I thought it might be fun to tell you who you are! Ready?
- Even though Berkshire County has only 139,000 residents, it hosts 2,500,000 visitors annually
- The average age is 52
- 80% of you are married....but 65% travel as a couple (no jokes, please)
- Median household income is $100,500
- You will spend $319 million annually in the Berkshires, employing 11,000 people directly, resulting in $86 million in local wages. You spend, on average, $1,190 while here.
- 55% of you are college graduates, and 45% have post-graduate degrees
- 80% visit historic sites, 60% cultural venues and 38% participate in outdoor recreation
- 59% of you are professional and 18% are retired
- 29% are from Metro New York (6% other New York), 22% from Metro Boston (8% other MA), 8% from other New England and 12% from other Mid-Atlantic.
Research also shows that you come back to the area year after year. This is certainly true of our Hampton Terrace guests...well over 50% of our annual summer crowd has stayed here before.
And here at Hampton Terrace, we are very fortunate to fall exactly in step with travel trends caused by recent economic events. People are still taking trips....but they are driving, looking to spend a long weekend a couple of hours away, and are wanting an "experience." "Turn Back the Clock to the Gilded Age," we say at Hampton Terrace.
Shhhh... Yesterday, Barack Obama gave the National Medal of Arts....the nation's highest arts honor...to 10 recipients. Four of them, James Taylor, Meryl Streep, Sonny Rollins and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival reside within a 25-mile radius of us... 40%!
And they join Yo Yo Ma, John Williams, Pete Seeger and James Levine, who also have Berkshire homes. Frankly, that could be the tip of the iceberg....which is also why I am asking you to keep this between us.
There are LOT of other famous people here. But unlike The Hamptons, Beverly Hills, Aspen.....these "celebrities" live here because they can actually have a life. And a life that is rural and authentic...but also possessing world-class natural surroundings, culture (art, music, theater and dance), museums, Gilded Age historic homes, restaurants (my last blog pointed out that 2 of the 4 James Beard nominations from Massachusetts this year live in the Berkshires), health and wellness (Canyon Ranch, Kripalu and Dr. Mark Hyman.)
I have stood in front of James Taylor in the grocery store line. Sat next to him in an empty coffee shop. He's hanging with his twin boys. Reading a paper. People are leaving him alone.
So here is my pitch to you. Come to the Berkshires to find out WHY people like James Taylor and Yo Yo Ma make this home.
But SHHHH! This stays between you and me. Our SECRET!
...."It was the first of December, all covered in snow..." Those words from James Taylor will forever bring me back to your place and the wonderful, warm time spent there. We arrived in the Fall (Nov. 30), when I awoke the next morning from a very restful sleep and looked out my balcony window, I knew the beauty James sings about. Quiet, white, home...the Berkshires did seem dreamlike on account of that frosting! The entire stay from beginning to end was full of wonderful images enhanced by your family's warmth and hospitality.
The ride back to New York City with Peter Reigert and Ylva Edlestein was dominated with talk about how we all felt we had just experienced a very special, magical few days, thanks in large part to your generosity. That is saying something coming from a bunch of jaded actors.
This thank you note from Ray arrived one day, along with this photo, taken from the front window of the Bonner Room.
Recognize Ray Abruzzo? Of course you do.....one of those faces that seems to be all over television: Well, tonight he is on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
Probably best known as "Little Carmine" on The Sopranos, he has also had leading roles in House MD, NCIS, Boston Legal, Shark, Bones, Murder 101, CSI NY, Law & Order, The Practice, Touched by an Angel, NYPD Blue, Diagnosis Murder, Murder She Wrote, Doogie Howser, Night Court, Dynasty, L.A. Law, 21 Jump Street, Trapper John MD, Riptide and Falcon Crest.
He also starred in the movie, House of Sand and Fog.
So you think you've seen him?
Ray spent a long weekend here, with several other actors, while appearing at Shakespeare & Company in a reading of David Black's "An Impossible Life." The thing about Ray...and other actors we have hosted here...is that without exception, these people are humble, unassuming, and appreciative. They are workers.....they just work in front of a camera, or on a stage, rather than driving nails or selling insurance.
