There are approximately six miles of trails on the 190+ acre property of the Bidwell House Museum. Trails are generally easy to moderate, and the six miles of trails on the property can be combined to form loops from 1/2 mile to over 3 miles. They can be enjoyed free of charge for hiking, historic interpretation, passive recreation, nature viewing, cross country skiing, or snowshoeing.
In the fall of 2021, we opened about two miles of new trails, built by the Greenagers thanks to a grant from MassTrails. This includes a mile-long trail following Loom Brook along the west property boundary of the Bidwell House.
The property is open year-round during daylight hours.
A kiosk is located at the Museum parking lot with more information about the trails and additional interpretive trail guides. A short walk up the hill is the historic Bidwell House, the circa 1760s home of Reverend Adonijah Bidwell, the first minister to Township No. 1 (Tyringham & Monterey) from 1750-1784. Feel free to stroll around the flower gardens, herb garden, and heritage vegetable garden.
Trails originate at several locations around the house and grounds.
– Meeting House Trailhead – head south from the kiosk at the parking lot.
– Royal Hemlock Trailhead – head north from the small kiosk at end of Art School Road, near the house.
– Turkeybush Trailhead – head north from the west side of the heritage vegetable garden.
A trail map can also be downloaded at your convenience here: BIDWELL HOUSE MUSEUM TRAIL MAP
Information about our Native American Interpretive Trail can be found HERE.
The Museum’s trail system also provides access to trails on the adjacent Berkshire Natural Resources Council Hudson-Howard Reserve. From the Museum’s parking lot, follow the Royal Hemlock Trail north about 1/2 mile.
Township No. 1 was chartered in 1737 by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony and settled by 64 families of “Proprietors” in the 1740s and ‘50s. Rev. Adonijah Bidwell was installed as the first Minister of Township No. 1 in October 1750 and given Lot 25 for his home. He built the Bidwell House and raised his four children here, serving as Minister for 34 years until his death in 1784. His son’s and grandson’s families lived here until 1853. The 192 acre museum property has several original Proprietors’ Lots, cellar holes, walls, and roads. (See map at left):
Lot #1: Site of First Meeting House—built during 1740s; used until 1790s
Lot #25: First Minister’s Home Lot (Rev. Adonijah Bidwell)
Lot #20: Reserved for Second Minister’s Home Lot
Lot #2: Original Lot reserved for the Mills, along Loom Brook. The Mill Lot was later relocated to the outlet of 12 Mile Pond (Lake Garfield) and the mills were built at what became Monterey Village.
The “Home Lots” of the 64 original proprietors were all located less than two miles from the Bidwell House.
The Old Boston-Albany Post Road bisects the Museum property. It was built to extend the King’s Highway from Blandford to connect to the colony’s settlements in Sheffield and “Indiantown” (Stockbridge). The Royal Hemlock Trail runs northerly over the ridge, down to Hop Brook valley. Settlers in the Hop Brook area (now Tyringham village) used this rugged and steep two mile road up the mountain to attend services at the Meeting House.
A loop trail is available for cross country skiing. From the parking lot, follow the Barn Loop and Three Wives Walk past the Heritage Garden and Trailhead. Loop connects through the north field trail to the Turkeybush Trail and Royal Hemlock Trail. Trail is not groomed.
The entire trail system is open for snowshoeing and winter hiking. Be aware that conditions can be icy or include deep snow and prepare accordingly. Also be aware that it’s always a little colder up here on the hill, and weather conditions can be more extreme than lower elevations.
The forests on the Bidwell House property are home to a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects. To learn more about some of the birds and how they benefit from the land and our forestry efforts (which you can learn more about HERE), scroll through the StoryMap to the right. You can explore not only our site but also other locations in the area.
In 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Mass Audubon, and the Massachusetts Woodlands Institute partnered to bring the Foresters for the Birds program to Massachusetts. Created originally by Audubon Vermont, the program provides technical and financial assistance for landowners to manage their forestland for birds and other wildlife. This StoryMap is a compilation of self-guided tours of habitat management projects on properties open for public access at locations distributed across Massachusetts. Each of these locations has a narrative for the walk to show participants silvicultural treatments of varying intensities/time frames and discussion of benefits to respective targeted bird species.
You can explore the StoryMap to the right, or click HERE to open in a new tab.