Having never been to the Berkshires, the mountains of western Massachusettes, I jumped at the opportunity to visit this fall when invited to a wedding in the area. Located approximately 140 miles north of New York City and 120 miles west of Boston, Berkshire County is internationally renowned for its natural beauty, rich history, and picturesque New England towns. I flew into New York, spent a few days there, and then drove North to Lenox, MA.
On the drive up, the Autumn leaves were in glorious display, and the winding country roads were charming, although a bit carsick-creating. Luckily for me, I found these crazy HION motion sickness glasses on Instagram/Amazon, and they worked wonders! The concept is to keep the fluid inside level so you don’t get sick from the change of motion on the horizon line.
I selected to stay at the Annie Selke Bed and Breakfast called 33 Main in the heart of Lenox. It’s a charming two-story home in which all the furniture in each room is for sale in their gorgeous catalog. (You even get a secret discount code if you stay there.) You select your exact room ahead of time and pick the decor and color scheme that appeals to you. I selected GLENDALE.
The beds feature expensive Hastens mattresses, and I felt like I was sleeping on a cloud! The beds were made up of luxurious cotton sheets, down comforters, and pillows from Pine Cone Hill. They offered me a choice of soft, medium, or firm down, or down alternative pillows. Check out the prices of these mattresses, wow!
A stay at the inn includes a morning breakfast in their dining room on the first floor. Bathrobes are welcome attire. (Guests get to select from a cold or hot entree or both.) In the evenings, guests are invited to join together in the parlor for cocktail hour, featuring select spirits from favorite local distilleries.
When in Lenox, there are darling shops and eateries within walking distance. I enjoyed lunch at The Haven and dinner at Bistro Zinc. For history buffs, Edith Wharton’s home is available for tours, and you can also see the birthplace of W.E.B, Dubois. A peek into the past can also be found at Ventfort Hall, built in 1893 by JP Morgan’s sister, Sarah. You can tour the mansion and Guided Age museum. If some cannabis is your thing, the boutique store, Farnsworth, is a highly rated spot; from what I understand, it’s the best of the best.
A short ride away, you can visit the towns of Stockbridge and Great Barrington. Chesterwood, in Stockbridge, is the historical home of Daniel Chester French, who created the Lincoln Memorial. The Norman Rockwell Museum is also nearby. In the village of Great Barrington, you will find the most mouth-watering cheese shop, Rubiners. We bought several varieties to bring home with us.
About 60 miles away is MASS MOCA. It was too far for our group to travel, but I understand that the contemporary art is spectacular and worth a trip if you are in the area. Sol LeWitt, Wendy Red Star, James Turrell, and more are featured in their permanent collection.
The wedding I attended was held at The Wheatleigh, a Gilded Age mansion turned hotel. In 1893, Henry H. Cook purchased the estate land in The Berkshires. He then hired the Peabody and Stearns architectural firm in Boston to build Wheatleigh, an Italianate-style country home inspired by his ancestral family home in Wheatley, Oxfordshire. It is on the National Register of Historic Places today, and guests can stay in their hotel section.
The black-tie wedding ceremony took place outdoors under a canopy in the rain. The reception was in a luxury tent with access to the gorgeous Wheatleigh lobby and grand staircase. Decorations included hanging apple baskets made with flowers, a martini luge, and sliding menu cards at each place setting. The toasts were superb! What an evening!
I hear that Lenox is THE place to visit in the summertime to take in the musical offerings at the Tanglelwood Arts Festival. In a typical summer, Tanglewood welcomes more than 350,000 visitors to performances, recitals, and seminars across 500 acres nestled between Lenox and Stockbridge. Perhaps that will be my next visit.
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