Bernardston was first settled by the survivors and families of soldiers who had fought in a skirmish at the "Great Falls" in 1676 during "King Phillip's War". The town was formed as "Falls Fight Township" in 1734 by petition to the state legislature of Samuel Hunt of Billerica. Hunt's father had been a member of the militia at the Falls Fight in 1676. The town's name was changed to Bernardston in 1762, when the town petitioned for incorporation. Francis Bernard was Royal Governor from 1760-1769.

Four forts were among the first homes in Bernardston. A fort on Huckle Hill, adjacent to the former Meeting House/Congregational Church, was built in 1739-40 to protect the settlers during "King George's War". That was known in America at the (first) "French and Indian War". At the end of the second French and Indian War (1756-63), when Bernardston was considered safe from further attack, the forts were no longer used and the Meeting House/Congregational Church was moved to the Town Center. The former Meeting House was one of the earliest Congregational Churches built in Massachusetts. Today it's on the "National Register of Historical Places", and is part of the Unitarian Church.

Another fort in North Bernardston later became a tavern on the stage coach route that ran from Deerfield to Canada along today's Route 5. That route paralleled a native trail that ran along the Green River west of Bernardston's hills. Bernardston continues to value its history and rural New England landscape, while maintaining its historic open spaces and recreational areas.