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

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The Definition of True Romance

  
  
  

Gimped Mini Mogi and Friends

A romantic getaway is not just flowers and wine – it is an experience (that of course may happen to include flowers and wine). A romantic getaway creates a special experience for you and your special person to enjoy. It will relax, rejuvenate, and maybe even entertain. It will engage your senses, as you give you and your loved one time to detach from the mundane.

Here at Hampton Terrace, we understand how important it is to take time for romance – and happily, we are nestled in a special place that is rich in all of the elements that a true romantic getaway requires.

The rising, gentle peaks of the Berkshires are the first to greet you when you arrive. They are the canvases upon which nature expresses the dramatic nature of the New England seasons. In winter, white peaks beckon you to join them on the slopes. In Fall, the mountainsides erupt into one of the great wonders of the world – trees that glow in colors straight from a jewel box, reds, oranges, yellows. And of course in the summer, lush greens invite you to picnic on the grass, hike the ancient woods, and stroll the town at night, sipping wine and touring the culinary globe.

Hampton Terrace has your plush, cozy bed, your private room, and a special gift card to our local, Lenox wine shop, Nejaimes. In-room massage? We can arrange that for you. Wine and flowers to set the tone for your special trip? Call ahead, they’ll be ready for you when you arrive.

And that’s just your arrival.

Once your bags are settled in your room and you’ve had a chance to test the coziness of the big, fluffy bed, it’s time to explore the neighborhood. Within a short walk, guests at Hampton Terrace find the lovely town of Lenox to explore. 

French cuisine is renowned the world over for its elegance, richness, and exquisite flavor. Patisserie Lenox is an authentic French patisserie just a short walk from your room at Hampton Terrace. Rich chocolate, decadent cakes, flaky croissant, and so much more. French pastries are moist, flavorful, and unforgettable. Enjoy something there, and bring a little something back to your room for later. 

Ready to explore?

Lenox itself is a rich collection of art galleries, antique shops, and unique stores. Discover a must-have treasure together at Coffman’s Antiques. Find that perfect piece of contemporary art for your home at the Wit Gallery. Inspire your sense of humor at the Tom Fiorini Sculpture Garden. Take in a collection of the region’s finest visual art at the Lenox Gallery of Fine Art.

Your stomachs will tell you when it’s time for dinner. The Berkshires are home to a strong farm-to-table movement and Nudel are masters of their genre. Chef Bjorn Somlo was nominated for a Best New Chef award in 2012 by Food & Wine Magazine. His pasta bar draws its ingredients from local sources and transforms food into an experience. There’s a reason his fans are ardent and enthusiastic.

Don’t forget to stop at Nejaimes, the wine shop, with your certificate, before you settle in for the evening. Located appropriately right near the patisserie, they stock a dense selection of fine wines and other beverages. Perhaps pair your wine with the delicious pastry you picked up at Patisserie Lenox?

Once you’ve returned from town, your Jacuzzi tub is here for you at the Inn, in your private oasis of relaxation.

After a great night’s sleep spent sinking deeper into relaxation mode, you’ll likely awaken to the savory smells of whatever we are cooking that morning in the kitchen, and we will have a private candlelit breakfast ready for you. Breakfast is no cookie cutter affair at Hampton Terrace. You’ll have a different selection each morning of your visit, sweets, savories, and vegetarian options are available.

And that’s just day one. The Berkshires have so much more to offer you, as you explore the all-too-rare experience of true relaxation and romance.

Hampton Terrace B&B, a savvy traveler's dream come true

  
  
  

It's impossible to pick just one reason that Hampton Terrace and the Berkshires make for an unforgettable vacation experience...so here's a few:

Gilded Age charm: Hampton Terrace is a historic landmark that reflects the tastes and charms of an opulent age, the Gilded Age. The Gilded Age followed the Civil War and lasted until approximately the turn of the twentieth century. It was a time of tremendous industrial growth in the United States, and the families that benefited from the growth of the key industries of the era (like railroads, manufacturing and mining) left their mark on the Berkshires, in the beautiful homes that they built. Hampton Terrace is one of the “cottages” built in that era that remains to greet visitors. From claw-foot bathtubs to the intricate details throughout, you will experience the difference.

Ventfort Hall: Our neighbor, Ventfort Hall Museum, is another treasure of that time period,Hampton Terrace B and gives you another window to Gilded Age beauty and history.

