Great Houses of the Berkshires

During the Gilded Age, the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, where idyllic villages like Stockbridge and Lenox are located near bucolic lakes and rolling hills, vied with Newport and Bar Harbor as a resort colony for the wealthy and socially prominent. In fact, Lenox was called “The Inland Newport.” Today, the Berkshires continues to be a draw for its natural beauty, rich history and breath of cultural offerings. Impressed by what he saw on his visits to his Lenox friend, writer Edith Wharton, novelist Henry James wrote “This renews the vision of the Massachusetts Berkshire, land beyond any other in America today…”

Over seventy grand country estates, including Naumkeag, The Mount and Ventfort Hall, to name just a few that still exist, sprang up within a short span of time. Leading architects like McKim, Mead and White, Rotch & Tilden and Peabody & Sterns were hired by such families as the Morgans, Sloanes and Vanderbilts to create great summer cottages. Such country homes and later elegant private residences continue to lend an extraordinary aura to this beautiful part of the country.

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, in conjunction with Classical Excursions, invite you for an exclusive tour of architecture and culture. You will spend three nights at the famed Red Lion Inn, established in Stockbridge in 1773 as a coach stop, as well as attend private functions, special events and an opening lecture by Berkshirite and historian Cornelia Brooke Gilder, co-author of the Houses of the Berkshires, 1870 – 1930. Please join us as we travel to one of the country’s most atmospheric settings.

For further information on this tour, please contact Lani Summerville at [email protected], 413-446-8728. Tour price is $1,950.00 per person based on double occupancy, $350.00 single supplement applies. Space is limited, please contact Lani to reserve your space today.

Please note that a fully tax-deductible donation of $500 per person is required to participate in this travel program. All travel program participants have the opportunity to receive a complimentary Individual level membership for one year to the ICAA.

A private visit of the classical mansion at The Mount in Lenox designed for Edith Wharton in 1902 by Francis Hoppin with elegant interior architecture created by Ogden Codman, co-author with the writer of The Decoration of Houses. The shelves of the library are filled with the Pulitzer-Prize winning author’s personal collection of books. The Italian-style gardens were designed by the writer herself, who wrote Italian Villas and Their Gardens. Both classic books are still in print.

We will visit Naumkeag in Stockbridge, a shingle-style mansion designed by Stanford White in 1887 and filled with original furnishings. The owner was Joseph Choate, a prominent New York lawyer, who was later named ambassador to the Court of St. James. The terraced gardens were designed by the eminent landscape architect, Fletcher Steele.

A twenty-first century home designed by classical architect Kristine Sprague. The Federal-style house melds with the 19th-century houses lining the same Lenox street. The couple who owns it are known for their discriminating taste architecturally and for their collection of fine antiques.

A private tour of Chesterwood in Stockbridge will include the home with original furnishings, the studio and gardens of renowned sculptor Daniel Chester French. The studio and house were designed by architect Henry Bacon. Together they created the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. French called Chesterwood “heaven” and spent six months here with his family each year.

A stunning early nineteenth-century brick Federal house on the way to Stockbridge has been given modern standards of comfort and ease of living by its architect owner, given with the greatest sense of integrity. Extending to one side is the wing she has designed to hold her large studio, Palladian window and all, linking it to the main house via a classic windowed hyphen.

A private time at Ventfort Hall Mansion & Gilded Age Museum in Lenox, where Nini Gilder will give her lecture in the library, will reveal one of the largest period residences that luckily still exists. It was the home of George Hale and Sarah Spencer Morgan, sister of New York financier, J. Pierpont Morgan. The mansion was designed in 1893 by Boston architects Rotch & Tilden in the Jacobean style. Nearly the victim of the wrecking ball, it was saved from disappearing in the early 1990s by a corps of locally active citizens.

We will visit a luxurious twentieth-century Lenox Home, the rooms rooms filled with splendid antiques and paintings while the view outside overlooks the garden and the expanse of Laurel Lake.

A welcoming visit at the Lenox weekend home of Linda and Steve Weisberg. Surrounded by a lush scene of forest and ferns, Linda has drawn on her creative talents as a Boston interior designer, mixing classical with modern accents. “I want it to feel refreshed because this is where we come to relax,” she explains.

