Getting Out and About: Hiking the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts

Hiking the Berkshires of Western MassachusettsAs we transition from winter to spring, warmer temperatures, emerging blossoms, and beautiful bird song are beckoning to us all. Come soak up the great outdoors hiking the Berkshires!

With the first day of spring less than a week away, it is natural that our thoughts should turn to the great outdoors. When it comes to breathtaking scenery, you would be hard pressed to beat the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Our mountains and forests are dotted with rivers, lakes, and picturesque waterfalls. Best of all, we also have plenty of easily accessible parks and trails.

The convenient location of Brook Farm Inn, our Lenox-area B&B, puts all the best of the Berkshires right at your feet. Many our guests are eager to explore the area and we have plenty of suggestions for hiking the Berkshires. (more…)

The Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and What You Need to Know

The Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox, MA, is a branch of Mass Audubon that covers over 1,000 acres of forests, meadows, and wetlands along the slopes of Lenox Mountain. The wildlife sanctuary has over seven miles of trails and accessibility for canoes and kayaks, as well as camping sites and summer camp programs. Here’s what you need to know about the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary while visiting during your stay at Brook Farm Inn.

Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

Trails

There are seven miles of trails throughout the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, consisting of three major loops. When planning your hiking adventure in the sanctuary, decided between flat and easy or vertical and strenuous. The All Person’s Trail or Pike’s Pond Trail Loop is a mostly flat 30-40 minute walk around Pike’s Pond. It’s a great trail for watching beavers around dusk. Then, the Yokun/Beaver Lodge Trails Loop is another easy option at 1.5 miles, showcasing views of the northern beaver ponds as well as the Lenox Mountain Ridge. This trail is prime for birding! The Ledges/Overbrook Loop is the strenuous path, first ascending to the top of Lenox Mountain. Spectacular views await, such as the vista of Mount Greylock, Taconic Range, and Catskill Mountains.

Green Features

The Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is trying to leave a lighter footprint on the environment by using green technology. Conserving energy, generating renewable energy, and conserving water are just some ways to lessen the impact, along with enhancing energy education. Conservation methods range from a recycling program to purchasing 100% green electricity from Mass Energy. Some other conservation work at the sanctuary includes migratory bird tracking, land conservation, community outreach partnerships, and advocacy for wildlife protection and ocean management.

Birding

There are several birding programs in the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, from Owl Prowl Adventures and Chicken Dance Parties to Friday Morning Bird Walks and Fair Weather Birding. The Bird-a-thon is also an annual fundraiser, where teams of birders spend 24 hours trying to beat out their opponents but spotting the most species. A log of recent sightings is also available from Cape Cod to Western Massachusetts, some entries including a yellow-billed loon, pink-footed goose, and rough-legged hawk.

Summer Camp

During summer, the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary offers a day camp for kids ages 5-14, allowing them to learn about nature by exploring the outdoors and participating in hands-on activities. Daily field trips to a variety of ecological communities, along with crafts, games, and songs, are some fun activities during summer camp. There is also a cookout and overnight stay option, as well as a hike to the summit of Lenox Mountain for kids 9 and up.

Stay Outdoors During Your Stay at Brook Farm

Hiking and kayaking at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary are just a few of the many outdoor activities available in the Berkshires. Skiing, rafting, and golfing are other options, at places such as Bucksteep Manor, Jiminy Peak, and the Cranwell Golf Resort. For more information on what outdoor activities to do during your stay, visit our blog!