Stuff to Do

3 Road Trips for Your Thanksgiving Celebration – The Berkshires, Hudson River Valley and Philadelphia

Cross the Border into Massachusetts

Western Massachusetts is just a short drive from New York. Hop on the Taconic Parkway and enjoy a winding, scenic drive to the beautiful Berkshire Mountains. You might even be tempted to book one of the historic inns in the regions and relax after your Thanksgiving indulgences.

It’s a time to be grateful, to say thanks, and give yourself a break by leaving the cooking to someone else. Here’s where to get your turkey fix at some of the Berkshires’ wonderful restaurants. Or, if you prefer, where you can get your dinner pre-prepared for takeout.

Book a room at a cozy inn like the Red Lion Inn, the Devonfield, or the Chambery so you can have a truly relaxing holiday.

The Red Lion Inn

Red Lion Inn

When I think of a traditional New England Thanksgiving in the Berkshires, The Red Lion Inn immediately comes to mind. The historic Stockbridge hotel is decked out for the holidays and it’s perfect for a family Thanksgiving get-together. The prix fixe menu is available continuously starting with lunch through dinner. Classic New England fare includes starters of butternut squash bisque, New England clam chowder, lobster Newburg or shrimp cocktail with the main feature being roast native turkey with cranberry stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, autumn vegetables, cranberry sauce, and sage gravy. If you really don’t want turkey, and it’s sort of a sin if you don’t order it, you do have other choices like slow-roasted prime rib with potatoes and veggies, cedar-roasted Faroe Islands salmon or a vegetarian grilled cauliflower steak. Trimmings adhere to New England tradition, however, with maple-glazed turnips, rainbow chard and rosemary popovers. You can probably guess what the desserts would be… but, if not, choose between apple pie or pumpkin pie a la mode. A children’s menu is also available.

Café Boulud at Blantyre

Café Boulud at Blantyre

If you feel like celebrating and getting out of the house, I suggest you book early for a table at Café Boulud at Blantyre with Michelin-starred Chef Boulud at the helm. Enjoy an American dinner with French panache in one of the Berkshire’s finest restaurants. The three-course menu is a luxe affair reflecting the best of the season. You’ll start with pumpkin soup, endive salad, Scottish sea trout gravlax or duck pâté, each served with a wide range of seasonal accompaniments. The main course continues the feast with a traditional Berkshire turkey with apple and chestnut stuffing, orange-cranberry relish and shallot-rosemary gravy. Non-turkey mains feature a vegetarian-pleasing mushroom and sage risotto, sautéed Nova Scotia halibut or filet mignon. Sides are New England traditional with sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green beans and pureed potatoes, although the dessert finish feels a bit more international. There’s a traditional pumpkin pie, of course, but you could order instead apple tarte tatin, pecan crème or a decadent molten chocolate cake. Takeout is available too.

Bounti-Fare Restaurant

Bounti-Fare Restaurant

A favorite in the Northern Berkshires on the Adams/North Adams line, Bounti-Fare Restaurant offers you indoor or outdoor patio dining, or takeout for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The choices are just like your home-cooked meal would be, without the stress. You’ll start with butternut bisque or cream of tomato soup, with a bread basket. Then, the star of the meal is the restaurant’s sliced roast turkey breast with herb corn bread stuffing, a Massachusetts favorite, accompanied by pan giblet gravy and cranberry relish. If you’d prefer something other than turkey, you can choose roast sirloin or baked stuffed haddock. Vegetarians can opt for the roasted vegetable risotto. Sides are bountiful with smashed bliss potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole or bourbon-glazed baby carrots as options. And, true to New England tradition, dessert is pumpkin cheesecake, pecan pie or pumpkin pie.

Guido’s Marketplace

Guido’s Marketplace

Guido’s Marketplace knows that you really don’t feel like cooking this year, so they’ve made it super easy for you to have a relaxing, traditional dinner. They’ve created what I think is the best Thanksgiving concept ever, something they call Guido’s Kitchen Completes. Here’s the deal – order, pay and pick up in their Pittsfield store. There’s no cooking involved and no need to dress up to go to a restaurant. Even easier, you simply heat up everything in the container that it comes in. What you get: roasted turkey breast, simple herbed stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, homestyle biscuits, holiday cranberry sauce, carrots and butternut squash. The only decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a pumpkin or apple pie. Personally, I’d pay extra and get both. This is the perfect Thanksgiving dinner in my book.

Mazzeo’s Ristorante

Mazzeo’s Ristorante in Pittsfield has also put together a complete feast for you to take home and heat up. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen, you’ll have time to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and root for your favorite football team. The package is called Turkey to Go. And it’s traditional all the way with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, butternut squash, glazed baby carrots, Brussels sprouts, home-made gravy, cranberry relish, rolls, and pumpkin or apple pie. Everything is home-made but you can take credit for it when you lay it out on your table at home.

New York’s Hudson River Valley

There’s no need to do the cooking on Thanksgiving. With inventive Thanksgiving dinner options like these, the glorious Hudson River Valley showcases the bountiful farms of the area. Book early and considering adding a stay in one of the area’s b and bs or historic inns like The Maker or Tiger House for a mini-vacation.

Terrapin Restaurant & Catering

Terrapin Restaurant & Catering

Terrapin Restaurant & Catering serves up local, organic cuisine in a former church turned restaurant in Rhinebeck. While the restaurant will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, you can count on Chef Josh Kroner to help add to your dinner spread. You make the turkey and then order from Terrapin’s extensive range of side dishes. Think golden nugget squash soup, vegetable terrine and cheddar mac & cheese, for example. You can add vegetarian stuffing and dessert faves pumpkin pie or apple tarts. The menu is staggering.

