Rural Intelligence 2023

Page 20



Our Picks For Music, Dance, Theater & Art


Taking The (Literal) High Road


Explore Bantam, CT


Eating Along Route 22

From Hillsdale

To Brewster

Summer 2023

scan for more


Charm Cake by Elizabeth Mayhew . S


Pittsfield, MA

June 3 –

October 1

79 MARVIN ® ULTIMATE® MULTI-SLIDE ® Hillsdale, NY · Lakeville, CT · Millerton, NY · Hudson, NY Chatham, NY · Sheffield, MA · 800.453.1311 · ®
Multi-Slide door with Matte Black hardware




6 Don’t drive hungry! We’ve mapped out the eateries along (and just off) Route 22, share regional restaurants that have opened in the past year, and suggest destinations where you can order a cocktail to go with a view. The storied Dream Away Lodge reawakens; tips on assembling the perfect picnic.


16 Bantam, Connecticut, often flies below the radar, but we’ve sussed out 10 reasons why you should take a day to explore this part of the Litchfield Hills.

22 A clip-and-save checklist identifies the places that embody the quintessential Berkshires. In Dutchess County, check out our guide to wending your way through the villages of Rhinebeck and Red Hook.

18 Take a field trip to a farm and bring home chocolates, ice cream, lavender, cider, and other farm market fare.


24 Hike from Pittsfield to Lenox taking the (literal) High Road. Plus other ways to enjoy the great outdoors: Walk with a llama, zip through a tree line, fly on a balloon, float on a boat. Traveling with Fido? We’ve got a list of dog parks throughout the region.


30 Private garden tours abound in our region and we provide the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days schedule. History and literature buffs can travel back to the Gilded Age at Ventfort Hall. Shoppers can check out four exceptional gift shops filled with delightfully unexpected objects.


56 Painful circumstances brought illustrator, designer, and author Aaron Meshon to the Berkshires, but now he couldn’t be happier—and it shows in his art.

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Whitney Morrison stars in Berkshire Opera Festival’s production of “La Boheme.”
Photo by Simon Pauly
Summer Arts Preview Theater 39 Music 44 Dance 48 Art 50 PAGE 36 3 2023 RURAL INTELLIGENCE


Four years ago, Rural Intelligence was the new kid on the block at Chronogram Media, and the only one of the company’s family of publications that was strictly digital. At my first meeting with Brian Mahoney, Chronogram’s editorial director, it wasn’t but a few minutes into our conversation before he suggested we consider publishing a print issue. What?

To be honest, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. Rural Intelligence was created in 2008 as a digital publication. It’s how we’ve fostered such a deep connection with our readers. Advertisers, too, recognized the value of being part of Rural Intelligence’s web presence. Besides, I’d been burned by print too often, as publications I was working for either lost their revenue sources—and staff—or left print behind altogether. I’d said goodbye to print and embraced digital.

advertisers alike responded positively to our first printed issue. “Love having a print magazine,“ said one reader in our post-publication survey. “I was so happy to see the print magazine! It was terrific,” said another. I was fully on board for the next year.

With newfound conviction and great enthusiasm, I present our second summer magazine. Readers told us they’d love to see more about day trips, restaurants, and outdoor activities, and we’ve obliged. We open with a spread dedicated to the way many of us traverse the region: eating our way up and down Route 22. We take a tour of Bantam, Connecticut, a town you may never have heard of but has a surprising (and hidden) number of places worth a visit. Ditto on the day trip to Rhinebeck and Red Hook. You’ll read about some of the notable restaurants that have opened since last summer, including the Dream Away Lodge in Becket, which is starting afresh with new owners who vow to keep its quirky, lost-in-time character. And we’ll introduce you to Elizabeth Mayhew, aka the Dutchy of Millbrook, who created the dazzling cake that graces our cover.

Of course, there’s plenty more, and we use a chunk of the magazine to provide a preview of the season’s music, theater, dance, and art, because it’s the cultural arts that drive so much of the summer activity (not to mention economy) in the RI region.

Altogether, it’s classic Rural Intelligence: where to go, what to do, and how to get the most out of your summer season in the region. Readers of last year’s magazine told me they saved it so they could refer to it later. I hope you’ll do the same. Gotta love that about print.

Or so I thought. Readers and Rural Intelligence shares and cultivates your passion for culture and country life. Since 2008, we have helped readers explore the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Columbia and Dutchess counties in New York, and Litchfield County in Connecticut. We lead you to the events, restaurants, shopping, parties, nonprofit organizations, and personalities that make life so rich in our neck of the woods. Consider us your friend who shows you the best way to participate in all this region has to offer. Let’s have fun together.


Lisa Green


Dan Shaw


Kerry Tinger


Marie Doyon


Ashleigh Lovelace


Kimberly Jordan Allen, Jane Anderson, Jamie Larson, Jennafer Maselli, Janine Parker, Dan Shaw, Hannah Van Sickle, Susan Yung



Amara Projansky


Jason Stern


Jan Dewey


Brian K. Mahoney


David Dell



Sam Brody

Kaitlyn Lelay

Kelin Long-Gaye

Kris Schneider


Andrea Fliakos



Margot Isaacs


Nicole Clanahan



Kerry Tinger


Kate Brodowska


45 Pine Grove Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401 (845) 334-8600 | fax (845) 334-8610

All contents © Chronogram Media 2023

Editor Lisa Green cuts the cover cake.
5 2023 RURAL INTELLIGENCE 427 warren, hudson, ny the gallery at 200lex, nyc 518.828.3430 @finchhudson

Savor the Drive

Where to eat up and down Route 22

The central spine of the Rural Intelligence region is New York State Route 22, with the Taconic State Parkway (to the west) and Route 7 (to the east) being the other main north-south arteries. Here’s where to stop when you’re hungry on the 60-mile stretch between Copake and Brewster.

1 North Star at the Alander

7519 Route 22, Copake

The Alander lodge’s restaurant, North Star, serves up seafood and creative New American cuisine— New England clam chowder, lobster bisque, pan-seared Atlantic salmon and New York strip—in an upscalecasual, intimate setting. Sit in the outdoor dining pergola and enjoy beautiful sunsets with your meal.

2 Round III

5523 Route 22, Millerton

This quintessential backcountry diner is a quirky spot for allday breakfast, burgers, melted sandwiches, and ice cream cones that you can order from an outside window in warm weather and eat while overlooking rolling cornfields. And if you’re looking for a copy of the day’s Wall Street Journal or Daily News, you can buy your copy here.

3 King’s Highway Cider Shack

5409 Route 22, Millerton

The cidery is adjacent to McEnroe Organic Farm market. Besides selling an array of ciders made from Hudson Valley apples, the Cider Shack is a full-service restaurant with menu options that include lobster rolls, bratwurst, chicken tacos, and vegetarian items.

Food & Drink
Illustration by Annie Dwyer

4 Four Brothers

4957 Route 22, Amenia

With a large outdoor dining area, the flagship location of the Four Brothers chain is summer incarnate with its adjacent drive-in theater and a “grand shack” where you can get a burger and fries on the fly; there’s also table service if you’re ordering from the familiar red sauce menu.

5 Kelly’s Creamery and Kelly’s Husband’s Food Truck

3202 Route 22, Dover Plains

Everyone knows that RI loves this roadside duo that also includes a miniature golf course. You won’t find better French fries along Route 22 or crispier pieces of boneless fried chicken. And it would take all summer to sample the extensive menu of ice creams, sundaes, and shakes.

6 La Guadalupana

Mini Market Wingdale

1475 Route 22, Wingdale

In the space that housed the late, lamented Big W’s barbecue, there’s now a fully stocked Mexican market where you can pick up everything you need for authentic Taco Tuesdays and Fajitas Fridays. You can also order enchiladas, tamales, and other standards for takeout or to eat in at bare-bones laminate tables.

7 Rocco’s Pizza

2908 Route 22, Patterson

Located in a vintage stainless-steel diner, Rocco’s is cozy, welcoming, and dependable. There’s a tasty Greek salad with a generous amount of feta; well-priced New York-style pizzas that rock with traditional toppings like peppers, mushrooms, and sausage; and the full array of Italian Americansauce standards like eggplant parm and baked ziti to eat in or take out.

8 The Putnam Diner

2600 Route 22, Patterson

You don’t often find menus these days that run 10 pages but you do at the Putnam Diner, where you can satisfy any craving. The endearing waitstaff cheerfully fulfill requests for extra crispy hash browns with your eggs (served all day) and well-done French fries with your charbroiled burger.

9 Panino Gourmet Deli

2011 Route 22, Brewster

With the aromatic old-world ambiance of a shop you’d find on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, Panino offers Italian-style heroes (such as the “Michelangelo” made of fresh mozzarella, fried eggplant, roasted peppers, olive oil, and vinegar) and everything you need for an antipasto platter such as marinated mushrooms and freshly sliced mortadella.

10 The Red Rooster

1566 Route 22, Brewster

Nostalgia for `50s drive-ins is the secret sauce accounting for the 60-year-old Red Rooster’s popularity. Its iconic red-and-white striped facade and peaked roof is winning over a new generation who stop for selfies as well as soft-serve ice cream, burgers, onion rings, and other fried treats.

Hospitality at its best: Eat at North Star, stay overnight at The Alander, the modern boutique lodge. Scan here to read about the new venture on Route 22.

King’s Highway Cider Shack at McEnroe Organic Farm, Millerton North Star at the Alander, Copake
Four Brothers, Amenia







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Located in the heart

Forks in the Road

Mind the exits in the road just slightly off Route 22 in New York—they lead you to more opportunities for good eating.

The Lantern Inn

10 Main Street, Wassaic

A one-minute detour off Route 22 takes you to this hipster spot next to the Wassaic Project that’s famous for its Brooklyn-style pizzas. It serves good burgers and wings, too. The expansive outdoor dining area includes a fire pit and plenty of space for kids to run free unsupervised.


6 Autumn Lane, Amenia

If you’re in the mood for a proper sit-down dinner (indoors or al fresco) that will dazzle your taste buds, turn left at the lone traffic light in Amenia and drive half a mile to the charming farmhouse owned by chef Serge Madikians, whose beautiful food pays homage to his Armenian and Iranian roots.

Oakhurst Diner

19 Main Street, Millerton

Literally just seconds off Route 22, the Oakhust has been dishing up gentrified diner food in a vintage setting for more than a decade. There’s seating under umbrella tables in warm weather and an eclectic menu that includes organic burgers, meatloaf sandwiches, avocado toast, and credible versions of pho and bánh mì.

Dad’s Copake Diner

178 County Route 7A, Copake

It’s worth the three-minute detour to dine at the whimsical diner with a `50s vibe and generous portions including a cheeseburger deluxe platter that lives up to its name.

Copake General Store

171 County Route 7A, Copake

Across the street from Dad’s Copake Diner, every town should be lucky enough to have a market with such a variety of groceries, well-made sandwiches, and freshbaked goods.

Roe Jan Brewing Company

32 Anthony Street, Hillsdale

Less than a quarter mile off Route 22, Roe Jan Brewing Company is a contemporary craft brewery and pub. The brewhouse boasts a rotating lineup of beers along with an inventive pub menu that features wood-fired food made from scratch.

