If I have to list the locations or the paths of the Massachusetts not to miss, I’m afraid time and blank pages to fill wouldn’t be enough.
Try only to imagine a land rich in history, charm and nature.
Maternal and benevolent in welcoming the first Pilgrim Fathers coming from Europe and – together with them – a series of traditions, habits and lifestyles which, melted with the local Natives ones, made it one of a kind in the world over time.
Think about the typical wooden houses with the lights at the windows, the scenic roads swallowed up by the colors of a surprising nature in every season.
Or also think about the historic small towns and the small villages where some among the greatest characters and masterpieces of the American literature, culture and art were born or found the perfect set.
Try to think about the unusual and marked savors of a cuisine strongly tied to its land, and the most ancient inns become downright local institutions, bearers of stories, anecdotes, curious issues and traditions.
Very often charming, unusual and original keys to the reading of the locations that have hosted them since ever.
Like the Red Lion Inn.
Massachusetts not to miss: the Red Lion Inn
“In a wonderful small town in the Berkshires, which was a village once,
in a charming road which was a way for carriages once,
the ancient Red Lion Inn gives you its most warm welcome.”
(Red Lion Inn, The Welcome)
The Red Lion Inn is one among the six precious Original Historic Inns of the New England.
Perfectly set in the magic framework of Stockbridge, in the charming and bucolic region of the Berkshires, at first sight it looks like to be peeped out as if by magic from a painting by Norman Rockwell. And actually it is exactly like that.
Norman Rockwell – one among the greatest American illustrators of the 20th century – lived and worked in Stockbridge for several years making the small town, its buildings and its inhabitants perfect characters for his paintings.
Just like in one among its masterpieces: Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, where on the right also the Red Lion Inn appears.
Still today driving along the Main Street, which gather in less than a km the whole downtown, you realize immediately that not so much has changed compared to the Rockwell’s painting.
Everything is exactly like that.
The idyllic atmosphere, the houses and their bright colors, the stores, the Red Lion Inn.
Massachusetts not to miss: the story and the anecdotes of the Red Lion Inn
“If anyone sat long enough on the Red Lion Inn veranda,
he would see pass everyone worth knowing”
For over 200 years the Red Lion Inn has offered welcome and refresh to visitors and wayfarers, always remaining faithful to the most authentic and traditional New England style.
Among its corridors, its rooms, its suggestive veranda with the rockers and the dining room, numerous world famous historic characters, artists and politicians have passed by over years.
It was built in 1773 – on Anna and Silas Bingham’s property – as stagecoaches station and inn with meals and stay overnight known as Stockbridge House.
Over its first 100 years of life it changed management several times however never modifying its use destination. At the end of the 1800s it became The Plumbs’ property – The Plumbs’ Hotel – and following the development of Stockbridge and the direct link to Pittsfield, it was widened and renewed.
In 1897 it opened again to the public after a violent fire: the Red Lion Inn.
In November 1968, remained without managers, the Inn was closed for some years – as you can see from the detail of the painting by Rockwell (dating back right to that period) the Inn’s rooms are dark and the doors are closed – and almost demolished to build a gas pump.
It was saved by John and Jane Fitzpatrick, the founders of Country Curtains, a mail-order selling company. The Fitzpatricks were so struck by the Inn’s story so that they decided to purchase it and take it back to its original splendor.
On May 29th 1969 the Inn was opened for the first time all over the year and since then – always under the Fitzpatrick’s heirs management – it has continued until today.
Massachusetts not to miss: info and contacts to stay at the Red Lion Inn
Why choose to stay or even only stop for lunch at the Red Lion Inn?
To live a dream with open eyes, enjoying calmly all the magic and the atmosphere of an old and charming inn in the New England.
To enjoy the food strictly faithful to the cuisine tradition of the Inn – the special butternut squash soups, lamb and beef stewed meat, sandwiches stuffed with masterly skill, and apple pies, chocolate cakes and cheesecakes served with coffee and hot tea in very fine china cups of the nineteenth century.
To enjoy the sunset with the music of a piano in the background, maybe letting you rock by the rockers of one among the most suggestive wooden veranda in Massachusetts, and fall asleep in comfortable “vintage” rooms with all the modern comforts.
The Red Lion Inn is opened all over the year.
Find here any info you need to book and some useful tips about all the activities that it’s possible to do and also the locations you can visit during the stay in Stockbridge.
Massachusetts not to miss: the Red Lion Inn and the (curious) list of the Christmas decorations
The Berkshires are wonderful in every season.
However if you decide to visit them in the depths of Winter, maybe right during the Holiday Season, get ready for something magic and surprising.
And I don’t mean only the snow, really frequent, but also and above all the Christmas decorations that here are considered a serious thing to which pay the best attention.
Each small town has its own decorations, its techniques and its style. And the historic Inns are not certainly an exception.
So The Fitzpatricks – since ever careful to the traditions – has followed a strict ceremonial about the decorations, faithfully following a well precise list.
Are you curious to know the detailed list?
- 29 Christmas Trees
- 37 kissing balls
- 65 Christmas wreaths
- 250 meters of grass decoration
- 54 decorations for the windows
- The Christmas tree in the Lobby has no artificial lights: it is simply decorated with a variety of old and new ornaments
- 41 Poinsettias are placed among the dining room, the hall and the common spaces
- 2 mistletoe small branches are hung in the hall
- A double of the Red Lion Inn entirely made of candies is placed in the back buffet in the main dining room. The candies displayed in the hall are given to the guests to avoid that they eat the candied Inn in the dining room
- There are 18 crèches placed in the showcases of the adjoining rooms of the hall
- And 145 little wreaths hung at the doors of the guests rooms. The wreaths are realized with recycled materials – pullovers and comforters mostly – and they are sold to visitors in the Inn’s gift store
- The meeting rooms are decorated with wreaths, beads and trees
It is carefully indicated – finally – that all decorations are bought always and only at Taft Farms’ in Great Barrington.