Outdoors

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…

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,…

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…

Springside Park in winter

Berkshire naturalist Thom Smith explores the wildest corner of the city.  Springside Park’s 237 acres of mostly undeveloped field and woodland fit gently into the residential neighborhoods of Pittsfield’s North End. Far more trees — and squirrels — live in this part of town than any other, in the city’s largest park. How large is…

Choosing a homegrown Christmas Tree

Berkshire naturalist Thom Smith goes looking for holiday evergreens. While dreaming of a white Christmas, consider making it greener. Christmas trees, the living kind, fresh cut locally by a family or the farm, continue a New England tradition. Christmas trees give open space for wildlife. They help cleanse the air and produce oxygen, and it’s…