Welcome to the Berkshires! (Part 1)

I’m back to blogging and I’m beginning with a recap of a Wedding Destination I was formally introduced to and had the ability to discover recently. I was honored to receive an invitation to attend an industry sponsored trip dedicated to exploring the Berkshires and all it has to offer. It was hosted by a wonderful committee the Berkshire Wedding Collective. The Berkshire Wedding Tour is spearheaded by Tara Consolati and the team behind Eutopia Events who loans their time and energy to making our industry aware of this hidden gem, attended by an intimate group of Planners and Publications and every moment captured by a collection of wonderful photographers and videographers.

The Berkshires is located in Western Massachusetts. Just a bit shy of a three hour drive from Manhattan. I carpooled with fellow planners Jove Meyer, Jose Rolon and Fallon Carter. You know you’re far from the Concrete Jungle when you pull the car over to take a photo of how stunning the surroundings are. And that is in fact what we did. Upon arriving, I immediately became aware that the Berkshires had a lot to offer, from its outstanding scenery to its cultural venues and historic sites. There is beauty, art and inspiration in spades. Not to mention a plethora of amazing Wedding Venues from Baroque Mansions, to Vintage Inns, Modern Industrial Museums and Rustic barns and cottages. Our itinerary for the trip was scheduled down to the minute in order to give us the opportunity to see as much as possible. A thrilling thought since it was our goal to explore the Berkshires for our clients. We arrived as the sun set and checked into our lodging location for the trip, The Red Lion Inn, a historic Inn located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The interior had so much character and decor and ambience was the epitome of quaint.

Our adventure began with a Welcome Dinner at Wheatleigh, one of the smallest members of The Leading Hotels of the World located in Lenox, Massachusetts situated on a Berkshire Knoll with as equally breathtaking views of both mountains and lakes.

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The Entrance to Wheatleigh was lit festively for the Fall Season.

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Wheatleigh, originally a 19th Century Palazzo, is restored with 19 magnificently manicured quest accommodations. A clean, neutral, masculine aesthetic decoratively provides the perfect environment to host an entire weekend of wedding related events. European trained staff and service to complement the history of the location. Food impeccably prepared by Chef Jeffrey Thompson will have your guests transported to the charm and elegance of European culture.

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The first full day of touring began with a visit to The Kemble Inn, a luxury Bed and Breakfast located in Lenox, Massachusetts. Luxury is putting it politely. The Kemble Inn is an 125 yr old Gilded Age Mansion renovated to resemble a sophisticated New York City inspired boutique Hotel. Every piece of furniture, accessory and art that adorns the walls of the 13 Room Lodging and Restaurant and Event Space reflects a fresh contemporary yet cozy environment. All food for for the in house Restaurant Table Six and any event hosted on site is prepared by Chef Ron Reda, former Chef to the White House for Bill Clinton.

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Top Photo: Table Six Restaurant located at The Kemble Inn.

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The outdoor views are as refreshing as the curated interior design. A veranda, patio, and expansive lawn lend themselves perfectly to hosting intimate and voluminous celebrations, with a picturesque view of the Bekrshire mountains to remind you of your idyllic setting.

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Following The Kemble Inn was a visit to The Mount, a historic site designed and built by, and home to the Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist, Edith Wharton. The property has various indoor and outdoor options to host an extravagant affair or an intimate celebration. Every inch of the Estate is suited to enhance some spectacular photo opportunities, some of which we took advantage of as a group. Wharton was inspired by Italian Villas and European architecture, which is evident in the structure of the Main House, the Garden and overall Landscaping of the grounds. The interior of The Mount certainly embodies the spirit of Edith as it is an autobiographical home. There is history, memory and value to everything that lives in this home.

Fun Fact: Five Percent of National Historic Landmarks are dedicated to Women and The Mount is one of them.

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Top: I’m pictured with fellow New York Planners Jose Rolon of Jose Rolon Events, Fallon Carter of Fallon Carter Weddings and Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events.
Botton: All attendees of the Berkshire Wedding Tour pose for a photo amidst the Fall foliage.

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We departed The Mount and headed to Hancock Shaker Village which houses spectacular grounds and a working farm available for events. I was specifically thrilled to spend some quality time with some cows, a feature I was later informed you could choose for your wedding. With the placement of Salt blocks, you can choose to have the cows near the fences so guests can choose to interact with them or far in the distance. Referred to as “The City of Peace” which is absolutely fitting when you step foot on the quiet and serene outdoor living-history museum. Tented or not, small or large, indoors or outdoors, Hancock Shaker Village is the perfect backdrop for Rustic elegant affair.

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Exploring the outdoor tented and indoor options for events

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Touring the grounds and admiring the minimalist views of 750 acres in the rural Berkshires

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Everyone enthralled with the Farm animals

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Serene, simplistic and rustic interior

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Brittny Drye of Love Inc Magazine and Fallon Carter of Fallon Carter Weddings have some fun with the fallen leaves

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Despite our exhaustion and overstimulation of a full day of venue touring, our final visit of the day was one that awoke all of our senses. MASS MoCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Massachusetts, home to an inspiring array of different forms of art and an exquisite industrial, modern space to host weddings and events. We had the pleasure of taking a tour of the Museum and the current exhibits as well as be treated to a gluttonous meal by Fire Roasted Catering.  From fresh ingredients presented as entertainment, to fantastic floral arrangements and personalized calligraphic place settings, the evening was one to remember and one Michelle Girard Photography captured spectacularly. Click here to visit Michelle’s blog post with a beautifully curated selection of images that accurately outlines the coverage of our final visit and the evening’s affair on our first day of touring.

Thank you to all the photographers featured in this post: John Seakwood, Sandra Costello and Michelle Girard. Take a look at #berkshirewedtour on Instagram and Facebook to see some behind the scenes, off-hour amateur photos taken by all the attendees. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my industry getaway to the Berkshires and all the remaining venues and vendors I discovered.

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