In this third of a four-part series, we will further explore some of the great places to visit in Western Massachusetts.
New England Peace Pagoda
Serving as a testament to the local community, the New England Peace Pagoda was inaugurated in 1985. Located in an area where the Buddhist caretakers believe is one of the best examples of local integration and support, the structure serves as a memorial containing a relic of the Buddha. The Pagoda is open to people of all faiths with a new temple for prayer and living space for monastics located alongside it. The New England Peace Pagoda is located at 100 Cave Hill Road in Leverett.
Hoosac Valley Train Ride
Whether you are a train buff or you simply want to get outside to view the beautiful outdoors and to take in some interesting history, the Hoosac Valley Train Ride may be what you are looking for. The 10-mile loop ride takes an hour to complete as you pass between North Adams and downtown Adams in the vintage 1955 Budd Rail Diesel Car. To make the ride even more fun, the crew dresses in period-appropriate attire while providing narration and historical facts throughout the trip. Some of the sites you can expect to see from the train ride include Mount Greylock, the Hoosac River and the Hoosac Mountain Range. You can get on the train at 98 Crowley Avenue in North Adams.
Berkshire Botanical Garden
Featuring 15 acres of exhibits, the Berkshire Botanical Garden is one of the oldest public gardens in the Northeast. Among its exhibits are a tree collection, the Daylily Walk and the Pond Garden, all of which provide the opportunity to wander around or to simply sit and contemplate. Lectures, workshops and displays within the garden’s three greenhouses are also available throughout the year. Display gardens are open from May through October ar the garden, which is located at 5 West Stockbridge Road in Stockbridge.
Monument Mountain/Great Barrington Reservation
Boasting 503 acres of outdoor space, the Monument Mountain/Great Barrington Reservation offers several trail options ranging from easy to strenuous. A climb to Squaw Peak offers views of the Housatonic River Valley, the Berkshires, the Taconic Mountains and the Catskills. Picnicking opportunities also abound at the reservation, where Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville are said to have enjoyed a picnic and had a conversation that inspired the famous story of Moby-Dick. The Monument Mountain/Great Barrington Reservation is located just a few miles south of Stockbridge right off of Route 7.
Hancock Shaker Village
Referred to as the “City of Peace,” the Hancock Shaker Village gives you the opportunity to spend the day experiencing what it would have been like to be one of the nearly 300 Shakers who lived in the village during its peak in the 1800s. Boasting a total of 20 buildings, a store and a nature trail, the village gives you the opportunity to walk through an heirloom vegetable and herb garden while also visiting with a collection of farm animals. Seeds, the on-site farm-to-table restaurant, offers great dining options all created from ingredients from the farm. The Hancock Shaker Village is located at 34 Lebanon Mountain Road in Hancock.