Discover outdoor recreation, historic architecture and world-class culture in a scenic Berkshires vacation in Western Massachusetts.
Abounding with shimmering lakes, lush woodlands and fresh mountain air, it’s no surprise that the Berkshires attracts artists of all types looking for inspiration and rejuvenation. With more than 100 cultural attractions to enjoy, it’s the perfect escape, no matter what time of year.
Artistry and Culture in Pittsfield
On my first day in the Berkshires, I visited the magnificent turn-of-the-century Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield to get a true taste of the area’s diverse artistic community. The beautifully renovated theater, which is just one of the theaters that make up the Berkshire Theatre Group, offers tours to help visitors learn all about the elaborate history of the building and the big-name entertainers who have graced its stage. Open year-round, this venue offers live music, comedy and theater for all ages. Reserve your seats for a fun night out.
The Impressive Chesterwood
A short drive to Stockbridge brought me to Chesterwood, the former summer home of famous sculptor Daniel Chester French, situated on 49 lush hectares. A National Historic Landmark, the legendary home hosts special exhibitions, programs and events, and features carefully maintained gardens and woodland paths. I explored Daniel Chester French’s studio, where many of his famous works are prominently displayed. Most impressive, of course, is the 1.8-meter-tall final plaster model of French’s statue of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the USA. More than 4 million visitors a year make the pilgrimage to see the completed sculpture at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Upon leaving the studio, the sight of wild and serene woodlands greeted me. I imagine that this stunning natural beauty is what inspired French, and so many other artists drawn to the Berkshires, to create incredible works of art.
The Incomparable Naumkeag
Nearby, I explore the estate of Naumkeag, also in Stockbridge, that was built by affluent attorney Joseph Hodges Choate as a summer home in 1886. The 44-room “cottage” is a perfect example of a Gilded Age estate and offers visitors the chance to explore its diverse rooms and soak in its jaw-dropping views. Stepping outside, I discovered Naumkeag’s many whimsical gardens and the iconic Blue Steps, all designed in part by Choate’s daughter Mabel. Thankfully, Mabel left the entire estate, including all of the home’s original furnishings, to the Trustees of Reservations. Walking through the estate, I envisioned what life was truly like during those times, creating an experience I know I won’t quickly forget.
Creative Cuisine at Table Six in Lenox
After a remarkable and surprisingly educational day, I headed to Kemble Inn in Lenox to refuel and recharge. The stylishly renovated inn is housed in a stately Gilded Age mansion and combines contemporary design with a historic setting. I took a seat outside at its Table Six restaurant, indulging in pan-seared crab cakes and duck pizza while marveling at the breathtaking mountain views. Specializing in first-class service and expertly prepared seasonal cuisine, Table Six is the perfect place to unwind. After a delicious meal, I retired to my artfully designed room to prepare for another unforgettable day in the beautiful Berkshires.