Woods and fields

Three in One Afternoon — BNRC Lenox hikes

Berkshire Naturalist Thom Smith takes a fall walk in the hills over Lenox. Since 1967 Berkshire Natural Resource Council (BNCR) has worked alongside many Berkshire landowners to open land to everyone and keep it natural through preservation. As the lands they protect continue to grow, it is sometimes hard to become familiar with all of…

Farms and fields — Walks in Williamstown

Thom Smith, a naturalist in the Berkshires, takes a gentle walk in the Williamstown hills. Field Farm, Cricket Creek Farm, Stone Hill, Mountain Meadow Preserve and Sheep Hill — slopes and gentle trails lie just up the road from The Clark, Williams College and the Williamstown Theater Festival. And many visitors and locals alike may…

Ecophilia in the winter garden

Flat stepping stones hang in the air. A small boy sits in the shadow of vast objects above him. The image looks impossible, out of scale, and out of gravity. And then the perspective shifts into place, and the image is a reflection — the stones sit at the edge of the lake, and the…

Outdoor sculpture in leaf season

Berkshire naturalist Thom Smith strolls through the Mount’s grounds and gardens. As the summer season wanes, outdoor sculpture in leaf season takes on a new light, and The Mount in Lenox continues to draw people in even before they reach the mansion. Take a relaxing stroll along one of the Berkshires’ loveliest of driveways toward what…

Thom Smith recalls Wahconah Falls

Berkshire Naturalist Thom Smith takes a summer walk in Dalton. A sign you may have noticed as you entered this peaceable place we call The Berkshires announces you are in America’s Premier Cultural Result. While this is true, it is also a place of tranquility and natural beauty. Take for instance its waterfalls, some forty…

Ashintully — Serenity on the Brow of the Hill

Four standing Doric columns are holding up the sky. They mark the site of Ashintully, the last remains of a Georgian-style mansion lost to fire in 1952. The columns guarded the entrance to a 35-room turn-of-the-20th-century “Berkshire Cottage.” Now the serenity of the view of brilliant white columns along the shore of a flower dotted…

Ellsworth Kelly leaves — Berkshire Botanical Garden

A line curves into a ripe pear, or a petal, or a stem. Walk through earth banks planted with larch, hawthorn and sporobolus grass. Pass the stone lip of fountain with a flame at the center. Enter a doorway in a living wall of cyclamen, maidenhair fern and ivy. And here, in a restored 19th-century house,…