A Cultural Haven in the Lovely Berkshires
The tranquil summertime home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the past sixty-plus years, 210-acre Tanglewood estate and its hilly Berkshires environs represent a cultural smorgasbord for arts lovers, offering a summer-long series that began small in 1934 and has grown into the country’s most famous and prestigious summer music festival.
Weekday evenings see performances by internationally acclaimed artists, but the real Tanglewood experience is at the popular weekend concerts, when the lush Great Lawn fills with music lovers and their elaborate picnic dinners, settling in for a lovely evening under the stars. The season culminates on Labor Day with the annual Tanglewood Jazz Fest.
High culture keeps these gentle hills alive. The Mount, Pulitzer-prize-winning novelist Edith Wharton’s summer home in Lenox, is the site of lectures and other events. The popular Shakespeare & Co. performances, held here since 2001, now have a new home at 70 Kemble Street. Visitors can stay at the nearby Gables Inn, which was Wharton’s home before she built The Mount. Dance enthusiasts gravitate to Jacob’s Pillow, the country’s oldest modern dance festival. Begun in 1933 on a 150-acre park on Route 20 in rural Becket (15 miles from Tanglewood), it may feature classic ballet one night and hip-hop, modern jazz, or Spanish flamenco the next.
Match high culture with high hospitality by checking into the elegant Blantyre country-house hotel, an 100-acre spread with one of the last “summer cottage” castles remaining from the area’s late-19th-century gilded era. The pampering once reserved for the owner of the Tudor estate is now regaled upon each privileged guest, right down to the perfect gourmet picnic hamper for that concert at Tanglewood.