Up in the hills in the southeast corner of the Berkshires, Becket has a town center you can drive through in a blink — but there are cultural centers up here that reach around the world.

Dancers come from across the ocean to Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, as they have since the pioneering choreographer Ted Shawn set up a studio here in an old farm. He formed a company of men dancers, and as they grew they began to offer informal performances in the garden. Now you might find Australian circus performers here, an Irnaian flutist accompanying a Persian epic, or Anishinaabe sky legends performed by indigenous dancers from Toronto.

At the edge of the October Mountain State Forest sits the Dream Away Lodge, a road house and restaurant with a live music scene going back decades. Rumor has it that it was a speakeasy in the 1920s, and nationally known and emerging folk musicians still play here in trade for a seasonal dinner around the fire pit.

Creative people live and work in the hills around them. You can find them at open studios on back roads and at the Becket Arts Center, which holds talks, shows and events especially in the warmer half of the year.

And you can read the industrial history of the town at the the historic Becket Quarry in a kind of steam-punk sculpture garden of machines still left along the trails.

What to do in Becket

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Jacob's Pillow

Jacob’s Pillow

Dancers, companies and choreographers come from around the world to the top of a mountain in Becket, where an old farm has become the campus of an international festival. The pioneering Modern dance choreographer Ted Shawn founded Jacob’s Pillow here more than 80 years ago.

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Photo by Susan Geller

Dream Away Lodge

The Dream Away Lodge is a road house, a locally sourced restaurant, a lounge and a labyrinth … its a 200-year-old farmhouse on the edge of October Mountain State Forest in Becket, and it has been a center of live music for decades.

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Photo by Susan Geller

Southern Berkshire

The Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce covers a lot of ground. It is based in Great Barrington, known in the Berkshires for its concentration of shops and restaurants, and it has expanded to serve the towns around it.

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