Packages Available: Spring, Summer and Fall
Tour Length: 4 Days/3 Nights
Whether you are new to the paintbrush or a seasoned expert, an opportunity to learn and paint at the Norman Rockwell Museum is a chance of a lifetime. Get inspired and get creative as you walk through the world’s largest collection of original Norman Rockwell art.
The Berkshires of Massachusetts is noted as a center for the visual and performing arts. The region was a summer retreat for the newly rich during the Gilded Age. It was also a peaceful, inspiring haven for literary artists such as Herman Melville, Edith Wharton and Emily Dickinson and America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French.
Discover this historic, scenic and inspiring region in Northwestern Massachusetts. Learn from the masters, witness amazing gardens, learn about Shaker life, savor local flavors and let your own creativity come to the surface.
Arrive at the Hancock Shaker Village early afternoon. The Village was included in Bob Vila’s A&E Network production “Guide to Historic Homes of America.” Explore 25 historic buildings at the “City of Peace,” a Shaker community that was started in 1783.Learn about Shaker life, crafts and farming, as you explore the main dwelling, barns, workshops, meeting house, school house and other structures. Learn how the raising and sale of garden seeds was the most lucrative of their early businesses. Enjoy a late lunch or snack at the Village’s café.
Next, visit The Mount. Designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902, the house embodies the principles outlined in her influential book, “The Decoration of Houses.” The property includes three acres of formal gardens designed by Wharton, who was also an authority on European landscape design. After a guided tour of the house, stroll through the restored formal gardens.
Late afternoon, arrive at your historic hotel. Dating back to 1912, The Williams Inn is one of the finest destination inns in New England and is now the official Williams College hotel. You will instantly feel welcome with their display of New England hospitality. After you have settled in, enjoy a walk around the manicured grounds.
Gather for an included dinner that features New England classics and updated favorites and is served in the Inn’s elegant, but relaxed dining room.
Start the day with Continental European Breakfast Buffet served at the Inn. Board your coach and travel a short distance to the Berkshire Botanical Garden. This 15-acre garden has 23 public displays of gardens that are both functional and ornamental and they are among the oldest in the U.S. More than 3,000 species and varieties are represented. An official Garden Guide will lead you on a walking tour and give you an in-depth interpretation of the gardens. After the tour, gather for a session hosted by a Master Gardener and learn about seasonal gardening topics including: container gardens, propagating plants and Garden-to-Table Culinary Delights with samples!
Enjoy lunch on your own at a quaint café in the historic Town of Stockbridge. There will be time to explore the shops and boutique stores that line the streets.
Next, explore Naumkeag, a National Historic Landmark. This architectural masterpiece is, at its heart, a family home. Joseph Choate, a leading 19th-century attorney, had the 44-room “cottage,” Naumkeag, designed and built to serve as a summer retreat. Witness the Blue Steps, a series of deep blue fountain pools, flanked by four flights of stairs and a grove of white birches. With its views of Monument Mountain and its stunning collection of gardens, Naumkeag is a quintessential country estate of the Gilded Age.
Arrive at the Norman Rockwell Museum late afternoon. The museum is dedicated to the enjoyment and study of Rockwell’s work and his contributions to society, popular culture and social commentary. The Museum is the most popular year-round cultural attraction in the Berkshires and houses the world’s largest and most significant collection of Rockwell’s work, including 998 original paintings and drawings.
Gather in the museum’s Art Lab and take your seats for an exclusive opportunity to learn the techniques of watercolor painting from a locally recognized artist. Sip a glass of wine, pick up your paintbrush and create your own beautiful piece of artwork that you may show off at home.
Dinner is served at the historic Red Lion Inn. The Red Lion is one of the few New England inns operating continuously since the 18th Century. The interior, loaded with antiques, is like a history book itself!
After breakfast at the inn, visit the Clark Art Institute, home to the world-renowned collection of American and European art of Sterling and Francine Clark. Embark on a one-hour, docent-led tour of this extensive collection that includes prints and drawings, sculptures, decorative arts and paintings, followed by time to explore on your own. Most notably, witness the French Impressionist masterworks by artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renior, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot and Camille Pissarro.
Drive by Williams College, established in 1793 with funds from the estate of Ephraim Williams, a Colonel in the Massachusetts militia and a member of a prominent landowning family. Originally a men's college, Williams became co-educational in 1970. Williams College currently occupies 1st place in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 ranking of the 266 liberal arts colleges in the United States. Forbes Magazine ranked Williams the best college in the United States in its 2014 publication of America's Top Colleges.
Explore the charming Town of Williamstown and the delightful array of specialty stores and shops. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the local eateries.
Next, visit Cricket Creek Farm, one of the oldest dairy farms in the region. This farm came under new ownership in 2001 and the owners modeled their future operations after those at Shelburne Farms in Northern Vermont. They made plans to continue with dairy farming, add cheese making and to incorporate an educational component. Your visit includes a guided tour of the milking parlor and cheese making facility, time to meet the farm animals, samples of their award-winning cheeses and time to shop in their store that features products made right on the farm and other locally produced items.
Arrive at, MASS MoCA, Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum is one of the largest centers for contemporary visual and performing arts in the country. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on this 19th-century factory campus. It has more than 200,000 square feet of exhibition space, including a single gallery as long as a football field. It is home of the Bang on a Can Summer Institute, where composers and performers from around the world come to create and perform new music. Embark on a docent led tour, followed by time to explore on your own.
After your time at the museum, head over to the museum’s Gramercy Bistro. Sit back and learn of the region’s thriving brewery business. Enjoy the samples of three locally produced microbrews while your own personal server explains the brewing process and blending of locally sourced and unique ingredients.
Gather for a most memorable farewell dinner served in museum’s Gramercy Bistro. The contemporary, classic cuisine is in keeping with the museum’s mission.
After breakfast in the hotel, begin your travels back home.
Packages Available: Spring, Summer and Fall
Tour Length: 4 Days/3 Nights
Your Package Includes:
- 3 Nights accommodations
- 3 Breakfasts
- 3 Dinners
- Microbrew Tasting
- Admission to Hancock Shaker Village
- Guided tour at the The Mount
- Visit to the Berkshire Botanical Garden with guided tour
- Demonstration at the Botanical Garden led by a Master Gardener
- Time to explore and shop in the Town of Stockbridge
- Admission to Naumkeag
- Admission to the Norman Rockwell Museum
- Wine and Watercolor class at the Norman Rockwell Art Lab
- Docent led tour at the Clark Art Museum
- Drive by the Williams College Campus
- Time to explore and shop in Williamstown
- Guided tour at Cricket Creek Farm with cheese samples
- Guided tour of Mass MoCA, Museum of Contemporary Art
- Optional Tanglewood Performance (Seasonal)
- Baggage handling for one piece of luggage per traveler
- Taxes and Gratuities
- Call now for custom pricing.