Arts and Culture Weekend Getaway in the Berkshire Mountains
1Get your bearings by venturing into Downtown Lenox. Poke your head in and around the shops and galleries located along the main thoroughfares of Main, Franklin, Church, and West streets.
2Enjoy a lovely dinner in the outdoor courtyard of Cafe Lucia, a Berkshires favorite that's been dishing up Italian specialties based on local ingredients for the last three decades.
3In season, there's nothing more soothing than al fresco entertainment on the historic grounds of Tanglewood. (Even with no show on, it's still worth visiting to experience the setting.) Classical greats perform at the Koussevitzky Shed, while smaller shows go on at the newer Ozawa Hall. Economical lawn seats are almost always available on the fly except during big events such as James Taylor nights. Picnics are not only welcomed, they're encouraged; locals haul in all manner of décor, including tables and candelabras. Pull up a piece of grass and enjoy.
1Eggs with roasted potatoes or croissant French toast will get your day off to a perfectly glorious start at Haven in downtown Lenox.
2Just a few minutes outside of town, the thoroughly modern spa at the historic Cranwell estate has all the wraps, massages, and treatments to turn you to mush — in a good way. For true bliss, go for the full Mosaic "envelopment."
3Those who can't afford a room at the glorious Wheatleigh Hotel — which, let's face it, is most of us — can be consoled with a lunch of gnocchi, lamb loin, and salmon tartar at the Italian villa's splendid Library restaurant. The view is just as tasty. Reservations are strongly recommended.
4Leave Lenox behind for Williamstown, a quick, under-30-mile drive north on US 7. Here, The Clark Art Institute may be small compared to some of its urban brethren, but it's stunning for its collection that includes Monet, Renoir, and Degas among other masters.
5Retrace your drive south to reach Stockbridge, just past Lenox, to explore the charming outdoor gardens at Chesterwood. Its studio was the artistic home of Daniel Chester French, most famous for sculpting the Lincoln Memorial.
6Wend your way further south to Great Barrington for a stellar pre-show dinner at Café Adam. Named for its chef Adam Zieminski, the small eatery (reservations a must!) gets raves for its regional ingredients and eclectic menu ranging from fresh farm burgers and hand-cut fries to divine pastas made on the premises.
7Cap off your night with a performance at Great Barrington's century-old Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, an art house that hosts year-round productions (unlike many of its Berkshire stage siblings). Guest performers include the likes of Betty Buckley and Barbara Cook, with fare ranging from opera, to dance, to classic films and playful musical sing-alongs.
1Lenox's modest Spoon has a surprisingly wide-ranging breakfast menu that features everything from omelets and toast to crab cakes and eggs with aioli. Breakfast is served all day, too.
2Also in Lenox, Edith Wharton's one-time estate, The Mount, has lived almost as dramatic a life as her characters in recent years. Closure was nearly imminent a few years ago, but benefactors saved the day. Restoration of the property continues, but you can enjoy the dignified manor, including its gardens, living areas, and exhibits.
3A trip to the Berkshires isn't complete without a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. Enjoy the famed paintings, humor, and cover art from the American Master and then grab a giant sandwich or some chowder at the tchotchke-filled Widow Bingham's Tavern at the Red Lion Inn before heading back to Boston.