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

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Lenox Collaborations: Hampton Terrace and MacKimmie Co.

  
  
  

MacKimmie Co

Collaborations are usually win/win.   Hampton Terrace is walking distance from a number of REALLY interesting shops.   Usually it is easy to forget that, as we tout the merits of our local historic houses, theaters, museums, restaurants, spas and outdoor activities.

Doris and Vytas Barsauskas relocated MacKimmie Co. Home and Gift from Marblehead, Massachusetts to Lenox earlier in the year.   They sell high-end designer throws, blankets, pillows and loungewear - a perfect thing to consider now that Lenox is dipping below freezing.

Doris and Susan started a conversation several weeks ago about how our businesses might promote each other, and that resulted in a "Private Sale" with wine and cheese last Saturday night at Hampton Terrace.   The fact that almost all of our guests stopped by between 5:30 and 7:00 to enjoy the comraderie demontrates that collaborations such as this are a natural fit.

Doris and Vytas displayed their beautiful wares all around our living room, and with aMacKimmie Co fireplace roaring and John Coltrane playing in the background, several dozen of our guests were able to see MacKimmie Co.'s offerings.   All guests of Hampton Terrace were offered a 20% discount on their total inventory until the end of the year.   

Not that there is a connection, but I just received an e-mail from Elizabeth Aspenleider, Communications Director at Shakespeare & Company, asking if I thought Hampton Terrace guests might like a 30% discount to Private Eyes, running through November 9th.  She also asked if we would consider a blast-email to our 8,500-couple mailing list about their holiday production, in trade for a similar promotion about Hampton Terrace to their 16,500-person list.   Yep.  We'll go for that.

I am going to chalk all of this up to the joys of living in a small town, where successful collaborations raise all ships.

 

 

The View From Our Window: Ventfort Hall - Summer Home of the Morgans

  
  
  

 Ventfort Hall

A couple of days ago I mentioned historic Trinity Church, which is located across the street from Hampton Terrace.   It occurred to me, as I stand on my front porch, there are a LOT of iconic sights from our front door.

Ventfort Hall was built in 1893 by Sarah Morgan, sister of J. P. Morgan at a cost of $950,000.  In those days, an impressive mansion could be built for $10,000, so this demostrates the scale of this Jacobean-Revival home.  Sarah and J. P. each inherited about $1,000,000 from their father.  J. P. used his inheritance to ultimately become the richest man in America.   Sarah used hers to build this summer home.

Dont feel sorry for her.   She married George Morgan - her first cousin, who was also J. P.'s business partner, so there was plenty of subsequent cash flow to fuel the Gilded Age lifestyle.

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The Morgans kept the summer home until they died, after which it was rented by Margaret Vanderbilt, whose husband, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, had died on the Lusitania.

Like many of Lenox's "cottages," Ventfort Hall was left abandoned for many decades.   But a very strong local effort to save it was led by Tjasa Sprague, and now Ventfort Hall is completely stable and undergoing a multi-phase renovation.   All of the main floor public spaces are done, as well as most of the second floor bedrooms.

Ventfort Hall has become "The Museum of the Gilded Age" and is open for daily tours.   Tjasa and her staff have energetically filled the calendar with social functions, lectures and events.  It has become quite the resource for Lenox.

Most of our guests at Hampton Terrace have taken advantage of our close proximity and taken the tour.   I find myself taking such things for granted, which is why I decided to focus on iconic places beyond our front door.   This is truly one of American's great remaining mansions.

British Invasion!! 100% of Hampton Terrace Guests from the UK

  
  
  

 Union Jack

It is a good thing we are current on Doctor Who.   In looking at today's guest list, we have 16 guests on the property.   12 are from Britain, and 4 are from Australia.   Two other English couples left this morning.

Having a number of European guests during Foliage Season is typical.   I once asked someone from London why they have to fly across the ocLenox Fall Foliageean to Lenox to see fall color, and she told me leaves turn from green to brown in Europe.

Susan, Lauren and I found ourselves in London one November and we saw exactly that.

That is not to say we have not had our share of visitors from Florida, Texas and California this week.   But this is causing me to stock up on my English Breakfast and Earl Gray tea bags.

