RICHMOND — New England ski resorts are always lamenting that no matter how much snow cover they have, business doesn’t pick up until Bostonians can look out their windows and see snow. Not us. We’d gladly forgo snow in the city in favor of driving out of town to visit snow, then returning to unobstructed on-street parking. Plenty of good snow escapes lie within a three-hour drive, and when the Christmas week storm dumped a fluffy load on the Berkshires, we tossed our snowshoes and poles into the hatchback and lit out for Hilltop Orchards.
The orchard operation is part of a 200-acre farm that also includes Furnace Brook Winery and Hilltop Nordic Center, home base for 4 miles of groomed trails through the orchard and woods. From a visitor’s perspective, the three businesses are all one place, located in a modern building at the top of a steep driveway. (Park at the base if there’s fresh snow on the road and you don’t have four-wheel-drive.) It makes the perfect one-day getaway of the type we think of as Snowshoe Plus: some moderately strenuous activity with a reward at the end of the day.