Hancock Shaker Village, located in Pittsfield, MA, is just a wee journey from that cozy room that you booked at Hampton Terrace. Many people think of the Shakers in the past tense, and their way of life as something to be memorialized in a museum-like way. Interestingly, however, their simple way of life has very much become cool again and in a way in which modern people can participate.
The Shakers were truly innovative thinkers and their functional approach to design is world-renowned for its beauty and practicality. They proved over and over, through their furniture, production inventions, and more, that the simplest approach is often the best approach. Did you know that the Shakers invented the flat broom? Completely true.
These days, Hancock Shaker Village is a place you can go to learn skills for authentic and sustainable living, hands-on. Interested in keeping chickens? Sustainable gardening? Woodworking or timber framing techniques? Cabinetmaking? Quilting? Beekeeping? You can even join a CSA at the Village – probably not useful to the out of town guest, but still interesting to note that they are maintaining their gardens for the purpose that they were intended.
They also offer a “Choose Your Own Shaker Adventure” option for visitors. You get to choose from a variety of adventure possibilities to create your experience: Learn a Shaker Song and Dance, Calf Stroll, and Shakers’ Sustainability are just some of your choices.
Lots to see AND do at Hancock Shaker Village!
The Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe is ready to bring you what you crave – if what you happen to crave is improvised theatrical comedy. Improv is one of the most popular and fun forms of theater our modern world has to offer. It’s easy to see why - you literally never know what might happen next.
Their May improv showcase is set for May 18 at the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee at 7pm. Tickets are $12.
The evening will include theater games (if you are a fan of Whose Line Is It Anyway, you know what we’re talking about) and a performance by Jellyfish, a visiting improv troupe with “tentacles”. Jellyfish perform in a longer-form improv style.
For more information about the Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe, check out their website. They offer monthly improv showcases.
We’re delighted to see a Berkshires gem included in Smithsonian Magazine’s recent 20 Best Small Towns in America list. The featured town: Great Barrington, MA, just 20-ish minutes from our lovely Lenox.
Great Barrington is rich in history, amenities, and quirk. It’s the former home of both Arlo Guthrie and Alice, yes that Alice, of “Alice’s Restaurant” fame. It’s the current home of BerkShares Bills, an alternative currency created (and used by around 400 businesses in the area) to encourage people to support local businesses. Read more about it here.
Local food is also a way of life here, and the local food co-op and farmers’ markets are well-loved and interesting food in general is plentiful: Though its size is modest, Great Barrington is home to over 55 restaurants.
It is also home to the Mahaiwe Theater, once as vaudeville house, now a performing arts center. The Mahaiwe is ripe with variety in its lineup of shows. Upcoming shows include broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, classic films, dance, music, comedy and family shows.
Great Barrington is a great destination to add to your itinerary on your Berkshires getaway.
There’s a lot we could say about the upcoming Pamela Boll documentary A Small, Good Thing but the official materials for the film do a lovely job:
“A Small, Good Thing is about leaving the big life behind to pursue what makes you truly happy. For the longest time we have been living as though the more we have the happier we will be. And yet, while our standard of living has improved, our happiness has not. The film will tell three stories of individuals moving away from a philosophy of more is better toward a more holistic conception of happiness, one based on a close connection to their bodies, to the natural world, and to spirituality.”
Pamela also directed Who Does She Think She Is, a film that explores the lives of women artists as they try to balance the work of living with the work of creating. She is also an Academy Award-winning Executive producer.
Her newest project is set here in the Berkshires and features Berkshire residents. That’s how we came to be hosting the film's team here at the Inn, and we’re delighted to be able to provide a home base for them while they work.
Another online blurb about this exciting new project from Pamela and her team: Berkshirefilm.org
May 6 brings a first – the first Berkshire Cycling Classic, brought to Lenox, MA by Sparta Cycling. A highlight of the event is the participation of German cyclist Erik Zabel. Zabel is known for his epic sprint skills. This will be his first cycling appearance in the US since the 1996 Olympics. His participation extends beyond simply cycling – he will also be making some speaking appearances as well.
The event offers cyclists (and spectators) two routes, one of 62 miles, and the other of 81 miles. The details on the event website make it sound really lovely from the participant perspective:
“Riders will be delighted with our 130km and 100km parcours, both featuring luscious scenery and challenging terrain as they sweep through the beautiful Berkshire Region. The routes will be fully supported by our experienced technical crew from Mavic USA, including two autos and two motorcycles to spearhead the rider support efforts. Additionally, area bicycle shops will set up “repair pits” along the racecourse. A broom wagon will follow the event, picking up riders unable to continue their efforts.
There will be three total feed zones, at the 30, 70 and 100 kilometer points, each manned by our trained staff and well-stocked with energy drinks, water, hot drinks (if the weather is cold), energy bars, small sandwiches, and fruits such as banana’s and sliced apples – The typical food a pro racer would find in his musette bag.”
Sounds like a Lenox destination event to us! That same lovely scenery is enjoyable by spectators as well, of course. They had us at “luscious”. Downloads of the course maps are available online, as are oodles of information about registration, volunteering, sponsors and more.
Cycling News (http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/zabel-to-ride-berkshire-cycling-classic-in-may)
Photo above courtesy of the event website.
Mark and Matthew did it again. Last year, their shots of our guest rooms resulted in a 20% jump in our 2009 revenue. At that time, we did not get a chance to photograph our public spaces or exterior. Done.
