By: Megan Montemarano
Last week we explored Litchfield County as the perfect weekend escape for New Yorkers seeking a country escape from the city. Now we take a closer look at another sought-after destination. Located in the western parts of Massachusetts, lies an unbeatable region of pure beauty, history and culture known as the Berkshires. The mountainous New England haven has been serving as an ideal country home destination for countless years, its untapped environment and longstanding cultural atmosphere appealing greatly to the city crowd. The Huffington Post describes the bucolic area as being recently “Brooklynized,” with its “artisan butchers, brewers, distillers, coffee roasters and Brooklyn chefs that have set up shop to take advantage of the local bounty.” As a result, an urban vibe mixed with the region’s existing classic charm is emerging in rural Western Massachusetts, taking the second home real estate world by storm.
While New York City has Broadway, the Berkshires offers numerous coveted cultural art and theatre opportunities to enjoy. All music lovers must visit Tanglewood, located in Lenox, Mass., for an evening of matchless talent featuring performances by acclaimed stars including James Taylor and Renée Fleming, as well as the Boston Symphony Orchestra. World-class dance companies grace three stages at Jacob’s Pillow, home to America’s longest-running international dance festival. As for theatre, anyone looking to relive the glory of Shakespeare should visit Shakespeare & Company, where the 2016 Fall Festival of Shakespeare is now taking place. Meanwhile, art aficionados are spoiled for choice with the Williamstown’s Clark Art Institute, MassMoCA, known for its stunning contemporary exhibitions, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Berkshire Museum and Williams College Museum of Art, to name a few.
Countless homes in the area also cater to the arts, such as 482 Canaan Road, a craftsman bungalow in Richmond, Mass. Built in 1930, this antique residence is incredibly charming inside and out, with a beautiful attached artist’s studio, affording a superb live/work residence. “It’s great for Brooklynites coming to the Berkshires,” comments Dan Alden, an agent from our Great Barrington office, who is listing the residence alongside Great Barrington agents Jared Kelly and Nick Geranios. The studio has been well loved by the property’s current owners, noted architectural photographer Paul Rocheleau and his wife, Elaine.
This Brooklynite Berkshires paradise only continues in the quaint Great Barrington village of Housatonic, Mass., which previously served as a booming textile mill town until the mid 1950s. “The community is undergoing a transformation in which young families and artists are moving in abundantly from Brooklyn,” adds Kelly, who is co-listing the one-time house of former town mill owner James T. Fuller with Alden. Located at 1079 Main Street, the 1892 Queen Anne-style residence is perhaps one of the most exquisite Victorians in the region. The current owners have painstakingly restored the original details and also updated it for contemporary living. Encompassing five private acres—one of the quietest in-town locations in the county—the property additionally includes a finished carriage house and a seasonal guest cottage. “We are excited about the house,” adds Kelly. “It is beautifully unique and situated in an up-and-coming area for local families, artists, writers and ‘Brooklyn types.’”
As if that isn’t enough to keep all second home city residents feeling right at home, the region’s culinary scene is considered to be right on par with New York City standards. Farm-to-fork eateries, a widely popular urban culinary trend that emphasizes freshness, seasonality and local availability, is simple in the country, the Berkshires’ nearby farms and local produce perfectly catering to this current demand. The New York Times recently followed the story of an acclaimed city chef who opened a cozy restaurant in none other than Great Barrington, Mass., known as “Prairie Whale.” Other favorite fresh dining options include Litchfield County’s Arethusa al tavolo and Community Table, as well as The Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough, Mass., Rouge in West Stockbridge, Chez Nous Bistro in Lee, Café Adam in Great Barrington, Wheatleigh Resort in Lenox and Hops & Vines in Williamstown.
For more information on 482 Canaan Road and 1079 Main Street, or the Berkshires as a second home destination, please contact Berkshires Hills Group agents: