One of the pleasures of the Berkshires is to just get in the car and explore – you’ll find an unlimited supply of pretty small towns with interesting shops and museums and good places to eat. Here are some of our favourite destinations for a little scenic drive.
Hudson : 50 minutes away
Dragging itself out of the industrial doldrums, Hudson has turned itself into hip antiques central. There are some serious dealers here, especially of midcentury furniture. Other attractions include a branch of Berkshires’ pizza favourite Baba Louie’s, and music venue Club Helsinki – typical offering, Mother’s Day brunch with the Blind Boys of Alabama.
Northampton/Amherst : 60 minutes away
The classic college town of Northampton is home to Smith, the pre-eminent college for women – it’s a little bit of California in Massachusetts, with its gay-friendly vibe and hippie/liberal ethos. Fun to browse around the shops including our favourite book/gift shop Essentials, then take a trip across the river and through farmland to the Eric Carle Museum; the local author of The Very Friendly Caterpillar gave his name to a wonderful and life-affirming institute with changing exhibitions of children’s book illustration.
Shelburne Falls : 90 minutes away
A quintessential New England town on the Mohawk Trail with a fabulous raging waterfall in the centre and a ‘Bridge of Flowers’ – an old trolley bridge across the water, which residents turn into a sort of high-level park each summer (predating the HIgh Line by about 80 years). The real attraction here for me is Nancy Dole’s bookshop, which carries an amazing range of old photographs, postcards and books. Come in the spring when the maple syrup shacks are in full production and we can recommend good places to stop for a pancake breakfast – yum….
**many thanks to Dave at ambersoft.com for the beautiful picture!