There are so many great restaurants in the Berkshires for healthy family travel. This post highlights the best places for locavore food in the northern Berkshires.
One of the most beautiful landscapes in New England is nestled along the western edge of Massachusetts. The Berkshires are a popular countryside escape where rolling hills and farmland invite a slower pace of life. The region boasts world renowned cultural attractions, and it’s home to a wealth of outdoor activities. There’s something to enjoy during all four seasons of the year in the Berkshires.
And then there’s the food. With hundreds of farms in Berkshire county, visitors can’t help finding great locavore food during a trip to the region. I recently visited the northern part of the Berkshires with my family, and we were impressed from one town to the next by all the markets and restaurants that featured locally sourced food.
Restaurants in the Berkshires
Public Eat + Drink in North Adams is a casual brewpub that focuses on fresh, local ingredients and local beer. We had a delicious lunch here, and highlights included the chicken tacos, prosciutto fig arugula flatbread, and macaroni and cheese. When we asked if they had lemonade, our server said, “We don’t carry it, but we could make some for you if you’d like. We have lemons.” I didn’t make him go to the trouble, but what a great offer! I’m not used to that kind of service.
Gramercy Bistro is a small restaurant at MASS MoCA in North Adams. They serve an eclectic menu of locally sourced food, drawing from over a dozen local farms, brewing companies, and bakeries. Their seasonal lunch is a great option if you’re spending the day at MASS MoCA.
Hops and Vines in Williamstown is a brasserie-style restaurant that features locally sourced products, including several kinds of craft beer. I love that their menu has a “make your own salad” option where you select from a list of toppings. Brilliant! I haven’t seen that before.
Mezze Bistro in Williamstown offers a refined menu that’s constantly changing according to what’s in season. Mezze partners with nearly 75 different farms and local producers to highlight the best produce, meat, bread, and cheese of the Berkshires.
Marketplace Cafe in Pittsfield is just the kind of place we look for on vacation. Customers order food at the counter, and they can eat at the cafe or take their food to go. Everything on the wholesome menu is affordable and made from scratch. We got takeout here, and the Greek salad and veggie burger were especially good.
Eat on North in Pittsfield is the casual restaurant at the new Hotel on North. Nearly everything they serve comes from Massachusetts, Vermont, or the Hudson Valley. The menu has a wide variety of options, so this is a great place to eat if your group can’t agree on what to have for dinner.
District Kitchen & Bar in Pittsfield is the sister restaurant to North Adams’ Public Eat + Drink. This gastropub highlights the food and agriculture of the Berkshires. The menu is divided into “smalls,” “mids,” and “bigs,” so you can order according to your appetite.
Haven Cafe in Lenox is a counter service restaurant serving a variety of sandwiches, salads, and hot meals. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch here, and everyone in my family was happy with their meals. The curry chicken salad was especially good, and you’ll have a hard time resisting their dessert case.
Alta Restaurant and Wine Bar in Lenox is the top-rated restaurant in the Berkshires on Trip Advisor. Its commitment to local and organic ingredients is a big part of its success. The menu features many different sandwiches and salads at lunch, with a bigger list of entrees served at dinnertime. Alta’s sister restaurant, Church Street Cafe, is another great option in Lenox.
Markets and Farms
Wild Oats Market is a co-op in Williamstown. You can stop here to pick up prepared food, deli items, or local produce for a picnic in the area.
Berkshire Organics in Dalton is another market specializing in local and organic food. Naturally Catering and Take-Out is attached to this market, giving shoppers lots of take-out options for an affordable, healthy meal.
Lenox Natural Foods is a small natural grocer located in downtown Lenox. This is a good spot to pick up a piece of fruit for an afternoon snack, and you can also stock up on healthy groceries while you’re here.
Farmers Markets and farm stands are all around the Berkshires during the warm weather months. You can visit one of a dozen farmers markets at lunchtime for a unique meal and a taste of the local community vibe.
Cricket Creek Farm is a grass-based dairy farm that specializes in cheese. They’re very welcoming to visitors, and we stopped by one afternoon while new piglets were being born. I’ve never seen piglets so small! We sample cheese made from the raw milk of Cricket Creek’s grass-fed cows, and it was incredibly flavorful. You’ll see this cheese at markets throughout the region.
Berkshires Between Meals
The Berkshires are well-known for the many cultural attractions throughout the region. Tanglewood is perhaps the most famous, as people from all over come to enjoy the music of the Boston Pops Orchestra here during the summer. Jacob’s Pillow is a world class dance stage, featuring dancers performing on an outdoor stage surrounded by a breathtaking view.
The region also boasts a wide variety of museums and historic sites. The Norman Rockwell Museum is a popular destination, as well as the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown. We enjoyed a visit to MASS MoCA, a contemporary art museum housed in an old factory building. We loved the boiler house, a relic from the industrial past with a great view of the surrounding landscape.
The natural beauty of the Berkshires is impossible to miss. Hiking, biking, and camping are popular activities in the summer, as well as many water activities. In the winter, recreational pursuits turn to the hills with several ski mountains throughout the area.
My family enjoyed the summer version of Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort. Their two adventure parks include an aerial obstacle course, ziplining, an alpine slide, and a mountain coaster. This is such a fun place to spend the day. The hotel is comfortable and affordable, and the two-room suites are a great size for family travel. You can’t beat the location of the lodge right at the foot of the mountain.
Here’s a video highlighting some of my favorite places in the northern part of the Berkshires:
Fall Events in the Berkshires
The Berkshires.org website is a great planning tool for a vacation to the region, and it highlights many of the activities going on throughout the year. There’s something special about each season in the Berkshires, but autumn is arguably the most beautiful as the foliage brightens the landscape.
Have you been to the Berkshires? My family will be returning for a winter visit this year, so I’d love to know your favorite restaurants in the area! Please share in the comments.