Calling All Bookworms!
Posted on March 02, 2022Written by Gretchen M. Michelfeld
Updated on September 01, 2022
A Literary Tour of the Berkshires
“The majestic mountain, Greylock — my own more immediate sovereign lord and king — hath now, for innumerable ages, been the one grand dedicatee of the earliest rays of all the Berkshire mornings, I know not how his Imperial Purple Majesty…will receive the dedication of my own poor solitary ray…” – Herman Melville
The Berkshires has long been a haven for creative souls of all stripes, and some of America’s finest writers have called our bucolic Highland Region home. Looking to take a fun road trip with your book group or motivate a grumpy teenager to tackle that looming summer reading list? Want a romantic getaway with an intellectual twist? Ready to chip away at your writer’s block? It’s time to plan a literary tour of The Berkshires!
First Stop: The Mount!
An historic house, museum, and cultural center all rolled into one, The Mount is dedicated to the literary and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. Wharton, the author of popular classics like The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, and Ethan Frome, designed and built her Lenox, Massachusetts estate in 1902. Today, people come from all over the world to tour the main house, gardens, and stables, attend lectures and events, and even to get married! Looking for something extra special? Book a private Library Tour in the fall or plan to attend Nightwood (an extraordinary sound and light show set against the backdrop of the estate) during the holiday season.
Melville the Farmer?
Most people imagine Herman Melville’s life aboard the whaling and merchant ships that helped inspire Billy Budd and Moby-Dick, but from 1850-1863 Melville owned a working farmhouse in Pittsfield, Massachusetts he called “Arrowhead.” The Berkshire County Historical Society has restored Arrowhead and today it is a museum, library, cultural center and so much more! Take a private tour of the residence, pick up a book of Berkshire ghost stories, or an arrowhead pin at the gift shop, or check out the next Moby-Dick Read-A-Thon!
If you love Melville, then you’ll also love the inspiring Melville Trail. It’s easy to see why Melville adored the Berkshires when you visit some of his favorite places he frequented (with his mentor, the author of The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne) like Hancock Shaker Village, the Crane Museum of Papermaking, and Mount Greylock.
Don’t Forget your Little Readers!
If you’re traveling with your tiniest bookworms, a visit to the Eric Carle Museum of Picturebook Art in Amherst, Massachusetts (just a hop, skip and a jump from the Berkshires) is a must! Founded by the beloved author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his wife Barbara Carle, the museum is dedicated to the celebration of picture books and to the elevation of children’s literature as a serious art form. Delight in their permanent collection and special exhibitions of picture book art, create in the “Making Art Together” art studio, and don’t forget Very Hungry Caterpillar Day is March 22, 2022!
For more little reader fun, check out local Berkshire children’s book author Ty Allen Jackson and a touring production of Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs before Dark KIDS on April 23 at Berkshire Theatre Group. This adaptation of Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning fantasy adventure books is sure to delight the entire family.
Come see for yourself why the beauty of the Berkshires and the art and literature our mountains inspire have always been intertwined. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll be moved to write your own great book!
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