If you’re a fan of the Boston Symphony Orchestra then you know that Tanglewood in Lenox, MA is the summer home to this world-renowned group of musicians. Tucked into the lush landscape of the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, the 2020 season will showcase the talents of conductor Keith Lockwood, composer John Williams, and the ever-popular singer-songwriter James Taylor among others. While the 2020 season promises to bring major musical events to the music center, perhaps the highlight of a trip to Tanglewood is enjoying a picnic on the sprawling lawns that surround it. As seasoned concert goers, we can help you plan the perfect picnic to accompany an afternoon or evening at Tanglewood. But for you “do-it-yourselfers” here are our Staveleigh House strategies for organizing the best al fresco dining adventure.
Pack Light: Parking is free at Tanglewood, but it often entails finding a spot a great distance from the entrance. You’ll need to bring the essentials (plates, cups, utensils, napkins, corkscrew, salt and pepper, etc.) all of which should fit comfortably in a picnic basket or backpack.
Lawn Chairs vs. Blanket: While a blanket may seem the ideal way to spread out and enjoy your picnic, be sure to check the weather in advance. If rain has sullied the grounds overnight or threatens early in the day, lawn chairs are a must to keep you dry. You can rent lawn chairs for a modest fee at the Beer Garden near the main entrance for the concert shed or outside the Ozawa Hall. If you plan on carrying your own, be sure they are lightweight and have a carrying case you can sling over your arm for ease of transport.
Bringing Wine: Many believe that the ultimate accompaniment to a classic lawn picnic is a fine bottle of wine. Be sure to pair it with whatever your menu calls for and pack a corkscrew. Stemless wineglasses are a must to prevent unwanted spills caused by trying to balance stemware on the lawn.
Food Prep: It’s best to avoid salads that require mayonnaise, or anything prone to spoil in the summer sun. Cheese and crackers, a crusty loaf of bread from a local bakery, cold chicken, hummus, shrimp cocktail, salads dressed with oil and vinegar, and of course, something sweet for dessert are ideal menu items to consider. Be sure to pack everything in disposable containers, so that your carry out load is lighter than your carry in.
Ice, Ice, Baby: Keep your food and drinks cool with plenty of ice for a memorable feast. Nothing can spoil a good picnic than warm drinks, soggy sandwiches, and ooey gooey melted chocolate bars.
Know the No Nos: No open flames (yes that includes candelabras), no enclosed tents or canopies, or anything that might obstruct the listening and viewing pleasure of neighboring picnickers are allowed on the grounds. Small open-sided canopies are kosher, as are umbrellas to provide shade from the sun. If your shade protection requires stakes to anchor to the ground, they may be no longer than 6 inches in length to protect the lawn irrigation system.
With a little thought and preparation, a picnic at Tanglewood is the quintessential way to while away an afternoon or evening in the Berkshires. Let us help you coordinate your concert plans with an overnight stay at the Inn. Just give us a call today or book online.