These weekend train excursions between Lenox and Stockbridge (90 minutes round trip) or between Lenox and Lee (45 minutes) reveal a slice of the Berkshires that most vacationers never see. The full route follows the banks of the meandering Housatonic River almost half the distance, and passes the edge of a marble quarry. We get a lot of families with small boys who grew up, like me, with model trains or, these days, Thomas the Tank Engine, says board member Pieter Lips, who often serves as locomotive engineer. I went from model to full-size, he says. The rail history museum in the 1903 Lenox Station is open on the days of train excursions. A display in a restored railcar outside the museum tells the tale of those Berkshire estates known as cottages.
Willow Creek Road, off Housatonic Street, Lenox; 413-637-2210; berkshirescenicrailroad.org. Begins service Memorial Day weekend. Round trips Lenox to Stockbridge adults $15, seniors $14, ages 4-14 $8, or Lenox to Lee $9/$8/$5.