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Category Archives: Berkshire Attractions

Discover Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum

October 16, 2015 by Corey A. Edwards

Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age MuseumVentfort Hall Mansion in Lenox, MA is an imposing, Jacobean Revival-style mansion built by the J.P. Morgan family in the late 1800’s and is now restored as a Gilded Age Museum you can tour!

If you’ve seen the film “Cider House Rules,” this Berkshires mansion may look a little familiar to you – the exterior of Ventfort Hall was used as St. Cloud’s Orphanage in the movie. Beyond that, the iconic building has been a dormitory for Tanglewood music students, a summer hotel, the Michel Fokine Ballet Summer Camp, and community housing for a religious organization – but before that, it was just another Berkshire Cottage.

Don’t let that term “Berkshire Cottage” fool you, however.

During the Gilded Age – the era from which Ventfort Hall sprang – the rich and mighty like J.P Morgan and the Rockefellers enjoyed referring to massive homes like Ventfort Hall – palatial estates with opulent gardens, salons, libraries, servant’s quarters, and more – as “cottages” because they were “out in the country” and smaller than their other, even more massive homes.

Ventfort Hall initially served as a summer home to J.P. Morgan’s sister’s family with a total of 28,000 square feet of living space and over 50 rooms, including 9 main bedrooms, 10 servant’s bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 17 fireplaces, and a surrounding demesne of 26 landscaped acres.

After the Morgans sold the property in 1925, Ventfort Hall began its long fall from grace. By the late 1990’s, this once stately Berkshire Cottage was near ruins and set for demolition but for a group of concerned citizens who stepped in, formed the Ventfort Hall Association, and began the process of saving the iconic property for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

Today, Ventfort Hall is “Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum,” providing a unique glimpse into one of the most fascinating periods of American history thus far: the Gilded Age, when great changes – social, economic, and industrial – were occurring throughout American society at a rate yet to be paralleled.

Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum offers tours of the property, hosts special exhibitions, theatrical performances, concerts, lectures, Victorian teas, children’s programs, and more throughout the year – plus a museum shop to browse. The restored, lavishly decorated rooms of this remarkable residence give visitors a glimpse of just what life was like during this period of American history – for both the extremely wealthy and their less fortunate house staff.

Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum

104 Walker Street, Lenox, MA
Memorial Day Weekend through Oct 31, Mon–Sat: 10am – 5pm
Nov 1 to Memorial Day Weekend, Mon–Sat: 10am – 4pm
Sundays 10am – 3pm, year ’round
Closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
For more information on special events, current and upcoming exhibits, tour schedules and more, be sure to visit:

Ventfort Hall Lodging
It’s hard to beat Ventfort Hall for sheer opulence – but you can’t spend your entire Berkshires getaway there. For comfort you can retire to, a stay at Applegate Inn bed & breakfast is the next best thing. Centrally located in Lee, MA, our eleven, beautifully appointed suites, complete with private baths, fireplaces, and spa tubs are your ticket to real relaxation andservice in the Berkshires – see you soon!

Visit Arrowhead the Herman Melville House Museum

August 21, 2015 by Corey A. Edwards

Visit Arrowhead - The Herman Melville House MuseumThe recent sighting of an albino humpback whale off Australia’s Gold Coast put Moby Dick in many people’s minds – but did you know the house where Melville wrote his famous book – Arrowhead the Herman Melville House – is right here in the Berkshires?

Herman Melville published 11 novels, 17 short stories, and even more poems – but chances are, one title of this classic, American author is the first that comes rushing to mind: Moby Dick.

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Berkshires Ghost Tours at Edith Wharton’s The Mount

October 11, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Berkshires Ghost Tours at The MountIf you’re looking for a little something spooky to do this Halloween, how about a Berkshires Ghost Tour at Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount?

The Mount, was designed by Edith Wharton in 1902 as her home and writer’s retreat and is now both a historic site and the only monument to Edith Wharton in the United States.