9 2023 RURAL INTELLIGENCE Become Yourself. Waldorf Education in the Berkshires for Toddlers through Teens.

More Than Fare

Four new dining destinations we love

Our reviewer called her dinner at Geppetto a “transportive experience.” Scan here to find out what made it such a glorious meal.

Why gnomes?

Why gnot?

The chef has his reasons. Scan here for the full story.

Geppetto Osteria e Bisteccheria Torrington, CT Husband-and-wife team Carlo and Michelle Pulixi created their Mediterranean hideaway catty-corner to Five Points Center for the Visual Arts in Torrington, and are providing a transportive regional Italian dining experience. The menu pays homage to Carlo’s Sardinian roots. Standout dishes include Ravioli di Mela, con Ragu di Anatra ($23)—housemade pasta filled with green apple and ricotta with just a note of cinnamon—and polenta with oyster mushrooms ($15). Meat and seafood eaters will enjoy the red snapper with capers and lemon ($28), a pine nut-crusted leg of lamb ($36) and a roasted bone-in ribeye ($98 for two). Leave room for the tiramisu, a classic interpretation of the dessert. The Pinocchio-themed art lining the walls and an antique workbench are a whimsical and appropriate nod to chef Carlo’s other talent, woodworking.

The Gnome Bistro East Chatham, NY

The restaurant on Route 295 just outside of East Chatham occupies what used to be The Cottage, a beloved stop for locals and tourists. After The Cottage closed, several tenants moved in (and out), but it looks like The Gnome, owned by Chatham local chef Zak Russell, is going to have staying power. The menu is updated comfort food made to modern tastes with some whimsical twists from the gnomes in the kitchen. The lunch and dinner menu is a varied assortment of comfort food, offering a Cottage Rueben ($17) in homage to the restaurant’s predecessor, but also a West Coast chicken sandwich ($18), the Thanksgiving turkey club ($17), Alpine prime rib ($28), fish and chips ($17), meatloaf ($17), and a portobello parmesan ($23). The gnome influence is more pronounced on the all-day breakfast menu, with its Gnomecakes ($10.50), Gnomelet ($9.50), and the

Food & Drink
Geppetto Osteria e Bisteccheria, Torrington, CT The Gnome Bistro, East Chatham, NY

Hangry Gnome stacked breakfast plate ($14). The portions are large (you’ll have plenty to take home) and the servers are friendly. At the full, well-stocked bar, gnomes peek out from behind bottles and taps of local beer.

Kip’s Tavern

Rhinecliff, NY

Until Kip’s Tavern took over the former China Rose space overlooking the

Hudson, Rhinecliff was without even a single eatery. Christopher Dorsey, a CIA grad who spent two decades managing restaurants in Manhattan, leased the space in March 2022 and gave it a complete makeover. Kip’s Tavern is that increasingly rare breed of eatery that combines cozy-chic digs, professional service, tasty food, and entrees priced under $25. The menu is small—just five entrees: ricotta cavatelli ($21), Atlantic salmon ($23),

chicken paillard ($20), chicken pot pie ($22), cheeseburger ($20)—with an emphasis on elevated pub fare. In addition, there are one or two specials a night, like a melt-in-your-mouth wild boar stew over jasmine rice. Cocktails are $10 to $12; glasses of wine run $9 to $13, bottles $36 to $52. While not cheap, at its price point, Kip’s Tavern punches above its weight class in terms of service, food quality, and ambiance. And you can’t beat that view.


New Ashford, MA

Like New Orleansinspired food? Well’s Provisions is just a bit outside of the Berkshires, but it’s worth the drive for gumbo. Scan here for our review.

Bondhu, which took over the beloved French restaurant Mill on the Floss between Lanesborough and Williamstown, is a “food experience business” that offers an encounter for every food lover. Bondhu is a new kind of club with changing themes and a deep dive into a specific culture’s cuisine. Farah Momen, the food maven behind the enterprise, plans family-style dinner “parties” that tell a story along with a multicourse fixed price menu. Themes have included an Earth Day Feast; Springtime, Southeast Asia; a Jewish Heritage Dinner; and Native American Culinary Landscapes. For the summer, Momen is offering the Bondhu Brunch every Sunday through Labor Day, with a creative, globally inspired menu that varies each week. Pick a date or a menu that works for you. You’ll leave full, happy, and inspired.

Food & Drink
Owner Christopher Dorsey outside Kip’s Tavern, Rhinecliff, NY. Photo by Lynn Alaimo
Bondhu, New Ashford, MA

Drink Up the View

Would you care for a cocktail to go with the eye candy in our region? Here are a few places where the view is served along with your drink.

Millbrook Vineyards & Winery

Millbrook, NY

The dramatic drive through the vineyards up to the winery is your first clue that this will be an experience your eyes as well as your palate will savor. The vineyard and the distant Catskill Mountain views are among the prettiest in Dutchess County and the vineyard walking trail takes you to the top of the estate for the most expansive panorama. Picnic tables are available and visitors are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Millbrook Winery is a good destination on inclement days, too: You can enjoy a glass (or make it a wine tasting) in the Terrace Taproom. On weekends, the winery hosts food trucks. You’ll find the schedule and truck lineup on its website.

The Proprietor’s Lodge

Pittsfield, MA

Located on the shores of Pontoosuc Lake, the Proprietor’s Lodge is an event space that wisely opened its downstairs and patio to the public. During midday hours, you’re welcome to have a drink on the terrace.

Weekend evenings, the terrace is reserved for dinner guests, but there are Adirondack chairs placed on the waterfront where you can admire Mount Greylock, although what’s right in front of you—sparkling Pontoosuc Lake, with its pontoon boats and kayakers—exudes a tranquility you didn’t know existed in the county seat.

The Greens Restaurant at Copake Country Club

Craryville, NY

You don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate the view of the first fairway

at Copake Country Club. That long stretch of green imparts a feeling of serenity (and admiration for the groundskeeper). The Greens has long had a deck overlooking the fairway (and in full view, conveniently, of the sunset) and Copake Lake. During remodeling this spring, the restaurant added a second space, the Bar Deck, expanding the seating, because who doesn’t like a view with their drink?

Bascom Lodge Adams, MA

We don’t have the Rainbow Room at the top of Rockefeller Center,

but we have Mount Greylock, the highest mountain in Massachusetts, and Bascom Lodge at the peak. There’s a lot of activity in the rustic 1930s-era lodge, including prix-fixe, three-course meals, breakfasts (full and continental), and lunch. On Wednesday through Sunday from 5-7pm, the Sunset Beverage Hour offers beer and wine. There are plenty of windows to look down on a scene stretching up to 90 miles away and including four states. Just don’t drink too much; you’ll need your full wits about you as you wend your way down the mountain road.

Food & Drink
Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, Millbrook, NY The Proprietor’s Lodge, Pittsfield, MA

A Reawakening of The Dream Away Lodge

The most talked-about revival in the Berkshires this summer is not a play or musical. It’s a legendary restaurant and live music venue that’s always been like immersive theater: the Dream Away Lodge, which reopened in April. The former roadhouse on the backroads of Becket epitomizes the Berkshires’ bohemian past; it’s the place where Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Arlo Guthrie shot scenes for Dylan’s film Renaldo and Clara in 1975. For two decades, owner Daniel Osman attracted an eclectic clientele by keeping the bar open late and cultivating a nostalgic boho vibe. Last year, he sold it to a new ownership team that has preserved the quirky character of the Dream Away with its thrift-shop decor, lush grounds, firepits, and nightly roster of live performances in the woodpaneled music room.

Now, the music program is

overseen by co-owner Andy McDowell, who has the bona fides to book the right acts; he’s owned a small livemusic venue, Pete’s Candy Store, in Brooklyn, for nearly 24 years. “There’s lots of overlap with the artists who’ve played Pete’s and the Dream Away, a lot of singer-songwriters and folk rock,” he says. “The only change we’ve made is improving the sound quality in the music room and extending it out to the porch.”

Co-owner Scott Levy, who’s been patronizing the Dream Away since buying a house in Becket 19 years ago, says the diversity of customers (including dancers and patrons of all ages from nearby Jacob’s Pillow) are essential to the Dream Away’s spirit. “It’s the people who make it a scene,” says Levy. “And because the Dream Away is remote, people have to make an effort to get here, and they are up for a good time.”

Food & Drink
Music is back on the mountain as the Dream Away Lodge resumes its place as an entertainment venue as well as a restaurant.

The Marvelous Mrs. Mayhew: Baker of the It Cake

Elizabeth Mayhew is down to earth, but her custom cakes are out of this world. A lifestyle guru and former magazine editor (House Beautiful, Real Simple, Woman’s Day) and longtime contributor to “The Today Show,” she is the solo baker of what is arguably the “it cake” in our neck of the woods and beyond—what she’s dubbed the Charm Cake. “I think of it as the equivalent of a charm bracelet that tells the story of a person’s life,” she says. Typically ordered to celebrate special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations, Charm Cakes are decorated with symbols and icons that reflect meaningful things in a person’s life such as their favorite pet, foods, vacation destinations, and sports teams.

Mayhew hadn’t considered baking as her next career until the pandemic hit three years ago and she took refuge in her Millbrook kitchen. When she got a few phone calls from acquaintances asking if she could make special occasion cakes and deliver them to the doorsteps of people who were isolating, Mayhew realized that she’d stumbled upon a new business that she dubbed the Dutchy of Millbrook. Instagram became her way of letting friends and acquaintances know she was taking orders for cookies, tarts, and cakes. As the pandemic churned on, she pushed herself to new challenges, decorating cakes to resemble fine china, fabric patterns, comic books, even paintings like van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Mayhew doesn’t sketch out her signature Charm Cakes beforehand. She draws directly on a layer cake frosted with vanilla French buttercream that she likens to a painter’s blank canvas. Customers who’ve scrolled through her Instagram account trust her to get the details and colors right—whether it’s the face of a poodle, a college insignia, the logo of a favorite store—and Mayhew trusts herself to figure out the overall composition as she works. “I have a sixth sense for where things belong, and decorating a cake is a lot like decorating a room or styling a magazine cover, but the stakes are lower if you make a mistake with a cake,” she says. “My Charm Cakes are not perfect, but that’s part of their charm.”

Charm Cakes begin at $500. Instagram: @ElizabethMayhew.

Food & Drink

Set the Scene for a Perfect Picnic

In 1934, the Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its first outdoor concerts in the Berkshires, possibly sowing the seeds of the region’s picnic culture. While it’s perfectly fine to pick up a sub and plop down on the well-tended lawns, if you’re going to make a day or evening of an outdoor spread, we suggest the following enhancements.

TO SIT ON There are endless choices of fold-up camping chairs that you can find at any hardware store or discount chain. We like the ones with a canopy. On-the-ground picnickers will appreciate the roll-up fleece blanket that’s water resistant on one side, available at the Glass House gift shops at Tanglewood.

