Posts Tagged ‘Berkshires’

An Art Road Trip: Artists’ Homes and Studios to Visit in New York, Massachusetts and Maine

The Hudson River Valley and New England are especially rich in artists’ studios and homes, offering a behind-the-scenes opportunity to glimpse the motivations and settings that impacted creativity.

New York and Hudson River Valley

Edward Hopper House Courtesy Edward Hopper Historic House & Study Center

Edward Hopper’s haunting cityscapes are familiar to visitors to the Whitney Museum of American Art, but it’s his early home in Rockland County that provided much inspiration and context. The Nyack countryside gave him ample exposure to light and landscape, which he incorporated into his many depictions of city and country life in the 20th century. The Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center currently serves as an exhibition space for exhibitions relating to Hopper and works of various artists.

Where to Stay:

Courtesy Hotel Nyack

Hotel Nyack – Designed by the David Rockwell Group, Hotel Nyack is the first boutique, lifestyle hotel in Rockland County and part of the Joie de Vivre/Hyatt collection. The stylish rooms and spaces add a fitting design element to your art getaway.

Courtesy The Castle Hotel and Spa

The Castle Hotel and Spa – A short drive from Nyack,  The Castle Hotel and Spa in Tarrytown will inspire your creative muse with its original architectural elements. In an envious location overlooking the lower Hudson River Valley, the distinctive castle dates from 1897 and was designed in the style of a Norman fortification in Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Thomas Cole’s Old Studio © John Thorn

Thomas Cole is synonymous with the Hudson River School. It was Cole who gave birth to America’s first significant art movement and his landscapes occupy an important place in museums like the National Gallery, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. After a visit to Cole’s beautiful Catskill home with its sweeping views of the Catskill Mountains you might just be tempted to pause a while with your own sketchbook. The Thomas Cole National Historic Site features changing exhibits of landscape paintings.

Olana © Stan Ries

In nearby Hudson, Frederic Edwin Church, the second important painter of the Hudson River School, established his family home, studio and estate. Unlike his teacher Thomas Cole, Church is best known for paintings of exotic locales instead of the local scenery that Cole favored. Resembling a Hudson River School painting, the Olana State Historic Site covers 250 acres and includes Church’s Persian-inspired house with commanding views of the Hudson River Valley. On display are paintings by Church as well as other collected art.

The dining room at Manitoga © Vivian Linares

Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center in Garrison invites visitors to spend time contemplating Wright’s seamless merging of indoor and outdoor design. This famous house, created by industrial designer Russel Wright, seems to flow effortlessly into beautiful gardens with waterfalls, an example of the modernist design he introduced to the world. The setting was transformed from a ravaged industrial site into a spot for artistic creativity with miles of paths and views of the Hudson River.

Where to Stay:

Courtesy The Maker Hotel

The Maker Hotel – Newly opened in the artsy-Boho town of Hudson, The Maker Hotel is filled with vintage and current arts, crafts and works from local artisans and makers. A perfect complement to the artists’ homes in the Hudson River Valley, the hotel also has a notable dining room and fitness options.

New England

Chesterwood © Don Freeman

Another favorite area of artists, the Berkshires in western Massachusetts is the location of Chesterwood, the summer home, studio and gardens of lauded American sculptor Daniel Chester French. One of America’s foremost public sculptors, French created more than 100 monuments including the acclaimed Minute Man in Concord, Massachusetts and Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. Many of the original plaster models and sculptures in bronze and marble can be viewed in his Stockbridge home. Visitors are welcome to wander the European-inspired gardens, particularly beautiful in the spring and autumn.

Frelinghuysen Morris House © Paul Rocheleau

The next town over, Lenox, is the site of Bauhaus-inspired Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio, the two-story white stucco and glass, modernist home of Suzy Frelinghuysen and George L.K. Morris, painters, collectors and founders of American Abstract Art. The house is notable for its contrast to the “cottage”-type architecture found in the area. The house museum displays an extensive collection of mid-century art including the couple’s own cubist works.

Where to Stay:

Courtesy The Inn at Kenmore Hall

The Inn at Kenmore Hall — The first summer arts colony in the Berkshires in the 1880s, Kenmore Hall in Richmond counted Daniel Chester French among its students. Today, the history-filled B&B has been lovingly restored with appropriate design and appointments for an intimate stay in a gorgeous setting near the attractions of the Berkshires.

Winslow Homer Studio © Trent Bell Photography

Winslow Homer was inspired by the rough coastlines of Maine, particularly those in the southern part of the state. His studio, located on Prouts Neck in Scarborough, is overseen by the Portland Museum of Art. If you walk along the peninsula and the beach, you’ll understand the chilly, rocky images that Homer painted. You might even recognize some the views from paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Museum or Chicago Art Institute. Homer spent 17 years at this location, living in the simple understated structure and painting from a balcony overlooking the ocean. To visit the studio, you must first stop at the Portland Museum of Art – a chance to see some of the artist’s paintings – and then board a shuttle to Prouts Neck.

