Earlier this fall we had the good fortune to be part of the Berkshire Wedding tour which is a 3 day tour of wedding venues and vendors in the Berkshires organized by the Berkshire Wedding Collaborative. It was a wonderful experience meeting new friends and experiencing the Berkshires as a tourist. I grew up in Stockbridge and my mother, sister and brother still live in the area but I never returned to live there once I graduated from college and I've never played tourist in my own home town!
We arrived at the Red Lion Inn (our home for the duration of the stay) and it's exactly as I remembered it. Charming, comfortable and you feel as if you've traveled back in time. It's only a 2 1/2 hour drive from Boston and just slightly quicker trip from Manhattan. The Red Lion Inn has 125 rooms and 9 guest houses so it makes for a great home base for guests if you're hosting a wedding in the area. I also loved Simon, the resident cat who serves as the lobby ambassador and chief mouser of the hotel :)
The first event of the tour (our welcome dinner) was held at the Kemble Inn in Lenox. First of all, the Inn is stunning! It's a 12,000 square foot Gilded Age mansion that has been lovingly updated with the all the comforts of modern times. The views of the rolling hills off of the back porch transport you to a long forgotten era where time moved a little slower and peaceful solitude wasn't hard to find. I feel as if my pulse slows and I relax just a little bit more when I'm back in the Berkshires. After mingling at a cocktail hour and getting to know the other planners and photographers on the tour, we were treated to a beautiful 5-course dinner prepared by Head Chef Ron Reda who's resume includes Chef to the White House under former President Bill Clinton. Not too shabby.... The Inn boasts 12 uniquely styled suites/guest rooms and can host intimate weddings of 15 all the way up to tented weddings of 175 guests in the warmer months.
The first stop the following morning on our tour was Stonover Farm, a luxury bed and breakfast and event venue set on the Lenox/Stockbridge line. The Haybarn can accommodate up to 200 with dinner and dancing and there is also a magnificent field that may be tented for larger gatherings.
The next visit was Edith Wharton's The Mount, a historic site I've always adored. The event coordinator Grace gave us a tour of the property and a mini history lesson. The gardens are something out of a British fairy tale and make an amazing site for an unforgettable ceremony.
Next we headed North to Hancock Shaker Village. The Round Stone Barn built in 1826, the most famous of all Shaker buildings, is still filled with heritage breeds of lambs, piglets and calves. It's a unique backdrop for photos for sure!
We continued Northward and stopped for a cocktail hour at the Berkshire Lake House, a compound of 4 luxury guest houses on Pontoosuc Lake. Our arrival was timed perfectly; the sun was setting over the lake and we were able to sit on the porch and take in the view with a glass of champagne. The Berkshire Lake House is perfect for family get aways or for a "home base" for a wedding party.
Our final stop of the day was at Mass Moca (Museum of Contemporary Art). This venue is a perfect spot for art lovers or for couples who want to ensure a unique spot for their vows. With the installations always rotating, you'll be sure to have a one-of-a-kind backdrop. Our dinner was hosted by Heirloom Fire a caterer owned by Berkshire County native Jim Gop. As we arrived to the museum we walked by Jim and his team roasted ducks over an open fire. What an entrance!
With such an amazing first day we all went back to the Red Lion Inn exhausted and full and looking forward to what the following day would hold.