The Berkshires have been home to many great writers, painters and activists throughout history. Today, visitors to the region can tour museums and historic homes dedicated to preserving the rich history and distinct culture of the Berkshires. Take a stroll through acres of flowering gardens, explore art galleries, or visit resorted 19th century mansions – there's so much history here to be rediscovered.
The Inn at Stockbridge is the perfect bed and breakfast for anyone looking to learn more about the history of Berkshires. Not only are we located close to local attractions like the Norman Rockwell Museum, but the stories of our historic Stockbridge Inn date back to the early 20th century. The rooms in our Barn Suites are also named after Berkshires people and places of interest, like Edith Wharton and Hancock Shaker Village.
Ventfort Hall Mansion & Gilded Age Museum
This magnificent Berkshire “Cottage”, rescued from demolition, has undergone substantial restoration to return the mansion and grounds to their days of splendor. The property has a fascinating history, beginning with a connection to the Civil War hero Col. Robert Gould Shaw, who led the first African American regiment of the Union Army. Ventfort Hall is also familiar to many as the exterior set for the Academy Award-winning film The Cider House Rules. Built in 1893 by Sarah Morgan, sister of the financier J.P. Morgan, the building went through a number of incarnations before opening to the public as a museum and performance venue.
Hours: Monday through Friday 10:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 10:00am to 3:00pm. Guided Tours on the hour.
The Mount is Edith Wharton’s elegant estate and gardens in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. Wharton fashioned a world of beauty and calm where she could write in peace and entertain distinguished friends. She created some of her greatest works at The Mount, including such enduring classics as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence. Enjoy a tour of the home built in 1902 according to the principles she developed in her first book, The Decoration of Houses. Wander through three acres of exquisite formal gardens that recreate Wharton’s original design. Light refreshments can also be enjoyed on The Mount’s Terrace Café (Open mid-June to mid-September). The Wharton Suite in our Barn Building was named for Edith Wharton!
Hours: Daily 10:00am to 5:00pm May through October. Open for special theater events in November.
Chesterwood is the summer home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost public sculptor, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), sculptor of The Minute Man, Concord Ma, and Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC.
Hours: Daily 10:00am to 5:00pm May 25 through October 31. Guided Tours: 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm
Experience Gilded-Age style and splendor at this marvelous estate, renowned for its elegant gardens and rare Berkshire “Cottage.” With its gracious house, magnificent gardens, and panoramic views, Naumkeag is a quintessential country estate of the Gilded Age. This architectural masterpiece is, at its heart, a family home. Joseph Choate, a leading 19th-century attorney, hired the architectural firm of McKim, Mead,& White to design the 44-room “cottage,” Naumkeag, which would serve as a summer retreat for three generations of Choates. Don't miss the self-guided audio tour of the Naumkeag gardens, including the Blue Steps, a series of deep blue fountain pools, flanked by four flights of stairs and a grove of white birches. Walk through the equally beautiful Afternoon Garden, Tree Peony Terrace, Rose Garden, Evergreen Garden, and Chinese Garden to encounter the playful, inventive spirit of Miss Choate and Mr. Steele.
Hours: Daily May 26 through October 15, 10:00am to 5:00pm
Berkshire Botanical Garden
The Berkshire Botanical Garden is a not-for-profit, membership-supported educational organization encompassing 15 acres of cultivated land at the intersection of Routes 102 and 183 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The Garden’s mission is to fulfill the community’s need for information, education and inspiration concerning the art and science of gardening and the preservation of our environment. Their public display gardens are open May to mid-October. Both functional and ornamental, they are among the oldest in the US and have been expanded over the years in breadth and variety through a series of bequests and major gifts. Our collections emphasize plants that are indigenous to or thrive in the Berkshires.
Hours: Daily 9:00am to 5:00pm - May 1 through Columbus Day
Handcock Shaker Village
You’ll be surrounded by authentic architecture and artifacts at Hancock Shaker Village, but what makes the experience so fulfilling is the discovery of how the Shakers thought and lived. Their approaches to community, efficiency, and sustainability were ahead of their time, and continue to inspire us today. Visit Handcock Shaker Village and discover an extraordinary way of living.
Hours: Daily - April 13 through June 30, 10:00am to 4:00pm
July 1 through October 27, 10:00am to 5:00pm
Contact: 413-443-0188 hancockshakervillage.org
Where a mountain inspired a tale of a whale. In the summer of 1850, seeking reprieve from the heat and noise from New York City, Herman Melville brought his young family to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a place he had visited since childhood. Flushed with the success of his first books and entranced by his meeting of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Melville impulsively bought a nearby farm, which he named Arrowhead. That following winter in his study with the view of Greylock Mountain, Herman Melville wrote his masterpiece Moby-Dick.
Hours: Daily 9:30am to 5:00pm - Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day
Contact: 413-442-1793 mobydick.org
Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum
Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15th, 1820 in the town of Adams, Massachusetts. Her birthplace, built in 1818, stands as an important symbol of the Women's Suffrage movement in the United States. Today the Museum highlights the familial and regional influences which shaped Ms. Anthony's early life, by displaying the textiles and furnishings of that period, as well as ephemera and memorabilia from her later career.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10:00am to 4:00pm, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11:30am to 4:00pm. Open Memorial Day through Columbus Day.