Active + Adventure

Great Summer Mountain Towns

by Sarah Tuff

North Adams, Massachusetts

The hills are alive with: Art

Get elevated: While the majesty of the Berkshires have always lured art and artists—from writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville to world-class symphonies at Tanglewood and famous productions at the Williamstown Theater Festival—nearby factory towns had once seemed exempt from the phenomena. That is, until the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, or MASS MoCA, sprung up eight years ago in North Adams. Today, it's the country's largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts, with 13 acres, 19 galleries, and 100,000 square feet of exhibition space. Even better, it's just north of the state's highest peak, 3,491-foot Mount Greylock. Summer sees the annual Bang on a Can festival—a collaboration of students and teachers in experimental music that's more elegant than its title suggests—as well as musicals and orchestra performances. And long-term gallery installations include the Technicolor textiles of Fransje Killaars. Stay at Porches, located on-site at MASS MoCA: The former row houses have been converted into slate- or wood-floored rooms and lofted suites infused with "retro-edgy, industrial granny chic" to host guests. Best of all, you won't have to look at a single canvas by Norman Rockwell.

Peak time: Late July for Bang on a Can; anytime for exhibitions

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
Tel: 413 662 2111

Porches
Tel: 413 664 0400
Doubles from $175

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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