Nest by Tamara's Travel Editor visits
MASS MoCA & Porches Inn
written by Tracy Gavant
I love the clean lines of modern art and design but I still prefer comfortable home-like details in a space. In North Adams, Massachusetts I recently found the best of both worlds. This sleepy city in the Berkshires has been revitalized by the expansion of The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA)- now The Largest Contemporary Art Museum in the United States.
This vast complex of red brick 19th century mill buildings on the site of the former Sprague Electrical plant has a unique architectural layout with bridges, walkways, courtyards and passageways that offer surprises at every corner.
This expansive space allows for larger works of contemporary art while walking through the installations of artists like Nick Cave, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jenny Holzer.
There is always something exciting happening within the walls such as live music, avant garde theater, modern dance and documentary film programs that address current issues like race, gender and equality.
After experiencing these modern creations that pushed boundaries and contemplated the future, it felt like I’d traveled back in time when crossing the road to The Porches Inn. The Porches Inn is managed by Main Street Hospitality Group- the folks behind the beloved Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Knowing this, it is no surprise to find modern indulgences such as Frette linens, Beekman 1802 amenities and a pool, sauna and hot tub. The Red Lion Inn has been featured on the virtual pages of Nest by Tamara blog before, and see Tamara's story about the Red Lion Inn when she was invited on a sponsored weekend to write about renowned interior and product designer Annie Selke and her studio.
The charming Porches Inn epitomizes the revitalization of the area, past merging with present. The clever design incorporates six 1890s row houses that were once the homes of the plant’s factory workers. The reception area and halls are the former alleyways that ran between the houses, giving new meaning to the phrase “bringing the outdoors in”, with many exterior details still visible. They describe their style as “retro-industrial meets Post-Millennial Modern” while incorporating original molding, salvaged window frames and pocket doors with local art and whimsical knick knacks.
Each cozy room has a distinctive style with a unique feel I’d call “Granny Chic with a Modern Twist”. The nostalgic style is an eclectic mix of vintage lamps, paint by number pictures, collectible plates, and antique furniture. The homey touches are reminiscent of staying with a favorite Auntie, complete with local chocolates placed on the handmade coverlet.
The common areas include a comfy living room with vintage details and a tiny country store. There is even a pet kitty adding to the coziness factor!
Close to Tanglewood, Williams College, The Clark Museum and the beauty of The Berkshires as a backdrop,the town of North Adams has the feeling of being on the verge of discovery, with new shops and restaurants dotting the sleepy, somewhat dated streets. With the attention that MASS MoCA has brought, his quiet little gem is making noise. It is a perfect blend of old and new to satisfy both modern and traditional tastes, or those like me who just do not want to choose.