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BERKSHIRE COUNTY MA

Berkshire Chamber of Commerce
413-528-4284
http://www.southernberkshirechamber.com

The Berkshires Visitors Bureau
66 Allen Street
Pittsfield, MA
413-743-4500
http://berkshires.org

Berkshire County is nestled between two small mountain ranges formed from glacial deposits—the Hoosac Range to the east and the Taconic Range to the West—which create a natural boundary separating the area from Vermont, New York and Connecticut. The region is equidistant from Boston and New York City being only a two to two-and-a-half-hour drive from each. This makes the area an ideal retreat from these busy urban centers.

SERVICES
The county and its surrounding areas offer associate, undergraduate, graduate and life-long learning programs since Berkshire County is home to two excellent public colleges and one of the country’s finest private educational institutions. Within a 50-mile radius there are more than 30, 4-year and 2-year colleges and universities. The County has an outstanding public school system with generally small class sizes. The county’s public school system comprises 45 elementary and middle schools and 11 secondary schools. There are 18 private and parochial schools. Students at Berkshire’s public and private schools are consistently scored among the top in the country on national testing programs.

The hospitals in Berkshire County offer the same type of care as that found in larger metropolitan areas. The anchor for Berkshire Health Systems, Berkshire Medical Center (BMC) of Pittsfield is the largest of the three hospitals in the county and a teaching affiliate of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

LIFESTYLE
Home to both peaceful valleys and the Commonwealth’s highest peak, Mount Greylock, the Berkshire’s rural lifestyle and natural features have attracted many creative individuals —writers, including Hawthorne, Melville, Bryant and Thoreau; artists, such as Norman Rockwell and Daniel Chester French; and many other performers and craftspeople. Today, the Berkshire region is a cultural mecca of museums, historic sites, art, dance and music venues such as Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home; MASS MoCA, the country’s largest contemporary art center; the Norman Rockwell Museum, featuring the artist’s original studio; and the renowned Williamstown Theatre Festival.
In addition to arts and cultural venues, the Berkshires offers outstanding opportunities for golfing, hiking, backpacking, biking, fishing, whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking. Wintertime sports include alpine and cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. Residents enjoy an incredible range of retail establishments, from antiques dealers to outlets to specialty shops and more.

Becket
Town Hall
413-623-8934
www.townofbecket.org

Becket was first settled in 1740 and was officially incorporated in 1765. Today it is a community with more than 1,800 residents. From its earliest days Becket was involved in the woodland industries of lumber and quarries. As time went on, dairy production, basketry and silk also were products of the town. After a flood in the early twentieth century, most of the industries died out, and today Becket is more commonly known as a resort town with an artist’s community surrounding the Jacob’s Pillow Company. Becket has been loved by fishermen and is known for having one of the five best trout streams in the Berkshires. The West Branch of the Westfield River, which forms part of the northern boundary of Becket, was known for the brooks, browns and rainbow trout. Resident enjoy a high quality of life that is supported by the beautiful natural surroundings of the Berkshires.

Pittsfield
City Offices
413-499-9321
www.pittsfield-ma.org

Chamber of Commerce
Berkshire Chamber of Commerce
413-528-4284
http://www.southernberkshirechamber.com

Located in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts is the City of Pittsfield. Serving as the county seat, this is a community that combines old-fashioned New England tranquility and charm with contemporary living.  Incorporated in 1761, this community of over 50,000 people offers a high quality of life.  Residents and visitors enjoy the cultural offerings of nearby Tanglewood, Jacobs Pillow, the Williamstown Theater Festival and other performing arts organizations and museums as well as the beautiful four-seasons of the Berkshire Hills. Pittsfield’s Fourth of July Parade brings thousands of visitors to the city for the annual celebration.  Hancock Shaker Village, established more than 200 years ago, gives visitors an opportunity to explore the simple beauty and peacefulness of the Shaker way of life.

Pittsfield’s industrial base has given it the name, “Plastic Technology Center of the Nation”.  With more than 40 area firms, including G.E. Plastics working together through Berkshire Plastics Network, a consortium of independent plastics companies that includes all types of production of plastics products and components.

This strong economic base combined with the natural beauty of the area and the local amenities – make it an ideal place to call home and raise a family.

Stockbridge
Town Hall
413-298-4170
http://townofstockbridge.com/wp

Chamber of Commerce
413-298-5200
http://stockbridgechamber.org

Stockbridge is a village of a little more 2500 people located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, it is situated between the mountains and the Housatonic River. The town has grown from its roots as an Indian mission to a resort town with the most famous Main Street in America as painted by Norman Rockwell. Stockbridge is known for its beautiful natural vistas, for its small town ambience, its historic houses, and cultural attractions. Historic houses open to the public include the Merwin House, the Mission House and Naumkeag.  Cultural attractions are Chesterwood Museum and studio of Daniel Chester French, sculptor of “The Minute Man” and the Lincoln Memorial; the new Rockwell museum, the Berkshire Botanical Gardens and Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.  The oldest village improvement society in the United States, the Laurel Hill Association, was founded and still exists in Stockbridge. As many people look for a more relaxed and easy going lifestyle, they have found those characteristics and small town charm in Stockbridge.

Lee
Town Hall
413-243-5505
www.lee.ma.us

Chamber of Commerce
413-243-1705
www.leechamber.org

The Town of Lee lies in the valley of the Housatonic River between the Taconic Mountain Range and the southernmost end of the Green Mountains.  It is considered the gateway to the scenic beauty of the Berkshires. It was first settled in 1760 and grew enough economically to be incorporated by 1777.  Today it is home to more than 5,800 residents who enjoy an enviable quality of life in what is truly a small town. The town took its name from General Charles Lee, second in command to George Washington. The community supported textile manufacturing in the 19th century but its first paper mill was built by Samuel Church in 1806 and as textiles declined in the region, paper-making took its place as the core of the community’s economy.  By 1857 there were 25 paper mills in Lee producing $2 million in paper, as well as a set of companion industries producing lime and paper-making machinery. In 1852 the marble quarrying industry was launched in the town, as builders and architects discovered Lee marble, some of the hardest and finest marble in the world. About the same time, a new process for making paper solely from wood pulp was adopted and the poplar forests in the town fueled paper production, making Smith Paper Company of Lee the largest paper producer in the world until the poplar forests were depleted. Lee is still home to the first house ever built in town, dated 1760. In addition the town still is home to a paper company and a lime kiln and still has many of the farmhouses, estates, businesses and factories that make up its history.  Residents are proud to say that history is still alive and well in Lee.

Lenox
Town Hall
413-637-5500
www.townoflenox.com

Chamber of Commerce
413-637-3646
http://lenox.org

Lenox is a true New England town that is nestled in the heart of the scenic Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. The town has a strong focus on seasonal tourist attractions and offers an array of accommodations, but it remains primarily a residential community of more than 6000 people. Residents take pride in strong local schools and friendly small-town character. Lenox is a small residential community adjacent to the City of Pittsfield. Lenox is also the summer location for the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, together with Shakespeare and Company at Edith Wharton’s grand estate, the Mount, and several resorts and spas, tourism plays an important economic role in supporting a modest commercial base.  Lenox is also popular for outdoor recreational activities, including skiing, fishing and hiking which attracts visitors year-round. This tourism adds good economic strength to the community. Residents and visitors can choose from the excellent restaurant fare and shop in the fashionable shops and galleries. In September, the annual Tub Parade closes the summer season and brings on the wonderful colors of the spectacular fall foliage. Lenox offers an outstanding quality of life for its residents and it offers a hometown feel that is missing from many communities in today’s world.