By Todd Fiorentino
Being walking distance from Tanglewood is certainly a bonus for Stonover Farm Inn, a luxury B&B that continues to maintain its old world charm. Built in the late 1800’s with stone, post and beam, this 10-acre estate boasts three rooms in the main building and two that stand alone—the Rock Cottage and old one-room School House.
Although there are lots of selling points at Stonover, the Zen principle of ‘sell by not selling’ is at work here with no advertising and all word-of-mouth visitors. The fundamental idea is a country quarters without the inconvenience. High definition TV’s, quiet remote control A/C, Bose Wave radio, appeal to NYC financiers and the younger crowd, which is their demographic when Tanglewood is not in session.
For privacy and space, the School House is great for couples. If you are a larger group, the Rock Cottage has two bedrooms, a living room, full kitchen and porch; plus, a large stone fireplace! Additionally, Stonover has partnered with Kosmic Kitchen to offer cooking demonstrations and food tastings for guests. These special programs run throughout the year on special weekends.
The breakfasts at Stonover are made to order (within reason), and, in fact, the “Tomelette” as it has been dubbed is Tom Werman’s specialty. As proprietors, Tom and Suky put their guests at the center of the universe and seek to provide excellent service without being intrusive; Suky expressed, “We still love it.” Wine and cheese is put out at 5:00, and they always look to local artisanal products first when shopping.
Stonover’s wedding venue is a massive restored Hay Barn that you have to see to believe. Tom and Suky say that Mezze has done a fabulous job catering in the past and that they are happy to make suggestions for wedding planning. Suky also makes the Hay Barn available to non-profits that she supports and is active with IS183 Art School of the Berkshires as a board member.
As I looked out over the willow trees and ducks flitting in and out of the half-frozen pond with the snow drifting down, I couldn’t help but think—how idyllic and tranquil an environment. The road itself, Under Mountain, really says it all as the hills dwarf you and seemingly wrap around you. When I think of Stonover, the image that remains is that small section of the pond that refuses to freeze even in deep winter where the ducks make camp waiting for the spring.
After mentioning a Zen marketing approach above, I feel compelled to tell you about Shirakaba, which has a Zen aesthetic. Shirakaba, located in New Ashford, has perhaps the best outdoor wedding space in the Berkshires with a fantastic gazebo overlooking a cliff that makes for dramatic wedding photography. Enjoy their pool or learn to roll sushi (or just eat it!) with traditional Japanese seating.
If you like Stonover’s one room school house lodging, then why not stay at a real full-sized school house! Complete with chalk boards and water fountains in the hallway, the owners of Chambery Inn in Lee renovated this historical building with care. The massive windows floor to ceiling matched with airy rooms means no more scrunching or claustrophobia while on vacation. Add to this that you’re walking distance from downtown Lee with great destination dining and you have an atypical Berkshire vacation experience. (Can you believe this school house was picked up and moved to its current location?)
In South County, my pick is the Briarcliff in Great Barrington. If you want character, value and a place to take the whole family, this is a nice choice. Personality, location and style combine to make Briarcliff a favorite of many a traveler.
Hawk Mountain Lodge is a fine choice for the adventure traveler looking to brave the Deerfield River by kayak or tube this summer. The Guest House at Field Farm in Williamstown, managed by Trustees of Reservations, reopens April 4th and also appeals to the outdoor enthusiast.
Keep an eye out as Comfort Inn & Suites in Great Barrington will soon become a Fairfield Inn, which is part of the Marriott brand. Good things are on the horizon!
Todd Fiorentino is a freelance writer for the Berkshire Visitor’s Bureau and a grant writing consultant. He holds a degree in professional writing from UMASS, Boston and has written extensively on health and wellness topics. Todd also runs Energy Rising Massage Therapy on North Street in Pittsfield.