On Location: The Berkshires
COME SUMMER, MOST BOSTONIANS HEAD NORTH to the lakes or south to Westerly and the Cape, leaving the Berkshires gloriously crowd-free. Or that’s how it feels, anyway. In reality, the area is a hopping cultural mecca, with the Tanglewood Music Festival, the Norman Rockwell Museum, Mass MoCA, Shakespeare and Company, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival drawing summertime visitors from all over the world.
But despite all the attractions, the pace here remains unhurried, the nature unspoiled. And that’s precisely what draws couples to places like Lenox’s Cranwell Resort (800-272-6935, cranwell.com) for country-luxe weddings. The 60-mile view from the terrace of this 100-plus-year-old Tudor mansion inspired the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, who purchased the land in 1853, to proclaim, “From here I can see the very hills of heaven.” Host your reception in the historic ballroom, which boasts a marble dance floor and 16-foot-high windows, or under a tent outside on the lawn.
Equally breathtaking are two bucolic properties: Stonover Farm (413-637-9100, stonoverfarm.com) in Lenox, where parties for up to 200 are held in the hay barn and crowds of any size can be accommodated on the lawn near the spring-fed duck pond; and Gedney Farm (800-286-3139, gedneyfarm.com) in New Marlborough, featuring a three-tiered barn that’s the epitome of rustic elegance.
For a pre-wedding dinner, Old Inn on the Green (413-229-7924, oldinn.com), a former stagecoach relay in New Marlborough, serves up delectable dishes by chef-owner Peter Platt in the candlelit dining room or outside on a canopied terrace next to an herb garden. For a brighter, more continental setting, Bistro Zinc (413-637-8800, bistrozinc.com), with its warm yellow walls, striking black-and-white art, and paper-topped tables, welcomes your guests with the gastronomic version of a French kiss. It’s urbane dining in pristine natural surroundings — exactly what you’d expect in this part of the state.