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Hampton Terrace Innkeeper Blog: Deals and Things to Do in Lenox and the Berkshires

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Fresh Fall Discoveries at MASS MoCA

  
  
  

Though the season has not officially flipped, it has changed in the imagination. Welcome to Fall in the Berkshires.

MASS MoCA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, always has a packed roster of engaging, diverse, and fresh events. This season is no exception, with the FreshGrass Festival of bluegrass and roots music, Ben Perowsky’s Moodswing Orchestra, and Talib Kweli and others, presenting, performing and creating at MASS MoCA’s North Adams headquarters.

FreshGrass is an annual event, exposing the roots of American music. FreshGrass is much more than a concert; it’s a three day, full weekend experience. The Del McCoury band, Alison Brown, Bill Evans, and dozens of others are the musical fabric of a weekend made richer with contests, workshops, kids’ activities, and food. The venue itself is a repurposed 19th-century factory, a perfect place to meld classic bluegrass with the genre’s cutting edge. The festival runs from September 20-22. It’s family-friendly and there is camping available. For more information about FreshGrass, visit the event website

Ben Perowsky’s Moodswing Orchestra is the drummer/curator of his eclectic collection of some of NYC’s best musicians. Perowsky himself has played with greats like Bill Frisell, andBen Perowsky's Moodswing Orchestra, Mass MoCA, Berkshires John Cale. He is also known as a composer, arranger, percussionist and record producer and according to DrummerWorld.com he has played drums since the age of 3. He is known for his affiliation with cutting edge and radical musical explorers and this project is no different. His collaborators in the Moodswing Orchestra include TK Wonder, a “a singer, rapper and songwriter who has supported such acts as Nas, Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli and opened for Sting, Justice, N.E.R.D, and The Prodigy”. Additional Moodswing collaborators: Canadian saxophone player Michael Blake, and Lenny Kravitz’s keyboardist, David Baron. They take the stage at MoCA on October 5.

On October 19, the artist that Pitchfork.com calls “One of the most rounded and complete rap personas in the game” comes to North Adams. Talib Kweli is best known as the founding father of conscious rap – bringing a social consciousness to the genre. He’s been collaborating at the cutting edge of rap since 1995.

The Berkshires are so well-known for classic, enduring, and revered events like Tanglewood, but the cutting edge is just as present, and not hard to find. Mass MoCA is a consistent presenter of what’s new, and what’s next, and a great place to look for events that will intrigue you during your Berkshires visit.

Photo of Ben Perowsky, via the MASS MoCA website.

 

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The Monterey General Store: A Feast For The Senses

  
  
  

No trip to New England is complete without a visit to a “general store”. And the Monterey General Store, at this point in its history is no run-of-the-mill general store - not that there would be anything wrong with it if it was. It’s just that this general store has melded history, style and culinary heaven in one fabulous location.

It had closed a few years back, but was re-opened in 2012 by restauranteur and artist, Scott Edward Cole. Cole was the proprietor of Caffe Pomo d’Oro in West Stockbridge, before takingMonterey General Store pie photo 2013 FB on the project of restoring the general store’s building, and creating a new business where a store had already existed for nearly three centuries. The building has existed, perched on the bank of the Konkapot River, in Monterey, MA, since 1780.

The Monterey General Store participates in the locavore food culture of the Berkshires, featuring “local maple syrup, honey, goat cheese, vegetables, and artisanal craft items all created by our friends and neighbors”. Their house made foods also feature many local ingredients. Take a peek at their online Gallery to inspire your palate. You’ll also want to follow their Facebook page, to take in a visual feast (the photo to the right is from their Facebook page...wow).

The store has become a destination for visitors, but more importantly it has restored a sense of home to the town’s center. Locals can grab a cup of coffee, fresh local veggies, and other basics – and visitors can stop in for home-baked pies and treats, perfect for a picnic.

Reviews are great so far – come see what you think of this rejuvenated Berkshires classic.

 

 

“Songs By Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Probably Don’t Know But Should”

  
  
  
The title “Songs By Ridiculously Talented Composers and Lyricists You Probably Don’t Know But Should” is not only an enticement, but incredibly descriptive as well.

As promised by that extremely lengthy moniker, this upcoming show, featured at Barrington Stage Company, pairs emerging composers and lyricists, gives them quirky parameters for their end-product, and sends them away to produce something that will delight, surprise and entertain a live audience.

