By Kat Lockridge
The Berkshires offer a wide array of cultural venues where one can host a wedding. Asked to choose a favorite site recently, one wedding professional could not stop listing her favorites: Norman Rockwell Museum, Hancock Shaker Village, Chesterwood, MASS MoCA. Her response covered ground from North Adams to Glendale, Massachusetts. Cultural sites are rich in history, and when they are located in the mountains of the Berkshires, the natural beauty of the land makes them tempting sites for couples looking to host a wedding off the beaten path.
If beautiful outdoor grounds complete with Hydrangea lined paths, stone walls, 5 weddings locations, and spaces large enough to host up to 600 guests are of interest, you need look no further than Daniel Chester French’s home in Glendale, MA. Chesterwood’s 122 acres are meticulously maintained. Weddings of 50 guests can enjoy the newly renovated Studio, along with interpreter led tours. Historic beauty frames your wedding at Chesterwood, a National Trust Historic Site.
One of the largest centers for contemporary art in the United States, MASS MoCA, located in a former North Adams mill, provides acres of wooden floors with an industrial twist. Towering wooden posts from days gone by erupt from the flooring, offering visual breaks from Sol Lewitt’s never ending walls of drama and color. If “made in China “ are words you avoid, think again! The 100’ long, 10 ton dragons, made of recycled materials, currently on display, tell a story that will capture your heart and imagination. Weddings often choose to seat their guests at rows of long tables in one of these galleries.
Enduringly popular, Norman Rockwell painted over 4000 iconic pictures of American life. His home in Stockbridge is just a short jaunt from the Norman Rockwell Museum, where one can view the, ‘ Four Freedoms’, the ‘ Saturday Evening Post’, as well as many other favorites. And if you are getting married, what better place to get hitched than in front of, ‘ The Wedding License’, a long time favorite for wedding couples. With a tented stone terrace and 36 park like acres, Stockbridge’s Norman Rockwell Museum is a classic choice for a wedding steeped in America’s history.
Simplicity, efficiency, grace and beauty – these are four words that describe the Shaker’s. What better place to be married than in a setting defined by all four? The Hancock Shaker Village & Museum, located in Hancock, MA, offers numerous sites where one can be married. Wide open fields, wooden floored tents, historic dining halls, and round barns are all there for the choosing! Heirloom vegetable and herb gardens line walkways and the past is brought to life in a timeless setting.
History and natural beauty are the threads that run through each of these venues. Preserving that takes effort and commitment. Their futures lie both in the past, and in the future. Weddings bring the future to each of these marvelous sites, whiles helping them maintain the history that we so covet.
______________________Katherine Lockridge has owned Classical Tents and Party Goods, located in Lenox, MA for 18 years. She co-founded the Lenox Wedding Tour, and is the President of the Lenox Chamber of Commerce.