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While the Berkshires are famous for having a rich and varied cultural scene, you can’t forget about the natural beauty of the area. There are several ways to take in the outdoors during your time at the Gateways Inn. Hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, and much more are all popular pastimes in the Berkshires. If you’re looking to spend some time outdoors hiking or cycling, we recommend you check out the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. This former railroad corridor is over 11 miles long, offering many opportunities for recreation. With so much ground to cover, you might not know were to begin your journey. Here’s a basic guide to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.
The railroad corridor that used to occupy the space of the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail was built in the 1800s during the industrial development of the area. The Pittsfield and North Adams Railroad began the line’s development in 1845, and ownership and operation changed hands several times before it was converted into the rail trail in the 1990s. The trail’s name comes from the American Indian name for the southern branch of the Hoosic River, and means “the pleasant river in between the hills.” And it will seem quite fitting once you explore the trail yourself.
When you ride or walk through the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, you’ll see signs of Berkshires history all around. As the trail goes through Adams, you can see some remnants of the area’s manufacturing history. There are several mill buildings along the shore of the Hoosic River. And the former railroad station building has been turned into a pub, creating quite the charming atmosphere.
The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail is 10-feet wide and paved for universal access. This makes the trail ideal for a number of endeavors including: biking, skating, walking, and cross country skiing during snowy months. The trail is also handicap and wheelchair accessible. The trail is open from dawn until dusk daily and features restrooms as well as picnic facilities.
There is a trailhead at the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough with designated parking. The other trailhead is located at the Visitor’s Center in Adams.
As you make your way down your selected route along the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, you may want to stop and make time for some other outdoor diversions. The Rail Trail has the perfect environment for some great bird watching. So bring a pair of binoculars and a guidebook and engage your inner ornithologist. Since the trail goes through the Hoosic River Valley, wetlands surround much of the trail, making it an ideal place for viewing a large variety of wildlife. Several spots are also good for stopping to fish for yellow perch, bass, or northern pike.
After a day on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, our Lenox bed and breakfast is the perfect place to return to for some well-deserved relaxation. Refuel with dinner at our Restaurant or head over to the Lounge for some lighter fare and a cocktail while you enjoy live music. And there isn’t a better place in the Berkshires to rest up for the next day’s adventures than one of our comfortable and elegant guest rooms. When you choose the Gateways Inn, your experience in the Berkshires will be one to remember. We’ll see you soon!
Photo courtesy John Phelan via Wikimedia Commons.