by Chapin Fish
“I didn’t know what was missing in my life until I got a place in the Berkshires.” That’s what a client, now friend, said to me Saturday night. He’s a successful author who just had his second book published and lives near our co-op in the East Village. I recently helped him buy a 1920’s lodge, in nearly original condition, in a hidden corner of the Berkshires. It’s about 20 minutes from Great Barrington down a long dirt lane. As you round the last corner, cross onto the 17 acres of land and park, the rustic cabin is on your left, a babbling brook along with the neighboring farmer’s field are on your right, and in front of you is an exploding view of the surrounding mountains without a home in sight.
We walked into Prairie Whale, Mark Firth’s farm-to-table restaurant in Great Barrington, which he supplies with vegetables and meat from his own 82-acre farm in nearby Monterey. There he and his partner were finishing dinner. Mark had his own reasons for moving to the Berkshires. “I just needed space,” he told Sam Dean of Bon Appetit magazine in March of 2014. Mark left his partnership in Diner and Marlowe & Sons in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to bring his family up to the Berkshires full-time to ‘put down roots’ and, as he said, “It’s nice to be in a place where you can work, get a decent wage, and own your own house.”
“I decided that having a second home here would be my way of surviving life in New York,” recounts the actress, textile designer, and artist Karen Allen in a New York Times article just a few days ago. Ms. Allen describes, in the excellent article by Dan Shaw, ‘how living in the country had expanded her world.’ “The Berkshires is a place where you can reinvent yourself,” as she put it.
My own reason? Back in late 2000, I decided I wanted to find an old house to restore with lots of land. I was working out of New York City and I wanted to go back to New England, where my father’s family was from. A place within 2 ½ hours, where I had space and didn’t have to worry about neighbors on top of me, where I could buy great fresh goat cheese, and I could go into practically any restaurant in jeans. Within two years, I moved here full-time and began working in real estate for Brockman Real Estate – building the venerable firm’s reputation as one of the Berkshires’ premier boutique real estate companies. We are incredibly successful in helping people find their reason to move part or full-time to the Berkshires and we match them with their perfect home. There are endless options of available homes, in all price levels. There are tangible reasons from the cultural offerings, to the spectacular physical beauty, to the outdoor activities, the food, the shopping and more to move here. For me, it is all the intangibles I discovered that are the best reasons for living in the vibrant Berkshires.
For those in search of residency in a quiet, college community flanked by prominent area museums, look into Alton & Westall Agency. Based in Williamstown, Alton & Westall services into Southwest Vermont. They are a team of 12 professionals, who are matched to their clients’ needs and desires. If you’re looking to buy real estate or sell a home in Lenox MA consider McLean and McLean Realtors who have served buyers and sellers for over 25 years.
For those looking to retire to the Berkshires and have all their needs met, look no further than award-winning Kimball Farms. They are a nonprofit Lifecare retirement community in Lenox. They offer a continuum of care for all your retirement living needs. Every kind of care for every kind of senior: that’s the Kimball Farms way.
As Karen Allen told the New York Times, “A relationship with a house is like a relationship with a person. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know it when you come across it.” So come on up, look into ‘putting down roots’ as Mark Firth says. Let us, or one of the many fantastic real estate professionals in the area, help you find your reason! My friend the author sums it up well: “this home filled a place I didn’t know was lacking, but now I feel so much more complete with it in my life; and it’s already paid me back tenfold in peace and stability.”
Be sure to visit berkshires.org for more real estate options or to start planning your Berkshire getaway.
Chapin Fish is the managing broker and partner of Brockman Real Estate located at his store Farm & Home, which sells American-made goods and furniture for the home & garden, at 276 Main Street in downtown Great Barrington. 413-528-4859, on the web at farmandhome.us, or berkshiresforsale.com and via email at [email protected]