Great Performances

Great Performances

For more to-go deliciousness, culinary ambassador Georgette Farkas has teamed up with Great Performances to create an at-home Thanksgiving dinner that you’ll long remember. Farkas addresses the common Thanksgiving dilemma of assuring that both white and dark meat aficionados are satisfied by presenting carved breast meat and thigh stuffed and braised with herbs and spices with every serving of the main attraction turkey, along with umami-rich gravy and cranberry-citrus zest compote. The feast takes advantage of the bounty of local farms with sides showcasing produce from the company’s organic Katchkie Farm in dishes such as Yukon gold potato puree and orange roasted carrots. You can enhance your meal with starters like smoked trout spread and desserts including a Thanksgiving-appropriate bourbon pecan pie or pumpkin chiffon pie. Vegetarians are not forgotten – the vegan gluten-free delicata squash stuffed with butternut and chickpea risotto is pure Heaven. Pick-up is from the company’s Hudson Valley Farm in Kinderhook.

Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club

Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club

Michael Bruno’s, Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club, in Sloatsburg in the Lower Hudson Valley is offering outdoor dining for the holiday in a warm festive environment. For those not yet ready to dine indoors, the property’s outdoor restaurant, The Cantina, is where you’ll be seated under a roof with heaters to keep you toasty. You won’t need to worry about the weather as you enjoy a selection of traditional dishes highlighted by regional favorites. Start with a choice of garlicky roasted beet dip with hazelnuts or baked brie with wildflower honey and figs, and then move on to the turkey adorned with savory gravy. If you aren’t feeling the turkey vibe, you can choose mushroom lasagna or rosemary-braised leg of lamb. Sides are served family-style including delicata squash, sweet potato puree, charred Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce and cornbread. Your most difficult decision will be whether to order the apple pie, pumpkin pie, maple bourbon pecan pie, or chocolate pot de crème for dessert.

The Maker

The Maker

Located in one of my favorite go-to escapes from Manhattan, Hudson, The Maker invites those with a Bohemian sensibility to enjoy the world of makers for Thanksgiving. Founders of global beauty line Fresh, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg invite you to the hotel, which features an exciting menu for Thanksgiving from Chef Michael Poiarkoff, a talented “maker.” For Thanksgiving, the café at The Maker offers a prix fixe Thanksgiving menu that veers from the norm with Thanksgiving usuals plus atypical dishes like Chef Michael’s roasted pumpkin pie with Vietnamese cinnamon or pecan pie with Catskill maple syrup and sea salt.

Bia

Bia

How about a little bit of the Emerald Isle with your American Thanksgiving? The Irish are very closely linked with the United States, especially with the city of Boston, so it makes sense for this Irish fare restaurant to offer a Thanksgiving feast. With a happy smattering of Irish whimsy, a takeaway Thanksgiving turkey is offered at Rhinebeck’s Bia along with other all-natural birds with an Irish-American selection of sides. Unusual to say the least, you can order Amazing Turkey and Irish whiskey gravy and truffled chicken liver mousse, for example, to accompany. I love the way they bill their delicious pies, Gooey Bourbon pumpkin pecan pie (perfect for those who can never decide between pumpkin or pecan) and the Incredible, Classic apple pie. Everything is par-cooked, so you just need to heat up and enjoy. Because it’s Irish, you know that you’ll be able to order a wide range of cocktails, beer and wine to go with your dinner. Sláinte.

Travel South to The City of Brotherly Love

There will be serious gratitude and thanks giving in Philadelphia this year. The City of Brotherly Love wants you to celebrate in style with delicious options that will get you out of kitchen and let you spend more time with your family. Here are some of the places to get your turkey fix either at a restaurant or at home. Book a room now at The Sofitel Philadelphia or The Bellevue for a bit of history and panache.

a.kitchen

a.kitchen

Chef Eli Collins will prepare his signature seasonal dishes for dine-in and takeout from this Rittenhouse Square bistro favorite. The prix fixe restaurant meal exemplifies Thanksgiving tradition with all the trimmings. Think turkey, country bread stuffing, cranberry relish, Brussels sprouts and sweet potato mash. Non-turkey lovers can choose striped bass or dry-aged steak instead, and a vegetarian option is also available. Desserts don’t deviate from tradition either at a.kitchen with crowd-pleasing apple pie, pumpkin squash pie and chocolate cake on the menu. A takeout package made up of choices from this menu gives you an add-on with a heat-up brined half or whole turkey if you feel you must do a little bit of cooking for your family on the holiday. A.kitchen’s sommelier can arrange a wine pairing in the restaurant or bottles of Domaine Paul Durdily Beaujolais Nouveau for your home dinner.

Fork

Fork

Old City’s Fork will be open for indoor and outdoor dining on Thanksgiving. Pre-payment is required for the prix fixe dinner from Chef Ellen Yin’s classic American restaurant. Indoor and outdoor seating are available. Your Turkey Day meal includes three courses with all the holiday fixins. Diners can choose a salad or carrot ginger soup, followed by a traditional turkey dinner with cranberry chutney and gravy. Can’t stand turkey? You can order trout or short ribs instead.

Family-style sides, served for the table, include roasted apples and Brussels sprouts, herb stuffing, Parker House rolls, mashed potatoes and wild rice stuffed squash. Desserts mix traditional apple pie or squash pie with new-fangled salted honey custard pie or dark chocolate budino.

