This morning's Berkshire Eagle reinforces what we already know here: this has been one snowy winter. White Christmas? How about white-out?
January set a record of 48 inches, totalling 68 inches so far for the season. January 11th marked a single day record of 27 inches. Can we get to the all-time high of 147 inches? Let's not try.
Most snows in the Berkshires are followed by a brief thaw. I do not believe it has actually gone above 32 degrees since November, resulting in an accumulation that has overwhelmed parking lots, sides of the road, our yard.... I have been hand shoveling the paths between our buildings...and they look like canyons...literally. It's pretty...but...
All that being said...is it bad for business? Apparently not. Our January is 25% ahead of 2010. Of course, I have to temper this good fortune with the knowledge that higher heating and plowing bills are in the mail.
Local outdoor equipment rental companies are reporting double digit increases....the best in ten years. I am sure the ski mountains are thrilled. See our Concierge Section.
Many of our guests at Hampton Terrace snow shoe and cross-country ski. There are two very good places within a mile: Kennedy Park and Pleasant Valley Nature Sanctuary. Skis or snow shoes can be rented at the Arcadian Shop.
A good remedy for all of this snow: Wine. And lots of it. Also good for the after-effects of skiiing or snowshoeing. Take advantage of Hampton Terrace's Romantic Weekend Special, which includes a $30 Gift Card to Nejaimes, our local wine shop. Also good for too much winter: Fireplaces and Jacuzzis.
As I am typing this, there are more than 20 people staying here. Don't see a single couple. Why? They got their Gift Certificate and every room has a fireplace and a Jacuzzi. I won't see them until breakfast.
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
In an earlier post, I championed Berkshire chefs....especially those who support the "farm to table" movement. The benefits of such policies are evident: local ingredients are fresher, sustainable, and support small businesses, who in turn reinvest in our community.
Great stuff. But the food has to be good. Better than good....the majority of Berkshire visitors come from the greater New York City area....a place where dining options are rampant and mediocre attempts are crushed. So the challenge is to attract and satisfy some of the most critical "foodies" on earth. Culinary tourism.
And it seems our local chefs are succeeding. To quote the press announcement:
Dinner Highlights Culinary Culture of the Berkshires
On February 4, 2011, the James Beard Foundation presents The Whole Berkshire Hog, an evening showcasing the culinary talents and farm-to-table efforts of several of the most innovative chefs of the Berkshire region. The foods prepared will be raised, grown and foraged in the Berkshire region.
The Berkshire region is known for its rolling hills and fertile valleys; there are over 66,000 acres of farmland in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. This is the second event by a group of like-minded Berkshire chefs to present the multifaceted culinary artisanship of the region in a venue with the mission “to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity.” The Berkshire area boasts a distinctive culinary movement characterized by a group of sophisticated chefs whose culinary styles are informed by the ever-changing bounty of New England’s seasons and the spirit of collaboration that pervades this close-knit group of farmers, producers and chefs. The unique culinary culture of the Berkshires is informed by an historical farming culture of dairy, orchards and raising animals on pasture (pasture is the county’s biggest “crop,” contributing to the year-round sustainability of the region’s farms.) There is a distinctive body of work being produced by Berkshire chefs through the crafts of charcuterie and butchery.
READ ALL ABOUT IT HERE!
All that being said, we know that our guests only have a few nights (or less) to pick the right restaurant. So here at Hampton Terrace we share the feedback from literally tens of thousands of opinions. From now until June, it is a great time to visit Lenox, let us buy you a few bottles of wine (our Romantic Weekend Special includes a $30 credit at the local wine shop), and send you to enjoy a fantastic dinner. And for a limited time only, many of these restaurants are offering fixed-price tasting menus. For a list CLICK HERE.
There are many reasons to come to the Berkshires. But the granddaddy of all is the Boston Symphony, which has been spending its summers here since 1937.
