Group Travel Articles

The American Icons of the Berkshires – Take a Tour

What do the Shakers of Hancock, Daniel Chester French, Edith Wharton and Norman Rockwell all have in common? Each found inspiration in the beauty and splendor in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.

Groups planning a tour centered around history and heritage should include these four American icons in their itinerary! Take a quick tour now and get to know a bit more about each site, we hope to make your planning easier.

Hancock Shaker Village

Save the bees.

Location: Hancock Shaker Village, Photo Credit: Quinn Gladu

Home to the Shakers for more than 220 years, Hancock Shaker Village is now an outdoor history museum dedicated to preserving the Shaker legacy and their enduring relevance. Situated on 750 acres of picturesque farm, field, and woodland, the Village consists of 20 historic buildings, a working farm and heirloom gardens, and a premier collection of 22,000 authentic Shaker artifacts.

New for 2018

  • Restoration of the iconic 1826 Round Barn
  • As Above, So Below: Shaker Gift Drawings and Works on Paper exhibit- This is an opportunity to get a rare glimpse of these archived.

Chesterwood

You remember this face.

Location: Chesterwood, Photo Credit: Carol Highsmith

Chesterwood, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is the former summer home, studio, and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French. French is best known for his sculptures of the Minute Man and the seated figure of Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

New for 2018

  • A new study gallery of sculpture by French, as well as portraits of the artist and his family, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.
  • 40th Anniversary of the outdoor Contemporary Sculpture exhibition featuring kinetic artist, George Rickey, as well as other 20th century and contemporary artists.

The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home

Take in a performance.

Location: The Mount

A day at The Mount is an opportunity to experience the beauty and splendor of Edith Wharton’s beloved country estate. Wharton built The Mount to meet her needs as a designer, gardener, hostess, and above all, writer. Every aspect of the estate evokes the spirit of its creator. The Mount offers tours of the house and gardens, a Backstairs Tour, and a popular Ghost Tour. Interpretive exhibits throughout the house explore Wharton’s life, humanitarian efforts, and literary legacy.

New for 2018

  • Large-scale, contemporary sculpture exhibited throughout the grounds presented in partnership with SculptureNow.
  • Life In The Dale: Augustus Martin’s Lenox exhibit – This photography exhibit juxtaposes working-class life in nearby Lenox Dale with the Gilded Age splendor of The Mount.

Norman Rockwell Museum

Timeless artwork.

Location: Norman Rockwell Museum

Norman Rockwell Museum is dedicated to education and art appreciation inspired by the legacy of Norman Rockwell. The Museum holds the world’s largest and most significant collection of original Rockwell art and is located on 36 park-like acres in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Rockwell’s hometown for the last 25 years of his life.

New for 2018

  • A Day in the Life: Norman Rockwell’s Stockbridge Studio installation – This historic installation brings visitors back to October 1960, when the artist was hard at work on one of his most famous Saturday Evening Post covers, The Golden Rule.
  • Parrish, Wyeth, Rockwell and the Narrative Tradition exhibit – This groundbreaking exhibition sheds light on the unbroken thread connecting American illustration and legendary artists to the roots of European painting.

No tour of the Berkshires is complete without a visit to at least one of these sites and, if you have the time, we suggest that your tour include all four.

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