Fifty Years of Rambling
In October 1965, The Beatles topped the charts with Yesterday. On NBC, I Dream of Jeannie had just started its first season. American ground troops were now fighting in Vietnam. In Adams, Mass., a group of creative and dedicated volunteers held the very first Greylock Ramble. The committee was called “Operation Wonderful Town” and was chaired by Bill Linscott, well known in Adams as both a businessman, but also as a champion Thunderbolt skier. Their idea was to hold an annual hike to the summit of Mount Greylock during the peak of the foliage season in order to attract visitors to the town.
Operation Wonderful Town’s idea is still working today. Since their time, there have only been two years when the Ramble was not held, making 2017 the 50th Greylock Ramble. The latest volunteer group to organize the annual Ramble is ProAdams, which also believes in the scenic and recreational assets of their town. In 2012, ProAdams expanded the activities for Columbus Day weekend by adding RambleFest, a popular outdoor festival on the Sunday before the Ramble.
This year’s activities start on the morning of Sunday, October 8 with the RambleFest Half Marathon & 8K on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail from Berkshire Mall to the Adams Visitor Center. The races are conducted by the Berkshire Running Center.
RambleFest starts at noon on October 8 at the Adams Visitor Center at 3 Hoosac Street. Admission is free for an afternoon full of live music, food, local craft beer, recreation and craft vendors and family fun. Music will be provided by Quarter Life Crisis and License to Groove. Kids’ activities are provided by the Adams Youth Center, including the popular pumpkin decorating. Henry the Juggler will be defying gravity. Craft beer from Bright Ideas of North Adams and Wandering Star of Pittsfield will be available. The Adams Historical Society will be giving historical tours of downtown Adams on a horse drawn trolley from Saratoga Horse and Carriage Company. “We’re really psyched about this year’s RambleFest,” said Andrea Berti, ProAdams’ events manager, “Thanks so much to our sponsors, Adams Community Bank, Adams Historical Society, ALADCO, Berkshire Gas and the Town of Adams, for all their support.”
The 50th Greylock Ramble runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Columbus Day, October 9. The official trail is the Cheshire Harbor Trail, which is the gentlest path to the summit. The round trip is about 6 miles with a vertical gain of 2,100 feet and takes four to five hours depending on your fitness. The trailhead is at the end of West Mountain Road in Adams. Parking is limited at the trailhead and hikers are encouraged to take the free shuttles that run from Adams Free Library at 92 Park Street. Although leashed pets are allowed on the hike, they are not allowed on the shuttles. Refreshments and souvenirs are sold at Bascom Lodge at the summit. ProAdams will have a table at Bascom Lodge where all hikers may receive a Certificate of Participation. The first 1,000 hikers to check in at the ProAdams table after 8 a.m. will receive a free commemorative 50th Greylock Ramble iron-on patch courtesy of the Town of Adams.
Fans of the Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling are encouraged to hike the Ramble in costume. They will also be able to sign the Ilvermorny Guest Registry for a chance to win prizes.
“ProAdams would like to thank the Massachusetts DCR, the Town of Adams, the Adams Fire Wardens and Adams Plumbing and Heating for their continued support and donations,” said Ray Gargan, ProAdams co-chair. “ProAdams is honored to be able to continue the vision of Bill Linscott and Operation Wonderful Town to promote Adams’ scenic and recreational opportunities to the world.”