening searching for beavers and learning all about these industrious critters at Mass Audubon Pleasant Valley. Participants will learn about thier natural history and contribution to changing our local landscape ater being reintroduced to the area in the mid-1900’s. Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. 413-637-0320. 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox, MA.

Saturday, June 8, 8am-2pm – FOOD/RHUBARB FESTIVAL: This time of year farm stands all over the area are selling rhubarb. A local delicacy, rhubarb has been enjoyed all over the world for thousands of years in both sweet and savory dishes. In China, rhubarb has also been prized for its medicinal properties. For most people, the most common application of rhubarb is paired with strawberries in crumbles or pies. Many 19th century cookbooks even refer to rhubarb as the ‘pie plant.’ Come learn all about things you can do with rhubarb and taste some delicious sweet and savory rhubarb dishes at the Annual Lenox Rhubarb Festival. Plants and cookbooks will also be available for sale. 18 Main Street, Lenox, MA (<$)

Wednesdays, June 12-September 4, 7:30-9:30pm
LOCAL HISTORY/LITERARY STUDIES
Edith Wharton once described the human psyche as “a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing-room, where one receives formal visits; the sitting-room, where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms, the handles of whose doors perhaps are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.” It’s easy to imagine that this description was inspired by Wharton’s country estate in Lenox. The Mount was home to Wharton and her husband for nine years, as her husband Edward sought to recover from an acute depressive episode. Over the years the Mount has developed a reputation for paranormal activity, a subject which occupied Wharton since her childhood. She wrote that as a little girl she was “haunted by formless horrors” and went on to write her own highly acclaimed ghost stories. According to some locals, Wharton’s restless spirit continues to wander the halls and corridors of the Mount. If you dare, come participate in a Haunted Tour of the Mount, and perhaps you’ll have a chance to see the lady of the house herself! This event is appropriate for ages 12 and above. The Mount. 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA ($$)

Tuesday, June 18, 4pm – WORLD HISTORY/EGYPT: Egyptomania at the Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. Recognized as a foremost Egyptologist, Dr. Bob Brier (“Mr. Mummy”) will examine the fascination with the ancient world along the Nile and the events that fanned the flames of “Egyptomania” including Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign that led to a new decorative arts trend, the Suez Canal Big Dig, the carting of gigantic obelisks to Paris, London and New York and the opening of Tutankhamen’s tomb. The speaker will also present images of the collectibles inspired by this rage. Best for lifelong and self-directed learners. Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

Tuesday, June 25, 4pm – NAUTICAL HISTORY: Tragic Story of the Majestic Normandie Ocean Liner at the Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. A child with happy memories of crossing the Atlantic on ocean liners with his parents, author René Silvin will focus on the subject of his latest book the Normandie: The Tragic Story of the Most Majestic Ocean Liner. The French Line’s glorious and glamorous flagship first set sail from Le Havre on May 29, 1935, and died an inglorious death on February 10, 1942, at a New York dock on the Hudson River, two months after Pearl Harbor and with war raging throughout Europe. Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum. 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street. Lenox, MA.

Saturday, June 29, 5pm – MURDER MYSTERY/DINNER THEATER: Murder Maiden in China. Gertrude Ingrid Josephine Mattel, a.k.a GI Jo is running the Maiden China Toy Co. since the passing of her beloved father. She’s a hated dictator with enemies. Her husband, Lou Zerr, is hen-pecked. Her assistant, C. Alice Knightly, is an office slave. Goldie Digger, Lou’s “secretary” can’t stand Jo. Charlie Brown III of “This Side UP” delivery service is the brunt of name calling. Someone gets so sick of her that she ends up in permanent retirement. Murder Maiden in China offers audiences the opportunity to experience theater in a new and exciting way. While enjoying a delicious dinner, patrons will have fun figuring out who done Jo in! Reservations required by June 26. The dinner theater will be held in Ventfort Hall at the Gilded Age Museum, 104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA. ($$)

Lenox Community Center. 413-637-5530. 65 Walker Street.
Lenox Library — 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street.
Lenox Historical Society — Main Street.
The Mount – 413-551-5111. 2 Plunkett Street.
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
– 472 West Mountain Road.
Shakespeare and Company – 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street.
Ventfort Hall – 413-637-3206. 104 Walker Street.

