The Berkshires come to life in the summer and there’s no better way to enjoy summertime than to get outside. The flowers are blooming and the birds are singing in celebration. The Berkshire mountain range and Housatonic River offer endless opportunities for spending time outside. Here are some of our favorite outdoor Berkshires activities for hikers, paddlers and pedalers:
Hike to some of New England’s best waterfalls
The northwest corner of Connecticut is home to three of the state’s best waterfalls. Just minutes away from the Manor House Inn, these lovely waterfalls can be reached by short hiking trails. We’d be happy to pack a picnic for you to take along with you.
Spring is the best time to catch this 60 foot drop of the Housatonic River located in nearby Falls Village. The rest of the year, a dam diverts the river for power generation and the falls slow to a trickle except during occasional dam releases. It’s still a pretty view though! The main viewing platform is just a short walk from the parking area. Read on to see how you can view the Great Falls during a day hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Reed Brook in Canaan creates this beautiful 50-foot fantail waterfall. The trail to the falls is approximately ½ mile and will take 15-20 minutes.
One of Norfolk’s best secrets, Campbell Falls is just a few miles from the inn. The 50 foot drop of the Whiting River is actually just over the MA border in New Marlborough but the trailhead is in Campbell Falls State Park in Norfolk. Hike down to the falls on a short gently-sloped fern covered trail.
The waters of the Housatonic River provide excellent whitewater and flatwater canoeing and kayaking. Gentler currents found north of Great Falls dam in Falls Village and down through West Cornwall and Kent are perfect for flatwater paddling. You’ll be in for a treat as you paddle past picturesque meadows and farms along the way. For expert paddlers, Rattlesnake Rapids in Falls Village and Bull’s Bridge in Kent offer challenging whitewater runs.
The first three sections (sections J, K and L) in the Paddling Guide to the Housatonic River in CT go through the northwest corner of Connecticut from Ashley Falls, MA to Kent, CT and offer all types of paddling conditions. The upper portion offers mostly flatwater and the Sections K and L are mostly Class III and IV rapids in the spring.
Bring your own or rent a kayak or canoe in nearby West Cornwall. And if you’re really looking for adventure, you can explore the Housatonic rapids on a guided rafting trip.
The Appalachian Trail (AT) travels 52 miles in Connecticut and 91 miles in nearby Massachusetts. The AT follows the Berkshire mountain ridge to the west of the Housatonic River across the northwest corner of Connecticut and continues through western Massachusetts to Vermont. The longest riverfront section of the 2,100 mile AT is located along the Housatonic River near Sharon, CT. And in Massachusetts, the AT crosses Mt. Greylock, the highest point in the state.
Consider taking one of the nearby Appalachian Trail day hikes in CT or MA recommended by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The hikes range from 1 to 5+ miles so you can hike for ½ day or for less than an hour. If you have a couple of hours, consider taking the River Trail hike past Great Falls and then walk down to the Falls Village Inn for lunch. Or, if you’re planning a longer hike, bring a picnic lunch and spend the day exploring.
Avid cyclists will tell you there’s no better way to see the world up close. The Housatonic River Valley has become a popular destination for cyclists, with its scenic views and quaint villages. Cycling routes are quite accessible, even for those who don’t ride often, and offer memorable views of the rolling hills, waterfalls, covered bridges, horse farms and the luscious green countryside the area is known for. The 45-mile Housatonic Bike Trail is broken down into 10 segments and the maps make it easy to choose a ride based on length and terrain. Bring your own bike or rent one from one of the local bike shops.
We love helping our guests find activities to ensure they have a memorable stay at the Manor House Inn. Check out the Activities page on our website for other ideas or give us a call- we’re happy to share information about the fun and exciting area we call home.