Bordering New York State and Vermont at the trail’s farthest point west is Williamstown, home to Williams College which has an attractive campus of green lawns and architecturally stunning buildings. A major attraction in this town is the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (or simply “The Clark”). This museum has outstanding collections of French Impressionists, Old Masters and American paintings. The Williams College Museum of Art has a collection of works spanning the history of art but emphasizes modern and contemporary art, American art and the art of world cultures.
Summer in Williamstown boasts the Tony Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival that presents classic and new works on the stages of the ’62 Center on the Williams College Campus.
If you are in town on a Sunday morning, the best place to brunch is at The Williams Inn. Everyone in your party will find something delectable in their extravagant buffet.
Heading east, you will next encounter North Adams, and the world-famous Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art or MASS MoCA. Housed in a restored 19th Century factory, the museum displays some of the provocative and evocative art of our time, with an emphasis on installations. Plus it has a schedule of performing art events all year.
If you are more into nature, The Appalachian Trail crosses the Mohawk Trail in North Adams and along with it, automobile access to Mt. Greylock. Both expeditions give you close contact with the natural beauty of the Berkshire Hills.
Continuing along Route 2 east you will climb the mountains, specifically The Hoosac Range, that separate the Hudson River Valley from the Connecticut River Valley. This isn’t a super highway so expect to encounter sharp curves like The Hairpin Turn, and steep inclines. Each breathtaking summit (and there are many) has a view worth stopping for but you’ll see plenty of scenery as the road, descending the mountain, is cupped in the forested hills and paralleled by a rocky river.
The topography flattens out and before you reach downtown Charlemont on the right is a memorial to the ancient Natives who traveled this road. Hail to the Sunrise is a beautiful sculpture honoring those who held sacred the daily miracle of sunrise and the bounteous beauty of green life filling up the valley walls. In downtown Charlemont is the restored Bissell Covered Bridge reached by a very short trip north up Route 8A which is near the Federated Church, the home of the Mohawk Trail Concerts Summer Festival of Chamber Music.
For a powerful adventure take a rafting trip down the Deerfield River with one of the touring companies in Charlemont: Crab Apple Whitewater and Zoar Outdoor. Or head for the treetops and take a zip line canopy tour also at Zoar Outdoor. By means of zip lines, sky bridges and rappels suspended in the trees you fly through the forest on a thrill ride.