Towns That Make Up Berkshire County

A view from the RiverWalk in Great Barrington

BERKSHIRE FAMILY FOCUS FILE PHOTO
The Berkshires is full of scenic views, family activities and events and more, such as the beautiful RiverWalk trail in Great Barrington.

Adams

Adams is a picturesque valley town in beautiful Berkshire County, only 15 minutes from the New York and Vermont state boarders.  Nestled between Mount Greylock (Massachusetts’ highest peak) on the west and by the Hoosac Range on the east.  Adams is abundant with natural splendor such as the Greylock Glen and Mount Greylock State Reservation and the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail to name a few.  Rich in historical places like the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace, Quaker Meeting House and many rehabilitated buildings including the Armory Court and the upcoming Jones Block renovation.  In 2008 Adams was named to the Top 200 Towns for Outdoorsman, see where we ranked at Outdoor Life.  When in Adams, there’s lots of things to do from our many hiking trails to our historic sites, from our local shops and restaurants to near by performance centers, Adams is wonderful place to visit year round, we hope to see you soon!

Alford

The town of Alford features a long history, small demographics, interesting geography, and wildlife diversity. Our volunteer fire department handles Alford’s emergency needs quickly, and our dedicated highway department makes road safety a priority. Alford is surrounded by excellent educational resources, and is part of the Southern Berkshire Regional School District. We also have our own transfer station. Our town offices are located in the school house, and town officials can be reached by phone or by e-mail. Town meetings are held in the town hall. You can download many important documents from this site. You can also subscribe to the site’s newsletter, you can register to receive emergency notifications by phone, and you can read our latest news.

Alford has no post office, no stores, no motels or hotels, and not a single gas station, all of which are available in neighboring towns. Rural mail delivery comes from two neighboring zipcodes; West Stockbridge MA 01266, and Great Barrington MA 01230. There are still a few farms in operation that export their goods, and sell goods in local stores and farmer’s markets. Some full-time residents are self-employed or own their own businesses, focused on trades and professional services. The majority of residents work in surrounding areas, but second homeowners and retirees make up a large percentage of the town’s current population.

Becket

 The Town of Becket is an upland town that was established in 1765, having begun as Plantation Number 4. The town was originally laid out in 1735 along with three other towns along the wilderness trail that connected the lower Housatonic Valley with the Connecticut Valley and Boston. The intention was to develop the wilderness that bordered the trail and therefore to make the trail safer to travel. Sixty-three home lots were laid out in the first settlement effort, “in a compact and defensible form” as the documents of the time said. Population growth, though slow, has been steady in the rural community. In 1776, there were 414 residents; in 1900 there were 994 residents; the modern town boasts about 1700 residents.

Cheshire

Cheshire is located within the valley of the Hoosic River, and is the site of a dammed reservoir on the river. To the west, parts of Mount Greylock State Reservation take up sections of town, and includes a section of the auto road. To the southeast, North Mountain peaks just outside town limits before descending to the valley. The Appalachian Trail crosses through the center of town, heading from North Mountain to Mount Greylock. The southern foothills of the Hoosac Range make up much of the eastern side of town, and much of the land is dotted with sections of the Chalet and Stafford Hill Wildlife Management Areas. Several other brooks feed into the river along the way.

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,401 people, 1,367 households, and 985 families residing in the town. The population density was 126.3 people per square mile (48.7/km²). There were 1,470 housing units at an average density of 54.6/sq mi (21.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.21% White, 0.38% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.44% of the population.

Clarksburg

The Town of Clarksburg Massachusetts was founded in 1798 and is located in Berkshire County. Although founded in 1798 the town was settled 1769 by a number of men and among them was Nicholas Clark for which the town was named after. Clarksburg contains about 2000 year round residents. Today the town intends to develop its industrial lands to help relieve the residential tax burden.

Dalton

Nestled in the incomparable beauty of the Berkshires, Dalton is 50 miles northwest of Springfield and 130 miles northwest of Boston. The town has an array of cultural and natural attractions (see Community section) and is home to the world-class Crane papermaking company. Dotted with schools, churches and athletic fields, Dalton cherishes its small town atmosphere and is focused on family life. Basic needs can be satisfied right in town, while larger city shopping and amenities are easily available in neighboring Pittsfield and other nearby Berkshire towns. Population: 6,882

Egremont

The Town of Egremont is tucked into the green southwestern Berkshire Hills. It is a small residential town of about 1,000 which serves those who have traditionally made their full-time home here as well as an increasing number of newcomers whose second home or weekend home is here. Egremont is a quiet town with limited nightlife, low taxes, and exceptional public services such as police, highway and volunteer fire department.

