VISITING THE BERKSHIRES : DEVONFIELD INN, CAMP FIRE, METHUSELAH & MORE

 

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We were asked if we wanted to visit the Berkshires and with Scott being from Massachusetts we love journeys to New England.  We went to the Berkshires a while ago with Scott’s parents so we took a day to do a quick visit and check out some of the newest restaurants and meet the lovely innkeepers of the Devonfield Inn – Bruce and Ronnie Singer. It is centrally located in the heart of the Berkshires in Lee, MA, the historic  Devonfield Inn.  It  offers a luxurious retreat with unmatched service and countryside views for every season. It is set on 32-acres,  just minutes to Tanglewood and all the cultural gems of the Berkshires. The history of the house is incredible, Bruce had some amazing research even proving how FDR visited the house. Royalty stayed in the house. He told us about the different owners and how they acquired the house. 

When Queen Wilhelmina of Holland came to Devonfield for a few months in 1942 to escape the looming Nazi takeover of her country, she was a guest at Devonfield. President Roosevelt paid a visit to the Queen and her daughter Juliana and grand-daughters Irene and Beatrix (the current Queen of Holland). You too, may relax on the same patio where the Queen and FDR visited! The Singers are such a lovely couple and make you want to stay and just chat with them for hours – they have so much knowledge of the house and the area and fun stories.

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The inn was decorated with beautiful antiques and just felt so comfortable. There are books to read throughout about the history of Berkshires and more.   In the summer time there is a pool outside, so it is a perfect summer getaway as well.  We went to visit in the Fall and had incredible weather to enjoy the falling leaves and changing colors. In the morning we could see all of these leaves falling and one of the guests called it the dance of the leaves – it was so beautiful to watch through these big windows in the dining room.

To find out more about the inn you would visit  you can email Bruce at innkeeper@devonfield.com

We stayed in the Collins room and I loved the canopy on the bed – also we had a fireplace I thought Scott did a great job with that – making the space even cozier.

Oh did I mention Bella – the sweetest dog that you belongs to the inn keepers – she is so adorable !

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It is a terrific place for a small wedding or family gathering with many rooms and a beautiful space outside and is centrally located so you have a lot of choices within 5 – 20 minutes for restaurants, bars and shops.

So when we arrived our first stop was at Campfire in Great Barrington – about 20 – 25 minutes from the inn.  We were told to have the hamburger and it was incredible. Campfire is next door to The Meat Market. It is a really interesting entrepreneur business – where there is the market, the restaurant, and the catering team.

 

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The restaurant features an outdoor, fire-based kitchen- the chef works hand in hand with The Meat Market butcher to build a menu that showcases the best seasonal and local ingredients.

The menu is extensive http://www.campfiregb.com/

Without a doubt I would suggest you get : Good Grain Salad – Roasted Beets, Walnuts, Lettuce, Goat Cheese

It is memorable the grain is really interesting and the goat cheese delicious

We loved our burger as well and the fries were delicious and the dessert top notch – the ice cream is sourced locally too and it was really great

I met some of the team behind this amazing establishment and loved hearing their story and how they just got a farm and how they are learning as they go – they are doing so many amazing things for the community as well. I was talking to them for a little bit about running a humane farm. 

Also in Great Barrington we visited a really awesome store GRIFFIN – loved meeting the owner Connie there – I love concept stores like this and we found some great treasures – http://www.griffingiroux.com/

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For years Connie has held a passion for classic vintage and also an eye to curate an outstanding collection out of a crowded stage of estate sales, second hand shops and consignment offerings. Connie sells pieces from local artisans, photography, clothing, furniture, vintage items and so many fun items.

We visited HANCOCK SHAKER VILLAGE set on incredible grounds, met some lovely farm animals that we fell in love with and heard the story of the SHAKERS which we really didn’t have that much information on prior too – it is interesting how they set up this community and how they invented so many things to keep the community functioning. The Shakers no longer live in the Berkshires village but we gained some insight about this community that was started by a WOMAN – I thought that was the most interesting tidbit.

Hancock Shaker Village began in the late 1780s, when nearly 100 Believers consolidated a community on land donated by local farmers who had converted to the Shaker movement. By the 1830s, with a great many more conversions and additional land acquisitions, the Shaker community peaked in population with more than 300 Believers and more than 3,000 acres.During the height of their growth, religious fervor and influence, the Hancock Shakers erected communal dwelling houses, barns, workshops and other buildings, and developed a large and successful farm. With the 1826 Round Stone Barn as the center of a thriving dairy industry, and with many acres cultivated in medicinal herbs, vegetables, fruits, and other crops, the Hancock Shakers enjoyed a simple, peaceful, and hard-working life, separated from the ways of “The World.” They named their utopian village The City of Peace, and organized the large community into six smaller communal groups known as Families for efficiency of work, worship, and administration.The Shakers were proficient in a wide array of crafts, trades and industries, including woodworking and metalworking, basketry, spinning, weaving and broom making. They developed their own water-powered mills for grinding grain, sawing wood, and manufacturing textiles. The Shakers were highly regarded for their honesty and industriousness, and for the quality of their products, which became an important source of income. Eventually, forces outside the community, including the industrial revolution and the shifting of America from a rural to an urban society, worked against their continued growth and stability. By the early 1900s, with dwindling converts, the Shaker population at Hancock declined to about 50 Believers, most of them Sisters and orphan girls who had been adopted by the community, and only a few adult Brethren.Many outlying acres of land were sold off, and buildings were razed during the final decades of the Hancock community. In 1959, when the Shakers could no longer maintain their City of Peace, they sold the remaining property to a local group committed to preserving the Shaker heritage. The utopian village known as Hancock Shaker Village continues its life today as a history museum with 20 authentic buildings, a working farm and significant collections of Shaker furniture and artifacts. You can visit the website for info on tours : http://hancockshakervillage.org/shakers/shakers-hancock/

