Local Information About
The Southern Berkshires
There are nine towns in The Southern Berkshires. They are governed by a Board of Selectmen and open meetings are held year-round. Several have public libraries in historic buildings. Each town has a voluntary fire department with first responders for emergency calls. In an emergency, dial 911.
Settled in 1756, Alford was a farming community originally part of Great Barrington. The village retains a look and feel of another century. Main Street has a beautiful historic church, town hall and a one-room schoolhouse. There are many farms and fishing holes along the Alford Brook, one of the best fishing streams in the region.
Settled by the Dutch in 1722, North and South Egremont are two beautiful and distinct villages that share a common government. They have worked hard since the 1930s to maintain the historic gentility and quiet country atmosphere.
Founded in 1766, Great Barrington is the Southern Berkshires’ largest town. The town is the site of many firsts: Main Street was the first in the U.S. to have electric lights; the site of the first armed resistance against the British, two years before the Revolutionary War; and the site of the first freed slave. Stroll along the tree-lined streets of downtown with it's mid-19th century charm and find galleries, culture, fine restaurants, boutiques and historic sites and landmarks. The town also includes the village of Housatonic to the north, a former thriving mill town that is now home to many unique art galleries and other creative businesses and its own public library.
Established in 1735 as “Green Woods”, Monterey was part of the original settlement of Tyringham and was founded to help develop a wilderness trail. In 1847, southern Tyringham became Monterey. Originally an industrial center with factories, mills and a thriving fur industry, Monterey became a summer resort town and today has a creative, independent, artistic flair.
Dating back to 1692, Mount Washington is mostly state forest that includes Bash Bish Falls and some of the most spectacular views of three states from the summit of Everett, which is crossed by the Appalachian Trail. Today Mount Washington is prized for its privacy and wild beauty.
A series of hills and valleys lying between the Housatonic Valley and the Farmington Valley, New Marlborough prospered from its cider and gristmills, paper mills, limekiln and box factory along the Konkapot River, in the 19th century. The town comprises five villages – Clayton, Hartsville, Mill River, New Marlborough and Southfield with their historic village centers, rolling landscapes, stone walls and picturesque farms.
The largest recreational body of water in Massachusetts is the Otis Reservoir and the nearby Farmington River offers fine trout fishing. Otis was formed from combining two 18th century settlements, Loudon and Bethlehem, and in the 19th century was busy with various mills, lumbering and a pig iron forge. Today tourists are drawn to the area to enjoy boating, swimming and fishing. The Post Office still uses the original bronze post boxes of the 19th century.
Settled in 1736, Sandisfield was a bustling town as part of the Hartford to Albany stage line. In the 19th century, it had many small factories, produced cheese and was the largest exporter of maple syrup in the state. It is rural, densely forested, and a favorite of summer residents and visitors.
Settled in 1725, Sheffield developed rapidly, giving rise to gristmills, sawmills, plaster and paper mills, forges, tanneries, smithies, lime kilns and shops for making clothing, furniture, wagons and harnesses. Today it is the leading agricultural town in the county with large, beautiful dairy and poultry farms. Sheffield also includes the village of Ashley Falls and a marble quarry.