Woods and fields

Outdoor sculpture in leaf season

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 once was the Gilded Age home of the novelist Edith Wharton,…

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,…

A walk on the Ashuwillticook

Berkshire Naturalist Thom Smith strolls down the bike path on a winter afternoon. Pronounced Ash-oo-WILL-ti-cook, the Ashuwillticook bike path between Lanesborough and Adams in the Hoosac River Valley takes its name from the American Indian language. Ashuwillticook literally means “at the in-between pleasant river” or, more commonly today, “the pleasant river in between the hills.”…

Ice sculpture on the rocks

Berkshire naturalist Thom Smith goes prospecting for ice. In what we like to call an old-fashioned winter, when temperatures fall well below freezing, we live in a shining land. Throughout the Berkshires I have photographed waterfalls and cascades both summer and winter, but locally few frozen spectacles cause as much excitement as the massive natural…

Finding color in the winter woods

Berkshire naturalist Thom Smith revisits a favorite winter walk. What a difference a year makes. Thanksgiving morning, 2016, with camera in hand I hiked through the woods around Wahconah Falls, carefully avoiding the gorge and falls, as I was alone and the rocks were very slippery. It had snowed the previous day and night, and…