The highlight of the weekend was the party that S&Co threw at Hampton Terrace after the performance.
Wow. Over a hundred people here from 11 pm on....open bar...desserts, fireplaces going. Locals and famous actors mingling. That is worthy of a blog in itself! Stay tuned!
Before I get into this....congrats to our last featured Celebrity Guest, Ken Jennings, for his excellent but probably futile showing against "computer overlord" Watson. Given that Watson can understand questions without hearing or reading...and can push his button at the speed of electricity....it is not surprising that both human contestants found themselves vainly punching their button for questions Watson was already answering.
But I am already off the subject: interesting and/or famous people who have walked into our inn. And that is exactly the story behind Lauren Ambrose.
One day a young redhead and her taller brunette husband came in, asking for a room. They introduced themselves as Lauren and Sam...so I signed them up. As this was happening, my daughter Lauren walked down the main staircase...and I introduced her..."Lauren, this is Lauren."
She went out the front door...and no more than 60 seconds later my cell phone rang. "Dad! Do you know who that is?" I admitted I had no idea, and she told me that the girl at my front desk had starred in "Can't Hardly Wait," "Party of Five," and other shows my 20-something daughter would know.
At that point in time (2002), she was a main character, Claire, in HBO's "Six Feet Under," which had finished its first season. So she was not on my radar.
But she and Sam stayed a couple of nights and we really got along well. And she came back twice more. During those visits they expressed a love for the Berkshires and a desire to have a second home here. They had been married on the grounds of Tanglewood, and she is originally from New Haven, just a couple of hours away. At some point later, they called us to come see a house they had found in South County...east of Great Barrington. It was an 1800's era "eyebrow" colonial..meaning the roof slopes forward reducing the second floor front windows to slits, resembling eyebrows over the first floor windows.
The house needed a lot of work. As it turned out, my brother-in-law, Mike, was in the area helping us renovate portions of Hampton Terrace, so Mike went to work for Lauren and Sam. Upon completion, we dropped in with a bottle of house-warming champagne.
Over the years, Lauren and Sam have often run into my daughter Lauren again...and her husband Brad, who spent a couple of years as the bartender at Allium...a favorite Great Barrington hangout. Susan and I have seen them occasionally as well.
Lauren continues to do a LOT of film, tv and stagework, including Broadway. I won't go into that..but click on her link in the second paragraph and you will see her latest projects. She also sings in a band which performs frequently in Great Barrington. I guess in some respects she has become a "local." And we had a chance to be a bit involved in that. A perk of our jobs.
Is it possible to make a visit to the Berkshires even better? Apparently. Add CHOCOLATE!
From the top to the bottom of Berkshire County, scores of businesses are featuring chocolate in a hundred different ways, to draw more visitors to the area.
A special CHOCOLATE BERKSHIRES website has been created to showcase all we have to offer.
Of course, Hampton Terrace is thrilled with any promotions that bring more people to our area, and here is how we will participate:
Any two-night stay at Hampton Terrace includes
- A warm, romantic room with a fireplace and Jacuzzi or antique soaking tub
- Full breakfast buffet by candlelight, including our Chocolate French Toast...featured in USA Today!
- A $30 Gift Card to either (1) Nejaimes, Lenox's wonderful wine/gourmet food shop, or (2) Chocolate Springs Cafe, featuring hand-crafted chocolate in many forms.
- #1 Rated on Trip Advisor and all for less than $189/night, mid-week or weekend.
CHOCOLATE BERKSHIRES is SUCH A GOOD IDEA we will honor this special until June 15th!
CLICK HERE FOR THE HAMPTON TERRACE HOMEPAGE
CLICK HERE TO CHECK AVAILABILITY
Shocking. Why would anyone link Hollywood with the quiet Berkshire countryside..home to great estates, beautiful vistas, classical music, museums, live theater, notable restaurants, dance?
