The Berkshires

New England’s Mountain Escape

In the Berkshires you’ll find the cultural richness of a major metropolitan area coupled with spectacular scenic beauty and the relaxed pace of the country. Opportunities abound for recreation during all four seasons, including hiking, biking, downhill and cross-country skiing, fishing and golf.

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Resting in the mountains of Western Massachusetts the Berkshires have been a vacation destination for generations. A timeless quality emanates from the countryside, dotted with charming villages, thriving farms, lush forests and sprawling green fields. The Berkshires are blessed with pristine beauty that is unmatched.

Just two and a half hours from New York City and Boston, the region has been a haven for artists, musicians, writers and revolutionary thinkers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big cities since the late 1800s.

The same charm and allure of the landscape that has mesmerized and enchanted visitors for decades still exists today making it the perfect destination for your next RTX exchange no matter what time of year you visit.

Where To Stay

The Vacation Village in the Berkshires offers RTX members ideal accommodations for a memorable Berkshires vacation. Centrally located in Hancock, the resort provides guests with easy access to all of the region’s highlights and attractions. All rooms include a living room and dining area along with a kitchen and spacious floor plan to ensure a comfortable stay.

On-site amenities include an indoor and outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness room, volleyball court, arcade, children’s playground and multiple hiking trails. DVDs, board games and sports equipment are available to be checked out as well.  Visible from the resort, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort is less than 1 mile away, providing easy access to restaurants, bars, shops and of course the region’s best skiing.

PondSpring

Washing the cold snow away, spring is a season of renewal and rejuvenation in the Berkshires. Sunny days, the greening of new foliage and warmer temperatures beckon you outside. Scenic trails and overlooks can be found throughout the Berkshires including the popular trail that leads to Bish Bash Falls. Located in Mt. Washington, Bish Bash Falls is a breathtaking waterfall that cascades down a series of gorges before an 80 foot drop, the highest in the state.

Those looking for a more relaxed option can spend the day in Lenox at the Audubon Society’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Seven miles of casual trails wind through forests, meadows, wetlands and along the slopes of Lenox Mountain, providing the perfect viewing point for birdwatchers.

Another sign that spring has arrived can be found hanging from the maple trees in the region. Mid-February to April  is maple syrup season, meaning a trip to Ioka Valley Farm is in store. Situated on 600 acres in Hancock, visitors to the farm experience the making of maple syrup firsthand, from the tapping of the trees to the final steps of boiling. Best of all the farm’s restaurant, Calf-A, serves

buttermilk, blueberry, pecan and chocolate chip pancakes along with other breakfast favorites.

Stay in Hancock and hearken back to an earlier time at the Hancock Shaker Village. A living museum, the village reflects how the Shakers lived when they settled in the area in the late 1700s. Starting in April each year the village hosts the annual Baby Animals event which is a hit with children and adults. Pet and mingle with scores of adorable baby lambs, piglets, calves, goats and ducklings while learning how the animals help the farm function.

Summer

A00A6425The peak season for the Berkshires, summer is a time of magic, with exuberant hydrangea blossoms, meadows full of wildflowers and an average daily high temperature of 67 degrees.

A selection of cultural and arts experiences offer  a variety of performances while the pristine weather provides outdoor enthusiasts ample opportunities to explore multiple adventures.

In the summer the award winning stages of the Berkshires come to life, offering an enticing array of live performances. Not to be missed is Jacob’s Pillow in Becket. The internationally acclaimed dance festival showcases dancers from around the world on its unique Inside/Out Stage. With accolades such as “the dance center of the nation” from The New York Times, and “the hub and Mecca of dancing” from TIME Magazine, a visit to Jacob’s Pillow is a must.

Also in the summer months the Tony Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival takes place. Hosted on the campus of Williamstown College, the festival features sophisticated productions of plays both old and new.

Head over to Lenox and take in a performance of “Hamlet” or “Henry V” amongst other classics at Shakespeare & Company. More than 75,000 visitors attend the performances of the legendary playwright each year.

Summer in the Berkshires is also well known for its ample offerings of outdoor activities for every member of the family.

Golfers will enjoy selecting from a number of well groomed and challenging golf courses that display the beauty of Mother Nature. Grab your clubs and head to Lee where Greenock Country Club awaits. The Donald Ross-designed course is only nine holes, but it’s a gem you won’t mind playing twice. Referred to as the “Fenway Park of golf,” the course features raised tees and greens, pot bunkers and is perfect if you are short on time.

The Ashuwillticook Trail between Lanesborough and Adams is ideal for walking, jogging, biking or skating. Running along  a former rail bed, the trail stretches for 11 miles through valleys and along the Cheshire Reservoir.

For those with a taste for adventures spend a day on a thrilling white-water rafting trip, zooming down the side of a mountain on one of the area’s Alpine Sleds or flying through the canopy at a local adventure park like Ramblewild.

Less than 2 miles from the Vacation Village in the Berkshires, Ramblewild has eight different obstacle courses with elements of varying difficulty like balancing logs, cargo nets and suspended bridges. Designed to build teamwork skills and challenge visitors on an individual level, Ramblewild is the perfect way to spend the day bonding with family and friends while on an adventure of a lifetime.

Copy of Williamstown2, Ogden Gigli, fallFall & Winter

Autumn in the Berkshires is a glorious time as the bright colors of the foliage blanket the hills and excitement permeates the crisp air.

A great place to view the changing colors is on the highest peak in the state, Mount Greylock. A parking lot at the top provides easy access to the summit and hiking trails that lead to panoramic views of the mountains. History buffs will want to check out the 100 foot Massachusetts War Veterans Memorial that reaches skyward from the top of Mount Greylock.

Whether it is fall or winter a visit to the legendary Red Lion Inn is required to make any visit to the Berkshires complete. Located in Stockbridge, the inn has been open for more than two centuries and is a historical landmark.

While visiting the Red Lion Inn be sure to take the time to dine at one of the four restaurants found on the property. Under the watchful eye of award-winning Executive Chef Brian J. Alberg, the farm-to-table inspired restaurants have garnished national acclaim for  their heritage-rich cuisine that pays homage to the region’s history.

Winter in the Berkshires means it is time to hit the slopes. From beginner to advanced the thrilling downhill slopes at Jiminy Peak, Bousquet, Butternut and Catamount mountains offer guests days of adventure. (Read more on page 13.)

Cross-country skiers also flock to the area as a number of farms groom their land to provide scenic terrain; some even offer ice skating on frozen ponds.

If it is too cold outside for your liking winter is the perfect time to visit some of the many museums in the region (read more on page 17.) Explore the Williamstown College Museum of Art, located in Williamstown. One of the country’s finest college art museums, more than 11,000 works from varying mediums are housed here including the world’s largest collection of works by Maurice and Charles Prendergast.

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