October 14, 2015
Earlier this fall, my husband Denny and I packed our bags and set off for the Berkshires, heading north of New York City in search of autumn colors.
On our website Escape Brooklyn we curate travel guides featuring the best restaurants, bars and lodging in each area we visit for New Yorkers looking to "escape" the hustle and the bustle of the city. But even more importantly, in the spirit of truly "escaping," we also find the best hikes and outdoor stuff to do–so it's no surprise that our Berkshire adventure began with a hike.
Hike | Ice Glen
We were drawn to Ice Glen as soon as we heard its name; early fall had given us a 75º day and we wanted to hike a trail we wouldn't overheat on. We'd heard about this trail that cools down about 15 degrees inside a glacial ravine, where its massive boulders' nooks and crannies are known to harbor ice and snow well into the summer.
At the south end of the ravine, the trail also leads hikers to the tallest pine tree in Massachusetts. The hike is only moderately difficult; it's a bit of a climb, but also pretty short, clocking in at about an hour. Ice Glen's trailhead begins at the foot of a wooden bridge, then passes over some long forgotten railroad tracks before the 600 foot ascent. After the climb, an opening in the thick forest gives way to the stacks and clusters of enormous boulders in this magical glacial ravine.
Stay | Briarcliff Motel
We stayed overnight in the super-cool Briarcliff Motel, just far enough away from the nearest city of Great Barrington to make it feel like we were really "out there." We loved the contemporary, funky vibe of our room and the common spaces. Using wildflowers, we spruced up the room making a floral arrangement in a Ball jar.
In the early evening, we enjoyed the firepit that overlooked the massive Monument Mountain. During morning hours, we chatted with the owners while grazing on the buffet-style breakfast spread using ingredients from local farms.
Hike | Bash Bish
On the first night of our stay in Massachusetts, it rained almost continuously for ten hours. To most people, this might seem like a bummer; to us, it translates to really dramatic waterfalls. So first thing in the morning, we did a little research on the best waterfall in the Berkshires, which turned out to be just 30 minutes from our hotel–and the biggest in the entire state of Massachusetts. Now that's lucky!
We packed up the car and set off for Bash Bish Falls State Park. To our surprise, the hike–if it could even be called that–was more like a leisurely stroll along a creek for 20 minutes. Since it had stormed, colorful autumn leaves covered the forest floor. The creek, fed by the massive waterfall, was gushing and made for a lovely soundtrack to our quintessentially autumn afternoon.
Eat & Drink | Dreamaway Lodge
Tucked far into the Berkshires is the Dreamaway Lodge, a restaurant and bar describing itself as "an atmosphere long remembered." The colorful establishment is housed in a 200 year old farmhouse, lit with neon signs, Christmas lights and antique table lamps. They book live entertainment often, providing some much-needed entertainment and/or creative outlet for locals–on the night we visited, an open-mic turned into a full-out jam session. We enjoyed dinner at our table, checked out the band, then joined some friends by the outdoor firepit with hot toddies in hand.
The Drive Home | Route 7
We began our morning with a hike up Monument Mountain, whose trailhead was right across from our hotel. After we finished, we began our journey home via Route 7, which was incredibly scenic. We could barely go a mile without pulling over to take in the mountain views, the sweeping vistas and meadows, century-old barns, and of course, farm animals. We also stopped at a couple farm stands along the way, stocking up on fresh eggs, cheese, jams, and tomatoes to bring back to the city.
For more of Denny and Erin's adventures visit www.EscapeBrooklyn.com!
About Escape Brooklyn:
Escape Brooklyn is a travel website created for New Yorkers to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, whether it be for a daytrip, weekend, or one of their destination trips like roadtripping through the Southwest. In every place they visit, Erin and Denny photograph and write about the best lodging, dining, drinking and outdoor stuff to get into–whether it be a swimming hole or a great hike. They're on the road roughly four days a week but call Brooklyn their home.