PERU

PITTSFIELD

WRITING CONTEST: Young writers ages 5-18 can participate in the Berkshire Athenaeum’s Annual Short Story Writing Contest for Children and Young Adults this spring and summer. The contest is divided up into five age groups and winning authors will be awarded cash prizes. More information can be found on the Berkshire Athenaeum website. The writing contest is a great opportunity for kids of all ages to try their hand at short story writing and to develop their writing style and appeal, write original stories, and improve spelling and grammar. Berkshire Athenaeum. 1 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA.

SHAKER HISTORY: Located in Pittsfield, in the central part of Berkshire county, the Hancock Shaker Village is a living history museum with 20 Shaker buildings that depict the life of this intriguing religious community of people that lived and cared for each other during the 19th century. The Hancock community was the third largest of the 19 communities established in New England. In the early 1900’s, the community declined and eventually disappeared. The 750 acres of land and buildings that once were home to the Hancock Shaker community were preserved by local citizens who valued their historical and cultural significance. As a result, people can visit the Hancock Shaker Village and learn from costumed interpreters about this group’s self-reliant way of life during the 1800’s. The museum’s exhibits, collections, workshops, hiking trails, farm animals, and gardens provide different learning opportunities to explore the Shakers’ lifestyle and the place they called home.

Arrowhead – Berkshire Historical Society: The home of writer Herman Melville, Arrowhead was preserved by the Berkshire Historical Society. Arrowhead now operates a CSA farm and offers guided tours of Melville’s home. There are also self-guided tours for visitors to explore the surrounding trails and nearby places that interested Herman Melville.

Berkshire Museum: The Berkshire Museum’s varied collection offers visitors the chance to explore interests in science, natural history, and art! The museum owns approximately 40,000 objects in its collection, with a significant portion of the collection purchased by 3rd generation Crane & Co. paper mill owner, Zenas Crane, in the early 1900’s. The collection includes objects from all over the world with a focus on Asian Art, Native American Art, Ancient Civilizations, Sculpture, American Art, Hudson River School paintings, Minerals, and Natural History.

Every Monday, 5-6:30pm – ART STUDIES: The Berkshire Athenaeum is hosting Peer Art Group for Teens & Young Adults, a safe space for young people to come together to create art and talk with their peers. This group meets in the Young Adult Dept. of the library. Snacks and art supplies provided. Register required. Berkshire Athenaeum. 1 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA.

First Fridays, 5-8pm – ART STUDIES/PLACEMAKING: As Henry David Thoreau points out, the root of the word “saunter” comes from “the idle people who roved about the country… under the pretense of going à la Sainte Terre, or the Holy Land.” Thus the act of casually strolling an inherently sacred act. For those who saunter, the entire world becomes their Holy Land. To walk aimlessly is to find a pilgrimage in every step, a temple in every tree, shrub, or blade of grass. What better way to find your temple than to combine walking with art? Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk features a dozen different art shows throughout the Upstreet Cultural District. Happens every month all year (except January). Come check out amazing local art and meet some of the artists! Guided tour begins at 5pm at the Intermodal Center (BRTA, 1 Columbus Ave.). Downtown Pittsfield. Pittsfield, MA (FREE)

Monday Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, 12noon-5pm – ART EXHIBIT/LEONARDO DA VINCI: Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion on view at the Berkshire Museum through Sept 8, 2019. This exhibit features 40 full-size working models of Leonardo da Vinci’s innovative designs, from flying machines to an early robot. Each mechanism is accompanied by Leonardo’s drawings and a descriptive narrative of his life. Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South St, Pittsfield, MA.

Sundays, 1-2pm – MARINE BIOLOGY: Discovery Tank Program. Meet the creatures who live in tide pools in this hands-on gallery program. Experience a tide pool tank and learn about the wonders of hermit crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, and other crustaceans, right in your hands. Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South St, Pittsfield, MA.