TO HAUL IN Wicker baskets are stylish, but it’s a lot less physically taxing and a lot more charming to roll in with a wagon. Go retro with a Radio Flyer or cart your things in a folding trolley. Again, hardware stores are your best bet.

TO EAT OFF Melamine dinner plates that look like classic French country pieces, at Tent in Millbrook. Carr Hardware sells a small folding picnic table. The Dash wine picnic table, at Dare and Nejaime’s wine stores in Lenox, is perfect if you’re just having drinks for two plus some cheese and charcuterie. Feel fancy with cloth napkins, like the Monaco Stripe set at Terston in Kent.

TO KEEP WARM Don’t be fooled by the warmth of day. It can get surprisingly chilly when the sun goes down in our part of the world. The alpaca shawls at Fluff Alpaca in Great Barrington are warm and supremely soft. Or purchase a sweatshirt from site where you’re picnicking and support the organization.

TO LIGHT YOUR WAY Keep your candles at home and opt for the flameless variety from your local hardware store. Pick up a flashlight or headlamp while you’re there.

TO HAUL OUT No going fancy here. The trash bins are likely to be overflowing. Bring garbage bags—carry in, carry out.

15 2023 RURAL INTELLIGENCE Hollister House Garden 300 Nettleton Hollow Road, Washington, CT visit learn enjoy EDITH WHARTON’S HOME Book online at Lenox, MA • 413-551-5111 “One of America’s best historic homes” —Architectural Digest

10 Things We Love About Bantam, CT

Looking to visit a place that often flies below the radar? Consider Bantam, Connecticut, a borough of Litchfield that has an eclectic style, characterized by a history of hardworking, engaged townsfolk who appreciate the slower pace of life. The population of the approximate square mile of the area is low (numbering 1,198 as of 2021), though many served by the local services consider themselves Bantam residents. Locals include artisans, craftworkers, and small business owners who appreciate country living. Here are some favorite local spots.

White Memorial Conservation Center

There’s more to explore in adjacent Litchfield. Scan here to find out about Topsmead State Forest and its historic home and formal gardens.

The White Memorial Conservation land is a picturesque destination comprising 4,000 acres of forest, fields waterways, and stunning natural vistas. There’s 40 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding; environmental education exhibits in the Nature Museum; and over 50 campsites. On the property, our family has spotted bald eagles, great blue herons, minks, turtles, and bobcats, to name a few of the local crowd.

Merrit Clarke Store

An institution in the area, the Merritt Clarke store is an outfitter that checks a lot of boxes for country living apparel. Before heading out onto the trail or digging into the garden, if you need suitable attire, this historic landmark in the area is a must-visit spot. The team is friendly and inviting, taking the time to help visitors find what they need in the time-tested tradition of the former founder (deceased as of 1992), Merritt Clarke himself, whose philosophical approach and steadfast style made him a local icon. Whether you need a new pair of Carharts, a Pendleton blanket, a beanie, or a solid pair of work boots, the purveyor will go above and beyond. Clarke celebrates 100 years of business in 2023—a Bantam legacy.

Bantam River

The river is ideal for paddle boarding or sit-on-top kayaking, offering wildlife sightings such as turtles, herons, beavers, deer, and the occasional black bear. The flow and current can increase in high-water situations, and if you follow the river

Day Trips
The White Memorial Conservation Center is an outdoor recreation playground that offers opportunities for biking, birding and wildlife viewing, boating, fishing, camping, and hiking.

to the end, you can end up in the lake, which has motorized craft, so be mindful of your route, timing, and weather.

Bantam Lake

A sprawling, bucolic water body, Bantam Lake offers a stunning central source of natural beauty in the Litchfield Hills, You’ll find two town beaches, a boat launch on East Shore Road, and protected trails and land, including property in the White Memorial Conservation organization.

Bantam Arts Factory

The Bantam Arts Factory is a former industrial space—once home to a switch factory—that serves the community as a shared studio space for local artists and businesses. “We moved into a studio in the building in 2020 and have since grown and expanded into multiple studios. There are some incredible artists here, Carol Leskanic, Cynthia Zinser, Caylin Jensen, and businesses like Bantam Blooms and Hair Factory,” shares Charlie Dumais, ceramics artist in the space. The Switch Gallery, on level one of the building, is run by artists Pietro Spagnulo and Jenna Gonzalez and features a rotating selection of local artists.

Mount Tom State Park

Mount Tom State Park is a lovely spot to take a swim or go for a hike, and the stone tower offers expansive views of the surrounding region—a favorite during fall foliage season.

Bantam Cinema

Founded in 1929, the historic movie and arthouse nonprofit, Bantam Cinema, offers independent films and live music in an intimate setting. The refreshments counter sells alcoholic beverages and fresh-made popcorn served with real butter, for popcorn connoisseurs.

Bantam Bread

The smell of fresh-baked bread wafts through town on certain days of the week and locals flock to get their hands on the fresh loaves. Founded by a New York chef, Niles Golovin, and his wife, Susie Uruburu, Bantam Bread became a local necessity after Henry Balsamo’s farm stand on Route 202 would instantly sell out of bread each week. In addition to loaves, you can purchase deserts and sweets. Golovin, who studied baking in the Berkshires, spent years refining his craft and their baked goods are so sought after, a recent review from a visiting tourist noted stuffing their

luggage full of breads and pastries for the flight home. The business is now run by their kids, Zak and Amanda Golovin, who are maintaining the loaves’ legendary status. Not to be missed.

Arethusa al Tavolo

Arethusa al Tavolo is a popular restaurant for locally harvested fare serving the more refined palette. Chef Dan Magill uses heirloom and organic ingredients where possible, including items from the award-winning Arethusa Farm, for the fine cuisine served at the restaurant in Bantam. The menu changes daily but includes dishes like walnut-crusted beet salad with grilled fig and Arethusa buttermilk, oysters on the half-shell with Arethusa smoked sour cream, pork tenderloin with rosemary-pear relish, and Peking duck breast with braised cabbage and pickled green strawberries.

Arethusa Farm Dairy

Lines go around the block in Bantam from May to October at Arethusa Dairy, located next door to the restaurant. The dairy plant team creates custom mixes for each flavor using the fresh milk and cream from Arethusa Farm in Litchfield. Worth the wait every time.

Day Trips
Although located in a small village, the Bantam Bread Company is a world-class bakery known for its crusty, organic loaves.
Food & Wine named Arethusa Farm Dairy the best ice cream in Connecticut.

Farm Field Trip Experience freshness

firsthand at these agritourism destinations

No matter how much the RI region grows and changes, the core of its charisma will always be its farms. Still, it’s a relatively modern development for farms to become destinations filled with lots to do and see. Chocolate, ice cream, lavender, cider, and markets (as well as some very happy cows) are waiting for you down at these farms.

High Lawn Farm

Lee, MA

Caramel brown Jersey cows, with their big, beautiful eyes, graze lazily on the crest of a Berkshire hilltop beneath High Lawn’s fairytale clock tower. Their milk has been popular locally for generations, but over the past decade, High Lawn has grown to include an idyllic farm store offering its cheese, butter, and fabulous ice cream. By the pint or cone, scoops are well enjoyed on the spot as you visit with the cows who made them.

Thorncrest Farm/MilkHouse


Goshen, CT

Kimberly Thorn swears happy cows make better chocolate. The farming chocolatier gives different feed to different cows, depending on what confection their milk is intended for. The barns are designed to enhance the animals’ relaxing lifestyle, and that calm is transferred into the quality of the chocolate, according to Thorn. Visit the bovines, then learn who contributed the milk for which chocolate. You’ll leave with a greater appreciation for both cows and candy.

Vine Gate Lavender Floral Farm

Hillsdale, NY

The scent of freshly growing lavender is a singular sensation. Walking

Day Trips
High Lawn Farm, Lee, MA Vine Gate Lavender Floral Farm, Hillsdale, NY

among the rows at Vine Gate is to teleport to Provence. The farm is open to the public, and walking the fields has become a gift to regulars who revel in the tranquil scenery and aroma. Pick your own lavender and create a floral bouquet as you stroll through more varieties of the flower than you knew existed. Owner Ron Reinken will be happy to explain the purposes for each variety and demonstrate how to cut the plant and how to care for it.

Hogan’s Cider Mill

Burlington, CT

This cider mill is here to remind us that agriculture is fun. A hard cider cocktail with a donut on top is pretty clear evidence of that. Hogan’s has crafted a quaint and laid-back setting for a drink at picnic tables beside a red barn and vintage vehicles. The owners of Hogan’s don’t take themselves too seriously and their cocktail menu reflects that; they’re more than happy to adulterate their highly crafted ciders with all manner of mixers. The concoctions change with the seasons and the ingredients are always inventive.

Greig Farm

Red Hook, NY

Greig seems to multiply its offerings every season. The farm store is augmented by a large craft market in the converted barn full of stalls from local makers. Also on site: an art gallery, farmers’ market, a farm stay, a small airplane landing strip, goats for feeding and petting, a popular pick-your-own berry program, and (believe it or not) even more things to do.

Donuts top hard cider drinks at Hogan’s Cider Mill. Scan here for our take on the Drunken Donut.

Thorncrest Farm/MilkHouse Chocolates, Goshen, CT

attractions. Bard’s Fisher Center is a hub for live performance, as is the Center of Performing Arts at Rhinebeck and Kaatsban Cultural Park. The buildings and grounds of the Montgomery Place and Wilderstein historic sites are beautiful and offer poignant windows into the region’s past as well.

There are some picturesque lowintensity hikes at Poet’s Walk and Ferncliff Forest or, to enjoy all the outdoor ambience with less physical effort, there is an ever-increasing number of farm breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries with highquality beverages served in modern barns. There’s Rose Hill, Lasting Joy Brewery, and Slow Fox in the towns proper and quite a few more just outside the towns’ borders in just about every direction, like Tousey Winery, Hudson Valley Distillery, Branchwater Distillery, and Black Snake Brewing Company.

A Day (or Two) in Rhinebeck & Red Hook

Rhinebeck and Red Hook, at the top of Dutchess County along the Hudson River, have shared a cultural personality since they were founded as a single British precinct in 1737. The village of Rhinebeck sprang up at a crossing of the Kings Road (now Route 9), and a Sepasco Native American trail to the river (now Market Street).

Through the 1700s Red Hook was a small settlement centered around the Historic Elmendorf Inn. Until it became its own town in 1812, Red

Hook was called Hardscrabble. The two towns grew together and today feel like they have a lot in common— but don’t say that to their high school sports teams.

Each contains historic villages and cool outposts by the river. Rhinebeck has the cozy Amtrak train station hamlet of Rhinecliff and Red Hook hosts the quaintly hip Village of Tivoli, infused with the artistic energy by nearby Bard College.

Between both towns there’s a high concentration of art and historic

The Village of Rhinebeck is handsome, walkable, and delicious. The shopping district is versatile, with businesses including Hammertown for your home, Periwinkles for bath and body, Pegasus Footwear for your feet, Hummingbird Jewelers for your other appendages, the Rhinebeck Vinyl Vault for your records, and Megabrain Comics or Oblong Books for your mind. The Upstate Films Starr Cinema independent movie theater is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Rhinebeck this year, with programming as sharp as ever.

