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Ventfort Hall Mansion
and Gilded Age Museum

September 25, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age MuseumStep back in time with a visit to Ventfort Hall Mansion and see how the Rockefellers and their peers “roughed it” in the country with their Gilded Age, Berkshire cottages.

America’s “Gilded Age,” occurred between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century. It was period of upheaval and rapid economic growth that benefited wealthy tycoons and corrupt industrialists over the working class.

The wealthier class were drawn to the Berkshires by both the beautiful countryside and the famous artists and writers who preceded them. Literary and art world luminaries like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Lenox, MA was the center of this scene. Ventfort Hall is just one of seventy-five such Gilded Age “country cottages” that were built here during the period.

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Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum & Hoosac Valley Train Rides

September 13, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum Lenox StationRailfans and history buffs alike will enjoy a visit to the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum in Lenox, MA. Explore the historic Lenox Station museum and enjoy a short train ride!

The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum is housed in the restored Lenox Train Station. The station was built in 1903, replacing the 1850 building which burned in 1902. The Lenox Station served the Stockbridge & Pittsfield Railroad until the 1950’s, after which it saw a variety of tenants and uses.

The building was donated to the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum in 1986 and has been home to the museum, ticket office, and store ever since.

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October Mountain State Forest
Hiking, Biking, Paddling & More

August 22, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

October Mountain State ForestGet out into the great outdoors of the Berkshires with a visit to October Mountain State Forest. Hiking, biking, boating, picnicking, gorgeous scenery, and more. October Mountain has it all!

October Mountain State Forest is Massachusetts largest state forest. Its 16,500 acres encompass a portion of the Hoosac Range on the western edge of the central Berkshires. The forest includes an uplands area with several reservoirs.

The “October Mountain” name comes from the forest’s highest point; a ridge rising majestically up out of the Housatonic River Valley. Herman Melville treasured the view of the ridge from his home in Pittsfield, particularly in autumn. The name “October Mountain” is attributed to him.

Best of all, October Mountain is right here in Lee. Just a ten-minute drive from your room at our Berkshires bed and breakfast, Applegate Inn.

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Historic Becket Quarry and Forest Preserve

August 8, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Becket Quarry and Forest PreserveExplore miles of beautiful, protected forest trails and the remains of abandoned, historic Becket quarry in Becket, MA. Just 30 minutes from our Berkshires bed and breakfast, Applegate Inn.

The Chester-Hudson Quarry was integral to the early development of Becket and the surrounding area. It extracted granite for gravestones and monuments from the 1850’s to the 1960’s.

The quarry was one of the largest in the area, which makes it doubly surprising that, in the end, it was simply abandoned. Not just the site but the equipment. Trucks, drills, derricks, buildings – all left behind to rot and rust. Almost as if the workers went for an afternoon stroll and just never came back.

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Jiminy Peak Summer Fun

July 25, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Jiminy Peak Mountain CoasterJiminy Peak Mountain Resort is well known to visiting skiers – but did you know the resort is open during summer, too? During warmer months, their Mountain Adventure Park offers ziplines, alpine slides, mountain coasters, hiking, scenic chairlift rides, and more. And all less than an hour away from our Berkshires bed and breakfast.

It would be an awful shame to ignore all that beautiful mountain terrain just because it’s not blanketed in snow – and they don’t. In fact, Jiminy Peak’s summer activities may be more diverse than their winter ones. Whether your taste runs to high flying adventure or something more down to earth like hiking, this nearby Berkshires resort has you covered.

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Schantz Galleries Contemporary Glass

June 22, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Schantz GalleriesSchantz Galleries, in Stockbridge, MA is home to some of the most stunningly beautiful pieces of art glass you’ll ever see. The expansive, two story gallery displays works from more than 60 talented artists.

The sparkle, shine, and transparency of glass gives it a liquid, magical look that is perfect for catching the eye and expressing the soul. Very few other forms captivate like glass art can. The way it catches the light and takes on liquid forms, the shifting tones of its multi-hued transparencies. So unique and beautiful.