Also, Main House 5, our Walker Mini-Suite, was under renovation during their last visit, so we had new pictures done there as well.
Please visit our website to see!
Summer isn’t just about the weekends, it’s three months of beautiful days for getaways. We have mid-week specials to make your weekdays: Special.
But let’s come back to those details and talk about what’s here during the week. All of the great restaurants and cultural attractions that make the Berkshires famous for weekend getaways are still here during the week. Even Tanglewood, our fabled summer festival has mid-week offerings.
Thursday, June 28th at 8pm, for example, you can experience the Mark Morris Dance Group. The legendary dancer/choreographer’s troupe will perform at Ozawa Hall, right here in Lenox. You can purchase your tickets ahead, online.
You can also check availability here at Hampton Terrace online. For multiple-night stays Sunday through Thursday, all rooms in the mansion or the Wynnstay Cottage are $199/night and King Suites are $275/night. If you have any questions, email us at email@example.com.
Though you would not know it from the name of the museum, the Berkshire Museum is home to a little cinema. And we mean that very literally, the theater that it houses is called the “Little Cinema”
As per their own website, they offer first-run foreign independent films, and screenings of opera and ballet from renowned venues around the world. The Little Cinema has maintained a summer schedule of films for fifty years, and has expanded its schedule to include other seasons too.
Among the films featured this month: The Salt of Life
. From the Little Cinema website:
“In The Salt of Life
…a middle-aged retiree becomes invisible to all distaff Romans, regardless of age or relation. He contends with an aristocratic, spendthrift mother; a wife who is more patronizing friend than romantic partner; a daughter with a slacker boyfriend whom Gianni unwillingly befriends; and a wild young neighbor who sees him merely as her dog walker.”
In The Matchmaker
, another April film in the Cinema’s queue, tells another tale of improbable friendships:
“Arik, a teenage boy growing up in Haifa in 1968, gets a job working for Yankele Bride, a matchmaker. Yankele, a mysterious Holocaust survivor, has an office in back of a movie theater that shows only love stories, run by a family of seven Romanian dwarves in the seedy area by the port. Yankele introduces Arik to a new world, built on the ruins of an old one.”
Intimate films in an intimate setting (it’s called Little Cinema for a reason, after all). You could even check out other parts of the museum while you’re there…!
Clownfish. Puffer Fish. Coral Reef. These are not the usual museum offerings! But the Berkshire Museum is not just any museum (we flatly deny the possibility that we are displaying any pro-Berkshires bias). It also houses a cinema (more on that in an upcoming post)…why not an aquarium?
The aquarium, housed on the lower floor of the museum, boasts “more than twenty aquarium tanks ranging in size from 30 to 535 gallons.” The self-guided Aquarium Fish Hunt is a great family activity, geared to younger visitors and their grown-up companions (though we’re sure nobody’s stopping grown-ups in general from enjoying it).
A highlight of the aquarium is the live coral reef. As detailed on the museum website:
“The Museum’s live coral reef tank contains roughly 25 species of coral, in addition to a variety of other invertebrates and fishes. Coral reefs are the basis of diverse communities of beautiful and fascinating organisms like giant clams, sea cucumbers, shrimp, and cowries. The coral themselves have a symbiotic relationship with the photosynthetic algae that dwell within the coral and produce food consumed by the coral.” More than a museum exhibit, it’s a participatory lesson in biology and ecology.
After you’ve explored the aquarium and acquainted yourself with the creatures of the deep, take to the skies with the museum’s Taking Flight: Audubon and The World Of Birds exhibit (it’s new). Teaser from the museum webpage:
“More than thirty original Havell prints from The Birds of America paired with bird specimens from the Museum’s collection comprise the centerpiece of the exhibition. Learn how Audubon’s obsession drove him to extremes to produce the watercolors for the engravings that comprise the most valuable book in the world.”
The Berkshire Museum…it’s a month’s-worth of days of adventure, all rolled up into one cool destination.
Recent announcements by the Berkshire Theatre Festival and Berkshire Actor’s Theatre are worth noting, as you make your plans to travel in our direction.
According to the Hartford Courant
, the line-up for the upcoming Berkshire Theatre Festival includes no less than three world premiere productions, and a revival of the beloved Broadway classic A Chorus Line.
The three premiers: A Thousand Clowns by Herb Gardner, Edith, by Kelly Masterson, and Brace Yourself, by Tony-award winning writer James Naughton.
A Thousand Clowns and Brace Yourself are both comedies – Edith is a drama, which focuses on an episode from the life of first lady Edith Wilson, as she took control of the White House following her husband’s stroke in 1919. Interesting trivia: Mr. Naughton, writer of Brace Yourself, grew up in nearby West Hartford.
You’ll want to check out their website
to learn even more about this shiny, new summer season.
Also of note: the announcement
by Berkshire Actor’s Theatre that they will include two plays by John Patrick Shanley. Doubt: A Parable and Four Dogs and A Bone are set for performance between June 21 and July 15 at the Berkshire Museum. Information and tickets can be had at their website
John Patrick Shanley
is a prolific and multi-award-winning American playwright and screenwriter. Moonstruck, Joe Versus The Volcano, and many more are among his works. Doubt, in particular, was an Academy-award-winner for Best Adapted Screenplay. Check out this New York Times article
, which gives some very interesting background info on Mr. Shanley that you may enjoy and which most likely sets the dark, comedic tone that infuses much of his work.
So many reasons to visit the Berkshires this summer. Let us add to the allure: come during the week and take advantage of our Midweek Special