High Street Philly

High Street Philly

High Street Philly lets you create your own home feast inclusive of their popular artisanal bread selection. Currently open only for takeout and delivery, Eli Kulp’s edgy American café and bakery has put together a customizable box of Thanksgiving dishes for at-home dining. The “Everything but the Bird” box starts with traditional Thanksgiving sides like sage brown-butter stuffing, Brussels sprouts and Japanese turnip salad with cider vinaigrette, roast honeynut squash, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry chutney. You’ll decide what else to add such as the half or whole ready-to-bake or pre-roasted turkey, pies (salted honey, apple, kabocha squash) and signature bread service.

The Olde Bar

The Olde Bar

Philadelphia superstar chef Jose Garces has you covered for at-home dining with a Thanksgiving dinner from his casual Olde Bar in the landmark Old Original Bookbinder’s. The Olde Bar’s take-home dinner is a prix fixe feast with turkey breast and gravy, butter lettuce salad, rosemary Parker House rolls, cranberry-orange relish, challah bread stuffing, salt-roasted beets, Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. Desserts are the piece de resistance with a choice of fabulous pies including pumpkin butternut squash, bourbon pecan or caramel apple with smoked cinnamon whipped cream. The feast will guarantee you leftovers for the next day!

Walnut Street Café

Walnut Street Café

Popular Walnut Street Café in West Philly’s University City neighborhood invites Thanksgiving indulgence with both eat-in and take-out options. At the restaurant, an a la carte menu has options to please all ages and taste palates. There’s also a children’s menu. You can select from the likes of baked Brie, shrimp cocktail and sweet potato gnocchi to start, with steak frites, turkey, black bass and a vegetarian acorn squash for the main course. Stuffing muffins, sage brown-butter rolls and mashed potatoes and gravy highlight the café’s Thanksgiving trimmings. For dessert, classic apple pie a la mode and pumpkin pie will be available in addition to seasonal apple cider sorbet and fig coffee cake. The café has also put together a takeout selection should you decide to eat at home. You’ll be tempted to say that you cooked it yourself with the delicious whole-roasted Amish turkey, Brussels sprouts, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potato mash and mac ‘n cheese. It’s pretty wonderful. For dessert, go traditional with apple or pumpkin pie.

And, if you don’t need the turkey…..

Hawthorne Beer Café and Brunchery

Hawthorne Beer Café and Brunchery

If you’re planning to cook your own feast but don’t have the energy or the knack for making dessert, Hawthorne Beer Café and Brunchery will provide the sweet finish with their first-ever holiday pies. Specials for Thanksgiving include Dutch apple crumb pie, streusel pumpkin pie, gluten-free almond apple pound cake loaf and crumb coffee cake loaf.

Touring the North Fork and the Hamptons Wine Trails

It’s a beautiful time to be outdoors, and the vineyards of The North Fork and the Hamptons in New York offer the perfect opportunity for socially distant enjoyment. The vineyards are open for tastings, some by reservation only, and some still offering outdoor seating. The selection of whites, reds and rosés varies, and each has some limited-edition wines on offer. If you discover a new favorite, I advise you to buy some bottles to take home.

The North Fork

Croteaux

Croteaux

For a touch of romance, Croteaux will transport you to Provence in an instant. Off the main drag, away from the other vineyards lining the route from Riverhead to Greenport, Croteaux is a smaller oasis with beautiful grounds and a very private setting for enjoying rosés and nibbles. Rosé is all they produce here, and you can get a flight ranging from white rosé to sparkling that will open your eyes and taste buds to more rosé nuances than you might have known. Tables in the romantic garden are set next to small open-air salon-like rooms and the Tasting Barn.

Kontakosta

Kontakosta

The North Fork’s only waterfront vineyard and one of the area’s most exclusive sits a ways off the main Wine Trail as well. Requiring reservations and an initial booking fee, Kontakosta is in its own league when it comes to vineyards. At the moment, no tastings are available so you’ll need to purchase a bottle, which, together with the price of a glass, can be rather pricy. But, as the adage goes, you get what you pay for. Kontakosta’s white Anemometer  is a crisp blend of viognier and chardonnay that’s perfect with the area’s seafood and befits its maritime location. The setting is gorgeous, you’ll be socially distanced, and where else can you sip your wine and have a view of the bluffs of Long Island Sound?

RGNY

RGNY

The Rivero González family and winemaker Lilia Perez of RGNY have their birth roots in Mexico but their winemaking firmly planted in the North Fork. Set in Riverhead on an expansive plot of land, RGNY offers an exciting option for those looking to expand their wine knowledge. Wines include white merlot, cabernet franc, pinot noir and viognier. But here you’ll find that the tastes and textures might be a bit different from what you know. The pinot noir and cabernet franc, for instance, are unfiltered, creating a nose, color and body that isn’t the expected. Live music is presented outdoors in warmer weather and provides a lively accompaniment for enjoying the vineyard’s artisanal charcuterie and cheese plates. Look for new vintages to come as Perez takes her Bordeaux training and Mexican heritage and mixes it with the terroir of the North Fork to create orange wines in amphora and more.

