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Pontoosuc Lake is in the heart of the Berkshires, straddling the border between the City of Pittsfield and the Town of Lanesborough in the Western region of Massachusetts Visitors have been flocking to the Berkshires since the 1800's, fleeing the dirt, noise, and heat of the city in favor of the area's gently rolling hills, lush state forests and clean, clear water. A vacation rental on Pontoosuc Lake is an ideal place to enjoy a Berkshires getaway.
Pontoosuc Lake is a popular recreation lake with heavy traffic on summer weekends. There are several public access points including a boat ramp on the Pittsfield side of the lake owned by the Public Access Board. The Lanesborough side of the lake has several access points for launching car top boats. Pontoosuc Lake covers 480 acres with a maximum depth of 35 feet and an average depth of 14 feet, attracting boaters, kayakers and water skiers.
Anglers can find exceptional fishing year round on Pontoosuc Lake. The lake is home to abundant populations of yellow perch, white perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed, black crappie and chain pickerel. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife stocks the lake with tiger muskies, and in the winter anglers drill their holes and set up shelters to ice fish, hoping to hook one of the huge tiger muskies from Pontoosuc Lake. Brown trout are also stocked in the lake as well as in some of the streams that feed the lake.
Pontoosuc Lake is drawn down three feet every fall to protect the lake and shore and prepare for spring runoff. The lake and dam were owned by Berkshire County. In 2000 when the county government was dissolved, however, ownership reverted to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Pontoosuc Lake Dam is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation which controls water levels on the lake. The Friends of Pontoosuc Lake, made up of citizens from Pittsfield and Lanesborough, works to monitor and protect the lake's water quality. Minor fish consumption advisories are in place for the lake, but in general the water quality is good.
The border between Pittsfield and Lanesborough runs through the center of Pontoosuc Lake. The City of Pittsfield was incorporated in 1861 and has any amenity a visitor might need including shops, restaurants and various accommodations. Lanesborough was one of the first towns to be settled in the area. It started out as Richfield and changed its name to honor the Countess of Lanesborough when it was incorporated in 1765. Visitors stroll the streets of the charming town, stopping to window shop or eat in one of the restaurants. Both the Pittsfield and Lanesborough sides of Pontoosuc Lake have waterfront vacation rentals as well as real estate available for sale.
It is a short drive from Pontoosuc Lake to the Pittsfield State Forest and well worth the trip. In the early summer the state forest's 65 acres of wild azaleas burst into pink flowers putting on a spectacular show. Over 30 miles of trails for hiking and biking wind through the forest allowing plenty of opportunities to explore. In the winter, bikes give way to snowmobiles and cross country skis. In Lanesborough, Balance Rock State Park showcases exactly what its name implies. Visitors can see the 30 foot long, 15 foot wide boulder, a remnant of the last ice age, perched precariously on top of a much smaller rock.
Pontoosuc Lake is an ideal home base for a Berkshires getaway. In addition to its natural beauty, the Berkshires are probably best known for their cultural opportunities. Long a favorite with artists and writers, the Berkshires are the summer home of the Boston Symphony, and concerts, dance performances and live theatre take place all summer long. Pontoosuc Lake and the Berkshires are an accessible destination, just two and a half hours from Boston and New York City. The cultural opportunities and natural beauty combine to make Pontoosuc Lake a fantastic spot for a western Massachusetts vacation.
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