How about this: (and admittedly, I had trouble singling The Matrix out for the headline)
Movies filmed in the Berkshires:
Alice’s Restaurant, starring Arlo Guthrie, filmed in Great Barrington, Housatonic
Pretty Poison, starring Anthony Perkins filmed in North Adams & Great Barrington
Cider House Rules starring Tobey Mcquire filmed in Lenox
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, starring Elizabeth Taylor, filmed in Northhampton
A Change of Seasons, starring Shirley MacLaine, filmed in Williamstown
Lethal Innocence, starring David Strathairn, filmed in Lee
Before and After, starring Meryl Streep, filmed in multiple Berkshire towns
Into My Heart, starring Rob Morrow, filmed in the Berkhires
Wilbur Falls, starring Danny Aiello, filmed in Lenox
Dinner and a Movie, starring Marianne Hagan, filmed in the Berkshires
The Human Stain, starring Anthony Hopkins, filmed in the Berkshires
Movies Worked On By Berkshire Residents:
(Directors/Actors/Visual Effects Craftsmen)
Bladerunner – VFX by Local FX pro Doug Trumbull
Brainstorm - directed by Doug Trumbull
Silent Running - directed by Doug Trumbull, effects by Doug Trumbull
Close Encounters of the3rd Kind - effects by D. Trumbull
2001 Space Odessy – effects by Doug Trumbull
The Matrix – effects done at Mass Illussion (in Lenoxdale)
Starship Trooper - effects done at Mass Illusion
What Dreams May Come – effects done at Mass Illusion
Stargate – effects by Keiser Walczak & Bob O’Haver
Judge Dredd - special effects done at Mass Illusion
Amazing Adventures of Spiderman- effects by Kleiser Walczak
Clear and Present Danger - effects by Kleiser Walczak
Honey I Blew Up the Kids effects by Kleiser Walczak
X-Men – effects by Kleiser Walczak
X-Men: The Last Stand – effects by Kleiser Walczak
Fantastic Four – effects by Kleiser Walczak
Disney’s Dinosoar – Production Manager Bob O’Haver
Judge Dredd – VFX Producer Diane Pearlman
Die Hard: With A Vengeance – VFX Producer Diane Pearlman
Eraser - VFX Producer Diane Pearlman
Event Horizon - VFX Producer Diane Pearlman
She Hate Me (spike lee)- Director of Animation Ben Hillman, VFX Producer Diane Pearlman
Last of the Dogmen – VFX Producer Bob O’Haver
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – effects by John Nugent (Pitts. Co. Sandbox)
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring – effects by John Nugent
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – effects by John Nugent
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – effects by John Nugent
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – effects by John Nugent
Jumper – effects by John Nugent
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer – effects by John Nugent
Night at the Museum – effects by John Nugent
The Celestine Prophecy – effects by John Nugent
Ghost Dad - cameraman Eugene Mamut
Predator - camouflage co-developer Eugene Mamut
Predator2 - camouflage effects superviser Eugene Mamut
Dead of Winter - directed by Arthur Penn
The Missouri Breaks - directed by Arthur Penn
Night Moves - directed by Arthur Penn
Bonnie and Clyde - directed by Arthur Penn
Flesh and Blood - directed by Arthur Penn
The Miracle Worker - directed by Arthur Penn
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – starring Karen Allen
Raiders of the Lost Ark - starring Karen Allen
The Perfect Storm - starring Karen Allen
Starman - starring Karen Allen
Animal House - starring Karen Allen
The Uninvited – starring Elizabeth Banks & David Strathairn
W - starring Elizabeth Banks
Zack and Miri Make A Porno – starring Elizabeth Banks
The 40 Year Old Virgin - starring Elizabeth Banks
Seabiscuit – featuring Elizabeth Banks
Catch Me If You Can - featuring Elizabeth Banks
Spider-Man 2 - featuring Elizabeth Banks
Spider-Man - featuring Elizabeth Banks
SO.....now that you are wowed, what is this about? In the same way you would certainly seed a fertile field, the Berkshire Film and Media Commission has been formed to encourage more movie-making in the Berkshires.
Diane Pearlman is Executive Director, and her name appears in the list above - meaning she is an "insider," not someone hired to knock on the doors of strangers. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers incentives to film here....why do you think every film by Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck is filmed in Boston? So Diane is asking, "why not the Berkshires?"
