Outdoor explorations all summer
Appalachian Mountain Club
Volunteer work days, May through August. amcberkshire.org
Trails on the grounds, woods and fields around Herman Melville's historic house. Opening Memorail Day weekend. 780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield.
Opens Wednesdays and Saturdays, 1 to 5 p.m., June to early October. Yoga in the Garden Wednesdays and Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. Hike to the ruins of the former mansion or explore the landscaped paths and water ways created over the course of decades by John McLennan, a composer of modern music. Free. Soden Road, Tyringham, Trustees of Reservations. (413) 298-3239
Step inside this anchor site on the African American Heritage trail and participate in the story of the Ashley family and Elizabeth Freeman, the enslaved woman who took a stand against slavery. New outdoor exhibit in the on Freeman's life and legacy. Cooper Hill Road, Ashley Falls section of Sheffield, near Bartholomew's Cobble. Opening July 5. (413) 229-8600. Trustees of Reservations, www.thetrustees.org.
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail
Flat, paved trail from Cheshire to Adams, following the old railway line along Cheshire Lake and Route 8.
River and unique wood and meadow habitat with bald eagles, turtles and abundant wildlife: 800 species of plants and one of North America's greatest diversities of ferns. Hikes and nature programs. Housatonic River guided canoe trips Sundays June 22 to Sept. 21. (413) 229-8600 Open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset; museum and visitors center open year-round, daily, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eco Volunteers meet Thursdays 9 a.m. to noon beginning in May. Weatogue Road, Sheffield. Trustees of Reservations, (413) 229-8600, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becket Land Trust
Becket historic quarry and trails: Quarry Museum and self-guided tour of nature preserve and 100 years of history. Becket Historic Quarry permanent exhibit now open at Mullen House Education Center. Trails open in daylight hours year round. Quarry off Route 20, 456 Quarry Road, Becket. Mullen House off-site exhibits and office at 12 Brooker Hill Road (corner Route 8), North Becket Village. (413) 623-2100, www.becketlandtrust.org.
Berkshire Botanical Garden
26 display areas including perennial borders, mixed borders of thousands of annuals, a rock garden, rose garden, pond garden, children's garden and native plant gardens. Three greenhouses, an arboretum and a woodland preserve. Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 31 with tours Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, June to Sept. 1 at 10 a.m. Route 183 and Route 102, Stockbridge. (413) 298-3926, www.berkshire botanical.org.
Berkshire Natural Resources Council
Trails and properties maintained by nonprofit land conservation organization works throughout the Berkshires to protect farms, forests, streams, and ridgelines. Weekly guided hikes on BNRC properties. bnrc.net
From 1865 until his death in 1878, William Cullen Bryant summered here at his boyhood home, today a National Historic Landmark. A self-guided map highlights the 2-mile Rivulet Trail, where old growth, including ancient specimens of hemlock and a magnificent cherry tree, rise near the Rivulet, a trickling stream immortalized by Bryant's 1823 poem. Free. Grounds open year-round for hiking, picnics and sight-seeing.
A dramatic rock canyon first carved by centuries of glacial melt water and the Westfield River, the gorge is the gateway to the East Branch Trail. Open during the warm season, daily, from sunrise to sundown, for hiking, picnicking, mountain biking, anglers. River Road, Chesterfield. (413) 532-1631.
A 1967 post-modern guest house designed by Ulrich Franzen for art collector Lawrence Bloedel and bauhaus building. Tours compare architectural philosophies, noon and 1 p.m. Saturdays, June through September. Trails and grounds open daily, free. Architectural Drawing class with IS183: Sketch structures at Field Farm, Mondays July 14 to Aug. 4. 554 Sloan Road, Williamstown, www.thetrustees.org, (413) 458-3135.
Garden tours through the summer in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont. No reservations; rain or shine. For times and places and information: call (888) 842-2442 or visit www.opendaysprogram.org.
