With 65 non-profit cultural institutions including Tanglewood, Norman Rockwell Museum, Jacob’s Pillow, MASS MoCA, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Francine & Sterling Clarke Art Institute and Shakespeare & Company, the Berkshires have earned the privilege of calling themselves America’s Premiere Cultural Resort. Below, we have placed links to a few of our Favorite Attractions and Local Links.
Tanglewood & The Tanglewood Music Festival – Created in 1934, the Tanglewood Music Festival was originally intended as a one-time series of outdoor summer concerts, but the event was so successful that it became an annual summer event. Today, Tanglewood draws over 350,000 annual visitors for the Tanglewood Music Festival and a variety of other live concerts and events; like concerts from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra, weekly chamber music concerts, open rehearsals, the annual Festival of Contemporary Music, and recitals from young musicians. The three-day-long Tanglewood Music Festival and other events are held on Tanglewood’s stunning grounds, with views of rolling green hills and a vast lawn, a wide range of visitor facilities and activities, exhibits, and cafés, all offering a unique outdoor venue for visitors.
Norman Rockwell Museum – Located in Stockbridge, the Norman Rockwell Museum houses the world’s largest and most significant collection of original Rockwell art, and is dedicated to the work of one of America’s most beloved artists. In addition to its permanent collections, the museum also offers special exhibits and hosts many events throughout the year, including a summer sketch club and painting studio for children, educational events, symposiums, talks, a monthly Family Day, a summer lecture and performance series, and much more.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center – The mission of The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is to be the leading year-round presenter of performing arts, film, and educational programs for the Southern Berkshires and neighboring communities. Through programs of the highest quality in dance, music, theatre and opera, we ensure a diversity of talent on the stage of our newly restored historic theater, at ticket prices affordable to our community. Our goal is to present available programs that appeal to all ages and interests.
Hancock Shaker Village – Hancock Shaker Village offers a variety of programs, tours, exhibitions, and hands-on activities at a beautifully and authentically restored Shaker village, set on 1,200 acres of farm, woodland and pasture, with 20 historic buildings, including a Round Stone Barn. The Hancock Shaker Village also offers a wide range of fun family events, ice cutting, oval box making, sheep shearing, guided hikes, organic gardening, shaker suppers, and an annual country fair.
Shakespeare & Company – Launching its new season in the culturally-rich Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts in Lenox, Shakespeare & Company aspires to create a theatre of unprecedented excellence rooted in the classical ideals of inquiry, balance, and harmony; a company that performs as the Elizabethans did — in love with poetry, physical prowess, and the mysteries of the universe. With a core of over 150 artists, the company performs Shakespeare, generating opportunities for collaboration between actors, directors, and designers of all races, nationalities, and backgrounds. Shakespeare & Company provides original, in-depth, classical training and performance methods. The company also develops and produces new plays of social and political significance. Shakespeare & Company’s educational programs inspire a new generation of students and scholars to discover the resonance of Shakespeare’s truths in the everyday world, demonstrating the influence that classical theatre can have within a community.
Lime Rock Park – Incredibly historic yet modern. Not a hint of a grandstand but tremendous spectator viewing. Fan friendly in the extreme. A beautiful venue – it is truly a park – and even those who are not motorsports fans know what Lime Rock Park is. Created in 1957 with a bulldozer driven by a man working from “plans” only in his head, Lime Rock is 1.53 miles of up hill and down dale, a track that looks deceivingly simple but is immensely challenging to drive quickly. Its setting is a village in Connecticut’s Litchfield County, renowned for its vast historical, cultural, recreation and entertainment possibilities. This is Lime Rock Park. Lime Rock’s history is inextricably entwined with that of sports car racing’s. In its 53-year existence, almost all of the sport’s greats have raced at here, from the industry changing Formula Libre race of 1959 through the 1960s, 70s and 80s in Can-Am, Camel GTP, F5000, Trans-Am and Atlantic. From the mid-1990s onward, Lime Rock has seen everything from the ground-pounding NASCAR stockers and modifieds to the technological tour de force ALMS prototypes – the “greenest” racing in North America. This is Lime Rock Park.
Berkshire Theatre Festival – Founded in 1928, Berkshire Theatre Festival is one of the oldest professional regional theatres in the United States and the longest-running cultural organization in the Berkshires. Now under the helm of Artistic Director and CEO Kate Maguire, BTF presents theatre that matters—world premieres, contemporary works, and classics that speak to who we are in our world today. The Main Stage (408 seats), cataloged by the National Register of Historic Places, was originally designed and built by Stanford White as the Stockbridge Casino in 1888. The mission of BTF’s second stage, the intimate Unicorn Theatre (122 seats), is to provide a home for emerging artists and new theatrical ideas. BTF’s education program, BTF PLAYS!, reaches over 10,000 children annually through school residencies, touring performances, and summer performance training and writing programs. During the summer months BTF opens its doors to over 75 administrative, acting, and technical interns and apprentices.