Saturday, June 1, 10:30am – ORNITHOLOGY/NATURE-BASED LEARNING: A fuzzy little chickadee… a worm-yanking robin… a scarlet cardinal… Each of these cute, familiar birds can be found in most people’s backyards. They’re also very helpful when it comes to spying on hawks. Chickadees, Robins, and Cardinals all use Bird Language to tattle on hiding hawks and other backyard predators. Many people don’t realize that they, too, can learn to understand Bird Language, and thus discover the location of that hiding hawk! Take wing into the wonderful world of Bird Language with Devin Franklin, author of Put On Your Owl Eyes, in a free interactive workshop, Hawk Stalk: How to Find the Hawk Hiding in Your Backyard, presented by Flying Deer Nature Center. Berkshire Athenaeum. 1 Wendell Ave, Pittsfield, MA.

Sunday, June 2, 7pm – DANCE HISTORY: Come and experience the history of dance and music from the 19th century as presented by The Victorian Quadrille Orchestra and the Small Planet Dancers. Performances of historic 19th-century dance forms will include the Quadrille, Polka, Reels, Waltz to the music of The Victorian Quadrille Orchestra, a six-piece music group performing the actual dance music of the time. 413-686-5027. Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. 780 Holmes Rd, Pittsfield, MA.

Wednesday, June 19 – Saturday, July 13 – TONY-AWARD WINNING MUSICAL/FAIRY TALE: Into the Woods. “Anything can happen in the wood.” This is the promise, and premise, of the much-loved Tony-Award winning musical Into the Woods. A childless baker and his wife endeavor to life their family curse by journeying into the woods where they encounter the classic fairy-tale characters we’ve grown to love – Rapunzel and her mother, Cinderella, Jack (from the Beanstalk), Little Red Riding Hood and more! Their stories become entangled in unexpected ways, revealing what happens after “happily ever after.” This wickedly witty score weaves a magical spell, warning “be careful what you wish for!” Come witness the joy and wonders of Broadway. Note: children under 5 years old are not permitted in the theater. Performances will be held at Barrington Stage Company on the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage and occur daily. Check their website for exact times. 30 Union Street, Pittsfield, MA. ($$)

July 22-26, 9am-12noon – STEM/KITCHEN EXPERIMENTS/DAY CAMP: You’d never believe how easy it is to create fascinating and exciting science experiments with common kitchen supplies and ingredients. The famous baking soda volcano experiment is just the tip of the iceberg! If you love science and are interested in learning about how regular household items can be used to demonstrate scientific principles, this is the event for you! To learn more, please visit Kitchen Ka-Boom. Berkshire Museum. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

Thursday, August 15 – Sunday, August 18, 8pm
Thursday, August 22 – Sunday, August 25, 8pm – SHAKESPEARE/CLASSICAL THEATER: Much Ado About Nothing. Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park will return with a fifth free outdoor production on the First Street Common. Featuring the famously witty on-again-off-again lovers Beatrice and Benedick, Much Ado About Nothing is the story of the trials of love in a society dominated by patriarchal traditions. Beatrice’s cousin Hero and the young soldier Claudio meet and fall in love, but when a man spreads nasty rumors about her, Hero’s voice is silenced and their relationship torn apart. Loyalties are tested as the community responds, including a ragtag group of officers who just might save the day. Artistic director Enrico Spada notes how “this play is incredibly relevant in 2019, casting a light on issues that are all too present today. When a man, bent on revenge, swears on a lie about a young woman—why does nobody believe her?” He adds that “Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park is a celebration of community, culture, and the joys of sharing stories.” Additionally, the production will feature actors, designers and technicians from the Berkshire County community. Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park is free for all attendees, providing an enriching and thought-provoking theater experience that is accessible to the community as a whole. Performances will be held at the First Street Common, located next to the Zion Lutheran Church, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Beacon Cinema. 413-358-4780. 57 North Street.
Wahconah Park. 105 Wahconah Street.
Berkshire Community College. 1350 West Street.
The Berkshire Athenaeum 413-499-4809. 1 Wendell Avenue.
Berkshire Humane Society 413-447-7878. 214 Barker Road.
Berkshire Lyric Theatre – 413-499-0258
Berkshire Museum – 413-443-7171 x10. 39 South Street.
Berkshire Music School — 413-442-1411. 30 Wendell Ave.
Colonial Theatre — 413-298-5576. 111 South Street.
Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market. First Street.
First Friday Artswalk — Downtown.
Hancock Shaker Village – 413-443-0188. 1843 West Housatonic Street.
Herman Melville’s Arrowhead. 413-442-1793. 780 Holmes Road.