A multiple-acre town park offers recreational facilities for all residents: ball fields, picnic areas, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, horse shoe pits, hiking and horse ring and trails. Children in Egremont attend the new $25 million elementary/high school campus complex, with electronics and computers designed for the 21st century. The new complex offers an auditorium, gyms, playing fields, and other facilities for the community, while the educational program provides an innovative long-block class-time schedule which is attracting educators from all over the United States.

Florida

The Town Florida Massachusetts was founded in 1805 and is located in the north west corner of Berkshire County. The town contains about 800 year round residents.

Florida is home of the Hoosac Tunnel and the Florida Mountain Turnip. Each year during the month of June the town hosts the Bicentennial Celebration which includes food and fire works as well as games and face painting, bike rodeos and much much more!

Great Barrington

Nestled in the southwestern corner of Massachusetts, we are bordered by Connecticut to the south and New York to the west. We’re easy to reach by car and are less than 2-1/2 hours from both New York City and Boston. The Appalachian Trail winds through our scenic network of mountains, streams, lakes and forests. We’re rich with history and surrounded by natural beauty.
 
In addition we offer exciting recreation, unique shopping, exquisite art galleries and antiques, world-class performing arts, wonderful lodgingand dining and a solid professional community and diversified small-business base.

Hancock

The Town of Hancock Massachusetts was founded in 1776 and is the longest and narrowest town in Berkshire County. Hancock contains about 800 year round residents and is the home to a one of a kind barn museum as well as the largest ski area in Massachusetts.

For those in town who wish to trace back their ancestors Hancock has over twenty known cemeteries which date back as early as 1772. Come to town and find your family roots.

Hinsdale

The Berkshires town of Hinsdale is a small, quiet hilltown with a population of over 1,900 that increases considerably in the summer months. Settled in the 1760s, Hinsdale was incorporated in 1804. Its early history saw farms and saw mills as the primary sources of occupation. In the late 1800s, textile mills flourished, and the community found itself able to install a reservoir and public water an sewer systems. In the early 1900s, the mills departed, and the railroad became the main industry. By the mid-1900s, this industry departed, as well.

ThetTown encompasses approximately 21.7 square miles. It is home to two lakes, Lake Ashmere and Plunkett Lake, and to a section of Muddy Pond, the headwaters of the East Branch of the Housatonic River. Hinsdale also is home to the 14,500 acre Hinsdale Flats Watershed Resource Area, which is an Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The Appalachian Trail, a national scenic trail, passes through Hinsdale, and encompasses 440 acres. There are over 1500 acres of state-owned open space within the Town’s borders, as well.

Lanesborough

Lanesborough was one of the first towns to be settled in Berkshire County.  First named Richfield, then New Framingham, the name was changed again when the Town was incorporated 1765 in honor of the Countess of Lanesborough, a friend of Governor Francis Bernard. Originally a farming community, the town grew to become a prosperous mining and industrial center and remained one until the railroad came through the City of Pittsfield. In 1847, iron was discovered and the Briggs Iron Company was founded, becoming the Lanesborough Iron Works in 1885. Marble also was an important export. Pure white and extremely desirable, more than $200,000was quarried and shipped in one year in the 1840s.

Lanesborough and the City of Pittsfield share Pontoosuc Lake, one of the largest lakes in Berkshire County and a popular recreation area. Another very popular recreational asset is the recently constructed Ashuwillticook Rail Trail which runs through the towns of Lanesborough, Cheshire and Adams along an old abandoned railroad bed. Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts, is partially situated in Lanesborough.  The road passes the Greylock Visitor’s Center, where there are exhibits and a spectacular view of the Housatonic Valley stretching beyond. Today, Lanesborough is essentially a small residential community with a few farms and small businesses. The 90-store Berkshire Mall, located in town on adjacent to City of Pittsfield, is the town’s largest employer.

Lee

The town of Lee Massachusetts is centrally located in Berkshire County, home of one of the most scenic and culturally vibrant areas of the state. Every season brings thousands of tourists to the Berkshires for the scenery, the arts and the activities. Lee is truly —“The Gateway to the Berkshires.” Also information townoflee.com.

Lenox

We are a small but vibrant New England town nestled in the heart of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. Our rural beauty and major cultural attractions, including Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Shakespeare and Company’s new international campus, and Edith Wharton’s restored mansion,  The Mount, attract thousands annually.  Ventfort Hall Museum  and the Historic Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum celebrate the Gilded Age of the 1890′s in Lenox.  Frelinghuysen Morris House and Studio where you can visit an exquisite collection of American and European Cubist Art. Despite our strong tourist attractions and our array of accommodations, we remain primarily a residential community of approximately 6000 people.

Monterey

The history of Town of Monterey is also that of Tyringham, as Monterey (or South Tyringham) was not separated and incorporated as a separate town until 1847. The first permanant settlers were Lieutenant Isaac Garfield, Thomas Slaton and Captain Brewer who arrived in the spring and summer of 1739. It was Captain Brewer who built the first saw mill later that year on Konkapot Brook outfall of Twelve Mile Pond (Lake Garfield) north of the present village.