Kent—Fitzgerald Historic Home Courtesy Fitzgerald Legacy Archives, © John Lawrence

As early as 1850, Monhegan Island in Maine had become a magnet for artists. The headlands of the remote island and its wild, car-free setting were a draw for creative souls, appealing with their natural beauty and simplicity. Up steep Light House Hill, artist Rockwell Kent built a home and studio that was later used by artist James Fitzgerald and portraitist Alice Stoddard. Kent painted much of what he saw daily en plein air focusing on regional realism while Fitzgerald’s watercolor interpretations of the area were created from memory and sketched indoors. Kent’s famous Winter, Monhegan Island is a stylized depiction, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Artworks created by Fitzgerald and Stoddard are shown in the nearby Monhegan Museum of Art & History.

Where to Stay:

Courtesy The Black Point Inn

The Black Point Inn – On a sweep of beach on Prouts Neck in Scarborough, the classic Maine resort is a look into the relaxed history of the area.  With its waterfront location, traditional Maine dining, and classic architecture, the inn will help you understand why Winslow Homer chose this location for his studio.

Pierce Cottage at The Island Inn © Meryl Pearlstein

The Island Inn You’ll understand why Monhegan Island appeals to artists when you stay at the inn. Overlooking the harbor with scenery that becomes the main event of the day, the Island Inn and its adjacent Pierce Cottage embodies simplicity, allowing the environs to remain the star of the show. Simple rooms and a popular porch with rocking chairs along with Adirondack chairs on the lawn invite you to relax after a day of exploring the island and the art.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and writer Valerie A. Balint have created a guide that covers these areas and more, including detail and photos for 44 artists’ homes and working studios in 21 states.

Ski New York: Where to Go and Where to Stay

You may not have considered New York as a go-to for slopes with downhill skiing. But, in fact, there are a number of mountain resorts close to New York City or further afield that will appeal to all levels if you find yourself on the East Coast. And the good news is that they’re not as far north as the more well-known Eastern ski areas in Vermont. Some appeal to day trippers more than others, like Hunter and Windham, while others could be tackled in a long day of skiing and driving but are actually more suitable and enjoyable as overnight trips like the Berkshires, the Adirondacks and the Finger Lakes Regions of Upstate New York.

Planning a ski trip this year will require some extra thought. Masks need to be worn everywhere, not just on the slopes. Social distancing is mandatory. And lifts and gondolas are all subject to the capacity reductions imposed by the mountains. It’s imperative that you think ahead if you plan to ski. Most reservations will need to be made ahead of time, and mainly online. Be sure to check out the specific social-distancing and safety rules for each mountain, especially regarding ski lifts and gondolas. You should also book a place to stay before you travel if you plan to do more than a day trip.

Here are seven New York ski areas that will get you through the long, dark months ahead with suggestions for where to stay.

THE CATSKILLS
Plattekill Mountain, Roxbury

Plattekill

The last of the family-owned ski mountains operating in the Catskills, with an “indie” small-mountain vibe, family-friendly Plattekill has four lifts, a terrain park and 38 trails accommodating beginners to experts. The mountain also offers snowtubing. The new Platty Shack is a fun, socially conscious go-to for takeaway shopping and beverages.

Where to Stay:

The Roxbury at Stratton Falls

With its two properties, The Roxbury adds an unexpected twist to a country hotel and motel with luxury amenities and themed accommodations. Each room and suite will inspire many Instagram moments, a well-deserved sensory reward for a hard day on the slopes.

The Roxbury Motel Big King Themed Room - Angel Hair Room

Belleayre Mountain Ski Center, Highmount

Belleayre

Belleayre is popular for both day trippers and those wanting to enjoy the area’s inns and BnBs. The ski center has 50 trails with eight lifts and a gondola offering sweeping views of the Catskill Forest Preserve. Sustainability and versatility are watchwords at Belleayre with trails appropriate for both beginners and advanced skiers. Lift tickets must be purchased in advance online, and capacity is limited with tickets not available on weekends or during blackout periods.

Where to Stay:

Emerson Resort & Spa

Emerson Resort & Spa offers luxurious accommodations in the contemporary Inn or Adirondack-style Lodge. The resort also features a spa with nature-inspired treatments and the popular Woodnotes Grille by the river.

Emerson Resort & Spa - The Lodge Franz Imperial Room

Hunter Mountain, Hunter

Hunter

Just 2 ½ hours from NYC, Hunter is possibly the most crowded mountain for day trippers with its 67 trails and 13 lifts. Owned by Vail Resorts, Hunter is now offering Epic Pass providing priority reservations at the mountain and at 34 affiliated Vail Resorts. The mountain offers diverse activities including snowtubing and snowboarding with ski lessons and trails for all ages and skill levels. Adding to its popularity, the mountain is known for its snowmaking prowess.

Where to Stay:

Scribner’s Catskill Lodge Photo By Read McKendree

Built in 1966, Scribner’s Catskill Lodge is a distinctive lodge property with contemporary rooms and an outdoor skating rink made of “Glice.” Skates are provided.

