We’ve always felt that the Berkshire Mountains area is an inspiring place to live—and we’re not the only ones. Over the years many artists and authors have settled here, inspired by the beautiful setting. Three of the most notable are Edith Wharton, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville.
Years of living amid New York and Newport, Rhode Island society provided all the material Edith Wharton needed to create her memorable characters and novels. Feeling constrained by the social morays of the early 20th Century, she moved with her husband and staff to Lenox, Massachusetts. Though it was also a hub of society, it offered the change she needed. There she built The Mount, a new home that was modeled after a 17th Century English country estate, and where she wrote The House of Mirth and socialized with other literati of the era, such as Henry James.
Tours of The Mount provide wonderful insights into the author, as visitors are led through the house and gorgeous gardens. Interpretive exhibits explore Wharton’s live, humanitarian efforts, literary accomplishments, and general life at the estate. Partnering with local organizations, The Mount presents a wealth of lectures, workshops, readings, theater, literary panels, and other events throughout the year. Guests are also invited to explore several outdoor trails through the surrounding forest and gardens.
2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA
Now through October 31, 2017: open daily, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
November 1, 2017 – February 25, 2018: open Saturday – Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closed December 23 – 31, 2017
Tours available on the hour, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Adults, $18; seniors 65+, $17; students with ID, $13; children 18 and under, free; military with ID, $10
One of the giants of 19th Century literature, Nathaniel Hawthorne, also made his home in the Lenox area. He moved to his little red cottage in Stockbridge in 1850, where he became fast friends with Herman Melville (who dedicated his novel Moby Dick to Hawthorne).
During Hawthorne’s time in the Berkshire’s, he completed The Scarlet Letter and wrote The House of the Seven Gables. While he found the country setting stimulating, Hawthorne disliked winters in his small house and eventually moved back to Concord, Massachusetts.
Visitors will find Hawthorne’s home, La Maison Rouge, on Hawthorne Road, across from Tanglewood and is now used as practice rooms.
Herman Melville first came to the Pittsfield area in 1832 to visit his uncle and fell in love with the farm where he lived. After visiting often, he and his family moved in 1950 to a farm near there known as Arrowhead. It was while living here that he formed a deep relationship with Hawthorne, and wrote his most famous novel, Moby Dick.
Visitors can take self-guided tours of his home or sign up for a guided tour that occurs daily at 11:00 a.m.
780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield, MA
Open daily: third week in May through the third week in October (last day of this season is October 23, 2017).
9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Adults, $15; seniors, $13; students, $10
The perfect place to stay while exploring the literary side of the Berkshires? Right here in our historic Staveleigh Inn, where you’ll find lots of delightful, cozy places to curl up with a good book.