Western Mass – Still the land before time

Western Massachusetts – Home of Tanglewood, Jacobs Pillow dance festival, endless miles of woodland, scenic lakes, mountains and the town of Otis. Founded in 1810, Otis, Mass was built up around the idea of community, the outdoors and the hills of Berkshire county. A visit here is sure to bring you beautiful sights, wonderful people, little to no cell phone reception and no high speed internet. It has captured the beauty of life and the lack of the new high tech society. Otis was also featured on the front page of the New York Times travel section in the article In the Berkshires: Turning back the clock. Below is a snippet for you to enjoy:

DURING a broadcast of “A Prairie Home Companion” from Tanglewood last summer, Garrison Keillor called the Berkshires a “beautiful place – New England towns where people come to enjoy a way of life that’s practically vanished.”

Mr. Keillor’s description perfectly captures Otis, Mass., just 20 miles from Tanglewood, which is in Lenox. Known for its lakes, modest tree-covered mountains, outdoor recreation and a slightly dated lifestyle, Otis does feel like the kind of place where Ozzie and Harriet or the Cleavers would have bought a second home decades ago.

One of Otis’s biggest draws, in terms of recreation and real estate, is the Otis Reservoir, referred to locally as “the lake.” It used to be that most cottages on the reservoir were summer homes, shuttered in winter. But increasingly, second-home owners have turned their cottages into year-round getaways, adding skiing (downhill and cross-country), snowmobiling, ice fishing and ice-skating to their menu of outdoor sports.

There are two general stores in East Otis, Katie’s Country Store and Hall’s General Store, across the street from each other. Hall’s has a working soda fountain, serving up ice cream and floats at the counter in summer. Katie’s is a rustic collection of sunken shelves heavy with groceries that serves as something of a town water cooler.

Otis is about 13 miles north of the Connecticut border, 140 miles from New York and 117 miles from Boston.

For this and many other articles, please visit The New York Times