Sunday, July 31

NEST BY TRAVEL COLUMN: The Best of The Berkshires by Tracy Gavant

Best Of The Berkshires
Follow Along On Our Summer Trip To This Charming Enclave
 written by Tracy Gavant
The Berkshires might be best known for its rural towns surrounded by breathtaking mountains but this picturesque area is also a cultural and culinary hot spot, offering impressive art, rich history, organic farms and top rate artisanal shops and restaurants featuring fine local fare. We discovered many delights on this recent trip, and I am happy to share here today with eclectic offerings from restaurants to cultural stops.

Kemble Inn--2 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA
I adore this chic inn, which provides a stylish alternative to more traditional lodging, tastefully mixing classic design and contemporary accents with wonderful results.  The use of bright, saturated colors, modern art and tons of Ralph Lauren furnishings work beautifully, and each of the 13 rooms are uniquely designed with their own quirky architectural angles and individual personality.  Despite the sophisticated décor, this place is one class act with not a drop of attitude.  
Table Six Restaurant--2 Kemble Street, Lenox, MA 
Featuring classic American cuisine with a twist, this elegant restaurant is overseen by former Clinton White House Chef Ron Reda.  Like The Kemble Inn it is housed in, the intimate ambiance is sophisticated with a touch whimsy, even with a wall dedicated to The British Royal Family.  Their acclaimed breakfast is divine, but I recommend splurging on the tasting menu to sample some of Chef Ron’s signature creations.
photo credit: Beverly M. Elander/For The Sunday Gazette
Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar--34 Church Street, Lenox, MA
 A local  favorite, this cozy eatery serves delicious  Mediterranean-inspired cuisine incorporating local ingredients and an extensive wine list from around the world, including 24 different wines by the glass.
Six Depot Roastery & Café--6 Depot Street, West Stockbridge, MA
A great pit stop offering a large selection of coffees and teas  with a casual, art-filled seating area featuring local artists’ works.
Harney & Sons--13 Main Street, Millerton, NY
If headed back to New York, this is a great stop for afternoon tea in their extensive tea tasting room.
Clark Institute--225 South Street, Williamstown, MA
The Clark is a gem of a museum boasting European and American art from the Renaissance to the early 20th century, with an impressive room dedicated to their abundance of French Impressionist paintings and a collection of decorative arts.
Edith Wharton's Library
The Mount--2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA 
I learned all about the trailblazing life of author Edith Wharton on the tour of her beloved home that she designed.   Her love of architecture and interior design is apparent throughout this classic revival house, and the gardens are among her proudest accomplishments.  Stop by the small bookshop to revisit her classic novels or discover the book that shares her design principles; The Decoration of Houses.

Chocolate Springs Desserts and Café--55 Pittsfield Road, Lenox, MA
This decadent shop offers old world chocolates that have been heralded by Saveur and Bon Appetit.. Their  unique chocolate concoctions and gorgeous  "chocolate art" make great gifts for others or yourself!
Design Menagerie--26 Houstatonic Street, Lenox, MA-
 I loved this chic new shop that's brilliantly edited with a fresh and modern style.  It features clean, contemporary European design finds and unusual beauty products.
MacKimmie Co.--67 Church Street, Lenox, MA
This homey store specializes in luxurious blankets and throws from around the world, offering everything from crib bedding to unique gifts for the home.
 making maple!
 Ioka Valley Farm--3475 Route 43, Hancock, MA
If you have a sweet tooth, stop by this  family- run farm's Sugarhouse for a tour and tasting of their  specialty maple products such as maple candy, cream, butter (more like delicious icing), ice cream, and my favorite… maple cotton candy.  
I can now proudly distinguish the delicate taste of golden grade maple  from the strong ,very dark intense syrup mostly used for cooking. 
Cricket Creek Farm--1255 Oblong Road, Williamstown, MA
This grass-based dairy farm, one of the oldest in the region, produces five delicious artisanal cheeses and raw milk as well as  grass-fed beef and whey-fed pork—all for sale with other local products in their quaint farm store.

The Berkshires offers a perfect escape from the city, complete with all of the cultural comforts of home.  For more info visit and