If you agree, then you’ll marvel at Schantz Galleries’ museum-like collection in Stockbridge – less than 10 minutes drive from our Berkshires inn.

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Take a Peak at Monument Mountain

June 7, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Monument Mountain summit panorama

The view from the top – “Monument Mountain panorama” by Tom Walsh is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Looking for something spectacular to do during your Berkshires getaway? Try a hike to the summit of Squaw Peak on Great Barrington’s Monument Mountain Reservation for panoramic views of the Housatonic River Valley and beyond.

Best of all?

The trailhead is just a little over ten minutes from our Berkshires bed and breakfast, Applegate Inn.

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Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

May 23, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Pleasant Valley Wildlife SanctuaryGet out into the great outdoors of the Berkshires with a visit to Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. The 1,142 acre reserve includes a large beaver pond, 7 miles of trails through a variety of habitats, and plenty of wildlife.

Actually, the Massachusetts Audubon Society runs three separate Wildlife Sanctuaries within reasonable driving distance of Applegate Inn. There’s Canoe Meadows in Pittsfield, Lime Kiln Farm in Sheffield, and Pleasant Valley in Lenox.

All three preserves are lovely and worth your time – Pleasant Valley is just closest to our Berkshires inn.

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Explore the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

May 9, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Ashuwillticook Rail TrailSoak up the natural beauty of the Berkshires with a visit to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. This nearly 13 mile long, converted railroad track runs from Adams, MA through Cheshire, to Lanesborough, with plenty of lush scenery and wildlife throughout.

The Ashuwillticook Rail Trail started out as an extension of the Housatonic Railroad in 1845. The line served the area for nearly 150 years before shutting down in 1990. A successful campaign for the track’s conversion to a multi-use trail began shortly thereafter and the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail was born.

Ashuwillticook (ash-oo-will-ti-cook) is a Native American word for “the pleasant river in between the hills” and a very appropriate name.

The trail runs along the Hoosic River, between the Mount Greylock and the Hoosac Mountain Ranges, parallel to Route 8. Its’ course takes it past the shores of the Cheshire Reservoir, Berkshire Pond, and a variety of wetlands teeming with waterfowl and other wildlife.

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Chesterwood – The Daniel Chester French Studio Museum

April 19, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Daniel Chester FrenchCome explore Chesterwood, the summer home, studio, and gardens of one of America’s most celebrated sculptors, Daniel Chester French. Many of the artist’s most famous public monuments were modeled right here at his Berkshires estate.

Not sure who Daniel Chester French (1850-1931) is? Just picture the statue of seated Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, DC. You may also be familiar with the Minute Man statue in Concord, MA. Or maybe Alma Mater at Columbia University, NY – or any of his many other public works.

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Elizabeth Freeman, Ashley House, and Bartholomew’s Cobble

March 20, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Mumbet Elizabeth FreemanElizabeth Freeman was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts. You can learn more about her extraordinary story at historic Ashley House near Bartholomew’s Cobble, just a half hour south of Applegate Inn.

Elizabeth Freeman (c. 1744 – 1829), also known as “Mumbet,” was born into slavery around 1744 in Claverack, New York. At the age of 7, she was sent to Sheffield, MA and the house of John Ashley, who had married her master’s daughter.

In 1780, Freeman heard a reading of the newly ratified Massachusetts Constitution. Its statement that “all men are born free and equal” inspired her to fight for her freedom. In 1781, a Great Barrington jury agreed with her, making her the first African-American woman set free under the Massachusetts Constitution.

With a motion picture on Freeman’s life under development, her relatively unknown story is about to get a lot more notice. Until that time, one of the best ways to learn about her is to visit the Ashley House in Sheffield, MA.

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Berkshire Botanical Garden – Put a Little Spring In Your Step

March 6, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Berkshire Botanical GardenWhat better way to welcome the arrival of spring than with a visit to Berkshire Botanical Garden? The annual Bulb Show is on right now – and the display gardens open soon – May 1st, 2020!

