9/25/2005 at 10:53 am #7257highpointersclubParticipant[Ed: Imported from Americas Roof ‘Summit Trip Reports’ forum][By: George Fisher on September 25 2005 at 10:53 AM]Norman Rockwell, Herman Melville, James Taylor, Stockbridge, Tanglewood … Massachusetts’s Berkshire Mountains have long been a cradle of American culture; there are some wild areas, too, albeit rather smaller than in previous centuries.
Mt. Greylock sits at the northern end of the Berkshires along the Appalachian Trail just 10 miles or so south of Vermont. It is the centerpiece of Mt. Greylock State Reservation, a lovely area comprising some 12,000 acres surrounding four peaks which are forested in some parts by original growth timber.
Be sure to stop at the Visitor’s Center at the bottom of the hill just off Route 7. It’s very nicely done, containing among other things a marvelous scale relief map of the area, and the people are exceptionally helpful. If you can, make a reservation to stay at the Bascom Lodge, which is a rustic but accommodating hiker’s refuge at the summit (on a Thursday after Labor Day, I was the only guest, but the staff were expecting a full house come Friday).
Built in 1937 by the CCC, this log and stone building sleeps 37 in bunk beds and has room in the dining room to feed many more (lots and lots of Appalachian Trail hikers stop every season): everyday for breakfast and dinner at 8AM and 6PM sharp; family style, come hungry.
Lit from dawn to dusk (and bright), the Veterans War Memorial Tower is a displaced lighthouse that was intended for Boston but now sits at the Greylock summit; obviously out of place, it grows on you as the sun sets. A steep but short climb up a circular metal stairway takes you to a lookout just below the light that gives you a view in one direction of New York’s Catskills and Adirondacks, and of various ranges of Massachusetts, Vermont and (perhaps) New Hampshire in another.
Bide a wee and hike the well-marked and well-maintained trails around the mountain (being conscious of deer ticks and Lyme Disease … long pants are probably preferable whatever the weather).
A beautiful spot when the weather’s fair, with a sweet piney smell at the top and deciduous forest a bit lower. I listened to Chickadees and Blue Jays as I hiked along, and surprised a Turkey as I turned a corner, on the first day of Autumn 2005. The next day was foul and cold at the top, so I was lucky to have had the good weather when I did.
Directions to Mt. Greylock from the Mass Pike, I-90
Take I-90 to Exit 2
Take Rt 20 to Lee, MA
Pause in Lee. It’s a great example of a little New England town.
Continue on to Rt 7 North
In Pittsfield, be careful: the town square is at the intersection of a number of roads and if you’re not careful, you’ll leave town on something other than Rt 7, which would be an error (although not a fatal one, the countryside is nice, but you could go a long way out of your way)
Past Pittsfield, in the town of Lanesboro, on the right you will see a brown sign for Mt. Greylock. Take this road to the Visitor’s Center.
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