Rhinebeck has an active and enthusiastic arts culture that motivates the character of the town, aided by the presence of T Space, Art Gallery 71, Albert Shahinian Fine Art, The Beck, and more. The village has become a winter destination for its spectacularly unique Sinterklaas Parade it throws just before Christmas. Massive handcrafted moving sculptures dance through the streets illuminated by paper lanterns.

Through the summer, events at the Dutchess County Fair Grounds bring

Day Trips
Market Street, Rhinebeck, NY
These Dutchess County towns exude panache and offer plenty to explore

thousands to the area for the fair, as well as a slew of other events like car shows and craft fairs.

Any visit to Rhinebeck is punctuated by great food. For a window into the village’s past, eat at Foster’s Coach House or the Beekman Arms Tavern, the latter established in 1704. The Amsterdam, GiGi Trattoria, Terrapin, Market St., and Le Petit Bistro and a dozen other eateries have built fine reputations in our more recent century. For a treat, swing into Samuel’s Sweet Shop, owned by resident movie stars Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

The Village of Red Hook, though smaller than Rhinebeck, has a number of great reasons to visit. The unofficial center of town is Taste Budd’s Cafe, which, along with breakfast, lunch, and stocked house-made chocolate and confections cases, has an open space with tables and couches for the community to gather. Owner Dan Budd also founded Red Hook Responds, which fed thousands during the pandemic and has remained an active community support network.

There are a number of small businesses worth your time in the village, including Shoppe Girl, Little Pickles and the Crows Nest but you may be most impressed by how good and reasonably priced the food is here. Over the past decade The Flatiron steak house has transformed from a hip new spot to hip institution. There’s the popular Savona’s, Yum Yum Noodle Bar and three Hispanic restaurants; Sabroso, Cancun’s and Bubby’s. Cut loose at Charlie O’s, go for French at Brigitte Bistro or Indian at the Red Hook Curry House or slide into a booth at the iconic Historic Red Hook Diner. Also, the wood-fired pizzas at Lucoli’s are in the running for the best around.

Rhinebeck and Red Hook make up their own little Hudson Valley region with a feel and flavor all its own. The atmosphere is down to earth yet elegant, whether you’re stopping through or staying a while.

Day Trips
The Amsterdam , Rhinebeck, NY
Poet’s Walk, Red Hook, NY

The Quintessential Berkshires

10 places that elicit the county’s ineffable essence

The Clark Art Institute


Opened in 1955 to house and exhibit the collection of Sterling and Francine Clark, the museum is the site of celebrated works of art—by Monet, Pissarro, and Constable among others—and it’s an important research center for scholars, museum professionals, and researchers. The verdant campus is also filled with artworks and is free to explore.


North Adams

A sprawling 19th-century mill complex in North Adams was transformed into the world-renowned center for contemporary art and performing arts in 1999. Its massive galleries host permanent and rotating exhibits of cutting-edge sculpture and installation art. Be sure to visit “Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective,” displaying 105 of LeWitt’s large-scale wall drawings.

Mount Greylock


Nothing tops Mount Greylock, Massachusetts’s highest peak, from which you can see Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. The paved road is open to vehicular traffic from dawn to dusk (until mid-October, when it closes for the season). At the top, visit the Veterans’ War Memorial Tower and Bascom Lodge, which is open for breakfast, lunch, drinks, and a prix-fixe dinner.

Hancock Shaker Village


Immerse yourself in the region’s rich Shaker history at this living history museum. The famous 1926 Round Stone Barn is an architectural icon and agricultural wonder. Many of the structures of the former commune feel lost in time. The village, also a working farm, offers public events throughout the year.

The Mount Lenox

You could spend an entire day at Edith Wharton’s jaw-dropping estate. The main house is used for exhibits about the author and the terrace for music and refreshments. The spectacular gardens and grounds are free and open daily from dawn to dusk.



The big kahuna of music festivals, Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Popular Artist Series bookends the festival. Sit in the Koussevitzky Music Shed or on the lawn, where picnicking is an art and the music, through speakers, is acoustically fine.

W. E. B. Du Bois

National Historic Site

Great Barrington

The Black author and activist was born in Great Barrington. An interpretive trail highlights Du Bois’s journey to the world stage. There is also a guided tour of the Du Bois homesite.

Norman Rockwell Museum


Step into a Rockwellian world at the museum dedicated to the American artist/illustrator. You’ll find Rockwell’s large-scale original paintings and 10 galleries of ever-changing special exhibitions dedicated to contemporary illustration. Be sure to reserve the 20-minute guided tour of his studio.

The Town of Stockbridge

Stroll around the quaint town of Stockbridge, which has stayed strikingly similar to the scenes depicted by Rockwell. Bonus: Have a drink on the patio at the famous Red Lion Inn or a meal in its dining room, where you’ll find the corner that served as the backdrop for Rockwell’s famous Freedom from Want painting.



This Gilded Age estate is renowned for its elegant gardens and Berkshire “cottage” (read: mansion). The former summer retreat of the Choate family sits on 48 acres with five gardens. Pack a picnic and marvel at what may be the most breathtaking view (especially at sundown) in the Berkshires.

Day Trips
Hancock Shaker Village, Pittsfield, MA

Tour Historic Hyde Park

The Dutchess County town of Hyde Park is not big by any standard, but it has had an outsized presence in New York State history. From Dr. John Bard, who purchased much of the land that makes up the town’s current boundaries, through the Roosevelt and Vanderbilt families, it has been a place where landed gentry built their glamorous, sprawling country estates since the dawn of the republic. Hyde Park contains four historic sites that are open to the public.

Staatsburg State Historic Site

This historic preserve in the hamlet of Staatsburg was the country home of financier Ogden Mills and his wife, Ruth Livingston Mills. Like many of the other estates in the area, it was built during the

nation’s rapid economic growth in the late 19th century. A prime representation of Gilded Age architecture and opulence, the Mills Mansion has been restored to its turn-of-the-century splendor and is open for tours.

FDR Estate/Presidential Library

America’s only four-term president was raised in Hyde Park on 300 acres of trails and gardens. Tour Roosevelt’s beloved home Springwood before heading over to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum. Visitors also have the option to take a two-hour tour of the Dutch Colonial-style Top Cottage, which was designed by FDR himself during World War II as a place to meet with other Allied representatives.


“Appropriately” close to her husband’s residence, Eleanor Roosevelt maintained her own private retreat, Val-Kill Cottage, two miles down the road. The cottage was built in the mid-1920s as a place for Eleanor and her guests to stay after the “big house” was closed for the winter. Eleanor lived there full time following the death of FDR. Val-Kill is the only national historic site dedicated to a first lady. The 181-acre property features several cottages that offered Roosevelt independence, privacy, and comfort in an otherwise hectic public life.

Vanderbilt Mansion

A monument to an earlier era, Vanderbilt Mansion is situated on 211 acres of parkland with 100-year-old tree plantings and Italian gardens. Built between 18961899, the estate was modeled on the grand, traditional concept of the English country house with the 54-room mansion as the crown jewel. Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the Vanderbilt family and their social customs as well as about the architecture and decoration of the famous mansion.

Day Trips
Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park, NY. Photo by Felix Lipov
Four former country estates display the town’s glamorous past

Taking the (Literal) High Road

The Berkshires’ Yokun Ridge, known for its scenic vistas and distinctive ecology, is home to the first leg of the High Road, a venture of the Berkshire Natural Resources Council to create a web of interconnected hiking trails connecting towns to towns and towns to trails. The eightmile footpath along Yokun Ridge links Pittsfield and Lenox along a clear and consistent hiking route.

The trail stretches from Bousquet Mountain in Pittsfield south to Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox. If you’re up for tackling the whole eight miles in one fell swoop, plan to leave a vehicle at one trail terminus to transport yourself home (“car spot”) or arrange to be picked up at the end. While the trail can be hiked in either direction, this description depicts travel from north to south.

The High Road commences on a ski slope where hikers will follow blue blazes up .6 miles of steep trails to the

kiosk marking the woodland start of the trail. From there, the Mahanna Cobble single-track trail takes one mile of switchback turns and stone steps before reaching spectacular views of Kennedy Park at the summit (plus a stone bench for resting and ample space for picnicking).

The Yokun Ridge Trail, traversing portions of Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, boasts moderate elevation changes and expansive views at Yokun Seat—whose moniker pays homage to Jehoiakim Yokun, a Native American of the Mohican tribe—and Lenox Mountain. Wide woodland trails and moderate elevation changes prevail throughout the watershed parcel owned by the Town of Lenox.

Yukon Ridge South is a wide woodland path with moderate elevation change via Old Baldhead Road, which passes Monk’s Pond. A detour from the High Road, the Burbank Trail offers a connection to Olivia’s Overlook—a popular scenic vista offering views of the Stockbridge Bowl—from which point another six miles of trails unfurl, easily navigable via the BNRC Berkshire Trails app and printable maps in both English and Spanish.

From there, it’s an easy woodland romp to the southern trail terminus, with the option of wandering through the Kripalu campus or heading into downtown Lenox, past the main entrance to Tanglewood via sidewalks lining West Street.

Since its founding in 1967, BNRC’s mission has remained “to protect and preserve the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the Berkshires for public benefit and enjoyment.” What began with nonprofit land conservation and environmental advocacy has evolved in recent years to include making these trails, and by extension this land—the ancestral homelands of the Mohican people who were forcibly displaced to Wisconsin by European colonization— accessible to all.

Unable to tackle the whole trail? Trailhead parking, for in-out hiking along the High Road, is available at Bousquet Mountain, Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Kennedy Park, Kripalu, and in the Lenox Village.

The Outdoors
Scan here for a roundup of other hikes in the region. The view from Yokun Seat along Yokun Ridge. Photo by Gabrielle K. Murphy
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Walk and Roll, Fly and Float

Choose your adventure by the elements (minus the fire)

We’ve got excursions for however you prefer to experience the great outdoors.

Stay Grounded

Clover Brooke Farm

Hyde Park, NY

Bring along a companion on your next hike…a four-legged, fluffy one. Reserve a llama or alpaca at Clover Brooke Farm and take a one-mile hike leading your well-trained, newfound friend. During the summer, the farm is a open five days a week (closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays). A ticket to reserve an animal and take a hike is $45. Hikers must be eight years old or older. Visit the farm store before you leave for hand-knitted and felted items, and yarn skeins made from the hair of animals raised on the farm. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet the farm’s goats and sheep.

Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Cheshire, MA

Grab your bike, roller blades, or just tie on your sneakers and hit this popular, paved, level trail through the Hoosic River Valley. The 12.2-milelong former railroad corridor stretches from the southern entrance of the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough to the center of Adams. It has five parking lots along its length, so you can choose where to start. Restrooms are available at the trail parking areas off Berkshire Mall Road and Farnam’s Road. The trail and picnic areas are open from dawn to dusk.

