Step Into Another World: The Historic House Museums of the Berkshires

Visit Berkshires historic House Museums, like Herman Melville's Arrowhead!

Spring has sprung! Though there can still be a bit of a nip in the air, the sun is out, the birds are singing, and the flowers are blooming! Now is the perfect time to visit the historic house museums of the Berkshires!

The Berkshires have so much to offer: scenery, history, culture, shopping, dining, and more. Once the weather begins to warm, it can be hard to choose what to do and see first! We often suggest one or more of the many historic house museums of the Berkshires. Many of them reopen their doors in May, so now is a great time to see them freshened up after winter.

Visiting the homes of authors, artists, statesmen, or those simply very well off can be quite interesting and instructive. The opportunity to walk the same floors and fields a famous person once did can do more than just show you how they lived. Visiting a historic home may also provide insight into what drove, inspired, or otherwise influenced the lives of these fascinating people.

The Berkshires have a great many historic house museums that you can visit and explore. In fact, five of the best house museums are within ten minutes of our Berkshires B&B. One is right down the street!

Berkshires Historic House Museums

Freylinghuysen Morris Home and Studio
92 Hawthorne Street, Lenox
The Bauhaus-inspired Frelinghuysen Morris House and Studio in Lenox is a historic house museum of American Abstract Artists George L.K. Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen. You’ll see the artists’ original furnishings, collected art, unique home, and 46 acre estate.
www.frelinghuysen.org

Visit Berkshires historic House Museums, like Ventfort Hall!

Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum

Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum
104 Walker Street, Lenox
Ventfort Hall is a Jacobean-style mansion and museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was also used as a set in the 1999 film, Cider House Rules. Visit for tours of the estate or attend one of their many events: concerts, lectures, tea socials, and more.
gildedage.org

The Mount – Edith Wharton’s Home
2 Plunkett St, Lenox
Come tour the magnificently restored estate & gardens of author, Edith Wharton! The Mount, house and grounds, was designed by Edith Wharton. Fascinating and beautiful.
www.edithwharton.org

Naumkeag
5 Prospect Hill Rd, Stockbridge
This Gilded Age mansion is the former country estate of noted New York City lawyer Joseph Hodges Choate. The stunning home is filled with original furnishings and art and surrounded by ten acres of iconic gardens.
http://www.thetrustees.org

Herman Melville’s Arrowhead
780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield
Arrowhead was the home of American author Herman Melville during his most productive years, 1850–1863. Yep – this 18th century farmhouse is where Melville wrote Moby Dick! Visitors will enjoy guided tours, the museum shop and more.
www.mobydick.org

Brook Farm Inn
15 Hawthorne St, Lenox
Our Victorian home here in western Massachusetts may not be a house museum but it is a historic Berkshires treasure! Accommodations include 15 guest rooms and a carriage house surrounded by trees and award-winning gardens. You’ll feel serene and secluded at our Berkshires B&B but, as shown above, the best of the Berkshires are at your fingertips! Book your stay at Brook Farm Inn today!

Top 5 Reasons You Need to Visit The Mount Lenox MA

Edith Wharton’s historic home still stands as a popular tourist destination in Massachusetts. The Mount Lenox MA is an autobiographical house featuring the original gardens, architecture, and interior design that Wharton designed in the early 20th century. The 113-acre property was purchased in 1901 and became a fostering environment for writer Wharton, who poured her heart and soul into the house and surrounding landscape to create an atmosphere that would inspire her literature. Now, the estate and gardens serve as a wedding venue, host for a writer-in-residence program, and exhibition for guided touring. Here are just a few reasons that The Mount Lenox MA should be on your radar.

Historical Context

The estate’s ties to author Edith Wharton is an incredible reason alone to visit The Mount Lenox MA. Not only was this her home for 10 years during her writing career, but the estate was actually designed based on the principles outlined in one of her influential novels, The Decoration of Houses (1897). The classical revival home represents the only full expression that is available of Wharton’s architectural ideals.

Main House Design

The main house boasts quite a stunning architectural design. Right when you walk in, you will note the incredible design-work, such as the entrance hall, which serves as an extension of the landscape. It was imagined as a grotto or artificial cave with plaster-work to show mossy walls and dripping water. A marble fountain with a bronze statue is a central feature in the forecourt, while the gallery on the main floor displays a collection of Wharton’s travel findings, such as vases, busts, statues, and antique furniture. Wharton’s library is another stunning room with oak paneling and tapestry work as well as the many books lining the space. The bedroom floor then features a series of living and sleeping spaces that rival estates of the time period. You will be moved by all the beautiful architecture you will come across during your tour.

National Historic Landmark

Not only is The Mount Lenox MA an architectural gem, but it has been designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It is the only U.S. monument dedicated to Edith Wharton, and it is one of the mere 5% of National Historic Landmarks dedicated to women. This alone makes it a remarkable place to visit.

Restored Gardens

The gardens at The Mount Lenox MA are a marvel of their own. The grounds feature an Italian walled garden, formal flower garden, rock garden, lime walk, and grass terraces. Wharton’s authority on European landscape design and passion for gardening helped develop this elegant series of gardens that accentuate the natural landscape. A four-year restoration took place to plant over 5,000 trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants that would mirror the original grounds.

Terrace Cafe

The Terrace Cafe at The Mount Lenox MA opens daily at 11 am and serves beverages and light fare such as sandwiches, salads, desserts, wine, beer, lemonade, and iced tea until 4:30 pm. This is a great stop after touring the gardens and estate and working up an appetite!

The Mount Lenox MA to Brook Farm Inn

After marveling at magnificent The Mount Lenox MA, retreat to Brook Farm Inn in the heart of the Berkshires. The cozy atmosphere and home-away-from-home touches will provide a wonderful getaway in Lenox. For more to do in the Berkshires, download our free vacation guide today!