And judging from the turnout at the Commission's 2010 Gala last November, plenty of people are on board with her. The evening, held at a Masonic Temple, featured special effects icon Doug Trumbull pasting live shots of attendees into black-and-white footage of Casablanca. Each was given a chance to don a costume and make-up...and shoot a scene for insertion into the film. How many parties have come up with that idea?
So if you are a filmmaker or producer (television or film) ....considering a location shoot, click to the BFMC website.
But if you are someone like me.....looking to be affiliated with a good cause....that also offers a chance to rub shoulders with interesting and creative people, get on the BFMC e-mail list. See you at the next party!
Karen Allen Photo: Bess Hochstein for Rural Intelligence
Recently, the New York Times did a full-page feature on dining in the Berkshires. The article pointed out that the current "farm-to-table" trend sweeping Food Network programming and new restaurant development throughout the country, had roots in the Berkshires more than a decade ago.
This is also a major theme of Anthony Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" sequel.
So add "culinary tourism" to the list of reasons people come to Lenox and the Berkshires....beyond Tanglewood, theater, museums and other world-class culture and natural beauty.
But like any tourism...there are seasonal ups and downs. From now until June....local restaurants are creating further incentives to spend an evening with them. A few examples:
- The Mill on the Floss, Williamstown: three-course dinner for $29 all nights the restaurant is open.
- Viva, Glendale: four-course meal for $25 on Wednesdays and Sundays.
- Trattoria Rustica, Pittsfield: three courses for $20.
- Cork n' Hearth, Lenox: $17 mid-week "old favorites" entres.
- Alta, Lenox: Three courses for $25, Sunday through Thursday
This is the tip of the iceburg. The Berkshire Eagle featured many of the specials in an article today, called Dining Deals.
A more comprehensive list is available: Berkshire Restaurant Off-Season Specials.
Or, for a Printable Version of this list, CLICK HERE.
Additionally, save money mid-week at Hampton Terrace, where rooms are typically 40% less off-season and mid-week.
CLICK HERE to see our current SPECIALS and DISCOUNTS
Last week we were very pleased to host Michall Jeffers, a travel writer and New York City television personality. She, and her husband, John were sent by WomanAroundTown.com to write a feature about the Berkshires, and describe Romantic Weekend Specials at Hampton Terrace.
WomanAroundTown.com, focuses on interesting topics in, and around New York City and Washington, DC. They occasionally feature resorts or hotels the editors find interesting. They will not recommend a place unless one of their writers has a first-person experience there...thus our excitement to be identified, and then our relief to be "recommended."
We spent considerable time with Michall and John describing why National Geographic Traveler rated the Berkshires the #7 destination in the world. They did have a chance to do some exploring and they had two dinners in the area. They agreed that having an innkeeper's insight can help a visitor maximize an experience.
Here at Hampton Terrace, we provide two valuable and "private" lists to our guests: "A List to Help You Plan Your Stay," and a "Dining List." Usually, it takes an actual "booking" at Hampton Terrace to receive these insights - which come with the confirmation e-mail. But the editors of WomanAroundTown.com felt that access to our lists would a great value for readers of their website.
If you have run into this blog entry, and would also like to learn what the Berkshires can offer for a weekend escape, CLICK HERE.
Hampton Terrace, the #1 rated Lenox inn according to Trip Advisor reviewers, features a Romantic Weekend Special designed to help couples from New York, Connecticut and the Boston area plan, and afford a perfect getaway.
Rooms are priced at $189/night and include a $30 Gift Certificate to the local wine/gourmet food shop, full breakfast buffet by candlelight, early check-in and late check-out, and 30% off a third night.
Hampton Terrace has been welcoming guests since 1937 and features 14 guest rooms, all with private baths. Most rooms have fireplaces and Jacuzzis. Walk to all of Lenox's heralded shops and restaurants.
With your confirmation, you will receive the innkeeper's "private" list of favorite restaurants and local activities.
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.
Hampton Terrace is a Lenox bed and breakfast and a top-rated Berkshires inn.
Please visit our website to see!