Up in the Air

Above All Balloon Rides

Chatham, NY

The beauty and surprising quiet of ballooning is unmatched. Scott Griswold and his fellow FAA-licensed pilots take passengers on sunrise and sunset rides in any of their six balloons. Rides range from twoperson private flights up to sixpassenger baskets. Experiences take about three to four hours, from a pre-flight briefing to watching your balloon inflate, an hour of flight time, landing, and balloon pack up, and a celebratory post-flight champagne toast. From June to October, balloons fly seven days a week—from Hudson, Valatie, and Kinderhook. But spots fill up fast, so book early. Shared rides start at $300 per person; private rides range from $1,000-$1,600 in total.

Catamount Zip Tour

South Egremont, MA

Imagine zipping through the tree line, watching the valley unfold beneath you. You smile at your friend strapped into the zipline next to you, then release your brake and smoothly glide past your buddy at speeds up to 55 mph! Individually controlled brakes allow you to slow down and take in the Berkshires, Hudson Valley, and Vermont views. The Catamount Zip Tour at Catamount Mountain Resort has two courses to choose from: a 1,000-foot glide across the summit, or a mile-long span—from the summit to the ground—that’s the longest zipline in the continental US. The entire

The Outdoors
Above All Balloon Rides, Chatham, NY

experience takes two hours, including a training video, harness and helmet fitting, a ground-level demonstration, and a chairlift ride up to the zipline base at the summit. Tickets are $99 per person. Riders must be at least 10 years old, 50 to 260 pounds, and 55 inches tall or taller.

Water World

Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy

Litchfield, CT

Birders: This one’s for you. The renowned Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy is a breeding center for 90 species of endangered waterfowl. Its 16 acres shelter and showcase the beauty of 415 feathered friends. Take a self-guided tour on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Designed as a loop, the 1.5-hour walking tour takes you along gravel paths through their aviaries and around ponds and lakes. You’ll see a range of birds including Great Blue Herons, owls, sea ducks, pheasants, and the critically endangered Siberian cranes. Admission on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays is $10 for ages 15 and up; $8 for seniors age 65+; and $5 per child (ages 4-14). Tickets for guided tours—on weekdays as well as weekends—start with a flat fee of $50 plus $10 per person.

O’Hara’s Landing Marina

Salisbury, CT

Catching rays, dropping a line into the lake, or just chilling with friends: all the ingredients for a fun day on the water. O’Hara’s Landing Marina helps you get there with boat rentals ranging from kayaks to pontoons. O’Hara’s Landing Marina has been in operation on beautiful East Twin Lake—with six miles of lakeshore, it’s the thirdlargest natural lake in Connecticut— for more than 50 years. Their fleet includes canoes and kayaks; 14-foot and 16-foot rowboats; and four-person fishing pontoons, plus 9 and 12-person standard pontoons. No boating license is required to book any of the boats, just a valid driver’s license. Rentals start at $30 for kayaks, up to $550 for the standard and premium pontoons.

The Outdoors
Clover Brooke Farm, Hyde Park, NY Ripley Waterfowl Conservancy, Litchfield, CT
O’Hara’s Landing Marina, Salisbury, CT

Freedom For Fido

If you’re visiting the area with your pup in tow, or looking for a place to let Fifi run free, you may want to check out some of the local dog runs. All of these parks allow for off-leash play in enclosed areas.

Berkshire County

North Adams Dog Park

River Street, North Adams

Bags and waste stations available on site. Owners are advised to bring water.

French Park Dog Park

171 Baldwin Hill Road N, Great Barrington

Bags and waste stations are available, but owners are advised to bring water. Register online prior to enjoying the park.

Pittsfield Dog Park

256 Lakeway Drive, Pittsfield

Separate sections for large and small dogs for safer play. Water is available on site.

Columbia County

Hudson Dog Park

121 North Second Street, Hudson Separate sections for large and small dogs.

Kinderhook Dog Park

54 Opportunity Way, Valatie Waste bags and disposal available on site. Fresh water is also available for pups at the hydration station.

Love’s Travel Stop

12845 Route 22, Canaan

This is a smaller area at what’s basically a truck stop. Bags and waste stations available.

Palatine Bark Dog Park

85 Palatine Park Road, Germantown Bags and waste stations available on site.

Old Route 22 Dog Run

2609 State Route 23, Hillsdale

No water on premises. Owners are advised to bring water and bags.

Litchfield County

Candlewoof Dog Park

44 Pickett District Road, New Milford Candlewoof offers separate sections for large and small dogs. Clean-up bags are available.

City of Torrington Dog Park 8 Perkins Street, Torrington

There are separate sections for large and small dogs.

Salisbury Community Dog Park 107 Long Pond Road, Lakeville Waste bags and disposal stations are provided.

Dutchess County

J. Tracy Hermann

Memorial Dog Park

147 Wilbur Boulevard, Poughkeepsie

Owners are advised to bring water and bags.

Rhinebeck Dog Park

54-56 Stone Church Road, Rhinebeck No water on premises. Owners are advised to bring water and bags.

The Outdoors


Walk at the speed of curiosity

Berkshire Camino curates single and multi-day mindfully guided walking and hiking excursions that integrate the natural environment history culture and spirit of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts

Scan the code to learn more and pre-book for the May-October season!

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Peek Into The Region’s Best Private Gardens

The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program, in which private citizens show off their spectacular grounds, is a balm for the soul and inspiration for gardeners. Our region is well represented in the lineup this season. Be sure to check out the Conservancy’s website as visitors are required to reserve tickets and note that The Digging Deeper talk and tours require additional fees.


Church House: The Garden of Page Dickey and Bosco Schell

Falls Village, CT

Talk and Tour: Gardening with birds and biodiversity in mind.

Hollister House Garden

Washington, CT Water feature, meadow, fruit/ vegetables.

Michael’s West Cornwall Garden

West Cornwall, CT

Old World-style garden, cobbled paths, terraced gardens, reflecting pools.

Garden of Lee Link Sharon, CT Water feature, woodland garden, greenhouse.

The Shillingford Garden

Salisbury, CT

English Arts and Crafts inspired garden with garden rooms, vegetables, and flowers.

Garden of Bunny Williams

Falls Village, CT Water feature, meadow, fruit/ vegetables, organic/toxin-free, native plants, woodland/shade garden.


Uplands Farm: Zibby and Jim Tozer

Stanfordville, NY

Circular romantic garden, pool folly, playhouse, and tennis cottage gardens.

Dappled Berns: The Garden of Scott VanderHamm

Poughkeepsie, NY

Garden structure/sculpture, rare plants/plant collection, woodland/ shade garden.

The Scherer Garden

Pawling, NY

Traditional cottage garden, knot/herb garden, views.

Lossing Manor

Dover Plains, NY

Meadow, garden structure/sculpture, organic/toxin-free, native plants, fruit/ vegetables, historic garden, scenic view, water feature.

Home & Garden
Michael’s West Cornwall Garden, West Cornwall, CT. Photo by Rachel Robshaw


Wit McKay

Williamstown, MA

Peonies, lily garden, pasture garden, pollinator garden, Green Mountain views.

The Barn

Williamstown, MA

Pond, staircases, grape arbor path, Mount Greylock views.

Ilona’s Garden

Williamstown, MA

Garden rooms, kitchen garden, folly, climbing structures.

328 North

Williamstown, MA

Asiatic vegetables, fruit, specialty cut flowers, regenerative practices.


Lithgow Cottage Farm

Millbrook, NY

Talk and Tour: Shabby chic maintenance for garden and grounds.

Hyland/Wente Garden

Millerton, NY

Meadow, water feature, fruit/ vegetables, native plants, scenic view.

Hollister House Garden

Washington, CT Water feature, meadow, fruit/ vegetables.


Kent, CT Natives, organics, primrose path, woodland walk, sculptures.



Stockbridge, MA

Talk and Tour: Behind the scenes at Naumkeag.

The Mission House Stockbridge, MA

18th-century Colonial Revival gardens designed by Fletcher Steele.

Rockland Farm

Canaan, NY

Water feature, garden structure/sculpture, meadow, dry/xeriscape, alpine/rock garden, fruit/vegetables, organic/toxinfree, scenic view.


Roxana Robinson — Treetop West Cornwall, CT Talk and Tour: The Garden and the Wilderness.

Hollister House Garden

Washington, CT Water feature, meadow, fruit/vegetables.

Garden of Bunny Williams Falls Village, CT Water feature, meadow, fruit/vegetables, organic/toxin-free, native plants, woodland/shade garden.


Maywood Gardens

Bridgewater, CT Water feature, meadow, fruit/vegetables, garden structure/sculpture.

Hollister House Garden Washington, CT Water feature, meadow, fruit/vegetables.


The Sumacs

Washington, CT

Garden structure/sculpture, meadow, woodland/shade garden, alpine/rock garden, fruit/vegetables, rare plants/ plant collection, native plants.

Gardens at North House Washington, CT Scenic view, water feature, wetland gardens.

Hollister House Garden

Washington, CT Water feature, meadow, fruit/ vegetables.


Ellen Petersen

Stanfordville, NY Meadow, garden structure/sculpture, water feature, organic/toxin-free, rare plants/plant collection, native plants.

Clove Brook Farm: Christopher Spitzmiller and Anthony Bellomo Millbrook, NY

Horseshoe-shaped garden, perimeter beds, kitchen garden, mixed shrub borders, sculptures.

Sculpturedale, Kent, CT

Uncommonly Great Goods

You might enter these “gift” shops with certain intentions, but we dare you to walk out without buying something for yourself.

Museum Outlets

Pittsfield, MA

As an offshoot of Museum Facsimiles, a greeting card, fine art print company, and framing facility, this elegant store is walled with framed French prints and antique maps. But there’s so much more: soft leather crossbody bags in a rainbow of color, ponchos and shawls, body products for women and men, block print table linens, sculptures and clocks, and jewelry. Your eye won’t know where to focus first (in a good way).


Kent, CT

If you hear giggles upon walking into Heron, chances are shoppers have come upon a table of tumbled marble coasters imprinted with truly hilarious statements (“4 out of 3 people struggle with math.” “Sometimes I wonder what happened to the people who asked me directions.”) They’ll lighten your spirits as you look at everything else in this color-drenched shop on Main Street: toys and games, hand-blown glass creamers and pitchers, ceramics, artwork, flowy women’s apparel as well as accessories, cards, and books.


Millerton, NY

Diminutive Demitasse was opened in 2020 by Hayden and Richard Greer with a mission: to sell environmentally and socially conscious goods. In fact, more than 90 percent of the companies they purchase from are women owned, and most of them have a nonprofit aspect to them. Check out the Milkbarn infant and toddler apparel and accessories in adorable animal and nature prints; the company supports Exile International, which empowers rescued child soldiers and children orphaned by war. That’s something you can appreciate while you fall in love with all the other similarly inspired companies and the store’s apparel, jewelry, greeting cards, desk accessories, bath products, and home goods.

Clove & Creek

Hudson, NY

Whether you’re looking for gifts for a gardener, a reader, a cook, or (who are we kidding) yourself, Clove & Creek will have just the right thing. The store has the feel of an old-timey mercantile, but the merchandise is sophisticated and modern. You’ll find flax linen bedding and oversized, comfy apparel in (mostly) neutral tones; an eclectic assortment of art, poetry, food and other books; candles, cleaning supplies, and apothecary products. Garden tools made by DeWit in Holland are artfully constructed and available in something we’ve never come across before: hoes and weeders designed for lefties. We’re impressed!

