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The Berkshires region of Massachusetts is a truly magical place. With its spectacular scenery, a plethora of outdoor activities, and decidedly bohemian vibe, it feels a world away from the relatively close metropolitan spreads of Boston and New York City. Its main street is populated with art galleries, gourmet restaurants, breweries, and museums.
Once a major industrial center in eastern Massachusetts, North Adams became something a tourist hotspot in the early 20th century when the Mohawk Trail (the region’s first scenic road) opened. As the factories closed down and the economy took a turn though, the city reinvented itself, filling up with artists.
You won’t have any trouble finding a place to stay when you camp in an RV near North Adams either. The Clarksburg Campground, inside Clarksburg State Park, is less than a ten-minute drive from the city’s downtown area. There are no hookups for your RV rental at Clarksburg Campground, but it does offer showers and restrooms so you won’t be completely boondocking it. Getting an RV rental near Clarksburg Campground is less about amenities though and more about enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings. There are over nine miles of hiking trails inside the RV campground, so there’s no excuse for not spending time outside when you book an RV in Berkshire County.
Clarksburg Campground sits on the edge of the nearly 400-acre Clarksburg State Park. There are several miles of hiking trails within the forest, along with a small pond open for fishing and non-motorized boats (the closest kayak rental shop will be in Pittsfield). More importantly, Clarksburg State Park is the gateway to the Vermont Long Trail, a 273-mile trail following the Green Mountains between the state’s northern and southern borders. It’s also America’s oldest long-distance trail, predating the Appalachian Trail by several years.
If you’re a peak-bagging hiker, Massachusetts’s highest point, Mount Greylock, is just 20 minutes' drive away and just outside the town of North Adams when you get an RV rental near Clarksburg Campground. Hiking to the top only takes a few hours via its loop trail, and from its summit, you’ll have some amazing views of the surrounding five states. You’ll also find the nearly 100-foot-tall Veterans War Memorial Tower up there. Mount Greylock is part of the Appalachian Trail, so be sure to watch out for weary thru-hikers who might enjoy some company (or a snack from your pack).
For something a bit easier, head to Natural Bridges State Park to the northeast of North Adams. It gets its name from the spectacular (and completely natural) white marble bridge over Hudson Brook as it descends into a 60-foot-deep gorge. The trail to the bridge is very easy to hike in only a few minutes. However, there are some great picnic facilities to enjoy if you want to make a day of it.
The small towns of the Berkshire Mountains are perhaps the best part of any New England road trip. The surroundings are beautiful, the community lively, and with few exceptions, the crowds will be smaller than in large cities like Boston or NYC. North Adams is a fantastic example of the Berkshire’s quirky and beautiful culture.
The biggest attraction in North Adams is undoubtedly the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts (Mass MoCA), which brings in visitors from all around New England to see its peculiar exhibitions. Many of the pieces will take time to fully absorb, so budget a few hours to see the whole thing. You should also check out the museum’s schedule as concerts and get-togethers with musicians are a fairly common occurrence there.
The MoCA isn’t the only art installation to explore when you get an RV rental near North Adams either; there are also plenty of galleries filled with works from local artists along the town’s main street. There’s also the Berkshire Art Museum, housed inside an old church, with much of its space dedicated to the works of Eric Rudd, a North Adams resident who was a major contributor to the town’s cultural shift. When you get hungry, step inside one of several bistros and fine-dining establishments nearby; the food is definitely a cut above what you’d expect from a town so small.
For a non-art museum option, stop in at the North Adams Museum of History and Science. It’s a fairly small, locally-focused museum, but it’s loaded with beautiful pieces from North Adams' past – vintage dolls, train sets, and antique phones. It’s a great look back at classic New England and has several interactive exhibits to keep the kids’ hands busy.