RICHMOND

Hilltop Orchard — Route 295.

STOCKBRIDGE

Naumkeag – The Trustees – Stockbridge: The country estate of New York City lawyer Joseph Choate, this magnificent property served as a summer home for 3 generations of Choates. This historic home includes a spectacular garden created by Choate’s daughter, Mabel and noted landscape designer Fletcher Steele. The gardens include the famous Blue Steps, a series of tiered blue fountains flanked by a grove of white birch. This marvelous estate is open to the public to enjoy during the spring, summer and fall seasons and offers house tours, outdoor public programs, and self-guided garden tours.

The Norman Rockwell Museum: Featuring the largest and most significant collection of Norman Rockwell’s work, this museum holds some of Rockwell’s most well-known and civically engaged illustrations and artwork. In the spirit of Rockwell’s interest in reflecting on society and popular culture, the museum “advances social good through the civic values of learning, respect, and inclusion and is committed to upholding the rights and dignity of all people through the universal messages of humanity and kindness portrayed by Norman Rockwell.” Visitors to the museum are able to see Rockwell’s Stockbridge studio, as well as some of his most famous works, such as his Four Freedoms.

Tuesdays, 6pm – ENTOMOLOGY/ BEEKEEPING: Join local beekeepers for a season-appropriate discussion and demonstration using the Berkshire Botanical Garden apiary. Focus on sustainable beekeeping techniques: raising and sourcing bees locally, managing pests and diseases ecologically, and creating beneficial habitats for honeybees and native pollinators alike. New to beekeeping? Learn how to get started with your first hives. Are you a seasoned beekeeper? Your experience and knowledge will be invaluable to others in the group! 413-357-4657. Berkshire Botanical Garden. 5 West Stockbridge Road, Stockbridge, MA.

Sunday, June 9, 10am-5pm – COMMUNITY DAY: Community Day Open House & Studio at Chesterwood, a 50th-anniversary celebration as a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Dances by Isadora courtesy of Berkshire Pulse. Art activities throughout the day. Free. Chesterwood. 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Rd, Stockbridge, MA.

Kripalu Center For Yoga and Health. 57 Interlaken Road.
Naumkeag. 5 Prospect Hill.
Berkshire Botanical Garden 413-298-3926. 5 West Stockbridge Road.
Chesterwood — 413-298-3579. 4 Williamsville Road
Norman Rockwell Museum – 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183.
The Stockbridge Library, Museum, and Archives – 413-298-5501. 18 Main Street.

TYRINGHAM

Ashintully Gardens. 413-298-3239. Sodem Road.

WASHINGTON

WEST STOCKBRIDGE

West Stockbridge Public Library – 413-232-0300 x308. 21 State Line Road.

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South Berkshire

Alford | Great Barrington | Housatonic | Monterey | New Marlborough | Sheffield

North Berkshire | Central Berkshire

SELF-GUIDED TOUR/SCENIC BYWAYS: The Summer is a time that encourages time spent outdoors, so why not plan an excursion along one of the many Western Massachusetts scenic byways! Along the way, you can stop at different farm stands, take photographs of beautiful country views, take a hike, and enjoy a picnic lunch at one of our many vistas. (See September/October Season issue of Learning Ahead for a list of area vistas.) Scenic byways to explore can be found at www.bywayswestmass.com. While traveling these back roads, look for rivers and their tributaries and see if you can identify their impact on local history as you travel through different mill towns, taking the time to learn about the different manufacturing industries that resulted in the 19th-century industrial age. Note the architecture of the mill buildings, the infrastructure remnants of rail transportation, and the repurposing and transformation of spaces once used for industry. You’re sure to also encounter covered bridges, museums, historic districts, landmarks, and wooded landscapes while traveling, so plan accordingly and arrive feeling curious! Western MA.

