Massachusetts walking tour to sweep Berkshire County with community hikes and concerts starting Friday
Mark Mandeville is co-founder of the Massachusetts Walking Tour.
“Since 2010 we have been running free community concert series, and have begun working with land trust organizations and trail keepers to also offer daily public hikes along our selected route,” he said. told WAMC.
Previous routes have included the Midstate Trail, New England National Scenic Trail, and Bay Circuit Trail through suburban Boston. This summer the tour runs exclusively through the Berkshires on one of the country’s most popular routes.
“We did a lot of hiking across Massachusetts,” Mandeville said. “And for our 11th edition, we decided to visit towns along the Appalachian Trail. It doesn’t really need to be educated, I guess, for one thing, because it’s such a famous trail. But on the other hand, there are communities that are adjacent to the AT, the AT runs through those towns in the Berkshires, and a lot of those towns would like to become official AT communities, and a lot of them are. We have just decided that we might as well take on the hardest trek yet for us which is the AT trek And we are very excited to visit some of these towns like Sheffield and Egremont and Cheshire and Dalton up to North Adams, that’s where we’ll end up.
Mandeville co-founded the Massachusetts Walking Tour with his partner and wife Raianne Richards.
“In 2010, gasoline prices were almost as high as they are now,” he explained. “And actually, if you look at inflation, they were actually higher back then. And a group in our music community was trying to find ways to tour that didn’t use cars or vehicles. So we were inspired by an artist friend of ours, Christopher Bell, who had done a series of gigs along the Hudson River, and he canoed at every gig.
Funding for the fossil fuel-free musical series comes from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and private donors.
“Our troop will begin our hike in Connecticut, marching to Sheffield along the Appalachian Trail. Each day’s walks are described directly on masswalking tour.org, as well as each of the 10 concerts we will perform from Sheffield to North Adams. Thus, between June 17 and 26, we will give 10 community concerts in a row each evening. And each concert will be preceded by a daily walk where people can join us.
While the hike showcases the natural beauty of Massachusetts, the musical component of the tour draws inspiration from the rich folk traditions around travel.
“We have put together a program that emphasizes the themes of walking and community,” Mandeville said. “This year, overcoming difficult times and perseverance. And we pick songs that are, you know, folk tunes, or old, traditional songs, bluegrass tunes, and we put together kind of a – I guess you’d call it a house or skiffle set with little instruments that we are going to hike with.
But will the tour include music from the Grateful Dead – an American institution as venerable as the AT and no stranger to songs of travel, hardship and the desire to keep rolling?
“We sometimes compare ourselves to the Grateful Dead in a particular way,” laughed Mandeville. “Over the years we have accumulated a lot of followers and people who look forward to the Mass Walking Tour as a way to visit parts of the country say they haven’t. So we have people who look forward to us. follow everywhere. They’ll find campsites nearby, they’ll follow us, walk with us, and come to every gig. But as far as Grateful Dead tunes go, I don’t think we’re playing one – Although we’re going to perform one song brought to us by a guy named Ed Trickett, who recently passed away, he performed the 1800s song called “Gently Down The Stream Of Time”, which sounds suspiciously like “Ripple”.
Here is the full breakdown of the Massachusetts Walking Tour Berkshire County Summer 2022 Tour:
CONCERT: Friday, June 17, 2022
First Congregational Church of Sheffield (former parish church)
125 Main Street, Sheffield, MA 01257
Sponsored by Sheffield Cultural Council
LOCALS: Maggie McRae, Peter Lehndorff and Susan Hill (Soupeater), David Reed
HIKING: Departure at 8am. 8 miles of trail. 3.5 route on foot to the MWT location. Part of this hike is considered strenuous and has beautiful views and waterfalls.
Begin: Mt Frissell / Northwest Camp trailhead. End: Rt 41 Race Brook Falls parking area.
CONCERT: Saturday June 18, 2022
April Hill Education and Conservation Center
62 Undermountain Road. South Egremont, MA 01258
Sponsored by the Alford-Egremont Cultural Council
LOCALS: Graham and Barbara Dean
HIKE: Departs Guilder Pond TH at 10am. 4.8 miles of trail. The end point is on the site. This hike is rated as moderate but has a difficult and very steep descent at the end.
Begin: Guilder Pond Trailhead Mt Everett Reservation. End: April Hill (Greenagers)
CONCERT: Sunday, June 19, 2022
Mason Library Kindergarten
(behind the library, entrance on Pleasant Street)
231 Main Street Great Barrington, MA 01230
Sponsored by GBCC and Great Barrington Libraries
LOCALS: Dan Blakeslee (the one and only MWT poster artist!!!)
