p1020379Winter Has Arrived

As evidenced by the snowflakes, shopping sales and Christmas lights, winter
has pretty much arrived.

While the thought of gray days setting in might not be the cheeriest one, seeing someplace new is a reliably good way to break those days up. In western Massachusetts, the Berkshires are best known for incredible fall foliage, but winter sports, museums and a few special events combine to make the region an attractive winter destination as well.

For your trip planning, here are some reasons to visit the Berkshires during the next few months.

1. Skiing & Snowboarding

Home to half of Massachusetts’ 12 ski areas, the Berkshires are a haven for snow bunnies during the winter months. Powder production has already started at several of the larger resorts, and will no doubt soon pick up at the others, giving skiers and snowboarders plenty to choose from for some time on the slopes. When it comes to picking the mountain, lodge and sorting out the rest of the details, you can do all that in one place.

Looking for Skiing conditions:

Berkshire East Ski Area

Bousquet Ski Resort

Catamount Ski Area

Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort

2. Snowshoeing

f you want to try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, guests staying at the family-friendly Cranwell Resort (where midweek rates start at $157) can rent gear from the pro shop and hit six miles of groomed trails on the property. The main requirement for these sports is warm clothing and determination; even my 2-year-old is able to snowshoe. Or head to Hilltop Orchards to rent equipment and explore three and a half miles of trails around the orchards and winery. After working up a sweat, go inside to warm up beside the fire in the barrel room , listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival on the loudspeaker, and nibble on a cider doughnut. Hilltop also offers a guided full moon snowshoe tour and a bonfire experience.

3. Arts and Culture

Even in January, cultural life here thrives, at museums, theaters and music halls. World-class attractions like Mass MoCA, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the Colonial Theater,  Shakespeare & Company, and Ventfort Hall all await.