Have you ever wished you could visit a painting? Seen an image to warm and resonant that you wished you could just stroll right into it? Well, you can! Norman Rockwell’s famous painting, “Stockbridge Main Street At Christmas,” comes to life on December 8th in Stockbridge, MA.
If you’re like me, you just about can’t believe that ski season is nearly upon us – where on earth did summer go? – but it’s true, so you’d better get to planning your Berkshires ski vacation now while the time is ripe!
It may only be fall now but NOW is the time to make those reservations for lodging and lift tickets – there’s not a moment to lose as, once the season is in full swing, finding decent accommodations is going to be a real trick.
Berktoberfest is an annual event centered around handcrafted beer, with the proceeds being donated to local charities. During its first five years, Berktoberfest managed to raise over $10,000, which was dispersed through Berkshire Brewing Heritage, a non-profit, educational organization created for just that purpose.
As summer’s greens turn to autumn’s golds and harvest time gets into full swing, New England comes to life with things to see and do. From fresh-pressed apple cider and festivals to hiking and biking, there is no end to the Berkshires autumn attractions.
Get out and revel in the autumn air with a Berkshires tradition: the 46th annual Mount Greylock Ramble! Starting 8am, Columbus’ Day, in Adams, MA, thousands of hikers will make the ascent up the Cheshire Harbor Trail to the summit of the state’s highest mountain for an incredible view of the region’s seasonal colors!
Lee’s 19th annual heritage celebration, the Founders’ Day Weekend, is three days of family fun with a parade, live music, food tastings, sidewalk sales, crafts and much, much more.
Summers are meant to be spent near the water, if you ask me. We have a lovely pool at the Inn for swimming and lounging, however it can be fun to experience some fresh water while you are in the Berkshires as well.
Laurel Lake is only five minutes up the road from Applegate Inn Bed & Breakfast, where you can swim from a sandy beach with a lifeguard standing by. There are also changing rooms, restrooms, a boat ramp and fishing is permitted.
This is a great place to spend the afternoon with a nice book and relax in the shade (or the sun, if you are working on a tan!) Pack a picnic, play some cards or lawn games and then head back to the B&B to freshen up for a delightful dinner at one of our recommended restaurants in the area.
Other Swimming Spots in the Berkshires Area
Lulu Brook in Pittsfield State Forest: An easy five minute hike brings you to an eight-foot cascade into a beautiful pool below.
Card Lake in West Stockbirdge: Enjoy the cool, crisp and clear waters of this local lake.
Center Pond at Becket Town Beach in Becket: This small town swim spot offers free lessons every morning of the week.
Lake Mansfield in Great Barrington: Swimmers will find clear waters and a lifeguard-managed sandy beach area. Lifeguard on duty from 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. during summer months.
Onota Lake at Burbank Park in Pittsfield: Located on the eastern shore of Onota Lake, Burbank Park is open year-round. The public park is about 150 acres and offers a fishing pier and free public boat launch, picnic groves with grills, a public swimming beach with lifeguards during July and August and a walking path along the lake.
The Housatonic River starts from four sources in the Berkshire mountains near the city of Pittsfield. It flows 149 miles southward through Massachusetts and Connecticut before emptying into the Long Island Sound.
Fishing is a major activity along the entire length of the river. Trout, bass, and perch are the most common catches. Enjoy some of the best fly fishing in southwestern Massachusetts. Fly fishing on the river has been compared with many western rivers and boasts some of the finest trophy trout fishing in the eastern US.
One of the most popular spots for fishing the Housatonic River is between the Falls Village Dam and the town of Cornwall Bridge in Litchfield County Connecticut, about an hour north of the Bed and Breakfast. However, there are local waters where excellent trout fishing takes place.
In Berkshire’s waters find large and small mouth bass, northern pike, white and yellow perch and trout of all varieties in abundance. Numerous brooks, rivers, ponds, and lakes are stocked with trout each year. Here are some of our favorite Berkshires fishing spots:
In Lee ~
- Beartown Brook (west branch)
- Hop Brook
- Goose Pond
- Greenwater Brook
- Laurel Lake
- Washington Mountain Brook
In Lenox ~
- Sawmill Brook
- Marsh Brook
- Yokum Brook
- Laurel Lake
In Stockbridge ~
- Marsh Brook
- Stockbridge Bowl
An essential ingredient for any fishing trip is a free pamphlet containing abstracts of the Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife Laws, available at local sporting goods shops. This pamphlet carefully outlines the rules and regulations of Massachusetts fishing and hunting. Also essential is a license, which can be obtained through either city or town clerks or through many local sporting goods stores.
Lodging for your Weekend in the Berkshires
Whether it is our lovely scenery and natural resources that draw you to the Berkshires, or our heady cultural and historical offerings, make Applegate Inn Bed and Breakfast your starting point for exploring the Berkshires.
