When New England’s top names in music and dance go on vacation, they head for the Berkshires. And since the ’30s, audiences
from all over the Northeast have followed them to this bucolic
mountain retreat in western Massachusetts.
Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony
Orchestra, and the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival are the region’s
cultural highlights. Over the years, they’ve been joined by a
first-class summer-stock theater, a Shakespeare festival and an
excellent museum of contemporary art. Meanwhile, the flood of
visitors coming to enjoy the Berkshires’ performing arts scene has
drawn some excellent shopping in its wake.
And, of course, it would be impossible to overlook the beautiful mountain lakes and serene walking trails that have been
luring urban refugees for centuries. America’s wealthiest families—from the Carnegies to the Vanderbilts—transformed the
area in a private luxury enclave during the Gilded Age of the
19th century, when their mansions were ironically referred to
The area also has inspired some of the country’s top literary
talent, including Nathaniel Hawthorne and Oliver Wendell
Holmes Sr. You can tour the former estates of Herman Melville
and Edith Wharton, or rest your head at the former residence
of Henry Ward Beecher.
We’ve been visiting the Berkshires for over a decade now, and
although we begin every trip intending to return to old favorites,
we always seem to discover something new and interesting.