Modern amenities: Though Hampton Terrace is a Gilded Age cottage it is, indeed, a citizen of  the 21st Century. We have free Wi-Fi for guests, a heated outdoor pool (seasonal), and all the amenities that you require to make your trip great.

Easy access: All the restaurants, shops, and attractions in Lenox are less than a two-block walk from our door. Farm–to-table cuisine? It’s here, at Nudel. French patisserie (for those moments when nothing but a French pastry will do)? Patisserie Lenox has you covered. Excellent professional theatre productions? Shakespeare & Co. serves up an evening of theatre, piping hot. And this is just a small sample of what Lenox has to offer.

Experience: An inn since 1937, we know what our guests like and, more importantly, what they don’t. Not only do we have a history of running an inn – but our history is one of doing it well.

Trip Advisor Reviews: We are one of top bed and breakfasts in the Berkshires, according to TripAdvisor.com, and we are number one among our Lenox peers.

A Breakfast You Have To Try: Every single day, we provide our guests with a breakfast that puts a Southern twist to the traditional New England breakfast. It may be the best comfort food you ever have! And with our roots in the South, we bring an authenticity to our Southern breakfast that you’re not likely to find just anywhere in New England.

We Make You A Local: We are always blogging to provide our guest with tips and events that are beyond the tourist traps that other places recommend. To truly know the Berkshires, Hampton Terrace helps you live the Berkshires. Every confirmation includes a list of insider tips to help you plan your stay and a dining guide that singles out the best places to eat. Make sure to check out our previous blog post, a preview of the best annual party in the Berkshires – and the Hampton Terrace special to accompany the night’s festivities.

Solid, High-End Shopping: A selection of boutiques in downtown Lenox are just steps from our front door, literally. The “downtown” area is less than two blocks from our front door. Plus, the Premium Outlets in Lee are 5 miles away – a 10 minute drive at the most – and many of the small towns nearby have wonderful downtown shopping districts.  

Outstanding Culinary Options: This is where the Berkshires really shines. A
culinary renaissance has taken place in recent years and the Berkshires
boasts dining options to match (or surpass!) any major city. For example:

  • Nudel is about two blocks away and it does not disappoint. Last year, the chef/owner, Bjorn, was nominated for a James Beard award and also for the Food & Wine People’s Choice award. Every day, Bjorn prints a new menu inspired by whatever ingredients he found at the markets and co-ops that morning.
  • Spice Dragon: Opened as just Spice in 2006, and then Jae’s Spice, at the cost of $4.5 million, it was the centerpiece of Pittsfield’s downtown renewal. Ultimately, the original owner could not sustain the overhead. Now it is run by local Vietnamese brothers, one of whom won America’s Top Chef.
  • Wheatleigh/Blantyre for meals completely over the top - ambiance and price to match. These are two of the more castle-like Berkshire Cottages that have become resort hotels, with rooms at $1,000 and up. Both are now open year-round and feature price-fix menus at roughly $80 to $165/person depending on whether you get three courses or six. Both feature prominent chefs and impeccable staff. The drive is less than 5 minutes to either. Wheatleigh also offers an a la carte option if you eat in their Library.
  • Chocolate Springs Café: Located in the new Lenox Commons, several blocks north of the village, this café is a MUST stop for dessert and coffee. The chef, formerly of Wheatleigh, has been named one of the Top Ten Chocolate Makers in the U.S. by Saveur Magazine.

These are just a few of the many fantastic restaurants that we spotlight in the Dining Guide we send to all guests to help plan their stay. 

In addition to the shopping and dining, The Berkshires are a fine-arts lover’s dream. There is: 

Or, if travelers are more interested in relaxation there is:

  • World-class spa at Canyon Ranch, less than a mile away
  • World-class yoga at Kripalu, about two miles from Hampton Terrace
  • Fantastic golf at Cranwell Resort, a little more than two miles away
When you stay at Hampton Terrace, you will never have to wonder what's happening in the Berkshires.

We are good! Nudel's Chef Nominated for the James Beard Award.

  
  
  

NudelI will take credit only for recognizing talent.  One block from Hampton Terrace, Bjorn Somlo opened "Nudel," not much more than a year ago.   This week, he was nominated for the James Beard Award for "Best Chef in the Northeast."   Only four chefs from Massachusetts are in the running...and the other is Peter Platt, also from the Berkshires.

Peter is well-deserving:  he is formerly of Wheatleigh and for years has owned the Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough.   We have been a few times...and sent guests...but they are located 30 minutes from us, so the relationship is not the same.

