Comprised of thirty towns and two cities, the region ranges from the state's highest peak, Mount Greylock at 3,491 feet, to the 594-foot lowlands of Williamstown. Three major rivers drain the region, the Hoosic in the north and the Hoosatonic and Farmington in the south. The Taconic mountains bound the region on the west and the Berkshire hills bound it on the east.
The region was originally settled for agricultural production in the 1700s after the settling of the Connecticut River Valley. Soon thereafter, with the advent of industrial manufacturing, mills sprang up in North Adams, Pittsfield and other communities. By the early 1840s the county was linked to Boston and New York via railways, serving to transform it to some extent into a summer destination. Cultural amenities such as the Shakespeare company and Tanglewood still draw visitors today.