Had a terrific trip to the Berkshires July 3 -5. We stayed at the Briarcliff Motel in Great Barrington, a spot we had visited before & really liked for the great owners, location, funky charm and excellent breakfast. Our second stay did not disappoint, as a matter of fact, it was even better this time around. On Friday we visited Naumkeag - an arts & crafts Berkshire "cottage" (44 rooms) in Stockbridge. Admission was free as part of the Free Fun Fridays sponsored throughout the summer by the Highland Foundation. The grounds are spectacular & the house pretty great,too. It was very well organized given the number of visitors that day. The property is run by the Trustees of the Reservations and is staffed by volunteers. There was ample parking at a nearby satellite lot and free shuttles to the house. We had a casual lunch on the patio and then left to do some shopping in Great Barrington.
Downtown GB has some great places including the terrific Rubiner's cheese shop. The staff is knowledgeable and very helpful. The room at the Briarcliff had a nice sized refrigerator so we were able to stock up on some nice cheeses. That night we had dinner at the Dream Away Lodge in Becket - again, a return visit. What a fun spot with delicious, inventive food! Prices are very reasonable as well.
The next day it was raining, so we decided to visit another house. This time we went to Chesterwood, the home of Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Lincoln Monument. Admission includes the house, the studio, a small museum and a "woodland walk" which features changing exhibits of contemporary sculptures. It is a wonderful place, so much of French's career is connected to American history it is hard not to be in awe as you make your way through the estate. One disappointment was the fact that the upstairs in the house was closed for the year, so visitors are limited to only 4 rooms on the main floor for the time being. The view and gardens are spectacular and even though it was pouring, with the assistance of a large umbrella, we made our way along the woodland trail to see the other sculptures - glad we did as they were impressive.
We had lunch at Xicohtencatl Mexican Restaurant back in GB, excellent food, very reasonable prices. Then we picked up sandwiches at Bizalion's Fine Food, a gourmet market for a picnic supper. Kind of pricey (sandwiches were $13 each), but unique and delicious.
The sun came out late in the day and we were able to enjoy a picnic on the Tanglewood lawn before a great concert by James Taylor followed by fireworks. All in all, a memorable weekend.Edited: 07 July 2015, 02:35