Pindar Vineyards

Pindar Vineyards

Now in its 40th year, Pindar Vineyards is quite an entity with acres of vineyards and a tasting room and outdoor area as expansive as you’ll find on the North Fork.  Long Island’s most well-known wine producer, Pindar is family-owned and overseen by

Barbara and Pindar Damianos, keeping alive the vision and traditions begun by Barbara’s husband Dan Damianos. As with Duck Walk, labels on Pindar vintages are works of art, and you should spend some time perusing the bottles and cans (yes, they have wine in cans!) as you decide what to sample. The knowledgeable servers will arrange a tasting for you with a range of the vineyard’s whites, reds and rosés.  Ask for recommendations — Pindar grows 17 varieties of grapes, producing some 23 varietals and proprietary blends. On warm weekends, live music will entertain you and there is often an outdoor stand with oysters on the half. A third part of the Pindar empire, Jason’s Vineyard, a few miles away, offers a more intimate setting.

Bedell Cellars

Bedell Cellars

Bedell has matured over its 40 years into a lovely setting for enjoying its red, white and rosé wines. The well-orchestrated vineyard allows small pets so you can bring the extended family to enjoy the gorgeous outdoor setting with live music on select weekends. Popular features are the vineyard’s First Crush wines made with young vines, contrasting with older vintages like the prized oak-aged Musée 2014 (with a label by  Chuck Close) and the 2018 petit verdot. Bedell’s albariño pairs perfectly with their charcuterie and cheese plates. In cooler times, the vineyard’s expansive deck is a welcoming space for tastings and small bites.

The Hamptons

Wölffer Estate Vineyard

Wölffer Estate Vineyard

The premier vineyard on the South Fork, Wölffer Estate Vineyard is a formal affair overseen by winemaker Roman Roth. Thanks to its gorgeous estate, terrace and acres of vineyards, you might think you’ve arrived under the Tuscan sun. The vineyard produces whites, reds, and rosés from its vineyards just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean. Tastings are offered outdoors, weather permitting, with reservations. A drive-through rosé truck sells the Wolffer’s pretty Summer in a Bottle and is also located at the vineyard’s casual Wine Stand. You can schedule private tours of the vineyards through the Wine Stand with a small-bite and wine tasting included. Adding to its repertoire, Wölffer also makes ciders and a surprising gin.

Duck Walk Vineyards

Duck Walk Vineyard

With an unobstructed view of the Parrish Museum, Duck Walk Vineyards’ Water Mill location offers a serene alternative to its busier North Fork counterpart. The smaller vineyard is an intimate setting for taking in the beautiful artwork on the labels and the gorgeous landscape while enjoying a tasting of reds, whites and rosés. The family-owned winery is part of the Pindar group. If you time it right, an outdoor seat will let you hear the rehearsals for the Parrish’s Friday night jazz. In warmer months, Duck Walk Hampton and Duck Walk North both present live music, too, on weekends.

Road Trip: The Berkshires

The Berkshire Mountain area of western Massachusetts is a prime getaway during the cooler months, starting with striking foliage and pumpkin festivals and continuing with sparkling Christmas lights and celebrations. During the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, the area was known as a retreat for wealthy American tycoons and famous artists.

The Berkshire Mountain area of western Massachusetts

Today, the quintessential small New England towns that comprise the Berkshires attract outdoor lovers and culture seekers, transforming into a winter wonderland when the snow begins. While many of the Berkshires’ popular cultural institution are closed due to Covid, there’s plenty to do to satisfy all ages. Be sure to pack your cold-weather gear and some sturdy walking shoes.

Dining In The Berkshires

The Berkshires’ acclaimed farm-to-table cuisine takes on a different cast during the holiday period, with restaurants emphasizing root vegetables, hearty proteins and holiday treats.

CafeADAM, Great Barrington

CafeADAM

Modeled after a Berkshire country home, the upscale-yet-rustic CafeADAM is a welcoming space with an ever-changing menu of farm-to-table choices. During the holidays, seasonal inspirations find their way into cocktails as well as mains and appetizers.

Snakeriver Farm Wagyu Beef with Local Roasted Winter Vegetables

Crowd favorites like seared Cape Cod scallops and Korean BBQ pork ribs pair well with Vermont cider and local beer on tap.

John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant, South Egremont

John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant

In a setting marked by woods and landscaped gardens, John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant is a Berkshires delight. The restaurant sits in a structure dating from the late 1700s on the original farmstead. An outdoor fire pit invites diners to enjoy a relaxing cocktail even in the coldest of temperatures. The menu epitomizes the farm-to-table concept, with seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and food artisans.

John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant

Chef Dan Smith’s focus is one of taste-of-place dining, ensuring that you have a truly Berkshires experience with a menu built around regional producers of the moment. Leave room for the sunshine kabocha squash pudding cake with ginger ice cream and maple butter, a worthy winter dessert built off the bounty of the season.

Old Inn on the Green, New Marlborough

Old Inn on the Green

Once a stagecoach relay station, the Old Inn on the Green hearkens back to New England’s past, using only candles and fireplaces to light its private dining rooms. Changing daily and determined by the day of the week, an a la carte or prix fixe menu is offered along with a special Chef’s Tasting Menu.

Old Inn on the Green

Reserve a table here for an evening of retro romance.

Café Boulud at Blantyre, Lenox

Café Boulud at Blantyre

Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud continues his successful residency at the luxurious Blantyre country manor. Using fresh and local ingredients, Café Boulud at Blantyre offers seasonal French classics with a New England twist. The setting is Berkshires Gilded Age, with the Tudor-style Blantyre “cottage” decked out with proper holiday regalia and seasonal plantings, and the dining room as formal as you’ll ever find in the Berkshires. Dress your best for one of the area’s finest dining experiences.

Café Boulud at Blantyre

On Thanksgiving, the restaurant’s three-course prix fixe dinner includes pumpkin soup with gruyère espuma and Berkshire turkey with shallot-rosemary gravy.