Fall Foliage got an early start this year, with some trees showing brilliant red, orange and yellow in late September.  But I would estimate 70% of the trees are still green around us, so the best is yet to come.

 

View From Our Window: Yo Yo Ma's Daughter is Married in Lenox

  
  
  

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We have always claimed Hampton Terrace is well located.   How about this?   Yesterday afternoon there was a wedding directly across the street from us, in the intimate and historic Trinity Church.   Turns out it was Yo Yo Ma's daughter, Emily.

Emily married John Mistovich of Londonberry, New Hampshire.   Both Emily and John graduated from Harvard, 2014-09-28_1151she with a law degree.

Our relationship with Yo Yo seems to be one of "close proximity."   From 1997 to 1999 Susan and I rented a 30-acre farm in Tyringham, MA, with a 1763 farmhouse.   Yo Yo Ma bought the farm next door and constructed a beautiful home, designed to blend perfectly with the 240+ year old farmhouses in the neighborhood.

Ma is a fixture at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony.   One summer, we received a call from our old Maoon friend, Claire, who said she heard Yo Yo was performing the Brandenberg Concerto in solo recital at Ozawa Hall.   She said she planned to fly up to visit us, and hoped we could get tickets.   This was with like....4 days notice.   The concert had sold out 6 months prior.   But I drove to the box office and waited for the window to raise at 10 am.   I asked if, by miracle, any tickets had opened up for Yo Yo Ma.   "Are you ever lucky!," the woman said.   "We decided to sell several circles of "stage seats."   I bought the first 3 seats available.  Picture two small semi-circles of chairs framing the solist...and us in seats 1, 2 and 3 in the closest circle.   We were literally 6 feet to the left of him as heyoyoma looked out over the audience.  He looks to the left as he plays, with eyes closed and always a smile on his face.   2 hours of that.   Can you imagine?

After the show, he greeted fans in the green room, and the line predictably, was a block long.   As is his reputatoon, Yo Yo greeted and chatted with everyone in the line - seemingly in no hurry.   Our friend Claire (last name to be withheld) gushed...."Yo Yo.....I want to have your baby!."

We have seen Yo Yo many times since, both onstage and around the area.   It is a phenomenon.   Arguably the most famous classical music performer in the world....Yo Yo Ma acts like he has never met a stranger.   He is warm, interested and fully engaged with everyone he meets.

Back to Trinity Church.   The door to the church is always open.   Hampton Terrace guests are welcome to roam around inside and check out this historic building - constructed by the Gilded Age families who populated Lenox and the Berkshires at the turn of the century.

Why is Hampton Terrace Filling Up for Berkshire Fall Foliage Viewing?

  
  
  

Fall Foliage in the Berkshires

There are a lot of reasons Hampton Terrace is filling up for the month of October.  We are a great home base for checking out the spectacular Fall Foliage.

But don't just take our word for it.   Several years ago BedandBreakfast.com named us one of the Top Ten Inns in the Northeast for viewing leaves.   So there.

But to be more specific:

  • Leaves are just as red on Tuesday as they are on Saturday.   We use our off-season rates for Monday through Thursday, saving $70/night.   Why pay more?
  • Not all leaves change at the same time.  Higher elevations turn sooner than lower.   Northern locations turn sooner than southern.  Lenox is centrally located and in spite of what date you choose to visit us, Vermont is 45 minutes north and Connecticut is 45 minutes south.   We will send you to where colors are peaking.   Additionally, the entire Berkshires are covered with peaks and valleys.   You will find colors until all the leaves are on the ground.
  • Fall evenings are cool.   Hampton Terrace has 12 fireplace rooms and 10 Jacuzzi rooms (plus 2 antique claw-foot soaking tubs).   Romance anyone?
  • Attractions are open.   Of course, this area is known for its summer season, but almost every attraction stays open through Foliage Season because they know the October crowds almost match those in July/August.   Museums.   Historic House tours.  Theater.   Music.  Restaurants.  Shops.  Theater.   You will find it all.

Fall Foliage, LenoxIt is September 23rd, and as I look out my office window, I see red, yellow and orange starting to take over the green.   It is not too early to consider a visit.   And even as late as the last week in October, you will have the experience you seek.

Is September the Best Month to Come to Lenox and the Berkshires?

