Today the Berkshires gathers its communities around colleges, old mill towns along the river valleys and farming villages in the hills.

People have always moved through here. They have come up the wide rivers on either side, the Connecticut and what is now the Hudson, and found the high valleys between. They’ve planted and made and grown.

In the last hundred years, the farms and the mills have evolved. The arts and performance, food and the outdoors have grown together into an ecosystem. Relationships are forming between generations-old New England and national and international artists.

They make towns in the Berkshires unique meeting places. A company of Cuban flamenco dancers comes to a mountaintop in Becket to dance, and a manufacturing community on the Hoosic River is known around the world for contemporary art

Williamstown

Williamstown is a college town. Up in the Northwest corner of Massachusetts, where New York meets Vermont, Williams College is consistantly ranked as the best liberal arts college in the country. The town around it is a quiet country place, and it touches many parts of the world.

READ MORE

Stockbridge

Stockbridge began its life as a Mohican township and has become home to creative and courageous people for centuries, from Elizabeth Freeman — the woman who won her freedom and proved slavery illegal in the new state of Massachusetts — to Norman Rockwell.

READ MORE

Pittsfield

The Berkshires’ central city has transformed in the last 10 years, with theater and music, film and historic museums, and food from many traditions. Downtown festivals fill the main streets, and new plays open here and move on to New York.

READ MORE

Lenox

Lenox was shaped by the Gilded Age and still feels its influence. The ‘Cottages’ still exist, estates of wealthy families, often from New York, who would come up for a stretch of clear air.

READ MORE

North Adams

Massachusetts’ smallest city is going through a revival. A milltown for generations at the foot of the state’s highest peak has grown gradually into the home of the country’s largest contemporary art museum, with music festivals, artisan marketplaces and hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

READ MORE

Great Barrington

This former milltown along the Housatonic River has a long connection to New York City and one of the strongest concentrations of restaurants and small local shops in the Berkshires. Bard College at Simon’s Rock adds to the cultural weave of the community, and W.E.B. DuBois was born and raised here.

READ MORE

Becket

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.

READ MORE