County brimming with attractions
NORTH ADAMS -- For decades, North County residents have known that Jack's Hot Dog Stand is one of the hidden gems of the Berkshires.
Now the secret is out.
The eatery, which has made its home on Eagle Street for 93 years, has been named as one of the 1,000 Greatest Places in Massachusetts, alongside some of the state's more iconic attractions such as Plymouth Rock, Walden Pond, the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution.
A total of 90 attractions and locations from the Berkshires made the list of 1,000 venues from across the state, released this week by the Massachusetts Office of Tourism and Travel.
"I was honored just to be nominated, but I never thought we'd be picked," owner Jeff Levanos, grandson of the originator Jefros "Jack" Levanos, said. "I was blown away ... it's a great thing, and I hope the whole city benefits from it this tourist season. It's a boost for everyone."
The popularity of the hot dog emporium has never been in question with local residents, who often stop by for a bite after being away for a while.
"We have a lot of people who have moved away and tell us we're their first stop when they come home for a visit," Levanos said. "I had one mother recently tell me that when her son returns home from college, she makes him a big dinner, but he'll stop here first on the way home to eat."
Although North Adams couldn't match Boston's 75 "great" sites, it fared well, landing 10 spots on the list, which was culled from over 12,000 nominations gathered earlier this year by the Great Places in Massachusetts Commission.
Berkshire attractions include the expected -- Tanglewood, Mount Greylock, the Clark Art Museum, and the unexpected -- the ballot box used by the first U.S. woman voter at New Ashford Town Hall, Pioneer Monument on Stafford Hill in Cheshire, and Bas Ridge Golf Course in Hinsdale.
"There are a lot of great places on the list," said Eric Turkington, chairman of the commission. "It's a great thing for the individual recipients, who will hopefully get a boost, especially this year when the state isn't in position to send much money out."
Nominations came from commission members, local cultural councils, regional tourism offices and a list generated through the state office of tourism website.
"We whittled that huge list down to a smaller list," Turkington said. "Some places didn't have anything nominated, so we did a little outreach."
The list does have a few idiosyncrasies. Clarksburg made the list for its state park, but its hilltown neighbor of Florida received credit for the Hairpin Turn Overlook on Route 2. The Hairpin Turn belongs to Clarksburg, located in a slice of town sandwiched between two pieces of North Adams, about a mile below Florida on the Mohawk Trail.
Florida, which was rightfully recognized for the Elk Memorial on the Whitcomb Summit and the eastern portal of the Hoosac Tunnel (named after the mountain range, not the Hoosic River as suggested by the list's spelling), also received credit for the Hail to the Sunrise statue -- which is actually in Charlemont.
The famed Williamstown Theatre Festival didn't make the list at all, but Barrington Stage Co., Berkshire Theatre Festival, Jacob's Pillow and Shakespeare and Co. all did.
"Most people are pretty happy with the list, but there's always going to be something you missed, and it makes you feel bad," Turkington said.
Mount Greylock State Reservation - Adams
Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church - Adams
Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum - Adams
The Quaker Meeting House - Adams
Veterans Memorial Tower - Adams
Knox Trail - Alford
Jacob's Pillow - Becket
Upper Goose Pond - Becket
Pioneer Monument at Stafford Hill - Cheshire
Clarksburg State Park - Clarksburg
Crane Paper Company Museum - Dalton
Wahconah Falls State Park - Dalton
Elk Memorial Sculpted by Eli Harvey - Florida
Hail to the Sunrise Statue - Florida
Hoosac Tunnel - Florida
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center - Great Barrington
Monument Mountain - Great Barrington
Ski Butternut - Great Barrington
Ioka Valley Farm - Hancock
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort - Hancock
Constitution Hill - Lanesborough
Main Street - Lee
Museum of Animation, Special Effects and Art - Lee
October Mountain State Park - Lee
Prime Outlets - Lee
Berkshire Scenic Railway - Lenox
Cranwell Resort Spa & Golf Club - Lenox
Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio - Lenox
Kennedy Park - Lenox
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary - Lenox
Shakespeare and Company - Lenox
Tanglewood - Lenox
The Mount - Lenox
Ventfort Hall - Lenox
Beartown State Forest - Monterey
Berkshire Fish Hatchery - Monterey
Bidwell House Museum - Monterey
Bluff Head - Monterey
Lake Garfield - Monterey
Bash Bish Falls Mount - Washington
First women voter in U.S. ballot box at Town Hall - New Ashford
Lower Carroll Mill - New Marlborough
The Buggy Whip Factory - New Marlborough
The Meeting House - New Marlborough
Thousand Acre Swamp - New Marlborough
Hairpin Turn Overlook on Route 2 - North Adams
A Chapel For Humanity - North Adams
Elf Parlor - North Adams
Jack's Hot Dog Stand - North Adams
Mass MoCA - North Adams
Natural Bridge - North Adams
North Adams Library - North Adams
North Adams Museum of History and Science - North Adams
The Porches - North Adams
Western Gateway Heritage State Park - North Adams
Windsor Lake - North Adams
Spectacle Pond - Otis
Middlefield State Forest - Peru
Arrowhead, Home of Herman Melville - Pittsfield
Barrington Stage Company - Pittsfield
Berkshire Museum - Pittsfield
Colonial Theater - Pittsfield
Hancock Shaker Village - Pittsfield
Hilltop Orchards - Richmond
Sandisfield State Forest - Sandisfield
Spectacle Pond - Sandisfield
Tannery Falls in the Savoy Mountain State Forest - Savoy
Bartholomew's Cobble - Sheffield
Berkshire Botanical Garden - Stockbridge
Berkshire Theatre Festival - Stockbridge
Chesterwood - Stockbridge
Ice Glen Trail - Stockbridge
Main Street - Stockbridge
Mission House - Stockbridge
National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Eden Hill - Stockbridge
Norman Rockwell Museum - Stockbridge
Red Lion Inn - Stockbridge
Tyringham Cobble - Tyringham
Historic District - Washington
Clark Art Institute - Williamstown
Field Farm - Williamstown
Spring Street - Williamstown
The Orchards Hotel - Williamstown
Williams College Art Museum - Williamstown
Williams Inn - Williamstown
Notchview Reservation - Windsor
Windsor Jambs - Windsor
Appalachian Trail - Berkshire section
Mohawk Trail scenic byway - Williamstown to Shirley
To view the complete list of places, visit www.massvacation.com/1000.
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