One of the loveliest ways to delve into the history of the Berkshires is by touring some of its most notable homes. The Berkshire 18th Century Trail does just that, taking willing participants to six charming homes that are steeped in lore.
Each of the six homes, which are open to the public, holds a unique place in the history of the area. A special downloadable guide, The Historic Berkshires: An 18th Century Trail, provides the tourist with information on the individual property.
Two of the homes are located here in Sheffield, near to Staveleigh House Bed and Breakfast. The Ashley Home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers a glimpse into the life of the Ashley family and the African American slaves kept in the home. One, Elizabeth Freeman, became a key figure in ending slavery in Massachusetts.
Located right on Main Street in Sheffield, The Dan Raymond House was built in the 1770’s by a Tory sympathizer who became an American patriot. The home is now part of a complex of historic buildings, and contains the offices of the Sheffield Historical society.
Monterey, Massachusetts is home the Bidwell House Museum, a Georgian saltbox that is surrounded by beautiful grounds and hiking trails. Originally a parsonage, the home showcases the early settlement of the Berkshires.
Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the stately Captain Wheeler House in Great Barrington was constructed around 1771 and is now being restored for use as a town museum and research center.
You can learn the history of John Sergeant, a missionary to the Mohican nation, at the Mission House in Stockbridge. Pretty Colonial revival gardens and an onsite Native American museum are also located on the property.
One of early America’s foremost authors, Herman Melville, lived and worked in the Berkshires from 1850 to 1862. He named his home Arrowhead, and visitors can tour the National Historic Landmark and see the room where he wrote his novel Moby Dick and other stories.
Located in the historic section of Sheffield, Massachusetts, Staveleigh House makes an ideal base for touring these great homes—and offers a cozy retreat when you return. Call today to make a reservation. Or if you prefer, book online!
Photo courtesy of the Bidwell House Museum.