Have Fun on the Open Water!

We have a special article for you by guest blogger Melissa Holstein. As you sit in front of your warm fire with the snow falling outside this holiday season, let this article help you to dream up your perfect spring/summer vacation…

The Gateways Inn is located 130 miles from the nearest coastal city, so many guests to our cozy lodgings are often surprised that there are so many opportunities for having fun out on the water in and around Lenox and the Berkshires. Within easy driving distance from the Inn, visitors will find all manner of activities taking place along the Housatonic River, Onota Lake, the Stockbridge Bowl, and Laurel Lake, right next to the beautiful Lenox Town Beach. If you want the feeling of being at the coast without having to make the journey, the Gateway Inn is the perfect base to explore the stunning rivers and lakes throughout the Berkshires, and it’s the ideal place for families to enjoy water-based activities together.

Onota Lake

Onota Lake is located just a 20 minute drive north of Lenox, and this is the place to be if you want to enjoy a relaxing boat trip with your nearest and dearest. The Onota Boat Livery offers hourly or daily boat rentals which mean you can simply chill out as a family, enjoying the calm, serene atmosphere of the Berkshires and taking in the 617 acres of stunning scenery, or you could even try your hand at fishing, seeing how many of the lake’s pike, bass, and trout you can catch. You may even catch a biggun – the salmon here can weigh over 10 pounds! This is a popular place for families to visit as it’s remarkably safe. The lake is quite shallow, and visibility is good at around 17 feet. Even so, the boat livery does sell floats for children, and life vests for the whole family.

Housatonic River

For an activity that’s even more relaxing, why not book a canoe trip down the Housatonic River? We’re just 3 miles from the nearest point of the river at the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, and Berkshire Canoe Tours has everything you need to set off on your own adventure. Whether you’re an experienced canoeist or couldn’t tell a kayak from a keelboat, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience on the river, taking in the wide array of flora and fauna including domed sycamores, feathery ferns, busy beavers, and the cackling Canadian geese. All safety equipment and instruction is provided, so canoe trips are even safe for the little ones, who will love spotting all the wildlife nestled on the shore. Draw up a rough guide before you go so the kids know what they’re looking out for.

Lenox Town Beach

Want to feel like you’re in the Caribbean? No problem! Just head to the Lenox Town Beach on a sunny day and you won’t quite believe you’re in Massachusetts! The sandy beach is the perfect place for families to spend the day, but be sure to take swimsuits, sunscreen, and a hearty picnic! Lifeguards are present here during the day, so it’s safe and indeed encouraged to get out and take a dip in Laurel Lake. The beach is located about 2.5 miles south of Lenox, and it’s perhaps the most happening place to be when the weather is nice. The atmosphere is unlike anything else in the state, and there’s always something going on, ranging from watersports and fishing to parties and beach barbecues.

Stockbridge Bowl

Also known as Lake Mahkeenac, Stockbridge Bowl is another lake that is just begging to be swum in. At around 50 feet, it’s a bit deeper than other swimming holes in the area, and boats are permitted on some sections, so for safety it’s best to stick to the Town Beach area to the south. This place is a locals favorite, and somewhat of a hidden gem in the Berkshires. It’s especially popular due to its numerous picnic tables for sitting and enjoying some well-earned refreshments, and for the nearby dock that kids love to jump off. It’s a great, all-round family destination that you must visit while you’re in the area.

Lenox: Home to Much More than Museums

Let’s not deny it, Lenox is home to lots of museums – perhaps more than there should be in such a small town – but that’s far from all it is. The town right values its proud history and sites of interest and justifiably so, as it has been a travel destination for some one hundred and fifty years (and counting!) The Gateways Inn itself has been in existence since 1937, and of course, prior to that it was the Summer home of one Harley Proctor, of Proctor and Gamble fame. There’s lots more to Lenox than initially meets the eye (who knew there were so many watersports opportunities nearby?), but you’ll only discover everything Lenox has to offer if you come and visit! What are you waiting for?