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North Adams

Photo of North Adams

About North Adams

Tucked in the north-west corner of the Berkshires, a rural area of forested hills, North Adams has the twin distinctions of being the smallest city in Massachusetts and the site of the largest art gallery in the United States. The joy of visiting the city is that you can get a lively dollop of culture as well as great gulps of fresh, country air. The city is particularly popular in autumn to catch the spectacular fall foliage so be aware that the best places to stay in North Adams can get snapped up.

It’s impossible to miss MASS MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art); it sprawls over 13 acres and 25 buildings of a former 19th-century cloth-printing-turned-electrical-works site. Many of its 19 galleries focus on conceptual art and installations but it is also a venue for theatre, documentary films and avant-garde dance performances.

Further modern art can be found in the MCLA Gallery and around Main Street where, each summer, DSA (Downstreet Arts) put on a programme of visual and performing art. If you still thirst for art, take a trip to neighbouring Williamstown which has both the Williams College Museum of Art - with its stunning collection of American art, including Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer, plus excellent photography collection - and Clark Art Institute with notable Impressionist collection and contemporary American paintings.

Even if you’re not a great outdoors lover, you will be stunned by the Natural Bridge State Park which contains the only naturally formed white marble arch (and man-made white marble dam) in North America. The ‘bridge’, which spans the gorge of the Hudson Brook, is thought to be 550 million-year-old bedrock marble, carved into an arch by the force of glacial meltwater over 13,000 years ago.

Another fine walk - although you can also drive - is to the summit of the 3,491-foot Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts which gives 90-mile views across the Berkshire landscape.

If water is more your thing, Windsor Lake offers swimming, fishing, kayaking and canoeing opportunities plus, in the summer, weekly concerts where you can join the crowds sprawled on rugs with picnic hampers.

And don’t forget the fabulous fall foliage for which the best places to stay in North Adams make a superb base.

For local exploring

  • The 47 rooms at The Porches Inn have a contemporary-rustic style with tongue-and-groove panelling, patchwork-coloured rugs and a scattering of vintage furniture. The owner-managed inn is breakfast-only, but strolling distance to restaurants, plus there’s an outside pool and hot-tub.

Nothing here that suits you? Expand your search and check out all our Massachusetts recommendations, or contact a friendly guru for advice.

Best Hotels in North Adams

  • The Porches Inn 47 rooms from £97

    North Adams (Massachusetts)

    Contemporary boutique in former mill town offers outdoor pool, intimate B&B and a buzzy bar. Vibrant colours make up the contemporary rooms with fireplaces and private sitting rooms. Restaurants are nearby, as is the local history and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. A fabulous getaway.

    Sights nearby  -  Western Gateway Heritage State Park.
    Great walks  -  A stroll around Windsor Lake Park.
    Full of character
    Kayaking  -  Available locally.
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
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