Nudel...however...is our neighbor, and my daughter, Lauren is actually a waitress and hostess there now.   The most incredible thing is the fact that Bjorn has been nominated for this award after literally a year.   Prior to opening Nudel, he served anonymously in the kitchens of various local restaurants...although he certainly will credit each one with developing his obviously prodigious skills.   He is NOT an alum from the CIA, French Culinary Institute, or any classroom.   He is merely passionate about food.   

NudelSince our first meal there, we have aggressively sent guests to Nudel.   And that is to take NOTHING away from any other Lenox restaurant.    We continue to receive 100% positive feedback about many of them, and Nudel is not for everyone.

But Bjorn has wowed our guests....and apparently the food critics...with perfect execution of simple concepts:  (1) buy local and sustainable food whenever possible, (2) prepare it, and combine it in ways which strike the imagination, and (3) change the menu virtually every night so that regular patrons have fresh reasons to sample often.

"When they bring their product through the door, I know it's not the kind of thing to be hidden by something else or served as an accoutrement," he said. "When I say beets, I mean beets. That should be the star of the show for that day. I enjoy all of the challenges of being seasonal. I'm happiest when I'm cooking."

Bjorn is also savvy enough to know that the new social networking paradigm can work for him.   His daily menu is posted at 5 pm each day on his website, Facebook and Twitter.  His many hundreds of fans get "pinged" at 5 with the latest list of "teases,".....

NudelFoie Gras and Duck Liver Scrapple, maple syrup, French toast

Bluefish and Veal Sweetbread Sausage, capers, lentils and cauliflower

Split and Chickpea Soup, smoked paprika and caramelized yogurt

....three "small plate" choices from just last night.   And I mean tease in this context:   Anyone can feed you.   Bjorn can entice you to leave your house and find out why he thought split pea soup, Korean bar-b-cued pork, parmesan fritters and raw cranberries might work in the same bowl.

The other thing about Nudel...its size.   Smaller than our entry hallway, Nudel seats 28, and that includes the high stools at the kitchen counter.   If you are lucky, you get (or wait) for a front row seat.   Bjorn knocked out the wall between the dining area and the kitchen...and you are in the kitchen with him.   Everthing is transparent...he is cooking in front of you.  He is calm, organized and on top of every detail.

All this being said.....Bjorn's primary talent is drawing the maximum flavor from each dish.   We have been many, many times.   Nudel does not have salt and pepper shakers at the tables.   It has never occurred to me to ask for one.

So, sincere congratulations, Bjorn.  Don't change a thing.

 

 

Nudel Raises the Bar on Uniqueness in Lenox and the Berkshires

  
  
  

Nudel We’ve lived in Lenox since 1996. There are, and have been, many restaurants. Most follow traditional themes….Italian (Northern or "red sauce"), French, Sushi, New England, steaks and burgers. Here comes one that cannot be labeled. Because it reinvents itself every day.

Nudel, the 4-week-old creation of Bjorn Somlo, has already thrilled at least 30 couples from Hampton Terrace, with no dissenting votes. Occupying the old "Dish" space on Church Street, Bjorn has taken out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room so that all can see what he is up to. And what he is up to changes every day. There is no set menu. Choices each day are at the chef’s whim.

Depending on the availability of locally procurred meats, vegetables or fruits, Bjorn devises and publishes a daily menu. If you want to preview what he is offering, the menu is posted live on their Internet site. A quick look at the archived menues demonstrates that this chef does not rest. He reacts to the possibilities offered by his basic ingredients….a la "Iron Chef," and in that tradition, he strives to use every edible part of his bounty, and present it in as many formats as possible. For tomorrow, he is advertising a "Hen of the Woods" tasting menu for $45, which will stretch the theme from appetizers, through salads and soups, entres, pastas and sweet endings. One of our guests told us that they had parsnips in their salad and parsnips in their dessert. We have seen menus that do the same for duck, roosters, whole pigs, rabbit, bluefish, skate, clams…. His prices are quite reasonable a la carte, with soups and appetizers all coming in under $10, and all entres available in a large or small plate option, most in the $11 to $18 range.

Bjorn, 29, has been one of the chefs at John Andrews….. without question the most experimental fine restaurant in the Berkshires. For most of our guests, the 40 minute drive there has been too much to venture, thus our excitement that Nudel is located less than a block from us.

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