Enjoy fine dining and antique shopping at this Berkshires hub, along with hiking, biking and skiing in the surrounding countryside.
Visit Great Barrington, the largest town in the southwest Berkshires, for outdoor activities. With more hotels, restaurants and services than in neighboring towns and villages, it’s an ideal weekend destination and a great base for exploring the area.
While Great Barrington oozes with colonial charm, the town is not sleepy. You’ll find plenty to see and do. Get acquainted with the town center by strolling along Main Street and browsing numerous antique stores. Before shopping, consider converting your dollars into Berkshares. This local currency experiment is designed to strengthen the area’s economy; visitors who use Berkshares receive discounts.
Later, select from the town’s great restaurants and funky bars. Great Barrington is home to many ex-New Yorkers and is a popular weekend destination for Manhattanites. Its diverse and sophisticated selection of restaurants appeals to this cultured clientele. Head to the Saturday farmers market for fresh, locally sourced produce.
Great Barrington has cultural attractions too. For drama, film and concerts, visit the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Built in 1905, this local institution is still going strong after more than a century. Enjoy an art exhibit at the Vault Gallery and look for the namesake vault with the safe door still intact from the days when the building was used as a bank.
While staying here, explore the great outdoors in a variety of ways. Head for the nearby nature reservation of Bartholomew’s Cobble, a rocky, tree-covered knoll with 6 miles (10 kilometers) of scenic hiking trails. Just a 10-minute drive from the town, you’ll find Monument Mountain, which offers breathtaking views over the Housatonic River Valley. In winter, hit the slopes at the popular local ski resort Ski Butternut, which is 3 miles (5 kilometers) from Great Barrington.
Reach Great Barrington in about 2.5 hours from Boston or New York. Getting to and around this rural area is easiest by car. After enjoying everything the town center offers, grab a map and head out to see the spectacular countryside.