Great Barrington River Walk
Native landscaped path along the Housatonic River in downtown Great Barrington; entrances at 195 Main St., River Street, Bridge Street and Dresser Ave. W.E.B. Du Bois River Garden Park. William Stanley Overlook. Volunteer days Thursdays and Fridays, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon. Open spring, summer and fall in daylight hours. www.gbriverwalk.com. (413) 458-3391.
Hoffmann Bird Club
Birding expeditions across the county. www.hoffmannbirdclub.org.
Trails maintained by Williams College in Williamstown. www.williams.edu/CES/
hopkins.htm, (413) 597-4353
Housatonic Heritage Area
Trails and historic sites along the river from Connecticut to central Berkshire County. Summer hikes at www.heritage-hikes.org.
Housatonic Valley Association
Paddle trips on the Housatinic River. hvatoday.org
Merck Forest and Farmland
3,100-acre property open to the public daily, free. Spend time on the working farm, 30 miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding. Cabins and camping year-round. Family fun farm chores 2 to 4 p.m., Saturdays through June 14, Thursdays June 19 to Sept. 6: Visitors can join Merck Forest's staff for afternoon on the farm, peek in the nest boxes to look for eggs, feed pigs or water sheep, move horses to pasture. You-Pick berries, raspberries or blueberries, daily 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., late June through August (check to make sure berries are in season). Rupert, Vt. merckforest.org
Moderate loop trails and beautiful views at the top. Admission is free. Route 7, Great Barrington. Trustees of Reservations, (413) 298-3239, ext. 3020.
Trails and entrances in Williamstown, North Adams, Adams and Lanesborough.
Wild meadows at the homesite of the woman who wrote "Bog-Trotting for Orchids" a century ago. Entrances on Benedict Road in Pownal, Vt., and Mason Street in Willliamstown. Admission is free. Trustees of Reservations. (413) 458-3135.
Twenty-five miles of trails, historic hayfields and pastures, stone walls and cellar holes. Open from sunup to sundown, daily, year round. Visitor Center with picnic area and rest rooms. Tuesday Trail Team, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: small group working on repairs to Windsor Trail. Second and fourth Tuesdays, July to October. 83 Old Route 9, Windsor. (413) 684-0148.
Lifeguards on duty at the public beach, Wednesdays through Sundays, July 2-Aug. 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (413) 499-9370.
Pleasant Valley Sanctuary
Trails, boardwalk, canoe trips and nature programs weekly. 472 West Mountain Road, Lenox. Berkshire Sanctuaries, (413) 637-0320, www.massaudubon.org.
Butterfly house open daily July 21 to end of season and bug safaris. Native plant nursery and restorer of habitat maintains meadow and woodland trails around seed beds for wild plants. Trails open dawn to dusk year-round. 342 North Plain Road, Route 41, Housatonic, projectnative.org or (413) 274-3433.
Trails across 237 acres of woods and meadows. Master Gardeners Workshops select Saturday mornings. Master Gardeners at work in the demo behind Springside House, gardens before "Tuesday Night in the Park" music series. Attend the concerts, tour the gardens, and ask gardening questions. Springside Park, upper North Street, Pittsfield. Gardeners: (413) 743-5193. Park: (413) 347-3812.
Highland valley nature and cultural center in boreal forest. Hikes on the property and in neighboring conservation lands in Windsor and Savoy with naturalist Aimee Gelinas. 1515 Savoy Hollow Road, Windsor. (413) 584-3009, tamarackhollow.com
Walk through mountain meadows and up hillside trails to watch for bobolinks. Jerusalem Road, Tyringham. Trustees of Reservations.
Vermont Horse Show
Annual horse show July 2 to Aug. 10, Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. $30,000 Grand Prix every Saturday at 1. Benefits local nonprofits. vt-summerfestival.com
The Vermont Challenge
Aug. 13-17. Bicycle challenge, scenic routes traveling along rivers, picturesque landscapes, farmland and mountain gaps. 4-day Grand Challenge, 3-day Weekend Challenge, 1-day Gran Fondo Challenge. www.vtchallenge.com
Williamstown Rural Lands
Fields and trails on Sheep Hill at the site of former dairy farm, children's programs and summer hikes. Williamstown.
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