Visit the Berkshires
The Berkshires, a.k.a. Berkshire Hills and Berkshire Mountains, have been a popular destination since the middle of the 19th century, when wealthy Bostonians established large estates, built cottages, and invited their notable friends to visit. William Aspinwall Tappan and Samuel Gray Ward built the first summer estates in Lenox; in 1850 Tappan rented a cabin on his property to Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose year and a half residency was critical in the establishment of the Berkshires as an arts colony.
Generally speaking, the original artists in the Berkshires were Catharine Sedgwick and Fanny Kemble. Herman Melville decided to take up permanent residency on the family farm in Pittsfield because of Hawthorne’s temporary residency. Fifty years later, Edith Wharton built The Mount, her celebrated house and gardens in Lenox.
How to get to the Berkshires
We have put together a comprehensive set of links for getting to the Berkshires, via Amtrak, Peter Pan, Greyhound, and Bonanza bus, plus getting around Berkshire county on public transportation.
On our partner network, Berkshires.co, you can find, organized by town, contact information for restaurants and bars in the Berkshires.
Boston Symphony comes to Lenox
Tappan’s granddaughter donated the family property to the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1938, where they established the Tanglewood Music Center, which they enlarged fifty years later by acquiring the Ward family’s Highwood estate, now site of Seiji Ozawa Hall and the Leonard Bernstein campus.
Berkshires cultural venues
We’ve created a directory with basic contact info., links, and custom Google map of the leading cultural venues in Berkshire county, including: Aston Magna Foundation, Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Museum, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Clark Art Institute, The Colonial Theatre, Guthrie Center, Hancock Shaker Village, Jacob’s Pillow, Koussevitzky Arts Center, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts,
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, MASS MoCA, The Mount, Norman Rockwell Museum, Shakespeare and Company, Tanglewood, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown Theatre Festival, et al.