If you’re anything like me, the mere mention of “Lanesborough” conjures up images of the Old Forge. But, the 11th most populated town in the Berkshires has much more than chicken wings and an impressive beer selection — 29.6 square miles of mountain trails, picking farms, geological wonders and aerial obstacle courses!
Take Your Pick
During strawberry season, our first stop in Lanesborough is always Mountain View Farm on Old Cheshire Road, where visitors can hitch a tractor ride down into the strawberry fields for some picking (and eating).
Another favorite stop, just up Old Cheshire Road, is Lakeview Orchards, where something is always in season, with pick your own apples, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, raspberries and blueberries! The farm store is also well-stocked with fresh treats from the bakery and kitchen. (The cider and donuts are a big hit.) View the Lakeview Orchards “Pick-Your-Own” schedule.
And, the Bradley Farm (located just past Country Tack) on Route 7 is yet another terrific Lanesborough option for locally grown, organic produce.
Stay and Play
Take it from a playground connoisseur, the Lanesborough Elementary School playground is hands-down one of the nicest outdoor play spaces in the Berkshires. It features two massive play structures, one fenced in and toddler friendly and one that will appeal to kids of all ages. Not to mention a full-court basketball court, soccer fields, paved walk ways for bikes/scooters, a picnic pavilion and even porta potties during the summer months. (Note: One BFF reader did report a lock on the gate of the smaller playground at the school, but my go-to source for all things Lanesborough tells me that while one gate is often locked, the second gate leading into the fenced-in play area is kept unlocked.)
The Bill Laston Memorial Field on Route 7, also features two play structures, a baseball field and a paved walking track that circles the ball field. It’s perfect for strollers, scooters and young bikers. The park is also dog friendly (on a leash).
Explore New Heights
While Lanesborough has no shortage of hiking trails (Mt. Greylock, Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, Balance Rock State Park) the recent talk of the town (and the entire Northeast) is Ramblewild, an eco-conscious, state-of-the-art, tree-to-tree adventure park featuring eight aerial obstacle courses.
Though my four and five-year-old were too young to zip line 100 feet above a ravine (ages seven and up and at least 55 inches tall are welcome to participate), they did enjoy our recent visit to the park, where we explored one of the moderate hiking trails, discovered several of the post-mounted, trail-side “Would You Have Known” facts and took in some aerial action from our vantage point safely on the ground.
Park employee, Madeline Gaskill, made the return trip with me down the mountain. Patiently ignoring the grumbling coming from my two tired hiking buddies, she answered all of my questions and filled me in on many of the park highlights.
Bookings are filling up quickly, well into the summer and beyond. There are eight courses spread over 10 acres of preserved forest land; two yellow, two green, two blue, one back diamond and one double-black diamond. The park remains open through the winter and discounted “twilight”, night time and “full moon” adventures are very popular. The park also remains open through the winter months, offering guided snowshoeing excursions (snowshoes available on sight).
Note: Hiking at Ramblewild is free and open to the public, but the park asks that all visitors drop into the lodge to sign a waiver, before exploring the property.
One Stone Unturned
One more not-to-be-missed, family-friendly hiking spot in Lanesborough is Balance Rock State Park. Follow Route 7 to Bull Hill Road; left on Narragansett Ave.; right on Balance Rock Road, and follow signs to parking area. (Warning: The access road is badly in need of repair. Take it slow.)
Just below the parking area lies a 165-ton, 30-foot limestone boulder, balanced impossibly upon the 3-foot stone below and covered with generations of graffiti. Kids can’t help but try to finish off the job that the glacial era couldn’t, by trying to topple the bounder over once and for all. The photo opportunities are endless!
And, yes, I do realize that the access road to Mount Greylock does also lie in Lanesborough, but I as I did for the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, I have reserved a full “Berkshire Grounds for Play” post for the highest peak in the Commonwealth. [Coming Soon…]