Woven into the process are critiques by William Finn – known to theatre fans as the 1992 Tony Award Winner for Best Music and Lyrics, and Best Book, for his show, Falsettos. He is a composer and lyricist, and annually hosts this incubator for new work, on Labor DayWilliam Finn 200 Weekend at Barrington Stage Company.

Tickets for this compelling, entertaining, and likely hilarious show are $25 and $35 and are available through the Barrington Stage Company website. Dates are August 30 and 31, show time is 8 p.m.

The Barrington Stage Company, in Pittsfield, is home to many fine theatrical performances throughout the year. Their mission is “to produce top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways of bringing new audiences into the theatre, especially young people.” This production clearly demonstrates their mission to develop new plays and music – and it reinforces the special nature of this place, the Berkshires, that a Tony-Award winner would host a yearly incubator for aspiring composers and lyricists.

Come, witness the future in the making!

Celebrate the Great Indoors: Williamstown Film Festival

  
  
  

Now is the time to get the Williamstown Film Festival on your radar. This is a perfect late fall event, hitting at the end of October/beginning of November, and it’s a wonderful way to enjoy the great indoors, in a variety of notable Berkshires venues. This is also an excellent year to take in the festival, because 2013 is their 15th Anniversary Season.

Williamstown Film Festival was founded in 1998 to fill a cultural gap in a culturally rich region. Other genres of art and culture were celebrated, and enjoyed in the Berkshires – the founders of the festival felt that the Berkshires should offer a home to film as well. Thewilliamstown film fest current festival cultivates independent spirit, in addition to drawing film industry notables. WFF’s artistic partners – the venues that host the festival – include the Clark Museum, Mass MoCA, Images Cinema, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.

The 2013 list of films has not yet been announced, because submissions are still being accepted. A summary of last year’s films and events, however, provide a tantalizing preview of what you can expect from the event.

Enjoy the Berkshires, and indie cinema, at a warm, friendly event, surrounded by film lovers. Keep your eye on this season’s films and events, so you can plan ahead, and make your trip to the Berkshires an experience.

Chesterfest Americana Music Series at Chesterwood

  
  
  

Stockbridge, MA is home to Chesterwood, the country home, studio, and gardens, of sculptor Daniel Chester French. You may be familiar with his work – French is the sculptor who created the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Exhibits on the Chesterwood property showcase Chester exhibits both near and far, as well as the work of contemporary sculptors.

However, the artistic treasures are not just visual at Chesterwood. Currently in progress, theChesterwood (Stockbridge, MA)   studio and garden Chesterfest American Music Series at the estate, celebrates live American music. Every Friday night for the rest of August, this ongoing music series showcases American music styles, including folk, bluegrass, and country, from 5-7pm. Tickets are $10/person or $20/carload and children under 13 are free. Craft beer, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks are available for purchase. The shows are rain or shine – if it rains, the show moves indoors, and the number of tickets sold is limited to 60.

This is a terrific addition to this destination – named a 2012 Best Of New England destination by Yankee Magazine. You can make your visit to Chesterwood a day trip. Soak in the history of the property, experience contemporary sculpture, then kick back and relax to the sounds of American music.

Photo by: I, Daderot [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Enjoying The Berkshires Outdoors: The “Here Comes Fall” Edition

  
  
  

It may still be summertime, but the time is right for planning a fall trip to the Berkshires. New England is a region that experiences a full four seasons, and is known the world-over for its spectacular fall foliage and festivals. Add the mountains of the Berkshires into the mix, and the “wow” factor multiplies.

September offers “What’s Out There Weekend” – a weekend of expertly guided tours, including exclusive deals on tee times at some of the region’s significant golf courses. The still-beautiful weather of fall’s first month is a great time to take in historic landscapes.Berkshires Fall Foliage

The Fall Foliage Festival in North Adams and Pittsfield was started over 50 years ago to celebrate the commencement of the fall season in the Berkshires. The 58th Annual Fall Foliage Parade, a centerpiece of the festival, is scheduled this year for October 6th – prime leaf-peeping time. Additional events, including an outdoor barbecue, fill out the week of the festival (the festival begins the week before the parade).

And of course…the leaves. Yes, the leaves, one of the crown jewels of the Berkshires experience. Berkshires.org offers these suggestions for taking in some excellent leaf-viewing:

“In the Berkshires, there are several routes that are especially dramatic and well worth the trip. Start on the Mohawk Trail along Route 2 near Clarksburg, a route that includes the famous Hairpin Turn and magnificent views of extraordinarily vibrant foliage. Drive through Williamstown (a quintessential New England college town, with historic brick buildings and classic white churches) and turn south on Route 7 for views of farms and orchards nestled along a picturesque valley. Cloud formations cast moving shadows on the soft hills that rise to the right and left of the road, and there are several places to pull over, stop the car, and drink in the quiet beauty.

