The Berkshires

Almost 50 years after Nathaniel Hawthorne left his home in Lenox, another writer found inspiration in the Berkshires. Edith Wharton (1862–1937) came to Lenox in 1899 and proceeded to build her palatial estate, the Mount. When not writing, she would entertain literary friends here, including Henry James. Wharton was also a keen horticulturist; many visitors come here just to wander the magnificent formal gardens, which, thanks to a $3 million restoration effort, have regained much of their original grandeur.

Informative and entertaining guided tours cover the house, the gardens and 'backstairs' (the servants quarters). Look out, too, for summer events, such as storytelling nights, poetry slams, and concerts. The Mount is on the southern outskirts of Lenox at US 7 and Plunkett St. Admission is valid for seven days.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Berkshires attractions

1. Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum

2.33 MILES

This museum of railroad lore is set up in Lenox's 1903 vintage railroad station. Its model-railroad display is a favorite with kids, as is the chance to…

2. October Mountain State Forest

2.93 MILES

Most out-of-towners head to Mt Greylock, and leave October Mountain State Forest to the locals. This 16,500-acre state park is the largest tract of green…

3. Naumkeag

3.35 MILES

Designed by the renowned architect Stanford White in 1885, this 44-room Gilded Age 'cottage' was the summer retreat of Joseph Hodges Choate, a former US…

4. Pleasant Valley Wilderness Sanctuary

3.69 MILES

This 1300-acre wildlife sanctuary has 7 miles of pleasant walking trails through forests and meadows, as well as a challenging hike to the summit of Lenox…

5. Mission House

3.72 MILES

Swing by this classic 1739 Colonial home, a National Historic Landmark, if just to view it from the outside. It was home to John Sergeant, the first…

6. Norman Rockwell Museum

4.06 MILES

Born in New York City, Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) sold his first magazine cover illustration to the Saturday Evening Post in 1916. In the following half…

7. Chesterwood

4.81 MILES

This pastoral 122-acre plot was 'heaven' to its owner Daniel Chester French (1850–1931), the sculptor best known for his great seated statue of Abraham…

8. Windy Hill Farm

5.73 MILES

If you hop in the car and drive, you're bound to find several farms where you can pick seasonal produce at harvest times. The setting can be…