Armchair Explorer Armchair-ebook1 | Page 5

// WEEKENDER THE BERKSHIRES Historic streets, farm-to-table cuisine and natural beauty can all be found in the Berkshires, in western Massachusetts, finds Stephanie Gravalese. 1 DAY 1 Start the day with a walking tour along Norman Rockwell Main Street, in downtown Stockbridge. Author, painter and illustrator Rockwell spent the latter half of his life here and was inspired by the area. Many of the buildings on Main Street were featured in Rockwell’s works, including a red-and-white firehouse that dates from 1862. Grab lunch at Theresa’s Stockbridge Cafe, the original location of Alice’s Restaurant, made famous by folk singer Arlo Guthrie, or in the courtyard of The Red Lion Inn. For a low-key afternoon, grab a seat and a drink at the Inn’s famous 2 If traveling between June and October, take a short drive from downtown Stockbridge to Naumkeag, the historic Gilded Age estate of famous lawyer and diplomat Joseph Hodges Choate. Dating back to 1887, Naumkeag is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and operates as a museum. Wander through the ornate gardens, designed by famed landscape designer Fletcher Steel and Choate’s daughter Mabel over a period of 30 years. Later, take a short drive over to the Norman Rockwell Museum, which contains extensive works by Rockwell and rotating exhibits featuring American illustrators. During the holiday season, Stockbridge’s Main Street is transformed to recreate Rockwell’s magical painting Main Street at Christmas, which depicts a quintessential New England festive scene. From left: Main Street, Stockbridge; Shakespeare & Co actors; Norman Rockwell Museum im a ge : I a n G D a gnal l DAY 2 Heading 6.5 miles north, stop and take in the view at Olivia’s Overlook. The center of the Yukon Ridge reserve, this spot is the kicking-off point for six miles of trails and is a perfect place for a picnic, with the views of nearby Lake Mahkeenac. From there, make your way to downtown Lenox for some great shopping. If theater appeals, the award-winning Shakespeare & working up an appetite, grab an early dinner at Nudel Restaurant. Chefowner Bjorn Somlo, a James Beard Award nominee, delivers inventive, delicious cuisine created in large part from locally sourced ingredients. If visiting during the summer months, end the day with a performance at the Tanglewood estate, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The venue features a schedule of musical performances, ranging from classical to pop. For a late-night bite, stop at Brava wine bar in downtown Lenox. This cozy spot serves Spanish tapas and flatbread pizzas, and offers an extensive selection of wines and beers from around the world. 6 ARMCHAIR EXPLORER 7