Things To Do In The Berkshires

There’s no shortage of activities to fill your days and nights in the fall and winter.

Winterlights at Naumkeag

Winterlights at Naumkeag Photo By Stephanie Zollshan Photography

An annual sellout, Winterlights is an illuminated wonderland of thousands of lights at Stockbridge’s Naumkeag, a 44-room Gilded Age “cottage” with stepped gardens. Trees are covered with shimmering holiday lights of many colors and overhead balloons and other lit designs wow visitors of all ages. Timed tickets are required for the outdoor experience and must be purchased in advance.

Berkshire Scenic Railway-Hoosac Valley Service

Berkshire Scenic Railway-Hoosac Valley Service

Children will love the train ride on the Berkshire Scenic Railway-Hoosac Valley Service between Adams and North Adams in the Berkshire Hills of western Hoosac Valley. From restored 100-year old coaches, families will explore the rich railroad history of the region in the hour-long excursion. Trains depart from Adams on weekends and reservations are required.

Hancock Shaker Village

Hancock Shaker Village

Pittsfield’s living history museum is beautiful in the winter months. The twenty historic buildings and numerous walking trails offer a deep dive into the simplicity and quality of Shaker life from the 1780s to the mid-20th century. The collection introduces visitors to the farms, artisans and distinctive furniture and textiles of this religious sect. Seasonal events include:

Thanksgiving on the Farm – November 27 and 28

Enjoy a day of woodworking and blacksmithing demos, Shaker talks, a Turkey Walk & Talk (registration required), hikes and children’s activities like smashing pumpkins and feeding them to the farm’s hungry pigs.

The Village’s Holiday Market on Saturdays from Thanksgiving through December 19 gives visitors a chance to buy goods including hand-knit mittens, distinctive jewelry, clothing, bath products and toys, all from regional artisans.

On Saturday, December 12, the annual Hancock Holidays invites visitors to decorate cookies and make ornaments. Artisan demos, a gingerbread contest, story time with Santa (registration required), a visit with the animals in the barn, caroling and Shaker talks are scheduled throughout the day.
The celebration continues on December 31 with the Hibernation Celebration and its artist demonstrations, workshops and talks; s’mores over the fire; and a kids’ countdown to the end of the year. A Tree of Hope encourages visitors to write a wish for 2021 and hang it on the tree.

Berkshire Museum’s Festival of Trees 2020: Legends of the Berkshires

Festival of Trees: Heroes

Monday, November 30, 2020 through Sunday, January 3, 2021
Also in Pittsfield, this year’s version of the annual festival invites visitors and locals to explore tales from the Berkshires. Dive into the history of the first recorded baseball game, learn about the famous figures from the area and investigate rumors of mysterious sightings with a collection of bright and colorful winter displays spread across the city and surrounding communities.

The Mount, Lenox

The Mount, home of author Edith Wharton: Photo By David Dashiell

Sign up online for a self-guided holiday house tour of The Mount, the home of author Edith Wharton, adorned with festive decorations provided by the Lenox Garden Club. The “cottage,” designed by the author herself and built in 1902, reflects Wharton’s theories about classic European architecture, adapted for an American landscape. Advance reservations are required to visit the Main House. Plan to spend some time exploring the beautiful grounds of the estate.

Special Saturday events include winter story time on November 30, paper ornament making on December 7, and a holiday concert on December 21.

NightWood

NightWood

The Mount’s newest holiday program is offered Thursdays – Sundays from November 19 – January 3.
An evening event, NightWood is a sound and light experience that transforms the property into a fantastical winter landscape for the holidays. Inspired by the natural beauty and architecture of The Mount, NightWood immerses visitors in a series of vignettes designed to evoke elements of fantasy, tradition and whimsy. Advance timed tickets are required.

Ventfort Hall and The Museum of the Gilded Age, Lenox

Ventfort Hall and The Museum of the Gilded Age

Arrange to tour another Gilded Age mansion, Ventfort Hall, an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of J. P. Morgan.  The Museum of the Gilded Age interprets the great changes that occurred in American life, industry and society during the nineteenth century. Reservations are required for self-guided tours.

MASS MoCA, North Adams

MASS MoCA

Recently portrayed in the documentary Museum Town, MASS MoCA is a distinctive setting for evocative art. In a sprawling complex of former 19th-century mill buildings, the art center has vast galleries, performing arts venues and both permanent and purpose-built exhibits by innovative artists. An elaborate system of interlocking courtyards and passageways connect the 26 buildings. Saved from more than a decade of disuse in a Herculean effort to revive the town’s lagging economy, the complex was previously a textile factory and most recently the home of the Sprague electric company.

Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge

Norman Rockwell Museum

With its nostalgic depictions of life through illustration by Berkshires resident Norman Rockwell, the Norman Rockwell Museum offers an enjoyable visit for all ages. Adults will appreciate the social commentary as espoused in Rockwell’s art. The current Imagining Freedom exhibit is especially relevant today and explores the basic human freedoms of speech and worship, and freedom from want and fear. Rockwell’s Four Freedoms is exhibited along with works from artists working for the cause of freedom. The most popular cultural attraction in the Berkshires, the museum requires advance purchase of timed tickets.

Clark Art Institute, Williamstown

Clark Art Institute Photo By Jeff Goldberg

One of the country’s most acclaimed small museums and a pioneer in children’s programming, The Clark Art Institute offers indoor art exhibits as well as outdoor installations. The museum is noted for its collections of Impressionist, American and other art. Book timed tickets online with admission free on the First Sunday of the month.