ALFORD

GREAT BARRINGTON

Monument Mountain – The Trustees, Great Barrington: Inspired by William Cullen Bryant’s poem Monument Mountain, authors Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville set out with a group of friends to hike Monument Mountain. As a thunderstorm rolled in, the group sought shelter in a cave. While trapped, Hawthorne and Melville were deep in discussion as they waited for the storm to pass. As they emerged from the cave, Melville saw Mount Greylock from the distance – its shape reminding him so much of a whale breaching the ocean that he was inspired to write a sea story about a whale. It is said that this hiking excursion and Mount Greylock’s summit is what planted the initial creative seed for Moby Dick. Today, visitors can still read Bryant’s poem Monument Mountain, just as Hawthorne and Melville did, and hike up the mountain, a 1,642 foot high summit that provides views of Mount Greylock and the Catskills.

Friday, June 7, 7pm – MUSIC STUDIES/UKULELE: Berkshire Ukulele Band Concert at Berkshire South. Led by multi-instrumentalist teacher and performer Rob Sanzone. Family friendly. Berkshire South Regional Community Center. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington, MA.

Sunday, June 9, 7pm – MUSIC STUDIES/JAZZ & JEWISH: Renowned jazz singer Wanda Houston and clarinetist Paul Green will present a program that fuses jazz and Jewish music and reflects the longstanding fellowship between the African American and Jewish communities. The concert is a benefit for Clinton Church Restoration, which is restoring and repurposing the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church in downtown Great Barrington as an African American heritage site, visitor center, and community space. A reception will follow the program. Hevreh of Southern Berkshire. 270 State Road, Great Barrington, MA.

Triplex Cinema. 70 Railroad Street.
Lake Mansfield. 413-528-2810, ext. 30. Lake Mansfield Road.
Berkshire South Regional Community Center — 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road.
Great Barrington Historical Society — South Main Street.
The Guthrie Center — 413-644-9288. 2 Van Deusenville Road.
Great Barrington Riverwalk — Church and River Streets.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center: A non-profit organization, the Mahaiwe is a historic theater built in the early 1900’s that showed “talkies” in the early 30’s! Today, the theater focuses on bringing music, theatrical performances and educational programming to the local community and Berkshire County visitors. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street.
Mason Library — 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street.
South Berkshire Kids – 413-464-5095. 444 Old Stockbridge Road.

HOUSATONIC

Ramsdell Library – 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street.

MONTEREY

Bidwell House Museum — 413-528-6888. 100 Art School Road.

NEW MARLBOROUGH

Cookson State Forest — Hotchkiss Road.
New Marlborough Library — 413-664-0104. 1 Mill River-Great Barrington Road.

OTIS

Otis Cultural Council
Otis Library and Museum – 413-269-0109. 48 North Main Road.

SANDISFIELD

SHEFFIELD

Bushnell-Sage Library – 413-229-7004. 48 Main Street.
Bartholomew’s Cobble. Featuring views of farmland, the Housatonic River, caves, and the Cobble, a geological feature that was once coral reef 500 million years ago, Bartholomew’s Cobble offers the Ledges Trail, taking you through the forest to discover the property’s interesting flora and fauna. Known in late spring for its wildflowers, Bartholomew’s Cobble hosts a wildflower festival every year for folks to learn about spring ephemerals. After hiking the Ledges Trail, hikers can enjoy walking up Hurlburt’s Hill to see bobolinks and views of the Housatonic River Valley. 413-229-8600. 105 Weatogue Road.
Sheffield Historical Society. 413-229-2694. 91 Main St.

 

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