Home & Garden
Museum Outlets Pittsfield, MA Heron Kent, CT Demitasse Millerton, NY Clove & Creek Hudson, NY

Crystal Essence

An extraordinary, curated collection of Crystals, Books, Tarot & Oracle Decks, Jewelry, and Artful Gifts. Our Wellness Center offers intuitive readings, healing sessions, and spiritual workshops. Come, enjoy the peaceful community that has made us a destination for spiritual seekers for decades. 39 Railroad Street, Great Barrington, MA.

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34 RURALINTELLIGENCE.COM Jeff Wilkinson, R.A. 13 Chambers St, Newburgh, NY 12550 845-565-1835 ARCHITECTURE RESTORATION INTERIOR DESIGN 413.528.4960 623 Main Street , Great Barrington, MA 01230 DESIGN AND PLANNING Residential Design Kitchen/Bath Design Construction Management Project Representation Christopher Blair THIRD EYE YE ASSOCIATES A L i f e • P l an n i n g • S o l u t i o n s TM ® ® ® 25th Annual Sharon Summer Book Signing For the Benefit of the Hotchkiss Library of Sharon Friday, August 4 5:30-7:30 pm Wine, beer hors d oeuvres. 30 au hors and l us rators nc ud ng bes se l ng nove is s Jenny Jackson Mar ha Hal Kel y and Dan Shapiro Nonf ct on rom James B S ewar Pr sci la G lman Chris Wh pp e and S mon W nches er Chi dren s books for al ages hotchkiss ibraryofsharon org/book-sign ng-2023/ or

Tales from the Gilded

If you’re visiting the Berkshires as a reprieve from the city, you’re in good company—you’re following in the footsteps of Edith Wharton, the Morgans, the Vanderbilts, and other uber-wealthy families who built their “cottages” in Lenox. Ventfort Hall, a Jacobean Revival mansion, is now a Gilded Age museum. Step into a bygone era and join a Tuesday Tea & Talk at the mansion. All begin at 4 pm

June 20 A Thin Veneer: The Berkshires’ Sordid Underbelly in the Gilded Age

Andrew Amelinckx will speak about the Berkshires’ sordid underbelly during the Gilded Age with tales of crime, tragedy, and bedlam from his 2015 book Gilded Age Murder & Mayhem in the Berkshires.

June 27 Going to Museums with an Artist

Join painter, sculptor and author

Ventfort Hall, Lenox, MA

Lincoln Perry for an enlightening talk about not only some of the world’s greatest art, but how an artist views, experiences, and borrows from that art in his recently published book, Seeing Like An Artist

July 11 Mary Todd Lincoln as Hostess and Housewife

Learn about the life of Mary Todd Lincoln and how she went from western belle to frugal housewife to First Lady of the United States, from local Chesterwood tour guide and lifelong student of Abraham Lincoln history, Louise Levy.

July 18 Architecture of the Gilded Age in New York City

Phillip Dodd will discuss his latest book, An American Renaissance BeauxArts Architecture in New York City.

July 25 L. C. Peters: From Immigrant to Pillar of the Community

Carol Lindsay will discuss her third great grandfather, Leonard Constance Peters, who was instrumental in the development of Lenox.

August 1 Lost Gilded Age Mansions of Newport

Uncover the history and legacy of lost Gilded Age mansions and estates from Newport, Rhode Island with Gary Lawrance, architect, author, and historian.

August 8 Ashintully, the McLennans and a Special Friendship

Holly McLennan Ketron will talk about the magnificent house built by her grandmother in Tyringham, the life of three generations in the house, and the deep friendship between Grace McLennan and Mildred Bliss, creator of the gardens and house at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC.

August 15 Child Labor in the Gilded Age

Chaim Rosenberg, author of 15 books largely on the role of the individual in shaping American greatness, will tell us about two million American children under 16—some as young as four or five—at the close of the 19th century who were employed on farms, in mills, canneries, factories, mines, and offices, or selling newspapers and fruits and vegetables on the streets.

August 22 Ogden Codman, Jr., Transatlantic Tastemaker Codman Estate researcher and lead guide, Camille Arbogast, will speak about the life and oeuvre of Ogden Codman, Jr.: architect, interior designer, and, with Edith Wharton, coauthor of the design classic The Decoration of Houses.

August 29 The World of Mary Dickerson, Dressmaker and Activist Theresa Guzman Stokes, executive director of the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, will speak about Mary Dickerson (1830-1914) who owned a fashionable dressmaking establishment in Newport, RI, and created dresses for the prominent people of Newport during the Gilded Age.

Home & Garden
Age Tuesday Tea & Talks at Ventfort Hall 35 2023 RURAL INTELLIGENCE
AXIS Dance Company performs this summer at Jacob’s Pillow.
Photo by David DeSilva

Summer Season’s Greetings

We all have gaps in our cultural narratives. I, for instance, have never seen a production of “Cabaret” (neither stage nor film), or August Wilson’s “Fences.” That’s why I’m so grateful that regional presenters have programmed some of the classics, both traditional and contemporary, in theater, dance, music, and art this summer. I’ll finally get to see “Cabaret” at Barrington Stage Company and “Fences” at Shakespeare and Company. Other time-tested masterworks include “Our Town” at Sharon Playhouse, Martha Graham’s mainstay “Cave of the Heart” at Jacob’s Pillow, “Carmina Burana” at Tanglewood, and an Edvard Munch exhibition at Clark Art—must-sees if you haven’t, and treasured classics that deserve to be revisited.

Of course, I look forward to world premieres, multimedia showcases, and star turns as well—the magic that makes up the summer season in the Rural Intelligence region. This preview is just the tip of the iceberg, our subjective selections of the performances and exhibitions that will satisfy your hunger for both the familiar and contemporary.


We like to keep up with who’s out and who’s in at regional arts organizations and watch the artistic changes that may ensue. The most surprising announcement: In December, after just 18 months on the job, Gail Samuels, Boston Symphony Orchestra president and CEO, resigned from her post. Her departure was immediately followed by the resignation of a key hire, Asadour Santourian, who served as vice president of the Tanglewood Music Center and Tanglewood Learning Institute. After a tightlipped interlude, the BSO, which summers at Tanglewood, announced in May that Chad Smith has been tapped to take over the CEO post.

Chester Theatre company named new leaders, Tara Franklin and James Barry, award-winning actors and directors who are familiar to the company’s audiences. They take over for former producing artistic director Daniel Elihu Kramer, who led the company through seven successful seasons. He’s leaving to focus on his increased responsibilities at Smith College and work as a freelance theater artist. And at this time last year, we didn’t know who would replace Barrington Stage Company founder Juliane Boyd, but BSC found her successor in Alan Paul as artistic director.

Hancock Shaker Village appointed Nathaniel Silver its new executive director and CEO to replace Jennifer Trainer Thompson, who left to “pursue other projects.”

…and Transformations

Hotchkiss Library of Sharon is planning to move into its renovated and expanded space this summer. In January, Berkshire Botanical Garden held an old-fashioned barn raising for its new Farm in the Garden camp building/event space. Also in the building stages are an adjoining pergola for outdoor classes, and an amphitheater. Greatly anticipated is the opening of Morrison Gallery’s new space in Kent. It’s set to open imminently (if not by the time you’re reading this), with more than 6,000 square feet, 20-foot ceilings, and grounds for sculpture. Expect to see work by artists that gallerist Billy Morrison has brought over from Europe.

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Scan here to see what’s playing on area stages this week and next.


Another summer, another embarrassment of riches when it comes to theater in the Rural Intelligence region. What’s even better is that we’re not seeing caveats or protocols or the need to switch to tented productions anymore. Whether or not you consider the pandemic to be over, it’s definitely not the leading factor in how theater presenters are programming this summer. As always, it’s no easy feat to pick out a handful of must-see shows, but these will give you an idea of the variety of theatrical productions planned for area stages.

Williamstown Theatre Festival

“This season is going to feel very different,” says Interim Artistic Director Jenny Gersten. As it takes the year to consider how to transition from a summer stock tradition to a more contemporary, sustainable format, WTF will be presenting shorter runs of solo performances (comedian Hasan Minhaj, July 13-15, and Broadway legend Laura Benanti, July 16), a return of the WTF Cabaret

series featuring popular plays and festival artists, and Fridays@3 reading series. Also different: Artists and audiences will be sharing the stage in a newly created environment they’re calling the 2023 Festival Stage. Finally, the company is coproducing “A New Brain” with the Barrington Stage Company, a musical by William Finn. We look forward to experiencing this reimagined way of programming— perhaps temporary, perhaps not—a summer season.

on weekends, the Main Stage Reading Jesse Tyler Ferguson performing at Williamstown Theatre Festival’s Late-Night Cabaret. Photo by Aden Parsons


“Cabaret.” Alan Paul aims to make a splash in his debut as BSC’s new artistic director. For his first show in his premiere season, he chose to direct Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret”— not just because it’s one of his favorite musicals, but also because its subject matter bears an eerie prescience to current affairs. It will be led by Krysta Rodriguez (NBC’s “Smash,” Broadway’s “Into the Woods” revival) as Sally Bowles. Tickets for BSC’s opening musicals go fast, so we suggest you reserve yours now. June 14-July 8.

“A New Brain.” As mentioned previously, it’s being produced in

association with Williamstown Theatre Festival, and it has a local connection: Its author is Tony Award winner and Berkshires resident William Finn (of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” fame). He wrote the music and lyrics, and cowrote the book with Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner James Lapine. It’s a deeply personal story about a writer coming to terms with his harrowing illness and the healing power of art. August 16-Sptember 9.


“Fences.” A Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama and Tony Award winner for Best Play, “Fences” is part of August

Wilson’s acclaimed American Century Cycle, a series of 10 plays that charts the African American experience throughout the 20th century. Those of us who weren’t lucky enough to see it on Broadway now have the chance to see this acclaimed drama as interpreted by S&Co in the Tina Packer Playhouse. July 22-August 27.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Shakespeare’s dreamy comedy will seem even more magical when it’s set outdoors at the New Spruce Theatre, where nature becomes another character among the forest fairies. August 1-September 10.

“Much Ado About Nothing” at Shakespeare & Company. Photo by Nile Scott Hasan Minhaj showcases his work-in-progress, “Experiment Time,” at the Williamstown Theatre Festival July 8-9.
Photo by Tyler Babin

Berkshire Opera Festival 2023



The Colonial Theatre Pittsfield, MA

The unbridled passion of this ageless tale has made it a favorite of audiences for over a century. Join us for Puccini’s unforgettable romance. Sung in Italian with projected English translations.




Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

Great Barrington, MA

Enjoy an afternoon of arias and ensembles that span over 200 years of operatic composition, sung by strong characters who each ‘broke the mold’ in their own way.

