The Berkshires is a gorgeous mountainous region in Western Massachusetts, dotted with museums, performing art centers, farm-to-table restaurants, and tons of reasons to get outdoors. The town of Lenox, MA is particularly steeped in history visible through their finely maintained mansions dating back to the 1800s. Our favorite of these, The Kemble Inn, was built in 1886 as the Secretary of State’s summer home and is now, after meticulous renovations, a luxury boutique hotel. The mix of historic New England charm, modern amenities, and outdoor and cultural activities just down the road, make The Kemble Inn the perfect Berkshires getaway.
Rooms at Kemble Inn are hard to come by in the summer when Lenox is packed with concert-goers as Tanglewoods, the outdoor music venue and summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is a major draw. We prefer the offseason anyway, when the small town of Lenox quiets down and newcomers are sure to receive a friendly ‘good morning!’ from each local strolling by.
Over the past 6 years the Kemble Inn has been redecorated and modernized, while still honoring the original architecture. The twelve rooms are each uniquely styled, some with fireplaces and bathtubs meant for two, all with heated bathroom floors, steam showers, giant towels, comfy robes, and beds so soft you’ll push back plans for the day. After a massage in the spa room (off season only), sidle up to the fire in the library and feel like royalty, if just for the weekend. During warmer months, head outdoors for a refreshing cocktail and snacks on the back lawn as you watch the sun set over the Berkshires.
Start every day at the Kemble Inn with complimentary breakfast featuring farm fresh staples like eggs and bacon alongside mouth watering Three Buttermilk Pancakes and rosemary home fries. Year-round, the on-site restaurant Table Six draws in food aficionados from all over the area. The restaurant’s menu changes weekly, depending on what’s available from local farms. Even the hard-to-please Manhattanites will be blown away by the quality of the cuisine. Bread is baked locally, butter is topped with cracked salt, flowers are freshly cut, and the attention to plating artistic.
Start dinner with the Yukon Potato Gnocchi and then dig in to Beef Wellington, Coq au Vin chicken with meat that falls off the bones, or buttery Risotto with market vegetables and truffle butter. Meanwhile, the candlelit ambience and oversized portrait of the Queen hanging above you provide the backdrop to a classy and intimate experience.
After breakfast at Kemble Inn lace up your sneakers (or in the summer, grab one of the inn’s complimentary Brooklyn Bike Co. bikes) and lead yourself on an historic house tour. Stop for a mid-morning snack at Haven Cafe and Bakery, pick up local handicrafts and cool gifts at Design Menagerie and wool throws that’ll last a lifetime at MacKimmie Co.
During the warmer months, hit the Lenox Farmer’s Market and leave happy with an armload of local produce (straight from farms down the road), baked goods, and an artisanal triple-decker ice cream cone in hand. You might even find some live music in Lilac Park. By night, you can sample cheese and charcuterie at Brava (27 Housatonic St.) or stop by cozy Nudel for seasonal dishes crafted with local ingredients. After an early dinner, catch a book reading at Shakespeare & Company, just a 5-minute walk from Kemble Inn to complete your perfect car-free day in Lenox, MA!
Convince your boss to take you …
While Kemble Inn is a romantic getaway for any couple looking for fine dining and a breath of fresh air, it is also an ideal spot for management retreats or company off-sites. For just $2200 (+ tax and service fees) a night in the offseason, a company can take over the entire estate. Let me repeat…the entire estate. The ten rooms available in the offseason, library with wall-size projection screen, expansive backyard, a custom menu, and staff can be yours.
Special on-site experiences like wine tasting, yoga, cooking classes, and talks by naturalists and health and wellness gurus transform the property. Nothing encourages office bonding like a hot air balloon ride, which can be arranged in the backyard. Take a break for some team bonding while hiking, golfing, or skiing, or even try trust falls at the Ramblewild high ropes course. The Kemble Inn can provide transportation to and from the train for groups larger than eight and private planes can fly into Pittsfield. The deal is even sweeter for a group that can share rooms, say a family event or bachelorette weekend, as a max of 26 guests can sleep comfortably at Kemble Inn.
Kemble Inn is located in Lenox, MA, just three hours by Zipcar, or four hours by bus from NYC. Take the Peter Pan bus from Port Authority and you’ll be dropped off at the Lenox Town Hall, a five-minute walk to the inn (roundtrip is about $90). You can also take Amtrak to Hudson, NY or Metro-North to Wassaic, NY, both a 50-minute drive from the inn. Kemble Inn will arrange transportation from either station for groups of eight or more.
Annie is a travel writer, environmentalist, and surfer based in Venice, CA. She heads up our West Coast team, keeps our grammatical errors in check, and makes sure our California writers always have a plan for their next adventure. Follow Annie’s travels @annelisemcb.