Dogs Welcome at Kennedy Park in Pleasant Valley

Kennedy Park

When we were told that dogs weren’t permitted at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary we took our little rag muffin toy poodle to Kennedy Park instead. As much as we wanted to see the thriving beaver population at the Audubon, we needed to be in an area where hikers, skiers, dogs, mountain bikers and horses alike were welcome.

Mutti and I stowed away to Lenox, Massachusetts today for a few hours of walking the Berkshire Mountains. We parked at the West Dugway Road entrance, picked up a roughly-drawn map at the trail head and took off through the well groomed forest. We first passed a large round cistern and wondered what its purpose used to be.

Suddenly we were in good company. Out of the “Woolsey Woods” came two muscular white Great Pyrenees that sniffed little Renee with curiosity then went straight for a deep puddle to cool off. Soon a series of mastiffs, standard poodles and labs showed up. It was a parade of puppies that followed us straight up to a shiny new picnic area overlooking Stockbridge Bowl.

Kennedy Park

On the way there, old concrete foundations and stone footings labeled as ‘ruins’ got us curious for clues about what this area once was. Come to find out it was the location of the grand Hotel Aspinwall at the turn of the century. The hotel provided guests with unparalleled amenities from 1902 until it burned down in 1912, only ten years into greatness.

It’s no wonder that one of the trails we took was called Bridal Path – the hotel was a popular destination for wedding couples. But, due to rain and erosion Bridal Path was washed out in several spots. Mom and I bushwacked around the obstacles, up a steep incline we discovered was a ‘three diamond’ (a ski trail?) and onto a main artery.

Kennedy Park Overview

There are so many trails at Kennedy Park you’re sure to never repeat the same route twice, at least not for the first dozen times you visit.

Incorporated in 1767, Lenox is proud to shoulder 225 years of vacationing history among the social elite and industrial tycoons from the past. Not only did hotels like Aspinwall once reign supreme but dozens more during the “Berkshire Cottage” era of 1880-1920.

Return tomorrow when I blog about the venerable Ventfort Hall where the movie The Cider House Rules (1999) was filmed along with a short visit to the French country chateau The Wheatleigh.