What are the five best free things to do in the Berkshires?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Mount Greylock©iStock/denisjrtangney

You don't need to spend a lot of money to enjoy the beauty of the Berkshires. In fact, some of the Berkshires best spots are outside, among nature. If you're looking for a free way to spend your day, consider the following:

1. Hiking. Some of the most picturesque moments take place in the Berkshire mountains. October Mountains is the largest state forest in Massachusetts and includes a portion of the Appalachian Trail. The park area has a variety of different hikes for you to challenge yourself with, depending on your skill level and time allotted for reconnecting with nature. For those with a little adventure in them, try to hike to Mount Greylock, the highest point in Western Massachusetts. Located about 30 minutes from Lenox, deep in the Berkshires, is Bish Bash Falls, which offers a great hike to the waterfall. In the fall, the foliage in Bish Bash Falls is beautiful and there are plenty of benches throughout the hike for you to stop and take in the scenery.

2. Fall foliage tours. New England in the autumn is one of our favorite times to visit, and fall foliage simply comes to life in the Berkshires. The best part: it doesn't cost a dime to watch the leaves turn colors. Get in the car and go for a drive from Lenox to Stockbridge and just admire the colors that decorate the area. You might happen upon a few apple orchards or pumpkin patches during your drive. You'll need to pay for your hayride, but it's worth it after a day exploring nature for free.

3. Antiquing. You don't have to actually buy the antiques, but they sure are interesting to look at. Along Route 7 from Great Barrington all the way to Connecticut, antique dealers line the road selling everything from jewelry to pottery and furniture. Stop into these shops and just admire the pieces of the past they feature.

4. Tanglewood. Tanglewood is a large, outdoor performance area, and the summer home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. While not entirely free, it's about as close to free as live entertainment will get in New England. There are seats right in front of the orchestra, or you can enjoy live music for $15 in the lawn (kids under 12 are free), located on the hill behind the orchestra. Get here early and pack a blanket, picnic and candles for a truly unique outdoors experience. There's not a lot to see here, but you'll enjoy listening to the BSO under the stars in the Berkshires. Every now and again special guests join the orchestra on stage. You won't know until that evening, but the likes of Carol King and James Taylor, for example, have made special appearances during summer nights.

5.Jacob's Pillow. Jacob's Pillow is the longest running dance festival in the country, held in Lee, Mass., from June through August. As part of the festival's Inside/Out Series, Jacob's Pillow offers a 45-minute performance for free (a great opportunity to check out the live theater that would otherwise cost you $30 or more per ticket).

All activities on the Blantyre property are free and exclusive to our guests. They include all sporting activities and seasonal pleasures such as winter sleigh rides and summer/fall carriage rides. In addition, here are the five best free things to do in the Berkshires:

1. Enjoy a short walk to Edith Wharton’s The Mount and a beautiful tour of the historic house and gardens (complimentary tickets are available at our front desk).

2. Visit Ventfort Hall, an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan.

3. Take a scenic bike ride on the Ashuwillticook Trail.

4. Stroll through the quaint village of Lenox, which dates back to the early 1700s, while window shopping and enjoying its beauty, year round.

5. Have a restful picnic on the lawn at Tanglewood Music Center, which overlooks scenic Stockbridge Bowl. 

Related Questions