Route 8, US-20, and the Mass Turnpike all cross the Appalachian Trail at Greenwater Pond, east of Lee, but a much more scenic stretch of the trail can be accessed south of here in the village of Tyringham (pop. 327). Site of a Shaker community in the 1800s, and later a popular artist colony, this small hamlet is situated in a delightfully rural landscape of small farms and rolling pastures. The main sight here is an odd one: Santarella (413/243-2819), the hand-hewn home and studio of British sculptor Henry Kitson, whose many works include the Pilgrim Maiden monument at Plymouth and the Minuteman at Lexington Green. His house is a place where Bilbo Baggins of The Hobbit would feel at home, with its sculpted rocks, twisting beams, and organic-looking pseudo-thatched roof. Although it’s not open for tours, you can stay overnight at its cottages. It is also available for events.

South of Santarella, beyond the ever-quaint center of Tyringham, a signed parking area, which you can follow on a short (three miles round-trip) hike through fields of wildflowers up through Tyringham Cobble to a ridge giving a good view over this pastoral valley, which feels far more remote than it really is.

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