Perhaps you are looking for a quick getaway. You are tired of the grayed city streets, the noise and the traffic. You picture a place that can offer you both the pleasures of sports as well as a vibrant arts and culture scene. You want the sophistication and finesse of fine dining mixed in with the warmth and hospitality of a cozy country inn. You’ll find it all in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Located only 142 miles out of New York City, the Berkshires offers all-season sports, a vibrant and thriving art and cultural scene as well as cozy country inns and shops if you simply want to sit by the fire and sip a glass of wine. Here are some of our favorites.
For over two hundred years the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts has welcomed guests from all over the world. This historic inn offers 125 individually decorated guest rooms, nightly entertainment, and formal as well as casual dining options. A year-round outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub is also on the grounds in addition to gift shops offering Berkshire made gifts and home goods. The Inn is a short distance from the region’s goldmine of outdoor activities and the arts and cultural scene. Be sure to stop by the downstairs Lion’s Den, which offers free musical performances seven nights a week.
What can a 10,000- square foot abandoned million-gallon water tank hold? Art that’s what! At Mass MoCA, you can see three enormous works and a collection of thirty others by the German artist Anselm Kiefer on the theme of nautical warfare and intriguing work by Austrian artist, Franz West, Les Pommes d’Adam. North Adams, Mass Moca’s hometown, is loaded with eye-catching public murals, so be on the lookout.
If your taste in art runs to the more traditional, stop by and visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. The museum is dedicated to bringing the world of Norman Rockwell and American illustration to life.
The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown offers a plethora of choices for the art aficionado. In addition to an outstanding permanent collection the Clark also hosts additional exhibits, as well as concerts, lectures and beautiful grounds to explore.
Food + Drinks:
Tired from all your travels and want an unusual place to stop for a drink? Try Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Inc. in Sheffield where they make artisanal spirits including Greylock Gin, Berkshire Bourbon and whiskeys. Book a tour and learn about the first distillery founded in the Berkshires since Prohibition and take home some samplers.
For a quick bite by the MASS MoCA, stop by Public just a few blocks from MASS MoCa. With a well curated tap list, and dishes ranging from falafel to burgers, you are guaranteed to please everyone in your party.
Eager to hit the slopes? Butternut in Great Barrington is the place to ski. With 110 acres of skiable terrain, Butternut has options for everyone from the beginner skier to the more advanced skier. Packages and lessons are available for all levels.
For those who prefer to hike rather than ski, the Berkshires offers a plethora of hiking trails from easy to more advanced.
Ride the Bonanza or Peter Pan bus lines from Port Authority to the Berkshires in just over three hours. Once you’ve arrived, the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority buses serve 12 communities. No Sunday service. For more information, head to Berkshires.org.
Photo credits: Emily Frances