HIKING: Departure at 8am. 6.5 miles of trail. 3.4 Route on foot to the place of the MWT. This hike is rated as easy and is generally flat until the climb past Kellogg Rd. Plenty of opportunities for other participants to join or leave the hike at various road junctions. Buggy section at the end.
Begin: April Hill (Greenagers) End: Home Road, Great Barrington MA
CONCERT: Monday, June 20, 2022
Tyringham Union Church
128 Main Road, Tyringham, MA 01264
Sponsored by the Tyringham Cultural Council
LOCALS: Lynn Bertelli, Cameron Sutphin
HIKING: Departure at 8am. 11 miles of trail. 0.8 route on foot to the site. Moderate climbs, but lots of relatively flat and smooth trails with plenty of opportunities for other participants to join or leave the hike at various crossings.
Begin: Rt 23 AT Parking Lot, Monterrey, MA End: End at Jerusalem Rd
CONCERT: Tuesday, June 21, 2022
100 Main Street Lee, MA 01238
Sponsored by the Lee Cultural Council and the Lee Library Association
LOCALS: Dan and Faith Bubbles Uke and Hoop
HIKE: Departure at 8 a.m. 8.9 miles of trail. 5.3 route on foot to the site. Moderate to easy trail. The cabin is a nice stopping place, porch, caretaker, dock and swimming pond.
Begin: 176 Main Road, Tyringham End: Parking lot Rt 20 2120 Cape St, Lee
CONCERT: Wednesday, June 22, 2022
old town hall
About. 452 Pittsfield Road Washington, Massachusetts
Sponsored by a grant from the Washington Cultural Council
LOCALS: Carol Lew (historical storyteller), Annie Guthrie
HIKE: Departure at 9 a.m. 7.8 miles of trail. Approx 1 mile walk to site. Moderate to easy trail. Fairly flat after the initial ascent and descent.
Begin: Parking Rt 20 2120 Cape St, Lee. End: AT Trail Crossing at West Branch Rd. Parking available at Town Common on (approx 1 mile from trail junction) West Branch Road / Pittsfield Road. More parking at Blueberry Hill a short distance from Pittsfield/Washington Mountain Road.
CONCERT: Thursday, June 23, 2022
63 Flansburg Ave, Dalton, MA 01226
Sponsored by the Dalton Cultural Council
LOCATIONS: Wintergreen Trio, Berkshire Natural Resources Council
HIKE: Departure at 8 a.m. 10.5 miles of trail. 0.5 route on foot from the place. Moderate to easy trail. Fairly flat other than an easy climb to Warner Hill.
Begin: Blueberry Hill AT Parking 47 Washington Mtn Rd, Washington End: Curtis Avenue/Pine Grove Park Dalton
CONCERT: Friday, June 24, 2022
Camping Father Tom
6 Main Street Cheshire, MA 01225
City of Cheshire 3rd Annual Appalachian Trail Community Celebration
and dedication ceremony of the Father Tom campsite
Sponsored by the North Berkshire Cultural Council
LOCALS: Mary Lou Burdick (poet), Steve Mole
HIKE: Departure at 8 a.m. 7.3 miles of trail. Arrival on site. Moderate uphill/downhill. Lovely view at Cheshire Cobble
Begin: Gulf Rd AT Parking, 71 Gulf Rd, Dalton MA End: Father Tom Campground Railroad St, Cheshire MA
CONCERT: Saturday June 25, 2022 (5 p.m. concert)
Mount Greylock State Reserve
off rt. 7 Lanesboro MA 01247
Sponsored by the North Berkshire Cultural Council
LOCATIONS: Fox and the Dragon, Eyes of Age,
HIKING: Departure at 8am. 8.3 miles of trail. Arrival at the place. The day is pretty much a constant climb of different inclines. Participants could join or leave the hike at Outlook Ave.
Begin: Father Tom Campground Railroad St, Cheshire MA End: Bascom Lodge Mt Greylock Summit (parking fee)
CONCERT: Sunday, June 26, 2022
First Congregational Church of North Adams
134 Main St. North Adams, MA 01247
Sponsored by the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire and the First Congregational Church of North Adams
LOCALS: Adela & Jude, Stevens Family Band, Robin Sears of Williamstown Rural Lands Trust
HIKING: Departure at 8am. 6.3 miles of trail. 2.7 route on foot to site. The day starts off relatively flat on an at times rocky trail, then drops steeply down Mt Prospect. The day ends on Phelps Ave at the junction with Route 2. Participants can join/leave the hike at Notch Rd
Begin: Bascom Lodge Mt Greylock Summit (parking fee) End: Phelps Ave/Rt 2 intersection AT parking lot