Scenic Day Trip #7 - Mount Greylock/North Berkshire
This scenic tour of Mount Greylock and northern Berkshire County starts in the historic city of North Adams at City Hall, Route 8 and Marshall Street and is approximately 33 miles. First visit the vast mill complex on Marshall Street which houses MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), a major center for the arts. Just south of City Hall on Route 8 and Furnace Street is the Western Gateway Heritage State Park, located in the old freight yard district. Nineteenth century structures have been renovated to house exhibits, shops and restaurants. The Visitors Center highlights the rich railroad and industrial heritage of North Adams. Exit from the park onto Route 2 and take a left, traveling west to Notch Road. A sign indicates the entrance to Mt. Greylock Reservation, open May through October. It is the highest peak in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at 3,491 feet. Along the many switch backs are look-out points that afford magnificent views of Berkshire vistas. At the summit, the 90-foot high granite War Memorial Tower commemorates all Massachusetts' war dead. On a clear day the view extends to Vermont, New Hampshire and New York. Located at the summit, Bascom Lodge offers food and lodging. Guided hikes, walks and nature tours are available through the Appalachian Mountain Club.
To continue the tour, descend on Route 7 into the town of Lanesborough. Turn east on Summer Street and continue to the village of Berkshire on Route 8. Take Route 8 north along scenic Cheshire Lake to Adams, a Victorian textile mill town. Visit the historic Quaker Meeting House, taking a left from Route 8 onto Maple Street to the cemetery. Returning to Route 8 see the plaque on Park Street on the Greylock Credit Union Building which honors Susan B. Anthony, who was born in Adams in 1820. Continue to North Adams, following signs on Route 8 to Natural Bridge State Park, which features the only water-carved natural marble bridge in North America. This white marble bridge spans a 60-foot deep chasm, and the walls of ravine support unusual plant life. Adjacent to Natural Bridge State Park is the Contemporary Artists Center and Gallery. The gallery offers exhibits in summer.
Retrace your steps into the city of North Adams. Downtown North Adams has a unique Main Street, boasting five picturesque churches clustered on the eastern end.
Editor's Note: For more information on this and eight other day trips, pick up a copy of "Touring the Berkshires and the Mohawk Trail," available at the Berkshires Visitors Bureau, Berkshire Common, Plaza Level, Pittsfield, (413) 443-9186. Or write to The Mohawk Trail Association, P.O. Box 2031, Charlemont, MA 01339 or call (413) 664-6256.