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Ashmere Lake is a small, quiet lake tucked away in western Massachusetts. The 217-acre lake is surrounded by beautiful rural countryside in the towns of Hinsdale and Peru. Ashmere Lake offers easy accessibility to all of the Berkshires' attractions, making it the perfect home base for a Berkshire vacation.
Actually a manmade reservoir, Ashmere Lake was created in 1875 with a dam built by the Crane Paper Company. The earthen embankment dam is at the south end of the lake and extends 1,525 feet long by 32 feet high. In 1979 the dam and lake became the property of the state of Massachusetts, which still controls the lake today. The lake has a maximum depth of 23 feet and an average depth of eight feet and is divided into two basins by route 143. A commercial boat ramp on the southeastern side of the road provides lake access for a fee. Water skiing is permitted on Ashmere Lake. The culvert between the two basins is too narrow for most boat traffic, except canoes, kayaks, and car top boats.
Because of its shallow depth, Ashmere Lake is a warm water fishery. Anglers can expect to find chain pickerel, yellow perch, black crappie, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, white suckers and golden shiners. There are also some white perch and northern pike present in the lake. Anglers looking for the lake's abundant smallmouth bass population should try the deeper south basin. The shallow, weedy northern basin is a great place to try for one of Ashmere Lake's largemouth bass. In the past, water levels on the lake were drawn down in the winter to help limit aquatic vegetation, causing occasional fish kills. Ashmere Lake, however, still has large populations of fish and is considered a good bass lake.
Ashmere Lake is in Berkshire County, part of the area affectionately known as the Berkshires. The Mohican Indians were the Berkshires' original inhabitants with the first English settlers arriving in the early 1700's. By the 1800's wealthy city dwellers were building summer cottages and spending the season enjoying the clean air, rolling hills and beautiful water of the region. Today, the Berkshires may be best known for Tanglewood, which since 1937 has been the summer home of the Boston Symphony. There are many cultural opportunities in the Berkshires including concerts, galleries and museums. The region also offers a wide range of outdoor recreation including golf courses and trails for hiking and biking. The Appalachian Trail crosses the county, and in the winter there is skiing nearby.
With the solitude and charm of a rural setting, Ashmere Lake has everything a visitor could want from a country vacation. Adding to its charm, the lake is close to any amenity a guest might need. Settled in 1763 and incorporated in 1804, Hinsdale has shops, restaurants and a variety of accommodations. Lakefront vacation rentals dot the shoreline of Ashmere Lake, and there is real estate available for sale on the lake and in Hinsdale and Peru. The benefits of a small town getaway combined with easy accessibility make Ashmere Lake a fantastic Berkshires destination.
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