A special musical event on December 5 and a Start with Art day for preschoolers with a take-home art-making kit on December 12 are scheduled for holiday vacation time.

The museum takes advantage of its 140 acres, offering Project Snowshoe for outdoor art exploration and trail walks. Grab a pair of snowshoes from the snowshoe hut (multiple sizes available) and experience the outdoor exhibition Ground/Work.

Hiking

For more hiking and snowshoeing, the follow resources can provide guidance for trails in the Berkshires:

Clark Art Institute Photo By: Sharon Siter

Laurel Hill Association – Stockbridge

Pleasant Valley – Lenox

Download this app for complete information https://www.bnrc.org/bnrc-trails-app/

Accommodations In The Berkshires

Wellness is a key watchword in the Berkshires, no matter what season. During the holiday months, you can retrench with fitness and spa activities both indoors and outdoors.

Canyon Ranch, Lenox

Canyon Ranch

To help visitors rejuvenate and de-stress, Canyon Ranch offers life-enhancing “pathways,” curated wellness programs of varying lengths. During the winter, gingerbread houses decorate the Bellefontaine Mansion and special dance weekends add a fun way to keep you moving. For Chanukah, the Ranch will hold a nightly menorah lighting.

Canyon Ranch

If the weather cooperates, the Ranch’s beautiful grounds are the perfect place for cross-country skiing and snow shoeing. Indoor squash, tennis, racquetball and basketball courts complement the daily fitness classes and holistic spa treatments.

Miraval in the Berkshires, Lenox

Miraval in the Berkshires Photo by: Ellen Kaiden

Newly opened in the Berkshires, Miraval is known for its fitness and wellness focus. Activities including aerial yoga, horse whispering, hiking, biking, stargazing and snowshoeing make for a diverse and indulgent experience at the expansive property. Spa programming is an integral part of the Miraval journey, combined with a culinary emphasis on balance.

Miraval in the Berkshires Photo by: Ellen Kaiden

For an evening to remember, Miraval invites guests to book a private dining session in the Life in Balance Culinary Kitchen.

Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge

Red Lion Inn

When the cold weather hits, the historic Red Lion Inn looks like it stepped out of Norman Rockwell’s painting of Main Street in Stockbridge, Home for Christmas. One of only a few American inns operating continuously since before 1800, The Red Lion appeals to Americana buffs with its decorated Rockwell-esque front porch and holiday carolers regaling guests on the steps. Indoors, live Christmas trees, Christmas kissing balls, poinsettias, yards of garland and handmade wreaths on every guestroom door create the holiday mood.

Red Lion Inn - Room in the Main Inn

For much of December pianists and harpists play holiday favorites in the lobby.

Wheatleigh, Lenox

Wheatleigh

On 22 acres overlooking the Berkshire Mountains and lake, five-star Wheatleigh is a Berkshires treasure. Built in 1893, the 19-room Italianate mansion offers privacy and seclusion. Wheatleigh caters to a refined clientele with a museum-like setting appointed with antiques, architect-designed furnishings and original contemporary art.

Wheatleigh Deluxe Room

Dining during the holiday period is limited to overnight guests, and a full “palazzo” buyout can be had for up to 25 people.

Blantyre, Lenox

Blantyre Main Hall

The Gilded Age is alive and well at Blantyre in Lenox. A Tudor-style mansion and estate built in 1902, Blantyre is a member of the elite Relais & Châteaux consortium. In an oft-photographed setting, the luxury resort features a range of elegant guest accommodations, a spa and Daniel Boulud’s legendary French cuisine. A must-see, the baronial Main Hall is a showcase of period pieces, heirlooms and art.

Blantyre Master Suite Manor House

Guests are invited to explore Blantyre’s 100 acres of lawns and woodlands or snowshoe the resort’s own trails that hug the perimeter. Other seasonal activities can be arranged by the concierge, with an on-property Christmas tree lighting one of the most popular events.

Devonfield Inn, Lee

Devonfield Inn

An English-Style country house originally built in the early 1800’s, Devonfield Inn overlooks a meadow shaded by birch trees against a backdrop of rolling hills. Indoor and outdoor holiday decorations set the tone for the festive period at the B&B. Popular activities are cross-country skiing on Devonfield’s extensive grounds as well as a program for winter horse riding with HorseWorks Farm. Thanksgiving dinner is offered for guests.

Devonfield Inn - Collins Room

Charm and coziness are felt throughout with the inn’s owners adding thoughtful touches like a stocked guest pantry and complimentary cognac and cordials.

Enjoy the Bounty of the Hamptons This Thanksgiving

Don’t feel like cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year? We completely understand. We’re exhausted, confused, stressed, but we’re still hungry. Take a drive to the Hamptons, instead, and check out these fabulous restaurants offering a feast that takes advantage of the rich bounty of the area. And indulge with a celebratory meal before or after Turkey Day as well.

Calissa

Calissa Photo By: Meryl Pearlstein

For a change of pace, Calissa invites diners  to create a Greek-inspired Thanksgiving meal at home with their prix fixe menu.  Mezze options include pantzarosalata beet dip, tomato salad and savory fall pies. Mains include roasted sliced turkey with Mediterranean herbs, slow-roasted pork shank with gigantes beans and thyme, and beef keftedes with Aleppo pepper and feta. Accompaniments add even more of a Greek flavor with gigantes beans and briam with roasted vegetables, feta and tomato. Indulge in Calissa’s dessert options like Melomakarona Greek holiday cookies with spices and honey.

