Skyline Country Club is a semi-private club that welcomes golfers with sweeping views of the Berkshire mountains and glimmering waters that intersect the grounds. Elevation changes and blind tee shots are frequent throughout the 6,075-yard course, as seen on the 4th hole, which rewards precise tee shots of roughly 110–165 yards with an easy 110-yard shot to the green. The par 5 12th, the course's most difficult hole, forces players to drive onto a tight fairway along the straight 490-yard layout that ends with a false front, a greenside slope that often tricks golfers and sends balls rolling back toward the player like an industrial-grade pop-a-shot. After finishing the course with two consecutive par 4's, golfers can retire to the Club's pub for drinks and eats on the open-air deck, which offers views of the surrounding landscape.
Course at a Glance:
Home to 20 historic Shaker buildings, the current Hancock Shaker Village is an open-air relic of the Hancock Shaker community, originally founded in the 1780s and once boasting more than 300 residents and 3,000 acres. Learn the laudable history of Shaker craftsmanship, architecture, and agricultural techniques with a self-guided tour of the 20-acre grounds, which includes open access to original structures such as the famous 1826 round stone barn, the 1830 brick dwelling, and the 1940 laser-tag amphitheater. Artifacts such as early Shaker washing machines, drying racks, and furniture populate many of the buildings and guests can watch on-site artisans demonstrate Shaker crafts, listen to guides discuss Shaker worship and work customs, or dedicate the rest of their lives to manufacturing Shaker-style textiles.
In the summer of 1850, a moderately successful writer brought his young wife, Lizzie, and their baby, Malcolm, to the town where his father grew up, Berkshire. Seduced by its picturesque countryside, the writer impulsively bought a farm, which would become the family’s home for the next 13 years and the place where he penned a novel that would change the face of American literature: Moby-Dick.
Today, the Berkshire Historical Society maintains the farmhouse where Melville sharpened his quills, gazed out the library window, and drank in the view of Mount Greylock, whose statuesque peak supposedly inspired the elusive white whale that taught Ahab to use his nose as a blowhole. The house was old even then, as it was originally built in the Georgian style back in 1780, acquiring Federal-style details in the 1840s. Careful preservation allows visitors to wander through Melville’s study and gaze upon the fireplace featured in his short story I and My Chimney. They can also observe the piazza that makes an appearance in The Piazza Tales, and see the restored barn where Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne whiled away the hours with deep literary conversation and video games.
In addition to pondering the rooms where Melville lived his days, visitors peruse furniture, portraits, and clothing from the Berkshire Historical Society’s collection of artifacts and enjoy exhibits and events such as plays. Those who make appointments in advance can also immerse themselves in the manuscripts, atlases, oral-history tapes, and photographs that populate the Margaret H. Hall Library and Archives.
For more than a century, the Berkshire Museum has blended history, science, and art into a cohesive whole, drawing inspiration from both the Smithsonian and the American Museum for Natural Science. The museum is packed with wonders ranging from Wally—the fiberglass stegosaurus who guards the museum’s entry—to the John James Audubon display, an impassioned tribute to the very ornithology that prompted Audubon to pen The Birds of America. Other, more playful displays unveil additional wonders, including Alexander Calder's collection of wooden push and pull toys. And inside the vast, salty aquarium, a teeming collection of clownfish, blind cave tetra, and puffer fish swim merrily side-by-side, thankful that they've yet to be cast as members of some trite, underwater calypso band.
The community-oriented Shakespeare & Co. presents high-quality theatrical meditations on life, politics, and elf employment while upholding the art-loving, humanistic tenets of Elizabethan theater. Based on the popular David Sedaris essay of the same name and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, The SantaLand Diaries chronicles one man’s achingly amusing struggle playing Crumpet the Elf at Macy’s during a single holiday season. Presented in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, the show combines wry comedic storytelling with a yuletide setting that charmingly evokes years of bygone Santa visits and threats of coal-lump showers. Peter Davenport, a 2009 IRNE nominee, plays protagonist Crumpet the Elf as he struggles through bouts of hilariously irksome Christmastime retail drudgery. Elves, though docile by nature, are prone to outbursts of adult-related content, so this show is not recommended for children ages 13 and younger.