Choose to motor south on Route 8, from North Adams to Mount Greylock, at 3,491 feet, the highest peak in Massachusetts. From Lanesborough, take the winding road to the top of Greylock for a spectacular display of foliage, golden yellow to blazing orange to vivid scarlet…and there are options for your group to hike (including a section of the Georgia-to-Maine Appalachian Trail) through the end of October.

Continuing south and west, Route 41 winds through Richmond and West Stockbridge, past open fields and pastures, wooded lots and family farms. Or choose Route 183 between Lenox and Stockbridge, meandering between stately trees shading the road, and then coming around a bend to a spectacular view of the Stockbridge Bowl, also called Lake Mahkeenac.”

Stay tuned…we’ll have more suggestions on how to enjoy the Fall as it comes ever closer…

A Hands-On Experience: The Berkshires Up Close

  
  
  

For those who prefer a “hands-on” vacation experience, the Berkshires have lots to offer. Workshops, classes, and events are held throughout the area that do not require weekly attendance, and as such, will fit perfectly into your vacation. These types of events give you a chance to experience something that you might never take the time to do when you are at home.

Embrace your inner musician: The Tamarack Hollow Nature and Cultural Center in Windsor,wine tasting berkshires MA, offers an ongoing Afro-Caribbean & West African Hand-Drum Class – held right nearby to Hampton Terrace, in Pittsfield.

From the Berkshires.org website:

Join cultural educator, drummer and singer Aimee Gelinas M.Ed in a dynamic, hands-on participatory class focusing on folkloric and contemporary Afro-Caribbean and West African drumming, percussion and singing. Weekly Monday classes (no classes March 18 & June 24th).Beginner/Intermediate Class: 6pm; Intermediate/Advanced Class: 7pm. Visit website for class info & cancellations. Classes are drop in and cost $10 each. Traditional instruments provided for students use in class. See website or Email aimee@gaiaroots.com for more information. Classes held at The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Ave., Pittsfield.

You can contact Tamarack Hollow for more information, by visiting their website.

Perfect your palate: Hops and Vines Beer Garden & Brasserie in Williamstown, MA, presents “Sommelier Summers at Hops & Vines” through the end of this month. Join them Wednesdays for this Wine Pairing Dinner Series at 8pm through the summer. Ruben Eduardo, Hops & Vines’ Sommelier and Wine Director hosts. Reservations are highly recommended, (413) 884-1372.

Walk in the shoes of a famous writer: The Melville Unplugged Writing Workshops give you a chance to experience Herman Melville’s Berkshires home as he did. Arrowhead, Home of Herman Melville is located in next-door Pittsfield, MA

“Come to Arrowhead with a notebook and a pen, quill or ballpoint and write the way Herman Melville did in 1850. Writer-In-Residence, Jana Laiz will lead this ”unplugged” writing workshop. No macbooks, no PCs, no iPads. With just paper, pen and inspiration we will write stories, essays, poetry – anything you feel inspired to put down on paper. We will share our stories (or not) and get the creative juices flowing in the place where it all happened.

August 1, 8:30-10 we will spend our time in Herman’s Study, writing where he wrote. August 8, 15, 22, 29, 10am-11:30pm. We will meet at Arrowhead, using the grounds and trails to gain inspiration, then get to writing. Registration strongly suggested.” – Berkshires.org website

You can contact the estate via their website, www.mobydick.org.

Photo credit: André Karwath aka Aka. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

Congrats to Hampton Terrace guest, E.J.Simon, on his first novel…

  
  
  

There’s no end to the creativity and talent that come through the doors here at Hampton Terrace and we’re happy to announce a brand-new novel from one of our long-time guests.

Death Never Sleeps, the debut novel from Hampton Terrace regular E.J. Simon, was releasedon July 19 and is now available at Amazon.com.

EJ Simon, Death Never Sleeps

Death Never Sleeps mixes murder, intrigue, and technology in the tale of a brother seeking his brother’s killer. Will he solve the murder without placing himself in danger as well? You’ll have to read the book to find out…

But you can read more about E.J. Simon at his website but here’s a slice of the man himself, from his official bio:

“E.J. Simon received his BA in journalism from the University of South Carolina, and his MA in communications from Fairfield University.

