NORTH ADAMS AND LENOX, MASS. >> Family adventures can take many shapes in the mountains, from fairs and festivals to performances and expeditions. How about a picnic on the lawn with giant masks and puppets and blues clarinet? Or dance to a drum beat, cheer on a racing pig or look out at the mountains from a train window.
In July, Berkshire Scenic Railway (BSR) will launch its new Hoosac Valley service in North Adams, Mass.
On weekends and holidays, rail enthusiasts can ride a restored Budd rail diesel car of a type last seen locally in the 1960s on a narrated hour-long round trip to Renfrew Station, within walking distance of Adams. Plans are afoot to eventually extend the journey to downtown Adams.
"For the first time ever, we will have two locations operating within the county," said BSR President, Jay Green, a former Berkshire attorney who now works for Amtrak.
The original Lenox Station museum will open Saturdays starting Memorial Day weekend, with a model railroad, historic exhibits, and a short "Jitney" train ride to the railyard. Passengers can book a ride in the locomotive cab, Green said.
Dedicated volunteers, some retired from or still working in the railroad industry, operate the equipment and greet visitors.
"It energizes us to see people interested in the industry and the profession," Green said.
North Adams Mayor Alcombright applauds the new enterprise.
"We're very excited about beginning runs," he said. "Railroad ties, track and other materials are en route, and BSR has been working on their train cars and to move another couple of pieces of equipment to North Adams.
"Pun intended, they are on a fast track."