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The Berkshires: Vacation Destination for All Seasons

By Claire Duncan

Abounding with shimmering lakes, lush woodlands and fresh mountain air, it’s no surprise that the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts attracts artists of all types looking for inspiration and rejuvenation. With over a hundred 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 visit 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 theatre, which is just one of the theatres 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 that have graced its stage. Open year round, this venue offers live music, comedy and theatre for all ages. For a fun night out, reserve your seats at the Colonial Theatre today. Durante mi primer día en los Berkshires visité el magnífico teatro Colonial en Pittsfield para darle una buena probada a la diversa comunidad artística de la región. El teatro bellamente renovado, que es uno de los teatros que forman parte del Berkshire Theatre Group, ofrece recorridos para ayudar a los visitantes a conocer sobre la interesante historia del edificio y las grandes personalidades que han pisado su escenario. Está abierto todo el año con música en vivo, comedias y teatro para todas las edades. Reserve hoy mismo sus asientos en el teatro Colonial para pasar una noche de diversión.

The Impressive Chesterwood

A short drive to Stockbridge brings me to Chesterwood, the former summer home of famous sculptor Daniel Chester French, situated on 122 lush acres. A National Historic Landmark, the legendary home plays host to special exhibitions, programs and events, and features carefully maintained gardens and woodland paths. I explore Daniel Chester French’s studio, where many of his famous works are prominently displayed. Most impressive, of course, is the 2-metre-tall final plaster model of French’s statue of Abraham Lincoln. The completed sculpture resides today at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., where over 4 million visitors make the pilgrimage to see this Memorial annually. Upon exiting the back door of the studio, wild and serene woodlands greet me as far as the eye can see. I imagine that this stunning natural beauty is what inspired French, and so many other artists drawn to the Berkshires, to create their incredible works of art.

The Incomparable Naumkeag

Nearby, I explore the unbelievable estate of Naumkeag, also located in Stockbridge, built by the 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 discover 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 to the Trustees of Reservations, including all of the home’s original furnishings. Walking through the estate, I can envision what life was truly like during those times, a unique experience I know I won’t quickly forget.

Creative Cuisine at Table Six in Lenox

After a remarkable and surprisingly educational day, I head to Kemble Inn in Lenox to refuel and recharge. The stylishly renovated Kemble Inn is housed in a stately Gilded Age mansion and combines contemporary design with a historic setting. I take a seat outside at the inn’s 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 retire to one of the Inn’s artfully designed rooms to prepare for another unforgettable day in the beautiful Berkshires. Después de un gran día (sorpresivamente didáctico) me dirijo al Kemble Inn en Lenox para descansar y recuperar mis energías. El renovado Kemble Inn se encuentra dentro de una mansión de la Gilded Age y combina el diseño contemporáneo con un entorno histórico. Me siento en una mesa al aire libre en el Table Six, el restaurante del hotel, y disfruto de unas tortas de cangrejo empanizadas y pizza de pato mientras me maravillo con los asombrosos paisajes de la montaña. El Table Six, que se especializa en un servicio de primera clase y cocina de temporada preparada exquisitamente, es el lugar perfecto para relajarse. Después de una cena deliciosa me retiro a una de las habitaciones bellamente diseñadas del hotel para prepararme para otro día inolvidable en los hermosos Berkshires.

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Official Berkshires Travel Information

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