Tanglewood, a "great estate" between Lenox and Stockbridge, Massachusetts - was named that because Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote "The Tanglewood Tales" while a tenant in one of its outbuildings. Concerts are held in the yard behind the mansion, but when rain soaked the patrons of the second concert, work began on a pavilion. Several downward revisions in the budget caused the architect to call it a "shed," and the name has stuck since. The venue is open-air, but the Shed roof covers 6,000 seats. There is room for 12,000 more on the "Lawn."
In 1994, a second venue was built, Ozawa Hall. More a concert hall than the Shed, Ozawa Hall holds 1,200 inside, but the rear can be opened, and on nice summer nights many more thousands can enjoy the music.
One of the unique features of Tanglewood is the "Lawn Nation." Most venues check your bags to make sure you do not smuggle in a Coke....Tanglewood encourages its lawn patrons to bring blankets and chairs, picnics and libations....and some set-ups are quite over the top.
The "Tanglewood Season" runs roughly from the last weekend in June through Labor Day. Over the last decade or two, certain traditions have sprung up: The season begins with Garrison Keillor broadcasting "A Prairie Home Companion" nationally, and the Mark Morris Dance Group premiering a new work. At some point during July or August, James Taylor, a Lenox resident, performs between 2 and 4 shows. Fourth of July features a popular artist show and fireworks. John Williams has a "movie night." Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops will come two or three times. The first Tuesday in August is "Tanglewood on Parade," a combination of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, The Boston Pops AND the Boston Symphony in a single program, which always ends with the 1812 Overture. The final concert is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and Labor Day Weekend is a Jazz Festival.
The BSO itself usually performs every Friday and Saturday nights at 8:30 and Sunday afternoons at 2:30.
But the venue is far from quiet otherwise. Serge Koussevitzsky had the wisdom to recognize that BSO players could be great mentors and teachers, and the Tanglewood Institute was formed. Young classical music performers of all types spend the summer at Tanglewood, where they have their own symphony, chorus and smaller ensembles. The public can enjoy their performances almost daily, as well as world-renowned soloists and ensembles in Ozawa Hall several times per week. SCHEDULE FOR ALL SHOWS
In between classical music offerings, Tanglewood also offers a "Popular Artist Series" and 2011 includes Steely Dan, Train and Earth Wind & Fire.
Tickets for the Lawn are always affordable. Usually less than $20 for classical shows and $30 for popular shows. The Shed offers tickets graded from about $30 to about $100. Information on purchasing tickets is AVAILABLE HERE.
AN INSIDER'S TIP: Tanglewood and the BSO are not-for-profit entities, and ticket sales cover less than half their expenses. Therefore fundraising is important, and special considerations....such as advance sales, parking, upscale dining options, etc. are available to contributors. "Friends of Tanglewood" levels start at $75. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony, occasionally presents "popular artists," implying that somehow having one of the best symphonies in the world in residence is something else.
But leaving that behind, the BSO announced today that Grammy Award-Winning band, Steely Dan, will perform on Tuesday, July 26th. Tickets are on sale February 6th for $25 to $150.
And iconic band Earth, Wind & Fire will appear Saturday, June 25th. Tickets are available the same day and range from $22 to $75.
More information can be found in today's Berkshire Living, and ticket information is available at the BSO website.
Lenox resident and major Tanglewood supporter James Taylor is scheduled for June 30, and July 1 through 4th. Rock band Train will appear on August 8th. Tickets for those shows also go on sale February 6th.
"Friends of Tanglewood" receive an early opportunity for ticket purchases for all shows. A Friend is someone who supports the symphony with contributions of $75 or more. Information on this opportunity is available HERE.
Hampton Terrace is located approximately one mile from the Tanglewood gates. Check us for availability during those dates.
The Tanglewood "Shed" consists of 6,000 covered seats and up to 12,000 additional guests on the "Lawn." Patrons are invited to bring their own food and libations...making the "Lawn Nation" one of the unique entertainment opportunities anywhere. Those on the lawn enjoy large television screen viewing of the live concert.
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.