If you have an interest in American history or architecture, make sure to leave a little time during your Berkshires vacation to visit the Lee Library. A beautiful, quiet and historic place, stop in to browse the shelves or enjoy a quiet place to read for a while.
The Lee Library is the only remaining Carnegie library building in the Berkshires. Because of this, it is not only beautiful but also historically significant.
The present building is on the Peter Wilcox homestead. The Wilcox one-story, one-room log house was the location of Lee’s first town meeting held in December 1777.
The remaining original part of the building was constructed in 1907.
The total cost of the building, including the lot and furnishings, was $35,500. Andrew Carnegie donated $12,000, the town appropriated $18,300, and the remainder was donated by citizens. Lee Marble Works quarried and cut the marble used in the construction of the building. The original section of the building is Corinthian in style, with interior woodwork of polished birch.
The library was expanded in 1977. Again, Lee Marble was used in the construction. The new wing tripled the size of the library to to 7,500 square feet. The addition includes the Betty Dennis Children’s Room, stacks, a reading room, and the Gallery.
What is a Carnegie Library?
Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated money to build a total of 2,509 libraries between 1883 and 1929, including some belonging to public and university library systems. 1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in Britain and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, New Zealand, Serbia, the Caribbean, Mauritius and Fiji.
Very few towns that requested a grant – and agreed to his terms – were refused. The last grant was made in 1919 and there were 3,500 libraries in the United States; nearly half of them built with construction grants paid by Carnegie.
Lodging for your Berkshires Vacation
Whether you are visiting the Berkshires to take in modern American art at Tanglewood or Jacob’s Pillow, natural beauty or history, the Berkshires has something for everyone. We would love to be your hosts at our Bed and Breakfast in Lee, the gateway to the Berkshires.
Would you like to see some of the most beautiful places in the Berkshire communities of Lee and Becket? Join us for a very special tour called “Gardens, Grounds and Properties of Lee.” Taking place on Sunday, June 23rd from noon to 4 p.m. this tour will lead you to six unique Lee and Becket properties. You will be provided with a map which directs you to delightful surprises: music, literature, family farms and even a former brothel. A dairy farm with frozen yogurt will be a refreshing treat and beautiful gardens are certainly on the itinerary.
Tickets are $15 per person or $25 per couple. Get yours at Karen Keenan Gifts on Main Street in Lee or at the Lee Chamber of Commerce booth on Park Place. You can also call 413.243.0852 for more information and to purchase tickets.
Other Special Places to Visit near the B&B
There are so many unique and beautiful attractions in the Berkshires, they are much too numerous for one blog post. However, we will give you a run down of some of the most popular sites in our area:
- Norman Rockwell Museum
- Tanglewood Jazz Festival, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
- Jacob’ Pillow Dance Studio and Festival
- Clark Institute
- Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
- Greenock Country Club for golf and tennis (across the street from our Inn)
- Lee Premium Outlet Mall
- the beach at Laurel Lake
- Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington
- Colonial Theater in Pittsfield
- Butternut Ski Area
Amenities at the Inn
You don’t have to leave our grounds to have a great day. Well, you will need to get dinner…but other than that, Applegate Inn has park-like grounds with a heated pool, lounge furniture and even hammocks. We provide an excellent environment for rest and relaxation.
Looking to take in some culture while visiting the Berkshires? We have a few suggestions for fun and interesting art galleries to visit in the small town of Lee, where our bed and breakfast is located.
The Good Purpose Art Gallery, 40 Main Street: The Good Purpose Art Gallery features the work of professional artists who are in the College Internship Program, a comprehensive post-secondary program for young adults with Asperger’s, ADHD and other Learning Differences.
The St. Francis Gallery, 1370 Pleasant Street: The St. Francis Gallery, opened in August, 2012, is a not-for-profit organization founded by Dr. Philip Pryjma. All proceeds from the St. Francis Gallery benefit the Sawa Sawa foundation, which works to build and strengthen communities in impoverished nations. The gallery features contemporary work in different media by local artists.
Animagic Museum of Animation, Special Effects and Art, 135 Main Street: The slogan at Animagic is “for kids from 5 to 95,” so you know going in, this space is lighthearted and fun. When you arrive, observe ceramics and other works by Irina Borisova, a multi-talented artist and co-owner of Animagic.
After that, you can take a guided tour of Animagic, showcasing the surprisingly rich special effects history of the Berkshires. See original models used in famous movies and a genuine Academy Award won by Eugene Mamut, a co-owner of Animagic. Learn about modern technologies that made such blockbuster movies as The Matrix, X-Men and Chicken Run possible. The tour is free and takes about 20 minutes. A variety of hands-on activities are also available.
This is just a small sample of what we have to offer, and look how diverse the selection! If you would like to see something in particular, do not hesitate to ask your innkeepers – they have extensive knowledge about the area and its attractions. We hope to see you in the Berkshires this summer!