Berkshires: Places to Explore

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North Adams

If you're looking for a Berkshires getaway that combines culture with outdoor fun (and a cool place to stay), put North Adams on your short list. Established as the military outpost Fort Massachusetts in the mid-18th century, North Adams started out as a part of East Hoosac and then became part of Adams before incorporating as its own city in the late 19th century. By then its economy had become dependent upon its textile industry. After North Adams became a strong producer of electrical and radio parts, its fortunes waned following World War II.

In the recent past, however, the city has staged an impressive comeback as a center of contemporary art. In addition to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts (Mass MoCA), North Adams has mills and factory buildings that have been converted to artists' studios and residences. (The town's Downstreet Art boasts 33 galleries in a four-block area.) The Porches Inn, a row of eye-catching multihued Victorians, has added an additional helping of hip to downtown. In addition, the 11-mile Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is easily accessible in nearby Adams, as is Mount Greylock State Reservation, if you explore it by foot via one of the local trailheads.

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