We are always searching for the hip coffee shops – yes my husband loves a good cup of coffee, I love a good cup of tea & ambiance… so we loved finding NO. 6 Depot – loved their story as well – Flavio Lichtenthal, Roaster and Co-Owner – Flavio’s love of coffee began at 13 in the pool halls of Buenos Aires, his native city. Twelve years ago he and his family left the city and moved to the Berkshires, settling in at Gould Farm where they both lived and worked on the farm. Coffee roasting became the natural outcome of his love of cooking and his love of music. He approaches roasting like cooking, using intuition, eyes, smell and ears; and he approaches blending beans like mixing music till it has just the right amount of bass and treble.  Lisa Landry, Co-Owner and Tea Importer  They had her at “Prendiamo un bel’ café” (let’s have a beautiful cup of coffee). Living in Italy and working at the RAI, Italy’s broadcasting station, coffee was ritual and survival. They were right. Her love of tea began in India in the beautiful tea gardens in the foothills of the Himalayas and humble roadside tea houses. It grew in Turkey where tea, served in lovely tulip glasses, is seemingly everywhere, from taxi stand to impossibly small tables in doorways to gardens dedicated to tea and backgammon. It’s these feelings of communal life and simple sharing she’d like to bring to Six Depot—a place for people to come together, discuss the trivial and profound, debate and laugh, play music and backgammon. She also opened Six Depot Gallery which houses changing art exhibits, concerts, dances, films, parties and more.Learn more at : http://sixdepot.com/pages/who-we-are

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In the evening we had dinner at Methuselah Bar and Lounge. “A parallel universe where all the world’s problems are solved through belly laughs, love, edible and quaffable works of art”wp-image-1522347250jpg.jpgwp-image-177471934jpg.jpg

We didn’t get to meet Yuki Cohen but we met some of her team that was amazing – loved meeting Johnny Burns he was so cheery and gave us some awesome recommendations and Caitlin Harrison – everyone that worked there had warm smiles and were so kind.   A little info on the background of the name which I thought was interesting – Methuselah, the oldest man in the bible, who lived to be 969 years old. Descendant of Adam and Eve and grandfather of Noah. Methuselah, one of the oldest living trees at 4,846 years of age. Methuselah, a star that is older than the universe itself at 14.5 billion years. Methuselah, a 6 liter bottle of wine. 

Methuselah Bar and Lounge. Where you enjoy drinkable and edible works of beautifully and lovingly crafted art. Biodynamic/organic wines. Spirits and Craft Beer. Carefully and meticulously made in small batches for the love of the craft and the uncompromised quality of the end product.  So what did we eat ?  Everything – yummy tacos, amazing amazing amazing kimchi and the most delicious rum raisin ice cream. The food is great and tasty loves of flavors and umami and the team behind that bar you will always remember definitely worth visiting this spot !  http://methbar.com/about/

You can’t really go to the Berkshires and not enjoy nature and hiking and just scenic views – we had an incredible sunset. There are so many hiking trails we went to http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-west/beartown-state-forest.html – it was beautiful and one of my goals while in Berkshires was to capture one of those upside down reflection photos which I did !

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We found some awesome other shops along the way as well – loved this place where you can find incredible Buddhas and these treehouses / zen gardens

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This lovely couple staying at Devonfield told us about BIZALIONS too – loved meeting the owner and we were able to get the most delicious olive oil with a mint in it

So important to thank Cathy Husid – Shamir who put this amazing day trip for us together. It took us about 3 hrs to drive there – it was quick and we felt we went away for days. The Berkshires are about 50 minutes from the MASS MOCA so if you are there for a few days it would be a great addition to a trip to The Berkshires. I would also like to thank 1Berkshire for their help with planning this journey too.

Other great hiking places suggested which we will have to visit the next time we go to :

Kennedy Park, 275 Main Street, Lenox 0124

Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, 427 West Mtn Rd., Lenox 01240

Monument Mountain Route 7, Great Barrington 01230

Also if you love antiquing I mentioned Griffin in Great Barrington but you can also visit – there are so many shops throughout the towns to check out !

Castle & Main, 322 Main Street

Michael Wainwright Studio,  964 Main Street

Elise Abrams Antiques, 11 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington  413.528.3201

Emporium Antiques & Art Center, 319 Main St., Great Barrington  413.528.1660

 

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