We travel to nearby Connecticut to visit with interior design doyenne and ICAA board member, Bunny Williams, and home furnishings and antiques entrepreneur John Rosselli, who will welcome us with a private house-and-garden tour at their splendid Manor House in Falls Village.

No visit to the Berkshires is satisfactory without traveling to the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, to view its exceptional collection of European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver and early photographs. To this can be added the beauty of the Clark’s natural surroundings.

Designed by Robert A. M. Stern, the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge holds the world’s largest permanent collection of paintings and illustrations of the artist’s work. Not to be missed.

Meals will include dinner at Blantyre, a Relais et Chateau Inn. Built originally in the 1890s for a railroad magnate, the mansion is an extraordinary restoration, beautifully decorated with antiques and with grounds and gardens beautifully maintained.

What’s included

  • A three-night stay at the Red Lion Inn and dinner at Blantyre, a Relais et Chateau Inn.
  • A private visit of the classical mansion at The Mount in Lenox designed for Edith Wharton.
  • A visit to Naumkeag in Stockbridge, a shingle-style mansion designed by Stanford White in 1887 and filled with original furnishings.
  • Tour of a twenty-first century home designed by classical architect Kristine Sprague.
  • A private tour of Chesterwood in Stockbridge, with original furnishings, the studio and gardens of renowned sculptor Daniel Chester French.
  • A tour of a stunning early nineteenth-century brick Federal house on the way to Stockbridge.
  • A private visit at Ventfort Hall Mansion & Gilded Age Museum in Lenox, where Nini Gilder will provide a lecture.
  • A tour of a luxurious twentieth-century Lenox Home.
  • A special visit to interior designer Bunny Williams' Manor House in Falls Village.
  • A tour of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown to view its exceptional collection of European and American paintings and sculpture.
  • Visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum, designed by Robert A.M. Stern.
  • Dinner at Blantyre, a Relais et Chateau Inn.

The Mount, credited to Lani Summerville



Studio of Daniel Chester French at Chesterwood, credited to Lani Summerville



Studio of Daniel Chester French at Chesterwood, credited to Lani Summerville



Naumkeag, credited to Lani Summerville



Naumkeag, credited to Lani Summerville



Fletcher Steele Gardens at Naumkeag, credited to Lani Summerville



Double Occupancy
$1,950
October 19 - 22, 2021
Single Occupancy
$2,300
October 19 - 22, 2021

FAQ

How do I register for an ICAA travel program?

If you would like to register, you may contact the travel operator organizing the program. Please note that a $500 donation per person to the ICAA is required in order to participate in each travel program.

What does the required $500 donation fund?

Your $500 donation helps to further the ICAA’s goal of advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts by supporting its varied educational programs, including continuing education courses, college workshops, the Summer Studio in Classical Architecture, New Heights, and many more.

Am I required to pay a $500 donation for each travel program I register for?

Yes, a donation of $500 to the ICAA is required for each travel program you register for. The donation is required for each person attending a tour.

How do I make my $500 donation to the ICAA?

You can make your $500 donation to the ICAA online, or you can download, complete, and mail this form to the ICAA. You can alternatively fax a copy to 212-730-9649. You may also call 212-730-9646 x109 or email [email protected] to make a donation. Donations must be made separately from the registration fee.

Do I have to be a member of the ICAA to participate in an ICAA travel program?

No, membership is not required to attend an ICAA travel program. However, complimentary Individual membership to the ICAA is included with your $500 required donation.

I don’t see the full itinerary for the tour I am interested in. When will it be released?

For full itinerary and more information, contact [email protected], 860-926-4895. Due to the exclusive nature of our tours, some private locations or visits may be omitted from the ICAA's website.

What kinds of trips does the ICAA offer?

Over the past several years, the ICAA has travelled to destinations including Paris; Andalusia; Atlanta; Barbados; South Africa; Chicago; the Netherlands and Belgium; Scotland; the French Riviera; Morocco; the Italian Lake Region; Charlottesville; Naples; and New Delhi, among many other locations. The ICAA is always looking to diversify its travel offerings. If you have a suggestion or location you would like to see added, please email [email protected]