Mass Audubon, the statewide conservation nonprofit, protects four wildlife sanctuaries in the Central and Southern Berkshires. At Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield, flat and easy trails wander along the Housatonic River, sheltering migrating birds and butterflies in the meadow, and otters and turtles along the water (and now and then a bear).READ MORE
The Berkshires’ central city has transformed in the last 10 years, as community efforts have reshaped the downtown. For many years, this has been a city of surprises — the kind of place where you can dip homemade sourdough bread into olive oil and garlic on a cold winter night, in a Lebanese-Italian fusion restaurant in mill country with a sense of humor. The menu begins: ‘Then love was the pearl of his oyster, and Venus rose red out of wine …’
Zumba livens up a Third Thursday street festival in downtown Pittsfield.
It’s the city where Herman Melville wrote Moby-Dick, and lambs, calves and kid-goats gather at Hancock Shaker Village. And today it’s also the city where Barrington Stage Company premieres new work; the Colonial Theatre has re-opened after half a century and merged with the Berkshire Theatre Group, and they all send plays on to Broadway.
Shakespeare plays live on the downtown common, and The Beacon Cinema and the Berkshire Museum screen contemporary and independent films. And hundreds of people come downtown for Third Thursday celebrations in the summer and fall and the annual 10×10 Festival in February.
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Barrington Stage Company has been known for 25 years for re-imagining lavish musicals and taking on deep and timely challenges in its theaters. The company fills two stages in Pittsfield with concerts and performances from June to October and a festival of short plays in the winter.READ MORE
With classics like Fiorello and contemporary work, Berkshire Theatre Group merges two historic theaters — the one of the county’s oldest continuously running performance companies, the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, and the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, built in 1903 and re-opened in 2006.READ MORE
Brooklyn comedians play here, and tributes to Santana or Aretha Franklin. The Colonial Theatre acts as a year-round concert hall and 21st-century performance space, decked in gilt and red velvet out of another century.READ MORE
The year-round Pittsfield Farmers Market has now become the only teen-led market in the region, with Roots Rising, a program that helps teens to work at farms and food pantries throughout the Berkshires. The market welcomes in farmers and artisans together, local coffee roasters and even landscape designers.READ MORE
Herman Melville and his family were living in the Berkshires, in a farmhouse in Pittsfield, while he wrote ‘Moby-Dick’ in the 1850s. From his desk, he could see the outline of Mount Greylock above the surrounding hills, and it reminded him of a sperm whale’s back in the water, when the whale came up to breathe.READ MORE
French toast from sourdough chocolate bread, with local maple syrup; cherry pecan French toast with sweetened goat cheese and honey … imagine the possibilities. Aura Whitman, former owner of Café Reva, has joined forces with Berkshire Mountain Bakery’s pizzeria and café — and they are forces of nature.READ MORE
The Berkshire Museum covers a lot of ground — local history and natural history, science and art. It has stood at the center of the county for more than 100 years.READ MORE
Even the name swings like speakeasy jazz. Dottie’s Coffee Lounge is a classic. It’s neighborhood hangout with fairground lights and vintage clothing and local artwork on the walls.READ MORE
Pittsfield, the county’s central city, has changed vividly in the past 10 years. It was once a mill city and across the generations the community here has evolved with the creative energy in the Berkshires.READ MORE
For more than 20 years, Tom and Elizabeth Ellis have been serving an Italian-inspired menu with a touch of Lebanese flavor. They make everything from scratch, from the broth and the sausage onward.READ MORE
From 1783 to 1960, a Shaker community lived and farmed here. Today the village is a living history museum known for its Round Stone Barn, with farm animals and CSA gardens, art and craft, and dinners and music.READ MORE
Writers in residence with the Mastheads program come to the Berkshires for a month of writing, weekly roundtables and events with WordxWord poets in July. They work in five outdoor studios designed by Mastheads founders Tessa Kelly and Chris Parkinson, in honor of five writers who knew these hills in the 19th century.READ MORE
WordxWord gathers writers to perform their own work live in the Berkshires. They come into coffee shops and museums, and compete in poetry and story slams, picking up the mic without a script. They hold events year-round and a weeklong festival through downtown Pittsfield in August.READ MORE