Connect here to buy tickets and find out more about the season


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Baroque, Bel Canto, and Beyond SEASON SPONSORS
Season Thieves of Love KEN LUDWIG’S DEAR JACK, DEAR LOUISE May 26 – July 30 THE CONTENTION: HENRY VI, PART II by William Shakespeare June 17 – July 15 AUGUST WILSON’S FENCES July 22 – August 27 A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare August 1 – September 10 GOLDA’S BALCONY by William Gibson August 5 – 20 A Staged Reading HAMLET by William Shakespeare September 1 – 3 World Premiere LUNAR ECLIPSE by Donald Margulies September 15 – October 22 413.637.3353 SHAKESPEARE.ORG 70 Kemble Street Lenox, Massachusetts


Community Access to the Arts presents

“I Am a Part of Art”

Come enjoy the work of artists with disabilities in CATA’s Annual Art Show!


JUNE 10–OCTOBER 15, 2023

Featuring more than 80 works from international collections



July 12 / 5-7pm

Exhibit: June 30-Aug 23, 2023

Presented by




August 22 / 1-3pm

Exhibit: July 15 - Oct 29, 2023

Sponsored in part by:

Berkshire Life Charitable Foundation, Berkshire Magazine, Frames on Wheels, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and people like YOU!


Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth is co-organized by the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts; the Museum Barberini, Potsdam, Germany; and Munchmuseet, Oslo, Norway. Generous funding for presentation at the Clark and Munchmuseet is provided by the Asbjorn Lunde Foundation, Inc. Trembling Earth is made possible by Diane and Andreas Halvorsen. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities Edvard Munch, The Sun (detail), 1912, oil on canvas. Munchmuseet, MM.M.00822, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Photo: Munchmuseet/Ove Kvavik



“The Smile of Her” A world premiere written and performed by Christine Lahti is enough to pique our interest, but it’s the actor’s own story, so… doubly intrigued. It’s based on her memoir of growing up in the 1950s amid her “perfect” suburban family and “the patriarchy” on steroids. At the Unicorn Theatre. July 12-29.


“Off Peak” After a brief run offBroadway, where it got positive notice, “Off Peak” chugs its way into the Berkshires—it involves a couple on a Metro-North train. “It’s a cleverly disguised life lesson that invites us to eavesdrop, for a fast-moving 80 minutes, on a man and woman who were once intimately connected and who now find themselves the only

two passengers in a Metro-North train car,” says Artistic Director Jim Frangione. “It’s lots of fun, with incisive writing about the difference between love and relationships, the opportunity for second chances, and of course, improbable coincidence and happenstance that make and break relationships.” July 6-23.

“Representation and How to Get

It” Inspired by Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” this solo show finds Julia Howe rehearsing a talk she’s about to give to the Boston Radical Club. It’s being produced in partnership with The Mount, which is where it’s being presented, for three performances only. Speaking truth to power always makes for good theater. August 24-26.


“Illinois” Three imaginative artists— Justin Peck, Sufjan Stevens, and Jackie Sibblies Drury—unite to create a pageant of storytelling, theater, dance, and live music. Stevens’s 2005 concept album—a cult hit that includes everything from John Wayne Gacy and the 1893 World’s Fair to Mary Todd Lincoln—has been transformed into a full-length theatrical performance with a cast of dancers, singers, and musicians. June 23-July 2.


“Our Town” The playhouse’s two musicals, “Something Rotten!” and “Oliver!,” will be followed by Thornton Wilder’s classic, which Edward Albee called “the greatest American play ever written.” An autumnal visit back to Grover’s Corners seems like a fine way to transition from summer to fall. September 15-24.

Indie rocker Sufjan Stevens’s 2005 album Illinois is transformed into a multimedia performance at Bard Summerscape.


Our region has plenty of music venues and concert series to keep any music-loving listener happy from October to March (we’re looking at you, Berkshire Symphony, Close Encounters with Music, Clarion Concerts, Berkshires Jazz, Crescendo, and so many more). But once Tanglewood announces its lineup and the others follow suit, we start looking forward to the music at the concert halls, sheds, and theaters old and new that make the summer so magical every year. Since it’s nigh unto impossible to pick out just 10 must-see tickets, we’re necessarily omitting many. We urge you to look into the other venues making music this summer, among them Berkshire

Theatre Festival, Basilica Hudson, PS21, Mr. Finn’s Cabaret, The Foundry, The Barn in Egremont, Aston Magna Music Festival, and Tannery Pond Concerts. And don’t forget your favorite local breweries, distilleries, and wineries, where music is now a de rigueur add-on to imbibing.


If you’re lucky at finding shamrocks, maybe you’ll be able to get a ticket to the James Taylor concerts (July 3 and 4), but don’t count on it. Instead, choose from a popular series lineup that includes the Steve Miller Band with guest Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers (June 23), Elvis Costello (July 1), and Jackson Browne (August 31). Here are some not-to-miss concerts on the classical side.

Scan here for our calendar of events, where you can link directly to these venues.

Opening Night at Tanglewood

Anyone can go to opening night at Tanglewood and be part of the festive event. The concert will be conducted by Maestro Andris Nelsons and will feature pianist Daniil Trifonov playing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3. Also on the program: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 and the opening piece, Wynton Marsalis’s fanfare, “Herald, Holler, and Hallelujah.” A rousing beginning. July 7.

Andris Nelsons conducts Beethoven and Orff’s “Carmina Burana”

Adored conductor, great composers, and master vocal work: It’s going to be quite a night in the Koussevitzky Music Shed. The program starts with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3.

Andris Nelsons conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. Photo by Hilary Scott

Then, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Boston Children’s Chorus, three soloists and the Boston Symphony Orchestra will shake the earth with Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” July 16.

Emanual Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma perform an All-Beethoven program

This all-star trio plus all Beethoven is an annual concert that never fails to draw the crowds. Ax, Kavakos, and Ma will perform a trio version of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 and the Piano Trio No. 7 in B-flat, Op 97, “Archduke.” August 25.


Horszowski Trio Plays Schubert’s The Trout

This is the perfect concert in which to experience the serenity of Music Mountain’s mountaintop grounds in Falls Village, Connecticut. The Horszowski Trio will perform works by Smetana and Chihara, then will be joined by two other musicians for Schubert’s ravishing Trout Quintet. It’s a piece you can never hear too often. June 25.

Kellin Hanas Quintet

Saturday evenings at Music Mountain are devoted to jazz, and this is your opportunity to hear Hanas, a 21-yearold trumpeter (and comedian!) as she rises to the top of her field. Not even out of school yet—she’s studying at Manhattan School of Music—she’s already toured with The Manhattan Transfer and debuted her quintet at Birdland. August 12.


We’re so happy to welcome the newly renovated theater in Adams, Massachusetts, to the area’s stages. While not completely finished with the rehabilitation, the organization is offering a “pop-up” season of performances. We look forward to Floating Tower, a collective of actors-musicians whose program, “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” is an immersive musical homage to the spirit of Ukraine. July 1, 2.

Kellin Hanas brings her quintet to Music Mountain.
Photo by Erik Bardin


“La Boheme”

Although the Berkshire Opera Festival offers aria programs and, in other years, operas by contemporary composers, it sticks to the classics for its mainstage production. Puccini’s “La Boheme” is always a fan favorite. At The Colonial Theatre. August 26-September 1.



de Tolache

The Fisher Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and commemorating it with a community celebration featuring Flor de Toloache, the Latin Grammy Award-winning,

all-female mariachi band. The group will perform on the lawn of the Fisher Center, and the concert will be followed by dancing in the Spiegeltent. July 15.


PUBLIQuartet: “What Is American”

We love that the Stissing Center is committed to presenting chamber music, and that it brings us groups like PUBLIQuartet with its modern interpretations of chamber music. In “What Is American,” the group explores the kaleidoscope of composers and diverse genres that make up American’s musical history. August 27.


The theme of this summer’s vaunted chamber music festival is “Instrumental Insights,” and selected concerts will explore a particular topic, illuminated through music. In “Musical Inspirations,” composers— Beethoven, Williams Grant Still and Alfred Schnittke—draw inspiration from interesting sources. Pianist Boris Berman will share the stage with immensely talented Norfolk fellows. And for those who regularly attend these concerts, there’s news:Tthe Music Shed is now air conditioned. July 28.

PUBLIQuartet plays at the Stissing Center on August 27.

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In our region, spring and summer historically make up the peak blooming season for professional dance performance. This year, indeed, there’ll be no shortage of options in terms of the number of events and the variety of the blossoms. Oh, but how to choose? This small sample, in chronological order, is NOT a “Top 10” list—art is subjective!—but rather a hint of the variety of aromas that’ll be wafting through our venues, with an emphasis on (mostly) local debuts. There are lots of returning favorites, no worries there. My goal here is to point you down various pathways, but you have to agree to dig deeper: A garden of delights awaits!



Multimedia is hard to compartmentalize; that’s why this show is included in both theater and dance previews. Justin Peck and Sufjan Stevens were rising stars in their respective art forms (Peck is a former dancer with New York City Ballet, where he is now a resident choreographer. Stevens is a multitalented musician whose compositions float in indie/alternative pop/rock/folk genres). Their first stellar collaboration, Peck’s ballet “Year of the Rabbit,” premiered in 2012. Always playful and clever, there’s often a deeply human aspect to their works, and tiny, surprising moments of subtle, sometimes melancholic, truth and beauty. This new project—with a story by Peck and Jackie Sibblies Drury, and choreographed to new arrangements of Stevens’ 2005 album Illinois, which will be played live—has all the makings of an epic experience. June 23-July 2.


Mikhail Baryshnikov at 75: A Day of Music and Celebration

Although a Russian import, Baryshnikov has long been a beloved artistic citizen of the world, and very specifically, a denizen of New York City, where his Baryshnikov Arts Center is located. BAC and Kaatsbaan Cultural Park join forces to celebrate this iconic, diverse dancer/actor/artist/ genius in an afternoon of musical performances by luminaries including Laurie Anderson and Mark Morris. Never mind that it’s not actually a dance-filled event: a bona fide dance phenomenon is being feted, and that’s enough for me. June 25.


Dutch National Ballet

Somehow, the mighty Dutch National Ballet has never performed at the Pillow, but hold on to your socks, the company is making its debut this summer. The Netherlanders perform a wide-ranging repertoire, from the

“Mikhail Baryshnikov at 75: A Day of Music and Celebration” at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park. Photo by Arthur Elgort

classics to the very contemporary. The Pillow program offers generous doses of the scope of the dancers’ finely honed ballet technique in Victor Gsovsky’s formal, devilish-butcharming “Grand Pas Classique,” Hans Van Manen’s playfully smoldering “Five Tangos,” William Forsythe’s cheeky “The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude,” and Wubkje Kuindersma’s sweetly melancholic “Two & Only.” July 5-9.

AXIS Dance Company

Another established company making its Pillow debut this summer, the disabled, non-disabled, and neurodiverse contemporary dancers of the San Francisco-based AXIS both subtly underscore and exuberantly highlight the universal humanity that is inherent in dance. Performing on the Pillow’s outdoor stage against the breathtaking backdrop of the Berkshire Hills, the company will present a triple bill which includes Asun Noales’ sensually tactile “Desiderata” and Robin Dekkers’s fluid, swirling “Flutter.” July 14-16.