Berkshire Botanical Garden – The Berkshire Botanical Garden is a not-for-profit, membership-supported educational organization encompassing 15 acres of cultivated land at the intersection of Routes 102 and 183 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Called “a glistening community gem” by Virginia Small, author of the book Great Gardens of the Berkshires, the Garden’s mission is to fulfill the community’s need for information, education and inspiration concerning the art and science of gardening and the preservation and improvement of our local environment. Our public display gardens are open May through mid-October. Both functional and ornamental, they are among the oldest in the US and have been expanded over the years in breadth and variety through a series of bequests and major gifts. Our collections emphasize plants that are indigenous to or thrive in the Berkshires; more than 3,000 species and varieties are represented.
Chesterwood Estate & Museum – Chesterwood is the country home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). Situated on 122 acres in the idyllic hamlet of Glendale near Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the property and buildings were donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by French’s daughter, Margaret French Cresson (1889-1973). Inspired by the natural beauty of the Berkshire Hills, French purchased the Marshall Warner farm in 1896. During the month of May, he left his permanent home and studio in New York for six months and moved with his family to Chesterwood, where he continued to work on over 200 public and private commissions. Many of French’s plaster sketches including models of his Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial are on view today in his Studio as well as in the permanent exhibit, Daniel Chester French: Sculpting an American Vision, in the Barn Gallery. Visitors to Chesterwood are invited to explore the beautiful formal gardens and woodland paths created by French himself. In celebration of the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, we offer Discover Lincoln at Chesterwood, a self-guided tour.
Barrington Stage Company – Barrington Stage Company has become the fastest growing arts venue in Berkshire County, attracting some 45,000 patrons each year, and gaining national recognition for its superior quality productions and comprehensive educational programming. Co-founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, Barrington Stage has produced several award-winning plays and musicals, beginning with winning the Elliot Norton/Boston Theatre Critics Award in its very first year for The Diary of Anne Frank. In its third year, BSC won two Elliot Norton/Boston Theatre Critics Awards and four Outer Critics Awards for its smash hit production of Cabaret, which moved to Boston and played an extended run at the Hasty Pudding Theatre. Several other BSC productions, including Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Three Viewings, Ears On a Beatle, Mack and Mabel, South Pacific, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Follies, West Side Story, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and Freud’s Last Session, have been named among the top 10 productions of the year in many area newspapers —leading The Boston Globe to laud BSC as “one of the jewels in the state’s crown.”
The Colonial Theatre – Located in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts the Colonial Theatre is a Gilded Age architectural gem brought back to life as a performing arts center in the “heart of the Berkshires”. Kept safe behind the temporary wall and ceiling partitions of a retail store for more than 50 years, the ornately appointed and now fully restored Colonial emerged in August, 2006 as a cultural and economic development force in the Berkshires. We invite you to be a part of the on-going movement to maintain this magnificent part of our history and our future. Come tour this architectural icon of another age. Come and enjoy the contemporary entertainment that gives it new life. Web Site
Skip Barber Racing School – For more than 30 years, Skip Barber Racing has operated a fully integrated system of racing schools, driving schools, racing championships, corporate events and OEM events across North America. With more than 200 dedicated and passionate professionals, no other organization delivers the same high quality instruction, equipment, facilities and memorable experiences.
Berkshire School – All independent college preparatory schools should offer an outstanding core experience: a first-rate academic program, distinctive opportunities in the arts, and excellent athletics. Berkshire is no exception; it provides an exceptional college preparatory curriculum with advanced courses and AP offerings in all disciplines. It is what happens at the periphery of this exceptional core that sets a school apart. Berkshire’s motto Pro Vita Non Pro Schola Discimus, “Learning not just for school but for life,” is as well suited to guide a learning institution in the 21st century as it was over 100 years ago when Berkshire was founded by Seaver Buck as a school for just seven boys.
The John Dewey Academy – Housed in historic Searles Castle in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the John Dewey Academy is a coeducational college preparatory boarding school with a strong therapeutic component. Our mission is to provide intensive, individualized instruction and therapy to alienated, angry, self-destructive, but bright adolescents. This approach inspires students to use, rather than to continue to abuse, their talents. This vision is admittedly an ambitious one: we aim to restore hope, to rebuild families, and to transform students’ lives. Founded in 1985 by Dr. Thomas E. Bratter, The John Dewey Academy is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Our most recent re-accreditation took place in 2003.
Bard College At Simon’s Rock – No other college in the country does what we do. We’re a small, selective, supportive, intensive college of the liberal arts and sciences in the middle of the Berkshires, one of the nation’s cultural and natural treasures. All of our 400 students come to us after 10th or 11th grade in high school. We give them a broad-minded, paradigm-shifting education; faculty trained in the country’s best universities; inspired and inspiring classes; first-class facilities for the sciences, the arts, and athletics; and an astonishing range of opportunities for conducting specialized research and gaining hands-on experience. We offer 43 concentrations, many of them interdisciplinary; our academic program leads to an AA or a BA. Simon’s Rock was founded by Elizabeth Blodgett Hall in 1966. In 1979 we became part of Bard College (established in 1860), one of the country’s outstanding (and most innovative) liberal arts colleges, located 50 miles away, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.