the Beautiful Berkshires
- Historic Sites & Estates
- Performing Arts Venues
- Museums & Galleries
- Culinary & Agrarian Attractions
- Outdoor Recreation & Sports
- Annual Events of Note
Berkshire Botanical Garden
The Berkshire Botanical Garden, is one of New England’s oldest and most treasured public gardens encompassing 15 acres of cultivated land in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Its collections contain over 3,000 species and varieties, with an emphasis on plants that thrive in the Berkshires. Classes, workshops, lectures and special events are offered year-round.
A Property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Chesterwood was the summer estate of sculptor Daniel Chester French, who created the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial and The Minute Man statue in Concord, Massachusetts. Tour his Gilded-Age home, studio and gardens, or stay overnight in his secret studio, Meadowlark, which is operated as a guesthouse by the Red Lion Inn.
The Mission House
The oldest house in Stockbridge, built in 1739 by the Reverend John Sergeant – missionary to the Stockbridge Indians – provides a glimpse of Colonial life and Native American history.
Eden Hill: National Shrine of the Divine Mercy
This 350-acre property of the Catholic Church, a ministry of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, features statues, candle shrines and memorials, plus the soaring shrine itself, illuminated by 36 stained glass windows and graced with intricate woodwork, mosaics, and carved marble.
This Gilded-Age “cottage,” designed in 1884 by McKim, Mead, & White as the summer estate for the family of Joseph and Caroline Choate, boasts original furnishings and art in its 44 rooms as well as magnificent gardens.
Grounds open year round.
Visit the estate of Edith Wharton – including her personal library, the boudoir where she wrote her classic novels, as well as three acres of formal gardens – who designed her own 1902 “cottage” in accordance with the principles set forth in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses. The Mount presents exhibits, workshops, talks, readings, music, and theatrical performances. Fans of the author won’t want to miss The Wharton Salon’s dramatic adaptations of her work, staged each summer.
Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio
June 21 through Labor Day Thursday – Sunday.
Labor Day through Columbus Day Thursday – Saturday or by appointment.
A must-see for fans of mid-century modern design. The studio of abstract artist George L.K. Morris, built in 1930, is the earliest example of Modern architecture in New England. In 1941 Morris expanded the structure to integrate a home for him and his wife, fellow artist Suzy Frelinghuysen. Their artwork shares wallspace with that of their more famous contemporaries, including Picasso, Braque, and Leger. Furniture by Modern masters, such as Frankl, Deskey, and Aalto, complete the harmony of art, architecture and design.
Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum
This Jacobean Revival-style mansion, built in 1893 as the summer “cottage” of Sarah Morgan (sister of J. P. Morgan) boasts striking woodwork and elaborate plaster ceilings, with pendants inspired by the grand halls of 17th century Scotland. Ventfort Hall hosts Gilded Age-inspired talks and readings – often accompanied by Victorian tea service – as well as exhibitions, specially commissioned theatrical performances and other events.
Herman Melville wrote his classic novel, Moby-Dick, in this rustic farmhouse; it is widely believed that his masterpiece was inspired by the view of Mount Greylock from his second-story library. Arrowhead figures in many of Melville’s writings. The property is also the home of the Berkshire Historical Society, which maintains collections and mounts exhibitions relevant to the region’s past.
Bidwell House Museum
Grounds open year round
This Georgian saltbox, originally built in 1750 as a parsonage, has been authentically restored and filled with Colonial-era antiques to create a museum that interprets the early settlement of the Berkshires. The 192-acre property is graced with terraced perennial flowerbeds; a Heritage Vegetable Garden and heirloom herb garden demonstrating Colonial-era plants and techniques; and hiking trails that lead to historical landmarks.
Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day
The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay transformed a Victorian farmhouse built in 1892 into a simple creative sanctuary where she lived and wrote from 1925 until her death in 1950. The house contains Millay’s original furniture and other personal effects, and the property includes extensive gardens designed, planted, and tended by Millay. The gardens are undergoing restoration by the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society.
The home of Revolutionary War supporter Colonel John Ashley, built in 1735, is significant not only as the oldest house in the Berkshires, but also for its role in African-American history. Col. Ashley’s household included five slaves, including Mum Bett, who successfully sued Ashley for her freedom, changed her name to Elizabeth Freeman, and helped end slavery in Massachusetts. Ashley House also includes the Elizabeth Freeman Interpretive Center.