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 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 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. For a fun night out, reserve your seats at the Colonial Theatre today.
The Impressive Chesterwood
A short drive to Stockbridge brings 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 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 1.8-meter-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.