Lifelong Otis resident Star OBrien checks out at Katies Country Store on Route 23. Timothy Tribula, of Otis, has worked at the store for six years.
Lifelong Otis resident Star OBrien checks out at Katies Country Store on Route 23. Timothy Tribula, of Otis, has worked at the store for six years. Katies is one of just six markets in Otis. Photo by Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff

Tuesday, May 22
Col. Henry Knox noted in his diary while transporting artillery from the Battle of Ticonderoga to Boston in January 1776 that "10th Jan. — reached (Township) No. 1 after having climbed mountains which we might almost have seen all the Kingdoms of the earth; 11th Jan. — went 12 miles through the Green Woods to Blandford." The route from Boston to Albany via Otis soon became known as the Knox Trail (later, Route 23). ... East Otis has its own zip code (01029) for boxes at its small post office; the main Otis zip is 01223. ... East Otis had a population of 572 in the 2000 federal census, 12.3 square miles of land and 1.8 of water. The numbers are included in the totals for Otis. Other portions of the sprawling community have been or are known as West Otis, North Otis and Cold Spring, south of the town's center. ... Some of the businesses located in Otis include: The Other Brother Darryl's, which retails and wholesales fresh seafood and distributes widely in Berkshire County; Custom Audio Works, with satellite TV sales and services for the uncabled area; Katie's Country Store, which serves East Otis with meats, seafood and a full line of groceries, beer, wine and supplies, as well as a summer season takeout restaurant; Papa's Healthy Food and Fuel, the "new Gulf station" in East Otis; Maplewood B&B; Berkshire Hillbillies, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner on West Shore Road near the Otis Reservoir; the Farmington River Diner & Deli on Route 8 just south of the town's center; the McManus general store; Tru-Value Hardware; a Legacy Bank branch; Country Fare Books; and Terranova's Market, in the center of the town.

Advertisement

... Otis Ridge bills itself as the "friendly, family ski area," offering a wide variety of trails from beginner to expert, with snowmaking equipment, but "small enough to be personal." A plant store operates at the site during the growing season; The Grouse House is a country inn adjoining the ski area, offering lunch and dinner (Wednesday through Sunday) and reasonably priced lodging year-round. ... Otis Reservoir, with 1,110 acres and 30 miles of shoreline, is described as the largest unrestricted body of water in Massachusetts that offers a variety of water sports, such as boating, sailing, water skiing and wake boarding, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, and many other activities. ... Tolland State Forest and Camp Overflow offer camping and RV sites along the reservoir. Small-boat launching is offered at Tolland State Forest and also at J&D Marina and Camp Overflow, which have boat ramps, canoe, kayak and small motorboat rentals, and dockside fuel. Jet skis are prohibited. ... The Otis Reservoir Property Owners Association is planning a professional fireworks display at the Tolland State Forest Beach (July 14, 9 p.m.; rain date, July 21.) ... The nearly 4,900-acre Tolland State Forest straddles the towns of Otis and Tolland (Hampden County), with 90 campsites on a peninsula along the western shore of Otis Reservoir. There are sites for trailer campers as well as tenters, and many sites are located on the water's edge. Numerous trails offer summer and winter recreation. There is a shaded picnic area and a small sandy beach that are available for day use as well as for the campers. ... A mecca for anglers, the reservoir has brook trout, rainbow trout, large and smallmouth bass, white perch, yellow perch, black crappie and pickerel. ... The nearby Farmington River, West Branch, is also trout-stocked and provides adequate shoreline access for anglers even during the busiest times of the season. ... The State Forest is not open to off-season camping, but in the fall and winter, its woods and trails are available to hunters, cross-county skiers and snowmobilers. Several privately owned campgrounds in the area, including Mountain View, also serve visitors. ... Otis State Forest is on Route 23 between Otis and Monterey, with access is directly off Route 23. The 3,800-acre forest, with highest elevation around 1,600 feet, was established in 1923. There are numerous trails for hiking, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Hunting and fishing are permitted, with appropriate permits available from town clerks. The Old Boston to Albany Road (Knox Trail) goes through the forest.