Beyond historically significant exhibits and events available to the public year ’round at The Mount, October brings out the spooky in this otherwise stately cultural venue in the form of, among other Halloween events, Ghost Tours! Given Wharton’s own history with the paranormal, it’s an appropriate offering.

Edith Wharton didn’t only pen the occasional ghost story, she was also troubled by the supernatural, stating that she was “haunted by formless horrors” and once described feeling “some dark undefinable menace … I could feel it behind me, upon me; and if there was any delay in the opening of the door I was seized by a choking agony of terror.”

Sold by the Wharton’s in 1911, The Mount became part of Foxhollow School for Girls in 1942. During this time, residents reported hearing unexplained noises and odd sensations in the old, Wharton servant and family quarters. Similarly, when Shakespeare & Co. used The Mount as both dormitory and theater in the late 70’s, numerous people reported odd noises and visions of figures in old-fashioned clothing!

Now’s your chance to find out find out if Edith Wharton’s old home is still inhabited by otherworldly beasties – with a Berkshires ghost tour of The Mount!

Visit The Mount for a special evening ghost tour this October and see for yourself if the paranormal activity others have reported in the servants’ quarters, stables, and formal rooms register for you. Ghost Tours at The Mount are available throughout October:

Berkshires Ghost Tours at The Mount

Fridays, 5:45pm or 7pm
Saturday, October 25, 5:45pm or 7pm
Halloween, 10pm

For tickets and more information:

Berkshires Ghost Tours Lodging

If it’s rattling chains and moaning spooks you’re after, our Berkshires bed & breakfast may disappoint but, on the flip-side, you’ll have more than a ghost of a chance of a good night’s rest when you stay at Applegate Inn – and, come morning, you’ll feel downright spirited after one of our signature breakfasts! Applegate Inn offers 11 beautifully appointed suites with private baths, fireplaces, and spa tubs to provide you with true relaxation – stay with us and enjoy real Berkshires comfort!

Berkshires Fall Foliage Events, 2014

September 22, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Berkshires Fall FoliageThere’s never a bad time to visit the Berkshires but one of the most popular times is now – autumn – when the Berkshires fall foliage comes to life with beautiful colors and the area abounds with fun things to do and see.

While many parts of the country begin to wind down once summer passes, the Berkshires heat up (so to speak) with a variety of events including things like down-home harvest festivals and parades, special concerts, parties, tours, and more.

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The Berkshires Clark Art Institute

August 25, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

The Berkshires Clark Art InstituteThere isn’t any one reason why the Berkshires became the cultural destination it is but, if you were looking for a cause, The Clark Art Institute would be a major contender.

The Clark Art Institute’s collection includes a broad array of pieces, from European and American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts that range from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century – and it was begun in the early 1900’s by entrepreneur, soldier, explorer Robert Sterling Clark, and his wife, Francine.

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Visit Mount Lebanon Shaker Village

August 16, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Mount Lebanon Shaker VillageShakers are known for their mode of simple living and their iconic architecture and furniture. Did you know the single, largest Shaker community in the US was once very close by: the Mount Lebanon Shaker Village.

The Mount Lebanon Shaker Village was founded in 1787 and remained the single largest communal society in America for 160 years, with over 6,000 acres and 100 buildings.

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Bash Bish Falls

March 25, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

Bash Bish FallsIf you have never seen Bash Bish Falls, located on the state line of NY and MA in Mt. Washington, you’re missing what is undoubtedly the most spectacular waterfall in Massachusetts.


Bash Bish Falls name has to be onomatopoeia for the way the runoff and spring-fed waters splash over a series of dramatic gorges before finally tumbling 80 feet down into the crystal clear pools below – and what a sight, well worth the moderate hike from the parking area at Bash Bish Falls State Park.

Bash Bish Falls are gorgeous and entrancing even when there hasn’t been much rain but, with spring coming and its run off and rains, Bash Bish Falls are going to be quite spectacular once more, filling the air and covering all the nearby foliage (and visitors, too) with mist from all that bashing, bishing water.

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