TRAVEL TO THE BERKSHIRES
by John Rudy
When referring to The Berkshires, we typically point to a group of towns in Western Massachusetts including Great Barrington, Lenox, and Stockbridge and to institutions like Tanglewood, the beautiful summer home of the Boston Symphony where they bring in hundreds of incredible students to learn and perform. There are many other interesting things to do in the Berkshires, and it is very easy to spend weeks taking in what the region has to offer. It is mostly a straight run west from Boston on the Mass Pike. Here are some of the things we did in early August of 2019.
We went to three concerts at Tanglewood. One was the BSO performing in “The Shed” which holds about 5.000. Another 10,000 or so brought chairs and food, sat outside on the grounds, and listened. The second was a trio of Emanuel Ax, Yoyo Ma and Leonidas Kavakos playing Beethoven Piano Trios in Ozawa Hall. This time, we sat on the lawn, but since we arrived early, we were only 20’ from the open doors to the hall, so we saw and heard quite well. The third time, we heard three Beethoven Piano Sonatas played by Yefim Bronfman in Ozawa Hall. It rained that evening, and, due to lightning, they shut down the lawn seating. (Indoor tickets must be bought well in advance for the more popular performances, but lawn tickets can be purchased at the last moment.
We also visited Hyde Park, NY, the site of Springwood, the childhood home of Franklin Roosevelt. His Presidential Library & Museum is about 80 minutes away. It is a fascinating place with excellent guides.
Daniel Chester French sculpted the Lincoln Statue at the Lincoln Memorial (actually he had 6 Italian brothers, expert stone carvers, do the final carving). Three plaster models of the Lincoln statue are at French’s Chesterwood Studio, a National Historical Trust site in Stockbridge. They have a wonderful tour.
The Mount was Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox (another National Historical Trust site). There are fascinating inside and garden tours.
There are dozens of good places to eat all over the area. There are also some wonderful ice cream and gelato stores. Try The Scoop and Peace Love & Chocolate.
The Berkshire Museum is in Pittsfield. When we went, they had a temporary exhibit of machines built from Leonardo DaVinci’s drawings. But even without this, it is a beautiful museum.
Jacob’s Pillow (which we did not attend) has dance performances.
The Clark Museum in Williamstown MA is a bit over an hour away. It is a beautiful site with excellent exhibits. We saw a special Renoir exhibit.
The entire area will be full of color in the coming months–and we are ready to return!
A long-time technology expert and guide, who also happens to be an enthusiastic chef, John provides his helpful hints in both areas for BOLLI “Matters.” Hmm…could there be a travel feature in his future as well?