Mount Washington

The Berkshires town of Mount Washington is the site of Mount Everett State Reservation (2nd highest peak in the commonwealth) and the spectacular, legendary Bash Bish Falls State Park. Mt. Washington, Mass. was named for George Washington, not the highest peak in New Hampshire, and with a population of fewer than 150 souls, is the least populated town of Berkshire county.

New Ashford

New Ashford was first settled in 1762 and was officially incorporated in 1835. It was named for Ashford, Connecticut, where the founding citizens came from. The town has mostly been a rural farming community, with few mills ever set up in the town. Beginning in 1916, New Ashford had the distinction of casting the first vote in presidential elections, the way Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, does today. Accordingly, this small rural town holds an important place in history, as the location where a woman cast the first vote in a U.S. national election, in 1920. The old wooden ballot box used on this historic occasion still sits in town hall, and is still in use today.

New Marlborough

New Marlborough was first settled in 1738 as one of the four townships opened up along the road between Sheffield and Westfield. The town was officially incorporated in 1775, and presumably named for Marlborough Massachusetts. The town grew as a combination of agriculture in the area around the town center, and mills along the rivers in town.

North Adams

Located in a beautiful valley at the base of the Berkshire Mountains, North Adams is an ideal community to work in and raise a family. Entrepreneurs from around the country have found that our natural beauty and growing cultural and creative economy are two very good reasons to locate and do business in North Adams. We are very fortunate, as a small city, to have the five underpinnings of a much larger place. Located right here in our city is North Adams Regional Hospital and a growing medical community, an airport that is currently under expansion, a world class museum in the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), a vibrant liberal arts college in Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and, of course, the beauty of our natural environment.

 
Our biggest community assets lie within the ideas and vitality of our residents. We have truly become a very diverse community. From our new artists and business owners to folks like me who have lived here all our lives. The people of North Adams warmly remember our past, continue to grow in our present, and are very excited about our future.

Otis

The Town of Otis is located in the southeast portion of Berkshire County. It is bordered by the towns of Tyringham, Monterey, Becket, Sandisfield,Tolland and Blandford. It is a town nestled quaintly along several lakes and ponds, against gentle slopes of the Berkshire Range, and in the Farmington River Valley. Otis was established as a town in 1810, from two towns Bethlehem and Louden. Travelers seeking new land in Western Massachusetts settled the town for its location along the Old Knox Trail also known as the Old Boston to Albany Turnpike. Today, Otis has a population of approximately 1,360 people according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2000. The Town is continuing to grow with new homes going in every year by both new residents and second homebuyers. Otis is a desirable place to live for its short distance to Springfield and other metropolis places. The Town of Otis has a diverse landscape with elevations rising to more than 1,900 feet, a large water body reservoir, and open space lands. This Town is a haven for outdoor recreation having pleasant forests, open fields, cool streams, deep ponds and lakes, and nurturing wetlands. Along with natural elements the Town has a ski resort, several campgrounds, and State Forest Preserves. The natural setting, the small town laid back attitude, the small business enterprises and recreation opportunities makes it a good place to live.

Peru

The Town of Peru Massachusetts originally Partridgefield was founded in 1771 and is located in Berkshire County. Peru has about 900 year round residents. Today the town is a quiet rural community.

Pittsfield

The City of Pittsfield is the cultural, commercial, legal, and medical hub of the Berkshires – a region world-renowned for its outstanding standard of living, breathtaking landscape, and the finest in cultural and recreational attractions.

In the heart of the beautiful Berkshires, Pittsfield State Forestoffers endless trails through gorgeous scenery, along with streams, waterfalls, and Berry Pond, which at 2,150 feet in elevation is one of the highest natural bodies of water in Massachusetts. The state forest offers facilities for camping, non-motorized boating, biking, and more. In addition, Balance Rock State Park is the home of a true natural wonder that you have to see to believe, along with miles of wooded trails for running, biking, cross country skiing and more. For downhill skiing,Bousquet Ski Area offers trails for beginners to the most experienced, as well as snowboarding and snow tubing.

Richmond

Richmond is a small, rural community in western Massachusetts, abutting the New York State border and just south of the city of Pittsfield, where many of its residents work.

Richmond is 14 miles north of Great Barrington and 145 miles west of Boston. It is noted for its scenic beauty, with tree-lined roads and shadows cast across the many fields by the surrounding Berkshire hills.

The town is principally residential in nature, with only a handful of commercial enterprises and several orchards and farms. There are many part-time residents of Richmond from New York City or the Boston area involved in business or the arts who have chosen Richmond as their second homes for its beauty and privacy. They along with the year round residents of Richmond express a strong sense of community.

