Small town vibe, big city culture in Lenox, Mass. – The Daily Gazette


SUMMER 2022 TRIP – The town of Lenox swells during the summer months as Tanglewood welcomes thousands of music lovers from all over the tri-state area.

“Twenty thousand people in Tanglewood are going to see James Taylor, so even this weekend 60,000 people are coming into town,” said Jenn Nacht, executive director of the Lenox Chamber of Commerce.

Although the venue’s season is packed with performances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops, as well as popular artists such as Taylor, Brandi Carlile, Judi Collins, the Black Crowes and more, the small town has so much more to offer. than Tanglewood.

One of the main attractions, perhaps especially this year, is the Ventfort Hall Mansion and Golden Age Museum.

The imposing Jacobean Revival mansion was built by George and Sarah Morgan in the late 1800s and was used as a summer residence. It has a grand lobby and three-story staircase with wood paneling details, as well as a paneled library, dining room, billiard room, and bowling alley.

“It’s like walking into ‘The Gilded Age,'” Nacht said. Many visitors to the capital region are familiar with the HBO show, which was partly filmed in Troy and aired earlier this year, featuring opulent homes and period costumes.

While the mansion currently sits on 11.7 acres, it was originally the centerpiece of 26 acres of landscaped gardens.

Made of brick with brownstone trim, the mansion has a porte-cochere covering the entrance while the back of the house has a full-length wooden veranda.

Upon completion, the house had 15 bedrooms, 13 bathrooms and 17 fireplaces. “It has been designed with all the latest modern conveniences, many ingeniously ventilated bathrooms, combined gas and electric light fixtures, an elevator, burglar alarms and central heating,” according to the museum, which opened. its doors in 2000.

Ventfort has undergone extensive restorations over the past two decades and hosts ghost tours, plays and talks, and more. This summer, there will be several talks on HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” including one called “Before HBO’s ‘Gilded Age'” with Jennifer Huberdeau on June 21, and “The Gilded Age Rises Again in Troy, NY with historian Kathy Sheehan” in July. 19, among others.

Ventfort has seen an increase in visitors, but according to marketing manager Linda Rocke, it’s unclear if this is directly due to the HBO show. The hall is open year-round for self-guided tours every day except Wednesdays and some holidays.

Not far away is another kind of treasure. The Mount, Edith Wharton’s estate, is lush with acres of gardens, including an Italian garden, a French garden and a rockery. Visitors are free to stroll through the blooming greenery from dawn to dusk.

At the center of it all is Wharton’s classically-inspired main house, which dates to 1901. With classical Italian and French influences, the house is where Wharton wrote some of his most famous works, including ” The House of Mirth” and “Ethan Frome”. “It is preserved today as an autobiographical house, paying homage to the author and presenting exhibitions dedicated to his life. This season, that will include an exhibit exploring Wharton’s life in France.

“She has cultivated this very beautiful property…where she has cultivated these incredible gardens and opened them up to the public,” said Jennifer Beeson, director of communications at The Mount. “We have artifacts including clothes, some of his personal stuff like glasses.”

Throughout the season, The Mount will also bring together contemporary authors such as Grace M. Cho, Ravi Shankar and Susan Branson, among others, for discussions of their work.

There’s also plenty to do in downtown Lenox, especially with events like the Lenox Art Walk and a car show, both planned by the Lenox Chamber of Commerce. The art walk is scheduled for June 11-12 and is expected to feature 60-70 artists from the tri-state area. The jury show features quality work that isn’t exorbitant, according to Nacht. The car show, scheduled for June 18, will showcase a range of classic and vintage cars.

For theater lovers, Nacht recommends attending a Shakespeare & Company performance.

“The campus is beautiful, and it’s just a bit out of town,” Nacht said. This season, the company presents “An Iliad” and “Much Ado About Nothing”, among other programs.

Nacht also suggests visitors take a walk to see some hidden gems.

“We have Kennedy Park, which has all kinds of walks that have really great views,” Nacht said. “You can choose the level of walking you want, and there is one [called Overlook] it’s on the easier trail which gives you the nice view [of the] valley. It’s kind of a hidden secret.

Lilac Park towards the city center is another park that Nacht recommends exploring, especially when there is live music.

For those looking for even more natural views, the Mass Audubon is a good bet.

“[It’s] still a really fun place to hang out. We have a lot of animals in addition to seeing birds and things like that, so you’ll probably see a beaver,” Nacht said. “There are bike paths. You [can] get on and you rent a bike, and cycle around.

Lenox is about an hour’s drive from the Capital Region. For those looking to spend the night, here’s where to stay, according to Nacht:

The Whitlock B&B on Church Street is a good option for those looking to stay downtown. It also has a restaurant called Ophelia’s with a fire pit and live music on certain days.

The Apple Tree Inn, located near Tanglewood, is another option. “It’s beautiful. They have apple trees and they have music outside in the summer. So people like to bring their chairs and drop down and listen to music and have a drink,” Nacht said.

Travel 2022: on the way to summer

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Categories: Life and Arts, Summer trip 2022

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