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Western Massachusetts (Hancock area) info needed for fall trip

Western Massachusetts (Hancock area) info needed for fall trip

Old Oct 10th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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Western Massachusetts (Hancock area) info needed for fall trip

My husband and I were given a free timeshare at the last minute and we're leaving Oct. 14 for Hancock, Mass. We are staying at Vacation Village in the Berkshires which looks like a nice enough place, although Hancock seems to be pretty remote. I'm looking for suggestions for day trips, restaurants, shopping, etc. We will have a car and don't mind driving an hour or so for quaint towns, scenic drives and restaurants. What towns do you suggest? We're looking for "quaint shops" rather than outlets or malls. Any scenic drives? Restaurants in a variety of price ranges? Can you rent bikes in the area? Any good places for a moderate hike? We'll be there for 4 days. Thanks for your help
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 03:47 AM
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 04:22 AM
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Kathy, the Berkshires are a compact area and nothing is too far from anything else. While Hancock is not the hub of activity, (there is the Shaker Museum there however) it's easy to get out and away to the places that are. You could easily do day trips to areas as far away as Manchester, VT even, and be home well before dark.

Rt 7 is the main north-south route traversing the Berkshires. It is less scenic than the numerous little two lane roads that get back up into the hills, although the northern portion of it, from south of Williamstown to the VT line is quite scenic and Williamstown is a pretty little New England town with a great museum (Sterling Clark). That would make a nice day trip.

The major tourist towns are Lenox and Stockbridge, both having numerous little shops to browse. Great Barrington is popular too, although I still have a problem separating it from its down-at-the-heels mill town image it had from my youth, so I don't quite "get" the Great Barrington fascination today...although that's me and the image I can't shake of it. South Egremont, not far from Great Barrington has some nice shops too and is a pretty drive. Generally, south county is flatter and not as scenic as north county, IMHO, but has more of the worthwhile shops and restaurants.

I grew up in the Berkshires so consequently did not look for scenic drives (I didn't even realize how scenic it was). See if you can get directions to Bash Bish Falls (in the South Egremont/G Barrington neck of the woods). It's a pretty drive to the falls and they are lovely--an easy walk to them. Get a good county map and follow any of the numerous two lane roads for pretty scenery. Actually, taking 41 south out of Hancock is pretty and I believe it will eventually take you to Great Barrington and that area.

Hope I could help a little...primarily wanted you to know that although Hancock is not in the midst of everything, really the area is so small everything is just a pretty drive away. You'll see some of your best scenery just getting lost and wandering. Have a great trip...there still should be some decent leaves yet most of the leaf peepers will be gone. It's a gorgeous time of year to be there!
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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Williamstown which is north of where you'll be is a wonderful town to visit with a great art museum (Clarke)http://www.clarkart.edu/
and the town itself is quite charming.

As OO has said, South of where you'll be is Lenox and Stockbridge Ma., both charming towns. Edith Wharton's home, the Mount, is in Lenox and makes a nice visit.
http://www.edithwharton.org/

Olana, home of the Hudson River School painter Frederick Church, is also worth a visit.
http://www.olana.org/visit_attractions.php

Here's a website for the Berkshires with lots of info.
http://berkshires.org/

If you're looking for antiques, the town of Sheffield, Ma just over the Ct. border has lots (and we once got lost around there and the area is gorgeous with lovely lakes and spectacular homes).

There's a gourmet market in Great Barrington (another good town, esp. for restaurants) called Guido's if you're doing any cooking.

There are loads of scenic drives and hiking options in the area and I wouldn't be surprised if you were hitting peak leaf changing despite the holiday weekend having passed.

The Old Mill Inn in South Egremont is a good restaurant.
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 05:03 AM
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Great links mclaurie! That Berkshires.org is a wealth of information, including some excellent driving tours. Ahh and the shot of Mt Greylock on it's home page made me homesick.

There is another Guido's (the market mclaurie mentioned in GB) closer to the Hancock area. You can get fixings for a picnic there then set off on your own. Heading south on rte 7 from the Pittsfield-Hancock area, you'll find it just across the Pittsfield-Lenox line, Lenox side, on the right side of the road. It's about the most fun you'll ever have grocery shopping!
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 05:11 AM
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LOL The pictures on that website change each time you look at them. The next time I looked, Greylock was pictured on the driving tour page,not hte home page. Looked at the driving tour page again, and the picture had become one from Tanglewood's lawn, looking south over Stockbridge Bowl (the lake in the distance). That reminded me that although the Tanglewood season is long over, the grounds remain open at no cost usually past this time and make a pretty little side trip. As you can see from the pictures, the grounds have some beautiful views from the lawns and are worth a side trip. (Thanks again mclaurie...I've enjoyed that website as much as anyone looking for touring info would! )
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