If you’ve never made a visit to Berkshire Botanical Garden (BBG), you’re truly missing out. Even non-gardeners are wowed by the stunning display. 24 acres of meticulously groomed display gardens, walking paths, manicured lawns, and 3 greenhouses.

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Experience Hancock Shaker Village

February 8, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Hancock Shaker VillageCome experience the unique world of the Shakers at Hancock Shaker Village, established in 1774, in Pittsfield, MA.

Shakers are known primarily for their fine craftsmanship, plain furniture, and work ethic. The Christian sect formed in England around 1747 but left for New York in 1774 after years of religious persecution. The settlement at Hancock, established in 1780, was the third Shaker village to form in the new world.

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Valentine’s Day Berkshires Getaway Lodging Specials

January 23, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Berkshires Getaway Lodging SpecialsThinking of a Valentine’s Day Berkshires getaway, or maybe a spring fling is more your thing? Applegate Inn has you covered. Our selection of Berkshires lodging packages combine valuable perks with considerable savings for just this time of year!

Little that is more romantic than whisking that special someone off on a surprise getaway. Dinner and a movie is fine – but how about somewhere other than your home town? Refresh your romance and break out of that stale routine with a Berkshires getaway.

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Discover the Berkshire Museum
Art, Science & History

January 13, 2020 by Corey A. Edwards

Berkshire MuseumIf you’re looking for a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA is it. The only art, history, and natural science museum in the Berkshires is home to a wide variety of exhibitions designed to fascinate just about anyone.

The museum has been a fixture in the Berkshires for over 100 years. It was founded in 1903 by Zenas Crane (1840-1917), third-generation owner of Crane & Company paper manufacturer. Crane, inspired by institutions like the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, dreamed of combining the best of them here in the Berkshires. With the opening of the Berkshire Museum, Crane saw his dream come to life.

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Tanglewood 2020 – Summer Schedule Highlights

December 23, 2019 by Corey A. Edwards

Tanglewood 2020 Festival Schedule HighlightsGet set for a fantastic summer of music during Tanglewood 2020! Ringo Starr, Judy Collins, Trey Anastasio, Act III of Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Isaac Stern’s 100th birthday, the Empire Strikes Back, and so very much more. Tickets go on sale February 9th, 2020 so now is the time to begin formulating those summer plans.

With the Tanglewood Learning Institute open and presenting special events all year ’round, you wouldn’t think the summer schedule announcement would cause so big a stir. But you’d be wrong. The annual Tanglewood Summer Schedule is always highly anticipated in the Berkshires’ and well beyond. And no wonder. One look at any year’s schedule would tell you why and 2020 is not going to break the streak.

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Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas 2019

November 18, 2019 by Corey A. Edwards

Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas 2019Have you ever seen a painting that was so warm and welcoming that you wish you could step right into it? The chance exists at Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas 2019, the annual recreation of Norman Rockwell’s famous 1967 painting. December 6-7 in Stockbridge, MA.

Norman Rockwell may have been gone for over half a century, now but his body of stunning artwork continues to live on. One of his most iconic holiday images, “Home for Christmas,” depicts a quintessential, small New England town on Christmas Eve. Rockwell was living in Stockbridge, MA at the time and its Main Street served as both inspiration and a model for the painting.

Moving forward to today, very little of Stockbridge’s Main Street has changed since Rockwell copied it to canvas. Add in a few vintage cars and Christmas decorations you could be looking at a live version of the painting. What a great idea! So great, in fact, that that is exactly what has occurred every holiday season for the past 30 years.

This year’s event is just weeks away – and you’re invited!

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Don’t Miss Naumkeag Winterlights 2019!

November 11, 2019 by Corey A. Edwards

Naumkeag Winterlights 2019Get into the holiday spirit with a festive stroll through the Naumkeag gardens draped in a sparkling blanket of colorful holiday lights! Winterlights 2019 runs from November 21st to December 31st in Stockbridge, MA.

The historic, Gilded-Age “cottage” and grounds of the Naumkeag estate open seasonally between mid-April and early October. The museum and gardens are closed during the winter months with a few special exceptions. One of the most popular  exceptions occurs during the holidays every year – Winterlights!

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