  
  
  

Lenox Tub Parade

We have owned Hampton Terrace for more than 15 years at this point, and we have certainly developed a feel for our area, and the best times to come.

Not to take anything away from our celebrated summer season:   Tanglewood (Summer home of the Boston Symphony) and all of the museums, theater, music, historic sites, restaurants, shops and nature.  National Geographic Traveler has ranked us "The #7 Destination in the World."

The majority of the 3 million visitors to the Berkshires come July and August.   Inn prices are higher during the "season" ( plus 3 night weekend minimums) and lines form for everything.

October also contributes heartily to the 3 million visitor tally.

Berkshire FoliageMany Berkshire attractions are seasonal.   Most of the historic house tours only run between Memorial Day and late October.   Some restaurants close from November until Spring.   Most of the theater companies take the same period off.

The crowds leave after Labor Day and return for Fall Foliage.   So September is lightly visited - and we drop to off-season rates.

Yet our guests get almost as many county-wide amenities and opportunies as the July/August/October visitors.   

The Hampton Terrace pool is still open in September, and we still feature our all-you-can-eat buffet breakfasts.....but our rooms are $70/night less!

And on top of that....locals go the extra mile to make September attractive to visitors:   The Lenox Tub Parade (September 13), Lenox Apple Squeeze (September 27-28) and numerous Fall Festivals in surrounding towns.   The farms all feature Fall activities (pumpkins, apples, corn mazes).

And you can know that ALL of the historic house tours, restaurants, seasonal shops, will be open - and many of the theater and music presenters are still programming (minus Tanglewood and Jacob's Pillow).

SO.....weekend or midweek - stay at Hampton Terrace for just $229/night and let us help you steer around the Berkshires.

Record-Breaking Summer at Hampton Terrace in Lenox

  
  
  

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A HUGE THANK YOU - especially to our loyal multi-repeat guests - for helping us set records at Hampton Terrace this summer.

It seemed a little sketchy at first:   a long winter and rainy Spring seemed to cause people to contact us later than usual for summer bookings, especially for midweek.

But then....

BOOM.   Full house from mid-June through Labor Day.  And SO MUCH POSITIVE ENERGY!   It seemed everyone loved everything they did in the area:  The Sterling Clark Art Institute re-opening.  Museums.  Theater.   Tanglewood.  Restaurants.   House Tours.   Hiking.  

Susan and I sincerely appreciate you all!   Thanks for treating Hampton Terrace as your home-away-from-home!!!

"Beethoven Love Elegies" at The Mount in Lenox

  
  
  

Beethoven Love Elegies

Let's combine a few of our favorites:   Beethoven, Edith Wharton's The Mount, and Deborah Grausman - the uber-talented performer/impressario who stages "Broadway in the Berkshires," and always allows us to host the after-party at Hampton Terrace.

From this point, I will quote directly from a blog by Seth Rogovoy, who puts things so well.  I shall not try to improve...

(LENOX, Mass.) – “Beethoven Love Elegies,” a dramatic program interweaving a script drawn from Beethoven’s letters and diaries and accounts by his contemporaries with performances of some of his greatest known works, will be performed by the Ensemble for the Romantic Century (ERC) as a fully staged theatrical concert at the Stables Theatre at The Mount for 12 performances from Wednesday, July 16, 2014, through Sunday, August 3, 2014.

This poignant, humorous, and emotionally intense production dramatizes Beethoven’s young Deborah Grausmanyears in Vienna and his search for the perfect wife. Actor Kire Tosevski as Beethoven heads an outstanding company of five esteemed actors and four musicians (violinist Rachel Lee Priday, cellist Sebastian Bäverstam, pianist Eve Wolf, and baritone Chad Sloane).

This script is very dear to my heart,” says Eve Wolf, founder and executive artistic director of ERC and writer/pianist of “Beethoven Love Elegies.” “It is so moving to witness Beethoven at this younger age when he was boisterous, flirtatious, and sociable, and then to see his gradual descent into isolation when his deafness became more extreme. Beethoven was very spiritual and never lost hope, in spite of this adversity. The music reveals his struggle as well as his unstoppable hope and optimism.”