T Bar

T Bar

T Bar Southampton’s outdoor space is nothing short of fantastic and that’s where I suggest you book your holiday feast this year. If you prefer, there’s also indoor dining but the outdoor heat lamps make it cozier than you might imagine.

The prix fixe Thanksgiving dinner offers a mix of the restaurant’s favorite dishes and ones created specially for Turkey Day. Start your meal with butternut squash soup and  grilled tiger prawns, or indulge in the restaurant’s signature yellowfin tuna tartare. For your entrée, you have a choice of Amish roasted turkey with Brussels sprouts, stuffing, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.. If turkey isn’t your thing, there’s also salmon with zucchini and mushroom risotto, or filet mignon with mashed potatoes and haricots verts. Desserts are a specialty here with a choice of pumpkin pie, warm apple crisp, chocolate mousse or the beautiful banana parfait mille feuilles.

North Fork Table and Inn

North Fork Table and Inn

Thanksgiving to-go at North Fork Table and Inn shows off what Chef John Fraser is famous for, his veggie-forward expertise with a seasonal sensibility. The a la carte menu takes full advantage of the area’s farms plus the maritime location. You can create a selection of appetizers with stuffed mushrooms, broiled clams and smoked salmon mousse, a perfect prelude to the main event, a whole roasted turkey. Adorn the bird with smoked sourdough stuffing, classic giblet gravy, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. Veggie options include roasted Brussels sprouts, sherry-flamed mushrooms, spiced kabocha squash, and green bean almondine. For dessert, local farms have supplied the ingredients, which feature in  the caramelized apple or pumpkin crostatas.

A separate beverage menu offers many at-home Thanksgiving choices. Local RGNY, Macari Vineyards, Channing Daughters and One Woman wines are offered along with Old Country choices. You’re encouraged to have some fun with finish-at-home cocktails like the chai cranberry punch bowl, ginger appletini or Wild Turkey old fashioned. For a bit of whimsy, the sommelier has created a blind wine tasting kit, too, with instructions for how to taste, what clues to look for, and guided maps.

Bistro Ete

Bistro Ete

Chef Arie Pavlou has put together an at-home feast that’s traditional with just an inkling of his Mediterranean orientation. The prix fixe meal gives you bacon-wrapped turkey breast medallions, rice stuffing with chestnuts and sage, and chestnut-sage gravy. Add mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and brandy-glazed Brussels sprouts as sides, options like pumpkin-butternut squash-apple cider soup, and Chef’s homemade ice creams and you’ll have a dinner that will hopefully give you some leftovers for the next day.

Highway

Highway

If you’re tired of Thanksgiving and want to spruce up your meal repertoire before and after with non-turkey dinners, Highway has you covered. But, don’t worry. If Thanksgiving is all you can think about right now, Highway will send a private chef to your home to put it all together for you. Your menu can be customized and will, of  course, include Highway’s homemade pies and ice cream. The chef will even bring a bottled “Turkey Crossing” cocktail.

But the real holiday attractions from Highway are the restaurant’s night before and night after dinners, giving you an option that doesn’t have anything to do with turkey. The “Classic Highway Night Before Thanksgiving” takeout  meal offers roasted chicken, eggplant parmigiana, salad and apple crumble. But I’d go for the “Post Thanksgiving Asian Night” feast, personally. You can order Peking duck, miso-glazed salmon or Thai chicken stir fry, all worthy alternatives to turkey. Complement it with  crab and papaya salad, Asian slaw, baby bok choy and you’ll have a break from all that stuffing and cranberry sauce. Enjoy the “Night After” either in the restaurant or at home.

Seven Places for Thanksgiving Dinner in Brooklyn and Manhattan

Thanksgiving this year will be celebrated in unusual ways. Our gatherings won’t be as large. We will be separated from extended family, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be virtual. But we can still enjoy a delicious holiday either at our homes or in some of New York City’s recently re-opened restaurants.

Here are seven ideas to ensure a festive and satisfying celebration.

MANHATTAN

Cote

You might not think of a Korean steakhouse as a go-to for Thanksgiving Day, But Simon Kim’s feast will make you reconsider. Including turkey in the form of turkey mandoo (dumplings), the prix fixe menu is purely Cote combining four cuts of steak (hanger, 45-day ribeye, flatiron, and galbi) with a variety of Korean accompaniments. Instead of the usual mashed or sweet potatoes, you’ll enjoy kimchi jjigae, egg soufflé, japchae (noodles), rice, kimchi, scallion salad and spicy housemade ssamjang). For dessert, no worries. You’ll have pie and ice cream as you should on Thanksgiving. Festive cocktails will be served as well. Reservations are required.

Cote

If you prefer to dine at home, Cote offers meal kits for six, with a choice of roast prime rib and sides or a more Korean take with Niman galbi jjim, Chef David Shim’s USDA prime short rib cooked overnight with sweet soy sauce, shiitake mushrooms, daikon, carrots, gingko nuts and chestnuts. Pick up and local delivery are available for the day before Thanksgiving at this Flatiron star.

The Standard Grill

The Standard Grill

The Standard Grill invites you to dine indoors or outdoors to observe a truly American Thanksgiving dinner, enhanced with the restaurant’s seasonal favorites. You’ll love the roasted traditional turkey with gravy, fall veggies and cranberry sauce. Non-meat eaters have of-the-season choices like Maine lobster salad with celery remoulade and wild apple, or baked salmon with creamy morels and sorrel sauce. Dessert sticks to holiday favorites pecan and pumpkin pies. Reservations are required, and the outdoor area is heated. You can walk off your dinner with a stroll along the adjacent High Line.

