History in summer in the Berkshire region

Shaker villages, train rides, Gilded Age houses and gardens, Colonial homes and museums are open for the summer. In the photo above, the round stone barn at Hancock Shaker Village glows golden on a sunny day. (Photo by Susan Geller)




African American Trail — A program of the Housatonic Heritage to celebrate black families and stories, art and culture and history in the region.

Ashintully Gardens — Grounds of Berkshire Cottage estate, trails and gardens open 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, June 1 to Oct. 8. Hike to the ruins of the former mansion or explore the landscaped paths and water ways created over the course of decades by John McLennan, a composer of modern music. Free. Soden Road, Tyringham, Trustees of Reservations. 413-298-3239

Ashley House — Site on the African American Heritage trail tells the story of Elizabeth Freeman, who sued for her freedom in 1781, helping to end slavery in Massachusetts. Outdoor exhibit on Freeman’s life and legacy and grounds open daily, year-round, for self-guided tours. 117 Cooper Hill Road, Sheffield, Mass. 413-298-3239, ext. 3013.

Berkshire Scenic Railway Lenox — Train museum in Lenox, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend, free admission to the restored, historic Lenox Station, historical exhibits, model train layout and views of October Mountain. For a small donation, ride a “Jitney,” an old fashioned passenger car pulled by a vintage diesel-electric locomotive, to rail yard for guided tour of equipment collection. 10 Willow Creek Road, Lenox. 413-636-2210, berkshirescenicrailroad.com

Berkshire Scenic Railway North Adams — Narrated train rides on Hoosac Valley Line at 11 a.m., 1:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 4 and Labor Day, May 27 to Sept. 24. All trains leave from 98 Crowley Ave., North Adams. hoosacvsalleytrainride.com

Bidwell House Museum — Colonial history museum and historic 1760s house. Antiques, early farm and garden tools, wooded trails, flower and heirloom vegetable gardens. House open Thursdays to Mondays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with tours on the hour, Memorial Day to Labor Day. Museum grounds — 192 acres of woods, fields, historic stone walls, trails and picnic sites — open all year free. 100 Art School Road, Monterey. 100 Art School Road, Monterey, 413-528-6888, bidwellhousemuseum.org.

Mission House — Mohican Museum and free self-guided walking tour of Mohican sites. Gardens and Indian Museum open Saturdays and Sundays, July 2 to Aug. 27. free. Mohican family story hour 3 p.m. Fridays in August. Landscape architect Fletcher Steele designed the Colonial Revival gardens at Mission House, with dooryard garden of circular brick paths enclosed by a cypress fence. A kitchen garden divided by crushed stone walkways contains 100 herbs, perennials and annuals that had culinary or medicinal value. 19 Main St., Stockbridge. 413-298-3239, ext. 3013, thetrustees.org.

Naumkeag — Historic home of the Choate family designed in the 1880s by McKim, Mead & White, with world-famous gardens by Fletcher Steele — newly renovated Chinese Gardens, Blue Steps. Weekend house tours through May and daily tours beginning June 1: Backstairs tour, garden tour, Lives at Naumkeag, architecture. 5 Prospect Hill Road, Stockbridge. 413-298-3239 (weekdays), 413-298-8138 (weekends). Trustees of Reservations, thetrustees.org.

North Adams Museum — History and science exhibits from American Indian art, immigration, World Wars to local businesses, railroads, politics  and ballooning. Fort Massachusetts 270th anniversary Aug. 19, barracks room replica with Film, models, diary excerpts from Chaplain Rev. John Norton, an eye witness to the 1746 siege; black light gallery, topographical map. Open Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. History and Science Building 5A, Western Heritage Gateway State Park, Route 8, North Adams, 413-664-4700, northadamshistory.org

Quaker Meeting House — Built in 1782 by East Hoosuck Meeting of the Society of Friends, place of worship of the family of Susan B. Anthony. Free tours by Adams Historical Society, Adams Historical Commission, Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum. Open 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays, May to Aug., and Sundays July to Oct. Maple Street Cemetery, Adams. adamshistorical.org.

Sheffield Historical Society — Old Stone Store with rotating exhibits open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays 159 to 161 Main St., Sheffield. Dan Raymond House Museum and Mark Dewey Research Center. (413) 229-2694, SheffieldHistory.org.

