4 spots to breathe fresh air, practice social distancing

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I've said more than once this week: "The word of the day is 'fluid.'"

As in, the ever-changing landscape of our arts and cultural landscape, and daily activities, is fluid. Due to the local and national COVID-19 response, the features department has been handling a large number of cancellations and postponement notices this week. This edition of Landscapes has been changed multiple times to accommodate the breaking news, and we're doing our best to give you up-to-date event information as it comes in at berkshireeagle.com.

We feel strongly that our job in the features department is to tell our readers about what is going on in their communities and to help them make informed decisions about what they should see, eat or do in the Berkshires. But right now, there isn't much to do other than take a breath.

In the coming days, maybe weeks, you may notice some small or big changes to our features department content. We're going to work hard to help you pass the time while our normal activities are suspended — we're planning on covering more book reviews, movie or television recommendations, exercises to do at home and fun new recipes to try.

When this passes, and the many cultural landscapes that make the Berkshires what it is are back up and running, we'll be here. In the meantime, if you are financially able, I encourage you to consider donating your ticket prices back to canceled events or asking for ticket exchanges. Go buy a gift card at your favorite coffee spot or restaurant to use at another time if you don't feel comfortable eating out right now. These places, these people — our neighbors, friends and family — are what make this area so rich, vibrant and culturally beautiful. Let's support them any way we can, so when it's time to make art again, to come together and reflect on what we've been through, we have these places and people to turn to.

In the meantime, have you read any good books lately? Let me know, we're happy to pass along recommendations.

From all of us at the features department: Be well.

Lindsey Hollenbaugh, managing editor of features

To help curb the spread of COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending citizens practice social distancing, or "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible."

This week, if you are healthy and feeling well, take a moment to find a quiet spot for some fresh air away from other people. Please remember if you meet someone else on the trail doing the same thing, smile, send them positive energy and keep your distance with a polite hand wave.

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In addition to these spots, The Trustees of Reservations still has its properties open, though many individual events have been postponed. As with any other establishment, please check ahead before visiting any of the properties, given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 response.

PONTOOSUC LAKE

While Pontoosuc Lake in Lanesborough doesn't have a set walking trail, there is plenty of space for a small picnic or a spot to throw rocks along the lake's Route 7 edge.

ASHUWILLTICOOK RAIL TRAIL 

The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is a flat, paved trail following the old railway line along Cheshire Reservoir and Route 8. The converted railroad corridor runs 12.7 miles from Adams to Lanesborough. **Update: As of March 16, the southern end of the rail trail, from Church Street in Cheshire to the entrance at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough is closed for resurfacing.  Access the northern end of the trail, running from Church Street in Cheshire to Lime Street in Adams, via the Visitors Center in Adams or Church Street entrance in Cheshire. 

ONOTA LAKE

There is a small walking trail along Onota Lake in Pittsfield. Some areas are flat and paved with benches along the way for stopping to sit and enjoy the view.

MOUNT GREYLOCK

Some Mount Greylock trails are open, starting from the Visitor's Center. Check ahead before going or attending any outdoor events.


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