Main content

Two Iconic Berkshire Properties Conserved

Posted Monday, January 3, 2022

Ice House Hill Farm in Richmond and Bidwell House in Monterey are fully protected.

When Jeff Belair was first out of college and working in Boston, he’d come home to Pittsfield after an exhausting workweek just to climb to the top of Ice House Hill for some peace and solace.

“Ice House Hill has always been incredibly important to me,” said Belair, BNRC’s board treasurer. “I grew up going there with my friends— we’d sit there looking out at the view and talk about everything. I proposed to my wife there; we still treasure it as one of the most beautiful spots, not just in the Berkshires, but anywhere. I’m so thrilled that the landowners and BNRC have protected it forever. It’s so Berkshire.”

The 130-acre Farm at Ice House Hill, with its herd of Hereford cattle, diverse bird and animal life, and timeless views, is one of several iconic properties placed into the Massachusetts Conservation Restriction program this year, with well over 2,000 additional acres currently in the works through the efforts of BNRC’s conservation team and local partners.

Another beloved landmark that is now forever protected is the property surrounding the Bidwell House Museum in Monterey. Thanks to the generosity of Joyce and Lew Scheffey—who endowed a fund that made it possible to purchase the conservation restriction (with the funds going to Bidwell House)—this project supports the museum’s historical and cultural offerings, and ensures public access to over six miles of trails that are open year-round, free of charge.

Bidwell House is an important historical site in the southern Berkshires. In addition to Rev. Adonijah Bidwell’s 1760s home, the acres of forests and fields around the house contain the remains of important historical sites. These include cellar holes from the home of the early residents of Tyringham (which later split to become Monterey); the site of the original Meetinghouse where Reverend Bidwell preached his sermons; the remains of the Boston-Albany Post Road; and many more relics.

Learn more about conserving your land