Ventfort Hall — Museum of the Gilded Age, Tuesday talks series in summer. Open Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and weekends and holidays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 104 Walker St., Lenox. 413-637-3206, GildedAge.org.

Western Gateway — Former railway yard tells the story of the Hoosac railway tunnel. Western Gateway Heritage State Park, Visitors Museum, 115 State St., North Adams, 413-663-6312.

W.E.B. DuBois Center— The Du Bois Center at Great Barrington’s Museum of Civil Rights Pioneers. Hours— weekends, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 684 Main St., Great Barington; DuBoisCenterGB.org.

W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite— National Historic Site, Boyhood home of the internationally acclaimed Civil Rights leader, scholar, activist and writer known for “Souls of Black Folk” and other works, who was born and raised in Great Barrington and returned there frequently over the course of his long life. Free one-hour guided tours 1 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays from June 6 through Oct.4. Free one-hour guided walking tours of places in downtown Great Barrington associated with Du Bois 3 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays June 6 through Oct. 4, meeting at DuBois River Garden Park, Church Street. Half-mile long interpretive trail, open to the public from dawn to dusk, leads to the foundation of his boyhood home and tells the story of his life and legacy. Route 23, just west of Route 71. duboishomesite.org.


Southern Vermont


Bennington Battle Monument — The tallest structure in Vermont, 306 feet, commemorates the Battle of Bennington in the Revolutionary War, on Aug. 16, 1777. Elevator to the top. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. 15 Monument Circle, Old Bennington. 802-447-0550. benningtonbattlemonument.com

Dollhouse and Toy Museum — Collection of dollhouses, from a simple cape cod house to elaborate Victorian houses, trains and trucks. Open 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday afternoons year round. 212 Union St., Bennington, Vt.

Hildene — Mansion of Robert Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily: Robert and Mary’s home, goat dairy at Hildene Farm, Pullman car Sunbeam and about 12 miles of walking trails. Guided tours 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. June to September. Celebration of Peonies in late May and early June: Thousands of blooms in the formal garden, many from the original 1907 plants. 1005 Hildene Road off Route 7A, Manchester, Vt. 802-362-1788, hildene.org

Park McCullough House — Historic mansion with hours tours, croquet on the lawn and concerts in the Carriage Barn. Season opens May 27. Living Room Theatre performances July and August. House tours on the hour 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 10, also on holidays May 29, July 4, Sept. 4 and Oct. 9. Croquet teams compete in 10 weeks of play on the lawn 6 to 8 p.m. with potlucks Thursdays June 8 to Aug. 24. Grounds and gardens open tree with access to trails in the adjoining woods. 1 Park St., North Bennington, Vt. 802-442-5441, parkmccullough.org.


New York 


Austerlitz Historical Society — Living history museum of post-and-beam houses, a granary, a blacksmith shop, a one-room schoolhouse, church and other historic buildings at Old Austerlitz, Route 22, Austerlitz. N.Y. 518-392-0062, oldausterlitz.org

Behold New Lebanon — Townwide museum with programs on Saturdays June to October: Topics include nature walks, cooking and food, the speedway, auctioneering, farming, historic house restoration, local history, homesteading, Shaker historic tours, wild and tame birds and animals, music, pottery, foraging, vintage printing presses and more. Visitors Center, 438 Old Route 20, New Lebanon, N.Y. BeholdNewLebanon.org

Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon — Historic Shaker buildings including Great Stone Barn and Kidspace in the Poultry House. Summer exhibit, Break Every Yoke: Shakers, Gender Equality and Women’s Suffrage, and Shaker Stoves and Shaker Tools, June 16 to Oct. 9. Museum hours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays to Mondays, June 16 to Oct. 9, with guided tours of the North Family Shakers at 11 a.m. and Perfect Work: Sisterhood in the North Family at 2 p.m., exploring Shaker women’s lives, operating businesses, working in shops and gardens, interacting with the World’s people, and managing their own affairs. Route 20, New Lebanon, N.Y. shakerml.org

Columbia County Historical Society — 100th anniversary summer preserves and interprets the history, heritage and culture of Columbia County, N.Y. with two galleries of changing exhibitions: Stenciled and shell motifs, Civil War, 100 Years of Collecting, Inked Over: Our Printed World, A Study of Style. a research library and reading room. Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse celebrates Washignton Irving, writer of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Kinderhook, N.Y. cchsny.org