Scribner’s Catskill Lodge

Windham Mountain, Windham

Windham Mountain

Windham Mountain is hugely popular with 54 trails and six terrain parks. Families love Windham’s Mountain Adventure Park with its snowtubing, kid snowmobiles, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and lessons for all ages.  The new Umbrella Bar offers to-go cocktails between the lifts and the base lodge. Check the daily report to see the number of trails and parks open and lifts running each day. The mountain has implemented a new “red day” and “green day” capacity calendar which will tell you whether you can purchase day-of tickets or not. It is advisable to reserve in advance.

Where to Stay:

Whisper Creek Condominiums

Whisper Creek Condominiums offer high-end ski-in/ski-out lodging right on the slopes within walking distance to the Alpine Spa and the Windham Mountain base lodge.

THE BERKSHIRES
Catamount, Hillsdale

Catamount Mountain Resort

Catamount Mountain Resort in the Berkshires Mountains straddles the border of New York and Massachusetts, about two hours from NYC. Skiers here must adhere to travel regulations for both New York and Massachusetts and you’re advised to check daily as rules change frequently. One of the smaller ski areas, Catamount has eight lifts and 36 trails ranging from gentle and intermediate (Green Circle and Blue Square) to expert (Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond) plus terrain parks for more freestyle maneuvers. The mountain also offers Night Skiing.

Where to Stay:

The Egremont Village Inn

Just over the border from New York into Massachusetts, The Carriage House at The Egremont Village Inn is open throughout the winter.

THE ADIRONDACKS AND THE FINGER LAKES
Whiteface Lake Placid, Wilmington

Whiteface

The site of the Winter Olympic Games in 1980, Whiteface might have you dreaming of a Gold Medal as you whoosh down the tallest vertical drop in the East. One of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks, Whiteface has 87 trails and 11 lifts and is equipped to teach anyone who wants to learn to ski, including disabled skiers. The mountain resort also offers bobsledding down an Olympic track on the Cliffside Coaster, groomed Nordic skiing and an Olympic skating experience at the Lake Placid Olympic Center.

Where to Stay:

High Peaks Resort

High Peaks Resort offers a choice of stays ranging from traditional with The Resort, to modern at the Lake House, and suites in the Waterfront Collection on the shores of Mirror Lake.

The Whiteface Lodge

The Whiteface Lodge is reminiscent of a historic Adirondack Great Camp with rustic timber design combined with luxury accommodations and spa.

Bristol Mountain, Canandaigua

Bristol Mountain

In the Finger Lakes Region, Bristol is especially attractive for first-time skiers and snowboarders with group lessons arranged just for them. Additionally, The Snowsports School has programs for ages seven and older and includes a lift ticket. This year’s school features small-size bespoke “Pod Lessons” which can include skiers as young as three years old. The mountain’s 38 slopes and trails will please all ages and levels as well.

Where to Stay:

Mountain Horse Farm

Mountain Horse Farm is a B&B farm stay just 10 minutes from the mountain. In this peaceful setting, you’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy the farm’s horses and cows.

Mountain Horse Farm

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.

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.

Give Your Sweetie a Valentine’s Day Gift for the Two of You with a Kripalu Retreat

Here’s a Valentine’s Day gift that’s an easy drive or train ride from New York City

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the beautiful Berkshires has a couples-centric gift for Valentine’s Day. Their special R&R Relationships Retreat from February 9-14 offers a schedule of daily workshops designed to strengthen your ties to the people you care about most.  Throughout the week, you’ll learn effective ways to mindfully communicate and engage with loved ones; experience yoga and movement classes focused on how to better listen to your body; explore tools and practices for self-love, self-care, and self-compassion; and connect with nature on guided snowshoeing excursions.

Photo by: Meryl Pearlstein

If the weather cooperates, you can join in on a walking meditation through the forest on the center’s grounds where you’ll learn how to be at peace with yourself and hopefully translate that experience to your significant other. I found it to be an incredibly insightful hike.  Regardless, you’ll take away a healthier outlook on your relationship while enjoying healthful dining and learning healthful habits.

Forest Bathing - Photo By: Meryl Pearlstein

If the timing isn’t right, you can also book a retreat for the two of you to any of Kripalu’s more than 700 programs a year. They’ll also customize a program to meet your needs with yoga, massage, dance, hiking, canoeing (in warmer weather), and sightseeing in the area. Here are a couple of others in February perfect for couples, Partner Yoga for Couples – (February 14-17) or Loving Like You Mean It: Emotional Mindfulness to Transform Relationships – (February 14-17).

Yoga Studio - Photo By: Meryl Pearlstein

Kripalu is one of my favorites, and it’s been around for 40 years catering to yogis like me who enjoy exploring yoga, mindfulness, outdoor activities and having an extensive menu of indulgent spa and wellness treatments at any time of the year.

Cooking Lessons - Photo By: Meryl Pearlstein

The all-vegetarian and vegan food choices are pretty wonderful, too, and there are cooking classes to teach you how to make the recipes on your own. The morning’s silent breakfast is a fascinating opportunity for self-contemplation or couples’ contemplation.

57 Interlaken Rd, Stockbridge, MA 01262, (866) 200-5203

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