Some places are like vocations: they call you.
For students of art and culture, Paris certainly has its embarrassment of inspiration. New Yorkers, too, should be justifiably proud of our tourist-filled, insomnia-inducing, beauty-found-where-you-least-expect-it megalopolis.
But are cities the only places where one can practice unfettered bohemianism?
Is there a rural community that could actually satisfy the nightlifers, the voluntary vagabonds, and the weekly readers of “Goings On About Town”?
Nestled in Western Massachusetts, in the Berkshire Mountains — a southern extension of Vermont’s Green Mountains — there’s a pocket of four picture-perfect towns that may assuage even the most sincerely sworn big-city person: Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lenox, and Becket. (Approximately three hours from midtown Manhattan.)
If you’re searching for a way to feel simultaneously totes zenned out and creatively overfed, then a proper Berkshire respite is more than essential, it’s nonnegotiable.
Read on to discover what to bring, where to start, and how to do it like a local. Start calculating your maximum summer home price now!
(The Stockbridge Bowl: A rare instance of humans improving on nature. [It’s an artificial lake.])
Most Extraordinary Museum: The Clark Art Institute
An admirable permanent collection and world-class exhibitions. Outdoor seating is arranged so that the bucolic setting is also framed in an artistic fashion. Plus: cows!
Your Mansion Away from Home: The Mount
Edith Wharton, presupposing #bestlife since 1902.
The Mount's main house was inspired by the 17th-century Belton House in England, with additional influences from classical Italian and French architecture. Edith Wharton used the principles described in her first book, The Decoration of Houses (co-authored with Ogden Codman, Jr.), when she designed the house. She thought that good architectural expression included order, scale, and harmony. Its west (entry) elevation is three stories; on the garden side it is two stories with an opening out to a large, raised, stone terrace overlooking the grounds. The house exterior is a striking white stucco, strongly set off by dark green shutters, and rises from a quasi-rustic foundation of coarse field stone. Clusters of gables and white chimneys rise from the roof, which is capped with a balustrade and cupola. This main house is augmented by Georgian Revival gatehouse and stable, and a beautifully restored Lord and Burnham Greenhouse. Wharton's sometime collaborator, Ogden Codman, Jr., assisted with the architectural design. Wharton's niece, Beatrix Jones Farrand, designed the kitchen garden and the drive; Farrand was the only woman of the eleven founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects. . . . . #themount #lenox #lenoxma #lenoxmass #theberkshires #theberkshiresma #theberkshiresmass #edithwharton #edithwhartonhouse #dreamhouse #dreamgarden #dreamwedding #dreamweddingvenue #weddingintheberkshires #berkshirewedding #berkshireweddingvenue
Worth Standing in Line For: Baba Louie’s Pizza
Gluten-free? Vegan? Insufferably picky about pizza? This won’t disappoint.
The Spiritual Rejuvenator: Tanglewood Music Festival
The greenest grass in the whole wide world.
Never Leave Home Without: Badger Balm Products
The Wish-We-Had-It-In-NYC: Guido’s Fresh Marketplace
The Triumph of Art: Jacob’s Pillow Dance
“Thousands of people, of all ages, from across the United States and the world, have Jacob’s Pillow to thank for opening their horizons to dance.” – President Obama
Join us at 6:15 tonight for the American College Dance Association Highlights! For the second year, American College Dance Association (ACDA) presents highlights from its regional festivals. The ACDA supports and promotes the wealth of talent and creativity from college and university dance departments. @samhoustonstate 📸: @hayimheron. #jacobspillow #intheberkshires #acda #samhouston
The Shortest Route to Inebriation: Berkshire Brewing Co.
The Lasting Legacy: W.E.B. Du Bois
Walk in the footsteps of greatness.
The Only Must-Do Thing in the Berkshires: Find Your Writing Nook
Cats love it, too.
In every town, around every corner in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, there's a beautiful vista, a notable monument, and an extraordinary story worth retelling. Whether it's on Edith Wharton's Mount, the pristine grounds of @tanglewoodmusicfestival, or at Ted Shawn's magical theatre at @jacobspillow, to be #intheberkshires is to be walking in the footsteps of America's greatest artists — past and present. 🎶🎶🎶 For our managing content editor (and his cat Coco) however, a quiet corner in a cozy mountain cabin may be inspiration enough. 💯 #tanglewood #remotework
If you liked this piece, read our Content Dispatches from Berlin.