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The Berkshires, State Route 2, Near Williamstown, Massachusetts | by Ken Lund
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The Berkshires, State Route 2, Near Williamstown, Massachusetts

The Berkshires, is a highland geologic region located in the western parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, although the term "Berkshires" is normally used by locals in reference to the portion of the mountain range that lies within Massachusetts. The portion of the Berkshires that extends into Connecticut is commonly referred to by locals as either the Northwest Hills or Litchfield Hills.


Also referred to as the Berkshire Hills, Berkshire Mountains, and Berkshire Plateau, the region enjoys a vibrant tourism industry based on music, arts, and recreation.


The Berkshires are a popular tourist attraction and vacation getaway, serving the same function in relation to Connecticut and Massachusetts that the Catskills do in New York and the Poconos for Pennsylvania. With numerous trails, including part of the Appalachian Trail, large tracts of wilderness, parks like Kent Falls, Berkshire Botanical Garden and Hebert Arboretum the Berkshires are very popular with nature lovers. The area includes Bash Bish Falls, the tallest waterfall in Massachusetts. It should be noted that most of the Appalachian Trail and Bash Bish Falls are physically located in the nearby Taconic mountain range. The Berkshires are also home to dozens of summer camps, some of which date back to the turn of the 20th century.


The Berkshire region is noted as a center for the visual and performing arts; its art museums include the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Clark Art Institute, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), and the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA). At Williams College, the Chapin Library displays a wide selection of rare books and documents. Performing-arts institutions in the Berkshires include Tanglewood Music Center and Boston University Tanglewood Institute in Lenox, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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Taken on August 4, 2004