Known as the “gateway to the Berkshires,” the little New England town of Lee has stunning marble buildings. Many of the buildings in the town’s charming center are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Admire the architecture, discover the town’s family-focused attractions and explore the state’s largest forest, found on Lee’s doorstep.
Lee is known for producing some of the finest-quality marble in the world. This marble has been used in the construction of many famous New York landmarks including Columbia University and the Empire State Building. As you wander through town, try to spot this stone, which appears in many of the buildings in downtown Lee.
Learn the techniques of animation and movie-making at the AniMagic museum, a perfect family activity. Take a tour with one of the the owners, both experienced movie animators, before trying out what you’ve learned with hands-on activities. Make friends with the llamas at Hawkmeadow Farm, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the peaceful surrounding countryside and visit the large organic garden.
Among the liveliest times of the year to visit Lee is September, when the Festival Latino takes place. The energetic festival showcases traditional Latin American dance, cuisine and crafts in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Don’t miss the October Mountain State Forest, which borders Lee. Set up camp overnight at one of the forest’s 46 campsites before setting off to explore the 16,500 acres (6,670 hectares) of woodland. Follow the trail through pretty Schermerhorn Gorge to see waterfalls or hike as much of Massachusetts’ 90-mile (145-kilometer) stretch of the Appalachian Trail as you like.
End your day with dinner at one of the town’s restaurants or enjoy a relaxing evening at the Glass Bottom Brewery, where you can try unique local beers including brews made with parsnips or herbs.
Find Lee off the Massachusetts Pike highway about an 11-mile (18-kilometer) drive north of Great Barrington. Buses travel between the two towns but renting a car will give you more freedom to explore the rest of the region.