|Berkshire County Historical Society Annual Hike |
|07:46AM / Friday, July 16, 2021|
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire County Historical Society will celebrate Herman Melville's birthday Aug. 1 with a hike on Monument Mountain in Great Barrington at 9 am.
The hike takes approximately 2 ½ hours and is appropriate for families. Hikers should meet at the Monument Mountain Reservation Parking lot on Route 7 and should be prepared with their own water, proper footwear, hiking gear and bug repellent.
The hike commemorates the Aug. 5, 1850, first meeting of Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne. At the time, Melville was working on his greatest novel, Moby-Dick, while Hawthorne was a literary sensation having just published The Scarlett Letter. The hike was attended by several friends and acquaintances, including Melville, Hawthorne, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
As they started climbing, one guest noted everyone was "rambling, scrambling, climbing, rhyming – puns flying off in every direction like sparks among the bushes." A passing storm had the group taking cover in a cave, while Melville demonstrated how to pull in a sail in a storm at sea. When the group reached the summit, they read local poet William Cullen Bryant's Monument Mountain. The group applauded the poem and celebrated with champagne before making their way back down.
In 2021, hikers will read the poem and sip on sparkling cider.