Wayan

Wayan

If you’re set on staying home, why not invite the family over for a Thanksgiving out of the ordinary. Cedric and Ochi Vongerichten’s Wayan offers a take-out, family-style dinner with a menu of Indonesian-inspired classics. Turkey is featured, done up in a roasted Indonesian style. Sides include Brussels sprouts with morning glory terasi, perkedel stuffing, mashed potatoes (yes, they’re really there!), roasted delicata squash, spiced cranberry acar sauce and long pepper gravy. The feast serves eight to six. Cocktails and whole pies for dessert can be ordered as well. Plan to return to SoHo for Wayan’s exciting non-turkey dishes.

The Polo Bar

The Polo Bar

It’s no surprise Ralph Lauren’s The Polo Bar stays true to tradition for Thanksgiving. After all, this is Ralph Lauren, the embodiment of Americana in dress as well as food. The restaurant will prepare classics done Polo Bar-style including Green Circle Farms free-range turkey, Calvados gravy, maple-sherry glazed baby Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, chestnut stuffing, popovers with maple butter, pumpkin cheesecake or Charleston bourbon pecan pie. Side dishes can be added to the family-style meal along with wine or cocktails. Add a Polo Bar touch with menu favorites including shrimp cocktail, Ralph’s corned beef bites, kale and autumn root vegetable salad, pigs in a blanket, honeynut squash soup, pumpkin cheesecake, classic cheesecake, old-fashioned five-layer chocolate cake and coconut cake. You can order a six-person or a 12-person feast. Pick up will be arranged for either Wednesday or Thanksgiving morning.

Eleven Madison Park

Eleven Madison Park

For a luxe Thanksgiving at home, Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park’s “To Go” spread revolves around an organic, free-range turkey that will make you feel like a culinary superstar. Cooking instructions from Chef Daniel Humm are provided. Sides are pre-prepared so you don’t have to do all the work yourself, and you’ll get an array of EMP hits plus vegetable dishes, traditional accoutrements, brioche rolls and pie for dessert. If you’re feeling particularly spicy and celebratory, you can add caviar and truffles to your order. Cocktails and wines complete the indulgence. You can order a feast for four-six people or eight-ten. Pick up is either Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving. And here’s a nice Thanksgiving benefit: for every meal kit purchased, EMP donates ten meals to New Yorkers in need in partnership with Rethink Food.

BROOKLYN

JAMES

JAMES

Prospect Heights’ James has created a gorgeous holiday box of farm-driven delights for delivery or pick-up. Founder Deborah James is all about family and neighborhood, and her feast encourages good feelings with a menu of celery root soup, roasted Brussels sprouts dusted with honey and chili, whipped Yukon potatoes, bitter greens, roasted baby beets, heirloom roasted potatoes, focaccia stuffing with sausage, chestnuts and crispy sage. Taking center stage is a Sullivan Country young turkey topped with handmade salts and butters. Desserts include spiced pumpkin cake, fallen chocolate cake and roasted apple crisp. Pick-up can be scheduled for Wednesday or Thanksgiving afternoon.

Le Crocodile

Le Crocodile Private Dining

Williamsburg brasserie Le Crocodile takes advantage of its Wythe Hotel location, offering Thanksgiving dining indoors in its heated outdoor garden or in its new private dining option, Le Crocodile Upstairs, in converted hotel rooms. The prix fixe menu begins with winter squash soup with black truffle and Waldorf salad. The classic Thanksgiving feast continues family-style starring heritage turkey, carved to order, with cranberry sauce, sourdough stuffing, mashed potatoes, honey and maple glazed carrots and green bean casserole. For a dessert finish, there’s a choice of ice creams, pear frangipane tart, and pumpkin pie with brandy cream. Reservations are required.

You Won’t Miss Halloween as Much This Year with This IRL Treat at the Empire State Building

You don’t need to visit New York City this Halloween, nor even leave your home to have a true New York City trick-or-treat experience. This year, the Empire State Building is making its recognizable tower lights interactive for Halloween. On October 31 at 8pm, the iconic landmark takes Hasbro’s ESB Simon® memory game to new heights with a live game on the façade of Empire State Building. Your ticket to the fun — without leaving your home — is at www.Simon-Live.com where you can access the fast-paced game.

Simon Lighting

World-renowned production and lighting designer Marc Brickman and his team at Tactical Manoeuvre developed ESB Simon® using the world-famous tower lights as the pattern maker. You can prepare for the Hallow-IN event by visiting the website in advance to practice your skills to play.

So, grab your trick-or-treaters, costume up (yes, seriously) and enjoy a different kind of Halloween this year.

Here’s how it works:

  • Log into http://www.Simon-Live.com with your touch device (phone, iPad, computer) and click on “Let’s play” and wait for a game to start.
  • Watch levels of the Empire State Building flash in an increasingly complex series of blue, green, yellow and red colors and tones. Tap the building to correctly repeat the pattern. The longer you play, the more complex the sequences.
  • For every correct answer, players climb further up the Empire State Building. Each wrong answer knocks you down. Your objective is to make it to the top of the building and the leaderboard. You can keep playing until the game is over.
  • If you’re lucky enough to actually have a view of the Empire State Building, you can both play AND watch the display live on the building.
  • Up to 100,000 people can play at once, and the game will be live on the Empire State Building from 8pm – 9pm.

Need to brush up on your memory skills? Practice using Infinite Play mode ahead of Halloween night. But, unlike the Halloween game if you get one wrong answer in Infinite Play mode, your game is over.

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