The Berkshires Blog

The Art of Museum Dining

By Lisa Green

Taking in all the culture and history at the Berkshires’ museums and attractions isn’t exactly hard work, but it can work up an appetite. Fortunately, many of them offer a range of dining options that keep you fueled so you can finish your gallery tour or move on to the next attraction on your list.

At the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Terrace Café features food catered by the famous Red Lion Inn. The menu presents New England and American classics, such as the “Freedom from Want,” a Thanksgiving sandwich reflecting one of the Rockwell’s most famous paintings. There’s also Norman Rockwell’s Favorite Oatmeal Cookie, made by a local baker using the recipe from the artist’s cook (sadly, not available in the summer; the humidity ruins the crispy texture). You can dine on the terrace or picnic on the campus.

Your tour of the estate and gardens at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s residence, becomes an exercise in gracious living when you enjoy the sandwiches, salads, desserts and beverages (wine and beer included) on the Terrace Café. In July and August, the patio overlooking the magnificent gardens is open for the Music After Hours series. A glass of wine, jazz in the open air and a summer evening’s breeze are the perfect accompaniments to the splendor of The Mount.

Since Shaker culture comes to life at Hancock Shaker Village, why shouldn’t food be a part of it? Get a taste of Shaker cuisine at the Village Harvest Café, which serves both hearty Shaker-inspired lunches and lighter fare. The village is a working farm, and many of the offerings are gleaned from the village’s heirloom gardens.

At the northern end of Berkshire County, The Clark offers three dining options for the summer season, the Clark Café, the Courtyard Coffee Cart and the Stone Hill Café, an outdoor dining terrace at Stone Hill Center (named “Best Museum Lunch Spot” by Yankee Magazine). The grounds are spacious and inviting for al fresco dining. MASS MoCA offers Lickety Split in its lobby, serving breakfast and lunch as well light dinner selections on show nights. Gramercy Bistro, a “table service” restaurant, is the place to go for contemporary classic cuisine. And there’s hardly a more perfect way to cap a day of investigation into contemporary art than an old-fashioned beer garden right on the complex, where you can sit under the trees along the Hoosic river to enjoy a selection of brews…and raise one for great art!
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Lisa Green is a freelance writer and advertising director of www.ruralintelligence.com.