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Plan the Perfect Picnic!

Posted on June 02, 2022Written by Gretchen M. Michelfeld

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Dining Al Fresco in the Berkshires

One of the best things about summer in the Berkshires is dining al fresco! 

Enjoying the sights and sounds of nature as you enjoy local delicacies? Savoring a cool breeze on your skin as you savor a chilled rose? That’s what vacations are for! If you’re in the mood to DIY and curate your own al fresco experience, we have all the inspiration you need. 

Family-owned since 1979, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace offers everything from prepared gourmet salads, sandwiches, juicy rotisserie chicken, and sliced fruit, to sinful bakery goodies like Berkshire Mountain Bakery baguette and Guido’s Kitchen red velvet cupcakes! There are two Guido’s stores, conveniently located in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, so you can get everything you need for a fun lunch after hiking one of the many Berkshire Natural Resources properties. If exploring the outdoors inspires your appetite, check out Natural Bridge State Park (home to the only natural white marble arch in North America), or observe the beavers and birds at Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. Wrap up your adventurous day with an elegant supper before one of Lake Onota’s outdoor summer concerts.

Speaking of outdoor elegance (and concerts!), what could be finer than laying out a blanket on the Tanglewood lawn? Grab some casual locally sourced-gourmet goodies at the Tanglewood Cafe or enjoy an IPA in the Tanglewood Craft Beer Garden. If you call two business days in advance you can even take advantage of Tanglewood’s popular Meals-to-Go! There’s no better combo than great food, great music, and fresh air! Nejaime’s Wine Cellar in Lenox (and in Stockbridge) also offers great picnic options, as does the Marketplace Cafe, Kelly’s Package Store, and Berkshire Food Co-op—get sandwiches to go, fresh salads, baked goods, finger foods, and more.

Picnic at Norman Rockwell Museum

Can’t get enough of that perfect outdoor dining/culture fix experience? The Clark Art Institute encourages picnics on their sprawling property. Pick up some quick healthy deliciousness at The Smoothie Spot (Pitaya Tropical Bowl, anyone?) to enjoy at the spectacular Stone Hill summit (one of many natural features on the Clark’s gorgeous campus). Or fill your picnic basket with gourmet quiches, salads, or a decadent grilled gruyere cheese sandwich from Craft Food Barn. Visiting MASS MoCA? Enjoy tasty food trucks parked on their campus, or pop into Bright Ideas for a cold brew that you can sip at one of their many picnic tables. Further south you can enjoy the art at Norman Rockwell Museum or the historic home and garden at The Mount, and then dine on their landscaped grounds and terrace cafes.

Come and stay a few or more days in the Berkshires. With both casual and elegant outdoor dining options, and all the natural beauty your heart desires, you can plan several perfect picnics in one splendid vacation!

Photo: The Mount, credit Eric Limon Photography; The Norman Rockwell Museum

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