Literary Landscapes of Berkshire County
Mt. Greylock The highest peak in Massachusetts, 3,491-foot Mt.
Greylock can be seen for hundreds of miles. It is said to have
inspired Herman Melville, who could see it from his home.
- Ashley Falls
Colonel John Ashley House at Bartholomew's Cobble This 277-acre parcel held by the Trustees of Reservations is registered as a National Natural Landmark. Glacially deposited cobbles rest amongst hemlock, oak and birch.
Forests, streams and meadows are home to 740 species of plants,
including 45 species of ferns, and 240 species of birds. A visit
to Bartholomew's Cobble is a wonderful opportunity to experience
in one place,the diverse habitats that abound in the New England
landscape. Also located on the Bartholomew's Cobble property is
the Colonel John Ashley House. This house of exceptional 18th
Century workmanship was the birthplace of the Sheffield
Declaration (1773) against British injustice. As home of one of
the first slaves to win her freedom in a 1781 trial, Ashley House
is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Great Barrington
Monument Mountain Reservation This rugged outcrop of quartzite
has inspired such writers as William Cullen Bryant, Herman
Melville and Nathanial Hawthorne. It is also the subject of
Kindred Spirits a painting by
Asher Durand, depicting William Cullen Bryant and painter
Thomas Cole admiring the valley below. Melville and Hawthorne are
said to have met here and discussed their current works, Moby
Dick and the Scarlet Letter, as they sought shelter from a
thunderstorm in the crags of this mighty mountain.
Village Shaker values such as purity, simplicity, efficiency,
and unity permeate this landscape. Ingenious farming practices and
animal husbandry led to innovative design in architecture,
landscape, furniture and other utilitarian crafts. See medicinal
gardens, heirloom livestock breeds, arts and crafts
demonstrations, and experience the abundance of the Shaker way of
Ted Shawn Theatre @ Jacob's Pillow Formerly a Yankee farmstead
and safehouse for the Underground Railroad, Jacob's Pillow now
hosts the oldest dance festival in the United States. The
"University of Dance" was founded in the 1930's to promote dance
as an acceptable career for men, and was responsible for
introducing a new athleticism to the art form. The male students
provided the muscle required to maintain a working farm as well as
performed for the admiring audiences that flocked to see them.
"The Pillow's" outdoor venues, rural setting and rustic
architecture continue to inspire its artists-in-residence, dance
students and audiences alike.
Edith Wharton Home "The Mount" Author of classic novels
(Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence) and arbiter of 19th
Century grace, Edith Wharton created a private retreat now
designated as a National Historic Place. Her niece, Beatrix
Farrand, a founding member of the American Society of Landscape
Architects, helped Wharton design the gardens which serve as
outdoor rooms extending from the house.
Home "Arrowhead" In 1850 Melville purchased this 18th century
farmstead where he could write and enjoy a quiet family life. His
most famous novel, Moby Dick was completed here. From his
North Meadow, Melville contemplated views of Mt. Greylock. In his
rustic barn, he and his friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne, spent many
hours discussing their works.
Daniel Chester French is best known for his sculptural
portrayal of Abraham Lincoln housed within the Lincoln
Memorial. Chesterwood, his country home from 1897, houses
extensive collections of sculpture, including several
works-in-progress at the time of his death. French's passions
for horticulture and the natural world make his gardens and
woodland walks a must-see for those of like mind.
The efforts of architect, Stanford White, and landscape
architects, Nathaniel Barrett and Fletcher Steele, capitalize
on the striking views of the Berkshire Hills from the exemplary
19th Century "Country Estate" of the Choate family. The
family's extensive travels and love of the arts are evidenced
by their collections of paintings, sculpture, fine porcelain
and furniture. The appreciation of design and respect for sense
of place are experienced in the rambling walks and garden rooms
that unify the house and grounds.
Rockwell Museum No other artist has so poignantly and
affectively portrayed 20th century life in small town America.
Santarella/Tyringham Art Museum Formerly the studio of Sir
Henry Hudson Kitson, sculptor of the Lexington "Minute Man", this
unusual work of early 20th century architecture was created to
evoke the Berkshire Hills in autumn. The building's rolling
"thatched" roof and looming stone and chestnut beam construction
could be described as something out of a fairy tale. Woodland
paths, tangled wildflowers and sculpture tucked here and there
complete the sense of mystery abounding here.
Farm - "The Folly" Views of Mt. Greylock, the Taconic Range
and the Green River Valley can be had from the unusual house, now
a Bed and Breakfast, designed by contemporary architect, Ulrich
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