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Atmosphere is everything to stoners, which is why we searched the area for the perfect sesh spots. Whether you’re looking for a high energy, a more chill vibe or something in between, the towns along western Massachusetts’ Route 7 offer quintessential New England any time of year. This summer brings out cultural crowds and by late September, the  leaf-peepers will out in force. So stop by the shop, stock up, and pay a visit to these hidden gems among the Berkshires.

HIGH ENERGY

Cannabis enhances hues and sounds, fosters inspiration and can bring out your inner explorer, so maybe taking in some arts is a good way to find inspiration. Feel free to ponder ideas in a museum or buy a sketchbook at one of the local art supply shops and have a go on your own.

Start at the The Clark with Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne exhibition, “Nature Transformed” (through Oct. 31). The expertly crafted sculpture and furniture morph natural objects into unexpected inventions and blur the boundaries between form and function. The artists transform nature through surreal combinations of flora and fauna, shifts of scale, and flights of fancy. Combining technical expertise with wild inventiveness, the Lalannes’ art celebrates the world in which we live…trippy. 

Next, head to James Turrell’s largest free-standing circular Skyspace — titled C.A.V.U. — at MASS MoCA. Measuring 40 feet wide by 40 feet high, this repurposed concrete water tank transforms into one of Turrell’s immersive light installations, carving out a small piece of the sky and framing it as a canvas with infinite depth. It’s a gesture towards the heavens. Look up…and lift off.

Don’t miss: The Rocks and Minerals Gallery at the Berkshire Museum. It’s a collection that includes polished stones, a real meteorite, and  fluorescent, glowing rocks.

For other arts…Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in Lenox provides a great place to picnic and get lost in music. 

Jacob’s Pillow, in Becket, is the nation’s leading (and its longest running) summer dance festival.  

Williamstown Theatre Festival is open and a great place to catch a play before it hits Broadway. We’re hearing good things about the world premiere of the musical Row (music/lyrics by Dawn Landes and inspired by A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure, the first women to row solo across the Atlantic). PS: Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow made her acting debut at the Williamstown Festival in 1981.

 

LIT LITERARY

For a different type of inspiration, the Berkshires were home to some of America’s literary giants of the 1900s. The biggest names are Henry Melville and Edith Wharton. 

First, wander the Melville Trail, a partnership with the Berkshire County Historical Society at Arrowhead, where he wrote Moby Dick. This trail is a great way to deepen your understanding of the author’s connection to place. While his travels provided stories, Melville sought quiet solitude in which to write. The rustic serenity of the hilly region, geologically part of the Appalachians, obviously did the trick.

The must-visit for any lover of American literature is The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home. The fully restored private residence includes Italian formal garden and ghost tours; outdoor yoga sessions (c/o Lenox Yoga every Tuesday until August 31); and live music. (Saxophonist George Brooks and pianist Utsav Lal are in residence and create music from the traditions of Indian classical music, American jazz, western classical and contemporary improvisation.)

If you’re a fan, pick up a copy Wharton’s Ethan Frome at The Bookstore in Lenox, get lit, and read her description of the Berkshire’s winter landscape in the page-turner about adultery set in a Lenox-inspired town. Or, The House of Mirth, which she wrote at the Mount. Books, often more mentally engaging than movies, can teleport you to a different world. A few hits on STRAIN should make the experience more vivid. 

Stay in the 1900s and head over to dinner at The Old Inn on the Green. As the nights get chillier, there are cozy fires in every room and candlelight dominates. Cannabis can enhance the atmosphere and the flavors of almost any dish. The lamb is divine! 

And if you’re just up for a gentle stroll or lazy day, take in the beach at Lake Mansfield in Great Barrington.

 

WHEN THE MUNCHIES HIT…AND THEY WILL

Our favorites include:

Pizza: Build your own pie from fresh ingredients and the best dough (a blend of Italian flours and natural fermentation yields a light and crispy crust with soft flavor) at Crust. PS: Next door Ayelada yogurt uses dairy, flavors and toppings from local farms and artisans. Seasonal flavors, too, such as peach and apricot. 

Another pizza option is The Prairie Whale, a pop up with a simple Margherita that is served in the restaurant’s stunning garden.

And if you’re craving pasta, you’ll swear you are in Italy at Trattoria Rustica. The wood burning stove delivers exceptional fare.

French Fries: We like ours lightly salted or with toasted garlic or parmesan and truffle oil from The Bistro Box.

Salad: Alta’s signature dish includes grilled peaches in season.

Cider donuts and biscuits: Whitney’s Farmstand

Coffee: Charge up at Fuel with a latte. Or try a beet latte if the spirit moves you!

Chocoholics: Chocolate Springs is a no brainer, but for the serious lover try the iced chocolate or mocha (not too sweet and comes optional homemade whipped cream on top).

Ice cream: High Lawn farms is made from local cream from local cows and the slow-churned butter, made in small batches, is full of the golden goodness. King Cone in Pittsfield provides a generous portion at 1950s prices.

 

Travel Trivia: 

  • Every U.S. dollar is printed on cotton-based paper from Crane and Company, a Berkshires producer that’s been the sole supplier to the Treasury since 1879.
  • North America’s earliest recorded reference to baseball appeared in a Pittsfield bylaw dated 1791.

How to smoke weed in public.

  1. Be discreet: This one-hitter pipe is the go-to
  2. Choose how you consume: edible, tincture or vape pen all produce different effects
  3. Master stealth: carry a portable ashtray or pouch that conceals smell

Remember:

  1. Fines for smoking in public can run you $250!
  2. Don’t puff and drive!
  3. Clean up after yourself!

 

About Our Editors:

Elana Frankel, chief growth officer at Medical Cannabis Mentor, is the founding editor in chief of Women and Weed magazine and author of the book Women and Weed (Simon and Schuster, 2020). Her byline has also appeared in The Cannigma and WSJ/OffDuty. Elana teaches yoga (200-hour and Lit Yoga trained) as well as meditation and breathwork. She is  a volunteer for the Oregon Cannabis Commission, health equity sub-committee and has worked in a dispensary, learning from soil to shelf. Elana has produced films with Cabin Creek Productions, was the creative director and SVP at One Kings Lane and has contributed to magazines such as Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Living, The New York Times Magazine and New York Magazine. 

Joe Dolce is the author of Brave New Weed: Adventures into the Uncharted World of Cannabis, which was published to critical acclaim in 2017 and hosts the Brave New Weed podcast, which boasts an international audience of industry experts, rabble rousers and anyone interested in high-minded conversations about the plant and culture surrounding it. He is also is the founder and CEO of the MedicalCannabisMentor.com online education platform, with courses for healthcare practitioners, dispensary personnel and patients.