Depicted in a tragicomic script based on Beethoven’s letters and contemporaries’ recollections of the composer, “Beethoven Love Elegies” spotlights the composer’s attempts at finding an enduring love while growing increasingly deaf. The tragedy of his unfulfilled desire for a meaningful, and lifelong relationship finds its voice in his music. This production features recorded excerpts from Beethoven’s only opera, “Fidelio,” which represents Beethoven’s idealized view of marriage; his Variations on Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen (A young girl or a little wife), based on an aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute; the “Moonlight” Sonata, which was dedicated to his piano student, Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, with whom he fell in love; the “Ghost” Trio, which contains one of the most profoundly moving slow movements in all of Beethoven’s works; and rarely performed Lieder that express his inner emotional drama (these include Neues Liebe, neues Leben, a song about first love; Der Kuss, a humorous portrayal of a man who gets the kiss he wants from a girl who tries to resist him; and An die Hoffnung, Op.94, one of his most moving songs, which expresses the sustaining sweetness of hope amid despair).

When: Wednesday July 16 – Sunday, August 3

Wednesdays 7/16, 7/23 + 7/30 at 8:30pm

Fridays 7/18, 7/25 + 8/1 at 8:30pm

Saturdays 7/19, 7/26 + 8/2 at 8:30pm

Sundays 7/20, 7/27 + 8/3 at 4pm

Where: The Stables Theatre at Edith Wharton’s The Mount, 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, Mass

Tickets: $55. To purchase, visit the Ensemble for the Romantic Century (ERC) or call 800-838-3006.

The Berkshire SEASON Is Upon Us

  
  
  

Tanglewood

Many call it The Tanglewood Season.

And it certainly is.   Tanglewood has been drawing about a half a million people to the area per year since 1937.   Those patrons, educated and cultured, are the reason a number of other options have sprung up over the decades:

THEATER:   Berkshire Theatre Festival.  Williamstown Theater Festival.  Shakespeare & Company.  Barrington Stage Company...

MUSEUMS:   Clark Art Institute.  Normal Rockwell Museum.  Berkshire Museum...

HISTORIC HOUSES:   The Mount.   Naumkeag.  Herman Melville.  Ventfort Hall....

FINE DINING:   Too many award-winning options to list.  See below about how to narrow your options.

WHERE TO STAY?   HAMPTON TERRACE, of course.   Rated #1 on TripAdvisor in the Berkshires (120 properties).   Private baths.  A/C.  Heated Pool.  Free WiFi.  1 mile from Tanglewood.   Let Stan and Susan help you plan your summer visit with our private lists of things to do and recommended places to eat.

 

 

The Berkshires Hailed for Romance

  
  
  

Lauded for its natural beauty and elegance, the Berkshires have long been featured as a must-see location. Nestled amongst the dreamlike setting of rolling hills and bright red barns, it’s no surprise that the area has been featured on many Top 10 lists, including Travel + Leisure’s own, “America’s Most Romantic Winter Destinations.” Forbes, in their “10 Unexpectedly Romantic Cities,” found it impossible to name only one town, instead including the entire region in their feature. And even the Travel Channel’s, “World’s Most Romantic Destinations” couldn’t leave it out.

 

fallWith such natural grandeur defining the Berkshires it’s no wonder why the region is considered a great locale for a romantic getaway. When it comes to wedding venues, the immense beauty and charm offer the perfect setting for the special day. With such an array of fine dining options, stunning estates, and elegant settings there are endless options for creating the perfect wedding. And for those who have already exchanged vows, there is no limit to the perfect Berkshires honeymoon.

 

As the Tanglewood season starts next month, the region is sure to be enchanted by the incredible performances by the BSO, as well as featured performers like James Taylor and Josh Groban. With a plethora of classical and contemporary musical options, Tanglewood is an incredible musical experience, sure to add a sparkle to a special weekend away.

 

girlFor those couples seeking a romantic retreat, consider our Romantic Weekend Getaway, which includes all the details to make your weekend special. Infused with the elegance and charm of the region, Hampton Terrace prides itself in providing a luxurious and relaxing escape. Our #1 Rating on Trip Advisor offers insight into the care and intention we take with our guests’ comfort. We would love to provide you with the ideal venue to get away from it all.

 

To learn more about Hampton Terrace, visit our website or subscribe to our blog. We hope to be able to provide you an exceptional weekend away in the Berkshires.

 

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