Sandisfield

Nestled between Sandy Brook and the Farmington River Valley, Sandisfield is the quintessential bucolic New England town, home to approximately eight hundred full-time residents; despite this diminutive population, Sandisfield’s borders encompass the most square miles of any town in Berkshire County.

Adorned with spectacular landscapes, numerous old farm houses, and large parcels that are State owned or under conservation restriction, Sandisfield has become a haven for second home owners, as the population increases to 2,500 during the summer months.  Home to the Sandisfield State Forest, the Farmington and Clam Rivers, Upper Spectacle Pond, West Lake and Yanner Park, Sandisfield is a destination for those seeking not only serenity but also abundant outdoor recreational activities.  Keeping with the traditions of its forefathers, Sandisfield boasts a thriving logging industry, numerous small farms, nurseries, an apple orchard and the historic New Boston Inn. Local businesses and trades people provide a unique array of goods and services to residents and visitors alike.

Savoy

Savoy began its existence within the Massachusetts Colony as part of “Northern Berkshire Township #6,” which included the present-day towns of Adams, North Adams, Cheshire and Lanesborough. The land was auctioned off several times before it was finally purchased by Colonel William Bullock of Rehoboth. Savoy, or New Seconk as it was originally called by its inhabitants, was first settled in 1777 by a group led by Colonel Lemuel Hathaway. The town was officially incorporated in 1797, and was supposedly named for the land’s resemblance to the Duchy of Savoy in France. The town started off with a grazing agrarian industry, before several lumber mills took off in town. The town was also very diverse religiously, with several faiths practicing by the mid-19th century. Today the town is mostly a quiet rural community, known for its scenery and natural beauty.

Sheffield

The Berkshires town of Sheffield, the oldest community in Berkshire county, contains the Schenob Brook wetland complex (identified as one of the most unique unspoiled ecosystems in the world). Noted for its deep agricultural soils, much of Sheffield remains open and in agricultural production. Originally called Outhotonnook, meaning “over the mountain,” the land was purchased on April 25, 1724 from Chief Konkapot and 20 other Stockbridge Mahican Indians. Its price was 460 pounds, 3 barrels of cider and 30 quarts of rum.

Stockbridge

Stockbridge, a lovely village located in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, is peacefully situated in a beautiful interval between the mountains and the Housatonic River. The town has grown from an Indian mission to a quiet village of wealth and gracious living to a resort town with the most famous Main Street in America as painted by Norman Rockwell. Today, in the face of rapid change and development, people look nostalgically to a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. Many have found that a unique core of integrity, characteristic of small towns, can still be found in Stockbridge.

Tyringham

Founded as Housatonic Township Number 1, the land which became Tyringham and Monterey was first settled in 1735. The two main villages were set up along two waterways, Hop Brook to the north and the Konkapot River to the south. In 1750, Adonijah Bidwell, a Yale Divinity School graduate from theHartford, Connecticut region became the first minister of Township No. 1. When a meetinghouse was founded in the south, it led to a buildup in the north, and by 1767 the town was incorporated, and was named for Tyringham, a village in Buckinghamshire, England. The town was home to a Shaker Village, called “Jerusalem,” which lay just south of the town center. The town of Monterey was set off and incorporated as its own town in 1847. The town was the site of several small country estates for the wealthy, most of which are long gone, leaving Tyringham as a small, rural community. 

Washington

The Berkshires town of Washington boasts five small lakes, a number streams and many clear springs. It has a great deal of good grazing land and has remained, down through the years, a small rural community. Washington also is home to two of the most famous denizens of Berkshire county, Arlo Guthrie and James Taylor (neighboring Lenoxians claim JT as one of their own, though). Guthrie has lived in Washington since the 1970s, having bought property there with proceeds from Alice’s Restaurant, while Taylor built a house and studio in the 2000s.

West Stockbridge

Town of West Stockbridge is a small community with a population of approximately 1650 full-time Residents.    We are located in the Southern Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.  West Stockbridge has a small, attractive downtown retail center, which serves residents, tourists and adjacent communities.
 
West Stockbridge is a beautiful, hilly town with many ponds, streams, wetlands and open fields that make it a very desirable place to live.  The Williams River is a picturesque waterway that flows through the Town providing residents and tourists with excellent opportunities for angling and canoeing.

Williamstown

Williamstown is located in the far northwest corner of Massachusetts bordering Vermont and New York. We are the home of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williams College, and 8,220 residents including 2,000 Williams College students. Williamstown continues to be known for the scenic beauty of its surrounding mountains, for Williams College, and for the cultural attractions of its Theater Festival and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Windsor

Windsor was first settled in 1767 and was officially incorporated in 1771. The town was named for Windsor, Connecticut, where many of the settlers emigrated from. Originally, the town was named Gageborough in honor of British General Thomas Gage, but was changed due to the general’s Revolutionary War affiliation. 

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