“She’s Auspicious” Mythili Prakash

One of my favorite pieces of the “America(na) To Me” program (the mosaic of dance that opened last year’s Pillow Festival) was the Bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer

Prakash’s “Ar | Dha.” The movement was sumptuous yet subtle, the work an at-once playful and provocative feminist spin on an old tale. In her new work, Prakash continues to push and open the envelope of tradition wider, as the piece, according to the Pillow, “references mythological and cultural practices surrounding the Goddess as well as societal expectations of femininity.” July 21.

“Hip Hop Across the Pillow” Various artists

How fitting that the site of the US’s oldest theater built specifically for dance should host a big 50th birthday party for hip hop, the Bronx-born cultural movement that has grown into one of the most inspiring and influential multi-faceted art forms of our time. The Pillow celebration will span across the campus, including performances in the iconic Ted Shawn theater and at various spots outdoors. The variety of events will feature some of the celebrated movers and shakers of the expansive genre. August 2-6.

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks

Our neighbors to the north (specifically, Calgary) who comprise this 38-year-old company—also making its Pillow debut this summer— are clear where jazz comes from, “recognizing themselves,” as the Pillow

website notes, “as guests in a form born out of Black American culture and the African American experience.” This acknowledgement is further celebrated by explorations of where it might go next. The chamber-sized company will be joined by a live band and vocalist. August 9-13.

Martha Graham Dance Company

No, the grande dame of early US modern dance companies isn’t making its “local debut;” the Graham company has become a fairly regular Pillow presence in recent years. The program is comprised of one of the troupe’s mainstays, Graham’s stylized, dramatic 1946 “Cave of the Heart” (with sets by the iconic artist Isamu Noguchi), and the 2022 “CAVE,” choreographed for the company by contemporary choreographer Hofesh Shechter. August 6-20.


“Runners” Cirk La Putyka

Artists are always finding new ways to tell familiar narratives. In “Runners,” four circus artists and two musicians of the Czech Republic circus/theater group Cirk La Putyka take a common theme of our time—our lack of time and our rushing about to try to keep up—and turn and tilt and catapult it. If the moral of this particular story is to work toward a more humane pace, the performers’ astonishing skills, and the set’s spectacular, giant treadmill may, at least in the moment, make viewers’ hearts race. July 22.

“Save the Last Dance for Me” Allesandro Sciarroni

The performance artist/director Allesandro Sciarroni may well have saved the Italian social dance called polka chinata (crouched polka) from extinction; when he first stumbled upon this curious, athletic “courtship” dance from the early twentieth century, there were only five living practitioners in Italy. In some ways, the form was inherently nontraditional: a social-cum-ballroom dance in which the pair was always two men, a striking mix at once formal and wild, the duet embracing one another in familiar ballroomlike positioning but with a kind of grappling, almost combative energy. Courtship or survival of the fittest?

July 29.

Mythili Prakash at Jacob’s Pillow. Photo by Jorge Vismara

Scan here for a comprehensive list of art galleries and exhibitions throughout the region.


This summer’s offerings encompass art that’s dazzling, funny, playful, thought-provoking, and naturecentric. Mark your calendars now!

“Across Shared Waters”

Williams College Museum of Art

“Across Shared Waters: Contemporary Artists in Dialogue with Tibetan Art from the Jack Shear Collection” juxtaposes selections of thangka (traditional Tibetan Buddhist rolled paintings dating from the 18th to 20th centuries) from the Jack Shear Collection with pieces by contemporary artists of Himalayan heritage who live around the world. Some of the new works take cues from the traditional paintings, while others resonate, or highlight cultural differences, with the older pieces.

“Across Shared Waters” is curated by Ariana Maki. Through July 16.

“In What Way Wham? (White Noise

and other works, 1996-2023)”


Joseph Grigely, who has been deaf since the age of 10, has amassed over 30,000 notes given to him by those who don’t know sign language. In White Noise, he will paper two huge rooms at MASS MoCA with these missives, creating an epic visual installation of what hearing-abled people would take for granted as spoken messages. In the exhibition’s other works, he further explores issues of language, archives, and the foibles of communication. Through March 2024.

“Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth” at Clark Art Institute

Mention Edvard Munch and you probably think of The Scream, in which the Norwegian artist captured the

“Across Shared Waters” is at Williams College Museum of Art through July 16.

torment and existential dilemma of being human. But in the exhibition “Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth,” approximately 75 works (many from the Munchmuseet in Oslo) focus on our relationship to the earth and landscape, revealing new facets of the body of work by this famed artist. Curator Jay A. Clarke explores how Munch used nature to plumb the topics of human psychology, garden and farm cultivation, and the mythology of the forest, all during a time of industrialization. It might resonate with current times in surprising ways. June 10-October 15.

“Tony Sarg: Genius at Play” Norman Rockwell Museum

The debate between high and low art is eternal, but without a doubt, some of Tony Sarg’s work is of the highest order—his balloon designs for the earliest Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades. The exhibition showcases Sarg’s (1880-1942) wide-ranging output—illustrations, marionettes, commercial products, animations, window displays, and stage sets. Celebrated as the father of modern puppetry in North America, his wit and affection for animals and people emerge in his creations, eliciting joy while teasing the imagination. The show is curated by Stephanie Haboush Plunkett and Lenore D. Miller, working with local exhibition design consultant Carl Sprague. June 10-November 5.

“Pippa Garner: $ell Your $elf” Art Omi

The West Coast produced many memorable conceptual artists in the `70s and `80s. Pippa Garner was among them, but is lesser known than contemporaries like Chris Burden and Ed Ruscha. More than 100 of Garner’s varied works will be on display at Art Omi, which commissioned a custom pickup with its exterior reversed, marking the 50th anniversary of her Backwards Car. The new truck will

be in performances in Ghent and Manhattan during the exhibition. Garner, trained in car design, has explored commodification of things and humans. She began gender hacking using hormones and her own body as media. She also transformed banal items with wit and absurdity, and made a line of T-shirts with powerful punchlines. Sara O’Keeffe curated the show with Guy Weltchek. June 24-October 28.

Joseph Grigely’s installation White Noise is at MASS MoCA through Mach 2024. Photo by Centre Pompidou-Metz/Remi Villaggi
“Genius at Play,” a retrospective of the work of Tony Sarg, is at Norman Rockwell Museum through Novermber 5.
EJ Hill: Brake Run Helix
“IF ART HAS A PURPOSE, IT’S TO MOVE YOU.” | North Adams, Mass. SHOP HOP MAKE AKE cREATE REATE EXHIBIT XHIBIT (Formerly IS183 Art School) b e r k s h i r e a r t c e n t e r o r g | 4 1 3 2 9 8 5 2 5 2 | 1 3 w l l a r d h i l l r o a d S t o c k b r d g e & 1 4 1 n o r t h s t r e e t P t t s f i e l d FINE WOODWORK SHOW AND Silent Auction SEPTEMBER 2 & 3 AT THE Berkshire Botanical Garden BERKSHIREWOODWORKERS.ORG
— The Boston Globe

“Erika Verzutti: New Moons”

CCS Bard’s Hessel Museum

Brazilian artist Erika Verzutti’s sculptures and wall pieces (60 works from the last 15 years) display Verzutti’s inquisitiveness about nature, the cosmos, and influences from art history, including Brancusi and Koons. Abstract forms combine with flora, fauna, and snippets of news headlines and online ephemera in witty, dimensional pieces with traces of the artist’s actual hand. Curated by Lauren Cornell, the Hessel Museum show follows several prominent exhibitions of Verzutti’s oeuvre at Museu de Arte de São Paulo and Paris’s Centre Pompidou. June 24-October 15.

Martine Kaczynski, “Threshold”

Ryan Turley Gallery

Kaczynski will show drawings and large-scale sculpture using a breadth of materials including cast rubber and cement, printed fabric, and Styrofoam.

Her work negotiates the in-between— separation and departure, the symbolic threshold of time and space. As a child of the Holocaust, stability and home are recurring themes. She places recognizable objects—a canopy, fences— in situations that evoke uncertainty as they’re deprived of their designated functions. July 1-30.

Elisa Soliven, “Infinity Weight”


In the context of history, the form of the sculpted bust has loaded meaning. It has often been used to honor wellknown people (usually men) of certain achievements. Soliven spins the medium, rendering colorful, semi-abstracted versions of busts with stars—asters—for faces, and geometrical motifs dotting their torsos. Soliven will show a selection of these ceramic busts, plus vessels and oil pastel drawings related to the 3-D work. August 5-September 10.

Conversation Pit , Pippa Garner, automobile parts and mixed media, 1973. From the exhibition “Pippa Garner: $ell Your $elf” at Art Omi. Courtesy of the artist and STARS Gallery, Los Angeles.
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“Roz Chast: Buildings, Bananas, and Beyond”

Carol Corey Fine Art

Who hasn’t chuckled at a Roz Chast cartoon and stuck it to the fridge?

No one else captures the foibles of being human and the tenderness of contemporary life better than Chast, whose cartoons have appeared in The New Yorker for four decades. Relatives, friends, and domestic and city life are among the countless subjects she appraises. The renowned cartoonist and artist will show new gouache works on paper, embroidery pieces, and recent drawings. Chast, whose latest graphic narrative, I Must Be Dreaming, drops on October 24, gives a talk at Corey Fine Art on Saturday, September 9 at 4pm.

August 26-October 1.

David McIntyre, “Walking” Hudson Hall

McIntyre’s exhibition of photographs, “Walking,” shares its title with Henry Thoreau’s last publication, about guarding nature for its own sake. Hudson-based McIntyre’s stunning photographs appear almost painterly, and capture the exhilarating beauty and scope of flora. Upon confronting such magnificence, no admonitions about preventing climate change are necessary, letting nature state its own case for preservation. McIntyre was born in Scotland and has worked as a photojournalist and portrait and fashion photographer.

August 24-October 8.

David McIntyre, “Walking,” at Hudson Hall.
Roz Chast at Carol Corey Fine Art.

THE RURAL WE Aaron Meshon

Illustrator, designer, and author Aaron Meshon has been drawing a lot of lemons lately, because that old saw, “When life hands you lemons…” reflects his lived experience. A devastating fire in his Brooklyn apartment building plus the pandemic brought him to the Berkshires, where he continues to illustrate and design for magazines, ads, children’s products, murals, and his own books. He sells his work at the Railroad Street Collective in Great Barrington as well as the town’s Saturday art market.

Ask Meshon what he’s up to this summer and he’ll give you a list of 10 things, including illustrating a book about plants for Storey Publishing in North Adams, working on a series of illustrations for Adirondack Life magazine, teaching classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and pitching an animated series. But it’s not all work and no play. Number 10 on his list: He’s gearing up to go lake swimming as much as possible.

“I’m happy continuously for one of the first times in my life,” he says. “Great Barrington has embraced us, and I love it here. It’s so refreshing to be illustrating things in the Berkshires. I loved drawing New York, but it’s a full 180. This place has changed my life for the better in such a short time.”


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