Col. Henry Knox noted in his diary while transporting artillery from the Battle of Ticonderoga to Boston in January 1776 that "10th Jan. — reached (Township) No. 1 after having climbed mountains which we might almost have seen all the Kingdoms of the earth; 11th Jan. — went 12 miles through the Green Woods to Blandford." The route from Boston to Albany via Otis soon became known as the Knox Trail (later, Route 23). ... East Otis has its own zip code (01029) for boxes at its small post office; the main Otis zip is 01223. ... East Otis had a population of 572 in the 2000 federal census, 12.3 square miles of land and 1.8 of water. The numbers are included in the totals for Otis. Other portions of the sprawling community have been or are known as West Otis, North Otis and Cold Spring, south of the town's center. ... Some of the businesses located in Otis include: The Other Brother Darryl's, which retails and wholesales fresh seafood and distributes widely in Berkshire County; Custom Audio Works, with satellite TV sales and services for the uncabled area; Katie's Country Store, which serves East Otis with meats, seafood and a full line of groceries, beer, wine and supplies, as well as a summer season takeout restaurant; Papa's Healthy Food and Fuel, the "new Gulf station" in East Otis; Maplewood B&B; Berkshire Hillbillies, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner on West Shore Road near the Otis Reservoir; the Farmington River Diner & Deli on Route 8 just south of the town's center; the McManus general store; Tru-Value Hardware; a Legacy Bank branch; Country Fare Books; and Terranova's Market, in the center of the town. ... Otis Ridge bills itself as the "friendly, family ski area," offering a wide variety of trails from beginner to expert, with snowmaking equipment, but "small enough to be personal." A plant store operates at the site during the growing season; The Grouse House is a country inn adjoining the ski area, offering lunch and dinner (Wednesday through Sunday) and reasonably priced lodging year-round. ... Otis Reservoir, with 1,110 acres and 30 miles of shoreline, is described as the largest unrestricted body of water in Massachusetts that offers a variety of water sports, such as boating, sailing, water skiing and wake boarding, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, and many other activities. ... Tolland State Forest and Camp Overflow offer camping and RV sites along the reservoir. Small-boat launching is offered at Tolland State Forest and also at J&D Marina and Camp Overflow, which have boat ramps, canoe, kayak and small motorboat rentals, and dockside fuel. Jet skis are prohibited. ... The Otis Reservoir Property Owners Association is planning a professional fireworks display at the Tolland State Forest Beach (July 14, 9 p.m.; rain date, July 21.) ... The nearly 4,900-acre Tolland State Forest straddles the towns of Otis and Tolland (Hampden County), with 90 campsites on a peninsula along the western shore of Otis Reservoir. There are sites for trailer campers as well as tenters, and many sites are located on the water's edge. Numerous trails offer summer and winter recreation. There is a shaded picnic area and a small sandy beach that are available for day use as well as for the campers. ... A mecca for anglers, the reservoir has brook trout, rainbow trout, large and smallmouth bass, white perch, yellow perch, black crappie and pickerel. ... The nearby Farmington River, West Branch, is also trout-stocked and provides adequate shoreline access for anglers even during the busiest times of the season. ... The State Forest is not open to off-season camping, but in the fall and winter, its woods and trails are available to hunters, cross-county skiers and snowmobilers. Several privately owned campgrounds in the area, including Mountain View, also serve visitors. ... Otis State Forest is on Route 23 between Otis and Monterey, with access is directly off Route 23. The 3,800-acre forest, with highest elevation around 1,600 feet, was established in 1923. There are numerous trails for hiking, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Hunting and fishing are permitted, with appropriate permits available from town clerks. The Old Boston to Albany Road (Knox Trail) goes through the forest.

Quotation: "Travelling northward from the township of Otis, the road leads for 20 or 30 miles toward Windsor, lengthwise upon that long broken spur of heights which the Green Mountains of Vermont send into Massachusetts. For nearly the whole of the distance you have the continual sensation of being upon some terrace in the moon" — From Herman Melville's novel, "Israel Potter: 50 Years in Exile." The Otis Free Public Library circulates about 10,000 books, 200 audios and nearly 300 videos.