Elizabeth Freeman was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. You can learn more about her extraordinary story at historic Ashley House near Bartholomew’s Cobble, just a half hour south of Applegate Inn.
Elizabeth Freeman (c. 1744 – 1829), also known as “Mumbet,” was born into slavery around 1744 in Claverack, New York. At the age of 7, she was sent to Sheffield, MA and the house of John Ashley, who had married her master’s daughter.
In 1780, Freeman heard a reading of the newly ratified Massachusetts Constitution. Its statement that “all men are born free and equal” inspired her to fight for her freedom. In 1781, a Great Barrington jury agreed with her, making her the first African-American woman set free under the Massachusetts Constitution.
With a motion picture on Freeman’s life under development, her relatively unknown story is about to get a lot more notice. Until that time, one of the best ways to learn about her is to visit the Ashley House in Sheffield, MA.
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The best antidote to a day of feasting is fresh air and exercise. Both can be found in spades in Western Massachusetts. After spending Thursday in the kitchen and around the table, head to our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast with hiking boots in hand.
Snow accumulation from the amazing October blizzard has melted, meaning that hiking trails across Western Massachusetts are open. The forecast promises a sunny Thanksgiving weekend. In short, hiking conditions will be perfect.
Favorite Hikes Near Our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast:
- Beartown State Forest. Hike the easy Benedict Pond Loop Trail; follow a stretch of the Appalachian Trail for a hike of moderate difficulty; explore one of the forest trails for a more difficult hike.
- Brace Mountain. The views from the top of Brace Mountain are glorious on a clear day. Bring a picnic, for you’ll want time to rest after this invigorating hike.
- Bartholomew’s Cobble. Explore five miles of trails and stand atop Hurlbut’s Hill. Visit the natural history museum to learn about the area’s fascinating geography, and historic Ashley House to learn about its history.
- Sages Ravine. The waterfalls should be roaring at this time of year. For a moderate hike, drive to the top of Mount Washington Reservation and then follow the trail down tot he ravine. A more strenuous trail leads from the Undermountain Trail.