Summer in the Berkshires means lush emerald lawns, exuberant hydrangea blossoms, humming bumblebees in a meadow of wildflowers; even the cool slap of the waves in a shimmering lake at a scenic camp.
For many, summer in the Berkshires translates to an intoxicating and satisfying series of exceptional cultural and arts experiences, from museums and galleries to world-class performances in theater, music, and dance. Also well known for its outdoor recreation, the Berkshires truly offer something for every member of your family.
Soak in the Scenery
imagine you unpack a picnic basket of artisanal cheeses, delicate salad greens, and a crusty baguette and uncork a bottle of wine for an alfresco dinner. Then relax on your blanket to enjoy a symphonic concert performed by one of the foremost orchestras in the world. Of course, at Tanglewood, this is not a fantasy but a common scenario on the expansive green lawn at the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Jacob’s Pillow, the internationally-acclaimed dance festival set in the Becket woods, showcases dancers on its Inside/Out Stage perched on a hillside. Every summer, the Pillow’s two theaters host incomparable performances by dance companies from around the world. Plan to spend the whole day on their extensive grounds. This is the magic of summer in the Berkshires: experiencing extraordinary natural beauty paired with superb performances, not only at Tanglewood and the Pillow but at cultural venues, large and small, across the region.
Adventure of another kind can be found on stage at the award-winning theaters in the Berkshires, where the busy summer season offers an enticing array of choices. The Tony Award-winning Williamstown Theatre Festival features sophisticated productions of plays, both new and classic. Musical theater thrives at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, and the company is well-known for developing new works including both dramas and musicals. The Berkshire Theatre Group which includes the venerable Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge and the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield offers a variety of comedies, dramas, and musicals on three stages. And in Lenox, one-of-a-kind productions of works by the bard himself, as well as contemporary plays, can be found at Shakespeare & Company.
Visit the Berkshire Botanical Garden, one of the oldest gardens in the country, where more than 3,000 species of plants are cultivated in the fifteen-acre property in Stockbridge. Enhanced by annual shows of art and sculpture sited outdoors, the Garden is a thriving center of education with classes and workshops in beautiful surroundings.
Naumkeag is a site not to be missed by the dedicated gardener. Its original owner, Mabel Choate, worked with a famed landscape architect, Fletcher Steele, in the 1930s to create a series of gardens, highlighted by the famous Blue Steps, where a grove of graceful birches flanks a descending succession of fountain pools. Include stops at Chesterwood, the home of renowned American sculptor Daniel Chester French, and visit its elegant gardens and walking trails, and the Bidwell House in Monterey, where the gardens echo the plantings of a historic homestead.