He has worked as a consultant to many leading private equity firms and other organizations and held senior-level positions at prominent financial services companies.

Insights gleaned from his extensive travels and dining pleasures, his Greek-American heritage, and his experience in corporate America have influenced his books.

He lives with his wife and codependent dog in Westport, Connecticut.

His short story, “The Secret Apple,” appeared in the January 2012 issue of Forge.”

If you are in the Westport, CT area on August 13, you can catch the book launch party at Mario’s of Westport. Tickets are $50/person and include a family-style Italian dinner, , dessert, coffee and a fresh copy of the book. You can RSVP to the event by phone (to Gerri, at 203-226-0199) or online.

EJ Simon, Death Never Sleeps

 

 

And of course, when you are in the Berkshires, book your room here at Hampton Terrace to absorb some of the creative energy that we have collected over the years!

 

 

Summer In The Berkshires: A Feast For The Senses

  
  
  
The Berkshires is a region that experiences four distinct seasons. Each of those seasons offers sensory treasures to travelers. 

New England fall is, of course, the stuff of legends, and here in the Berkshires, the mountains that make us great are lit afire with the vivid palette of fall leaf colors. There’s also plenty of time for hiking before the frostiness of winter sets in, and the weather is perfect for strolling, shopping, and more.

Winter offers its own gifts. Downhill and cross-country skiing, tubing, and other outdoor winter sports will keep you busy, and world-class restaurants will warm your belly. Museums, galleries and shops feed your soul when you aren’t on the slopes.

In the spring, the trees awaken from slumber and the hills come alive once again. The strong farm-to-table cuisine scene readies to serve you the freshest food available, while farmers are busy planting the local food that will delight you come summertime.

Ah yes, summertime.

Here are a few recommendations for feeding your senses as we enter this second half of the summer:

Tanglewood. Tanglewood is a legendary destination for so many reasons. Located right here in Lenox MA, for 75 years Tanglewood has attracted world-class talent, presenting world-class music throughout the summer. Tickets to excellent shows are still available through the
summer, but seats do fill, so it’s best to get your tickets in advance – and arrive early! Musical styles are diverse – Tanglewood is not just about classical music anymore. Harry Connick Jr. is among the upcoming acts that will take the Tanglewood stage later this season. This is a quintessential Berkshires experience that you should not miss.

Farmers’ Markets. Browse any of the several local markets for a taste of summer, straight from the tree, the vine, or the earth. Lenox’s Farmers’ Market is just a short walk from Hampton Terrace.

Dinner On The Patio. Outdoor dining – it’s what to do in the summertime. Café Lucia, here in Lenox, has a lovely outdoor garden for your fine dining enjoyment, and they intergrate local organic produce into their menu. Alta Wine Bar is another great place to enjoy the summer air and a delicious wine, while you dine. Check out their excellent reviews on Trip Advisor.

cafe lucia, lenox, ma

 

 

Trails and Views. Don’t leave the Berkshires without seeking out a spectacular view and soaking it in. Berkshires.org provides some suggested hikes of varying levels. Descriptions of these hikes also include suggestions as to which ones include a great view.

It’s not too late to book your late summer accommodations. Call or email us anytime with questions. We are happy to provide a personal rate quote guaranteed for 30 days.

 

Photo above, courtesy of the Cafe Lucia website.

Oscar-Winning Composer Alan Menken Wows A Crowd at Hampton Terrace

  
  
  

Last week here at Hampton Terrace, we welcomed Academy Award-winning theatre and film composer Alan Menken.

Menken was visiting Lenox as part of Broadway In the Berkshires, a glamorous charity evening to support Shakespeare & Company’s training and education programs.

We had the pleasure of hosting the VIP after-party for the event, here at Hampton Terrace. Exceptional chocolates from Joshua Needleman of Chocolate Springs, champagne and an impromptu sing-along with Menken extended an already sparkling evening, late into the night.

Alan played at least 10 of his many hits on our storied Steinway, with the Broadway In The Berkshires crowd singing at the top of their lungs.

The Academy is not the only institution that has honored his fine work with their recognition. Mencken is also a Golden Globe, Grammy, Tony and Drama Desk Awards winner, many times over. His career began in the late 70’s but really began to take hold in the early 80’s with his Drama Desk win for Little Shop of Horrors. Since then he has been a staple in the theatre and film industries – culminating (thus far) in his 20 years of compositions for the Walt Disney Pictures. An entire generation of children and families have loved classic Disney films including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and many more.

What a delight to have him join us – and leave this behind:

HT pic Alan Menken autograph

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