Summer 2023: Let the Fun Begin!
Posted on May 03, 2023Written by Cathleen King, 1Berkshire
Summer 2023 is coming on strong in the Berkshires, with a full slate of events across our performance stages and outdoor venues. Savor a sumptuous farm-to-table meal, and taste locally-made wines, ciders, and beers before or after an afternoon show or museum tour, or an evening concert on the Tanglewood lawn with friends. Cool off with a dip in one of our many mountain lakes following that challenging hike you’ve been dreaming about, or take a leisurely stroll through one of our 30 Berkshires towns (or 2 cities) and discover what our talented local artisans have been creating. Be it the breathtaking natural surroundings or the plethora of arts and culture, the Berkshires is your summer place to be!
Theatre and Performance
The local stages are alive with music and passion as the Berkshire theaters open their doors with incredible summer offerings. Barrington Stage has eight shows in the works, including Cabaret and Mandy Patinkin in concert. At Shakespeare & Company, shows run from May through October, and include a Hamlet staged reading, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and August Wilson’s Fences. The Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG), whose stages includes the Colonial Theatre and the Unicorn Theatre, is bringing comedy and tribute shows to the mix, as well as Christine Lahti’s touching life story in The Smile of Her. WAM Theatre, in conjunction with BTG, is presenting What the Constitution Means to Me, as well as a series of thought-provoking play readings. Great Barrington Public Theater opens its 10-week season in June with The Stones, a contemporary gothic story.
The renowned Jacob’s Pillow kicks off its 9-week season with international dance that includes ballet, tap, ground-breaking contemporary, and hip-hop artists. Check out the exhibits and dance classes as well! New to the Berkshires is the Adams Theater, a beautiful venue continuing to evolve as it is updated and expanded. Currently hosting shows May-September, the Theatre is showcasing exciting local talent and supporting important causes. The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center presents live performances, film, and cultural events for all ages. Enjoy London’s National Theater as it presents Shakespeare, or Pedrito Martinez and Afro-Cuban music. Be entertained at the Williamstown Theatre Festival with shows between July and September, ranging from comedian Hasan Minhaj to a Cabaret of performers to a series of [email protected] readings.
Summer at MASS MoCA encompasses fabulous contemporary collections and trending performing artists, as well as KidSpace for the young ones. Check the schedule for an evening at The Chalet or Open Studios. You can also bring the family to The Norman Rockwell Museum. There are guided tours, story times for the kids, and Americana artworks representing every walk of life. Enjoy lunch in the cafe, and visit the gift shop for a treasure. At the Clark Art Museum, find soothing watercolors and classic Inness and Homer works inside, and beautiful hiking trails outside. Check the website for outdoor performances throughout the summer.
George and Martha Washington are set to welcome visitors at the start of the 2023 season of the historic Bidwell House Museum in May. Take a look back at 18th century life by touring Reverend Bidwell’s home and gardens, and enjoy nearly six miles of hiking trails. Chesterwood is the historic residence and creative space of Daniel Chester French, creator of the iconic Lincoln Memorial, which opens mid-May. Don’t miss the dynamic sculptures set throughout the grounds.
Herman Melville’s Arrowhead, home of the Berkshire County Historical Society, offers guided tours through Melville’s home and barn; feel free to walk the grounds as well, and enjoy the rotating lectures and exhibits available. Perhaps you are seeking a bit of haunted history? Look into Ventfort Hall, part of the Gilded Age in Lenox. The Tuesday Tea and Talk series is a nod to the Hall’s grand history, and late night ghost tours tell stories of those who walked its floors many years ago.
Seasonally, Naumkeag is a showstopper. In the summer, take time to visit its public gardens. The Blue Steps, a series of fountain pools, the Afternoon Garden, Tree Peony Terrace, and Chinese Garden are but a few of the treasures on the grounds.
Classes and Workshops
The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home, is both a museum and cultural center. You can schedule a tour and stroll the grounds to learn about birding. Look for Storywalks for a fun family adventure! Take a yoga class or attend a poetry writing workshop. The grounds at the Berkshire Botanical Garden are in their glory come summertime. Tour gardens of all kinds – herb and perennial gardens, border gardens, rock gardens, and seasonal displays of fruit and flowering trees. Garden terrain is wheelchair accessible. An extensive schedule of workshops, both online and in-person, is available as well.
At Hancock Shaker Village, see life from a Shaker perspective. Learn about farm animals and their babies, head to the Discovery Barn for hands-on activities like looming, or use a quill pen! Tour the gardens and grounds, and then discover the art exhibits, or make reservations for a Shaker Supper or a basket-making class. The Berkshire Art Center wants everyone to make art, and they have a full range of classes where you can do just that! Be hands-on creative for one class or a series, like pottery wheel throwing.
Who doesn’t look forward to listening to music with an afternoon picnic and friends, or on a warm summer evening, cool beverage in hand? The Berkshires is filled with – yes – the sounds of music! Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Be immersed in classical, jazz, or contemporary tunes, or hear a talk by a composer or director. Come early to enjoy the serene grounds, and wait for the stars to shine – both on stage and in the sky above.
Throughout the Berkshires, many venues are also offering summer concert series such as Champney’s in Deerfield featuring live music in its Tavern, and jazz on Sunday mornings with brunch. Bousquet Mountain features folk, rock, jazz, and blues artists along with room to dance and picnic. At Balderdash Cellars, not only can you enjoy wines by a local vintner, you can hear local acoustic talent on weekends, and sample foods from a rotation of food trucks, bringing everything from empanadas to lobster. Canna Provisions sponsors a concert series at The Locker Room featuring a variety of music genres – check online for your favorites. Music with a view? Try the Apple Tree Inn. Following dinner or beverages on the deck that overlooks the southern Berkshires, get your groove on in the Ostrich Room.
In case you haven’t noticed, the beauty of the Berkshires is everywhere. Breath deep and let your senses take in the sweet sights and sounds that surround your every step. You can’t help but want to be a part of it. Take the family for a nature walk, or get a group together for a day of hiking, and take advantage of the summer season!
If you’d like a bit of help with your outdoor adventure, try Berkshire Camino for a curated excursion. One day or several, there are walkabouts and hikes designed to safely enjoy and teach you about your choice of locations. The Berkshire Natural Resources Council (BNRC) is a keeper of natural lands and provider of great hiking opportunities. Find trails and maps on its website or download an app right to your phone. For unparalleled scenery and challenging hiking options, you will want to visit Greylock Glen. This project, which will eventually house campsites, an outdoor rec center, and conference center, is located at the base of trails that lead to Mt. Greylock, the highest elevation in Massachusetts.
There is even more to see and do here in the Berkshires. Go to Berkshires.org and start planning today. Find out more ideas for things to do and discover places to stay in the Berkshires. Stay long, stay late – you won’t want to miss a thing!
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