Summer is in Full Swing

The Shed at Tanglewood
Beautiful skies of Tanglewood

Summer is in full swing in the Berkshires as are Tanglewood and all the theaters, Jacob’s Pillow, and the museum. The Berkshires are bustling with people. Will you be visiting us this summer? The program at Tanglewood is mostly Bernstein to celebrate his 100th birthday. The theaters have some wonderful plays going on too! Did you know that the Berkshires has a 1/2 TIX program? Same day half price tickets are available at the Lenox Chamber of Commerce (4 Housatonic Street) and a few other locations Tuesday through Sunday; noon until 4:30 pm. Monday tickets may be purchased on Sunday. The venues participating this year are: Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Theatre Group, Capital Steps at Cranwell, Chester Theatre Company, Mac-Haydn Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, Tanglewood and The Theater Barn. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis on a cash only basis. If you haven’t made plans you just might get an amazing deal! For more information call the 1/2 TIX hotline at 413-7432-1339; information is updated by 11 a.m.

Officiant, Amy Lindner-Lesser
Justice of the Peace & ULC Minister, Amy Lindner-Lesser, in Paris

Over the past few months I traveled to Paris. I thought it was about time that I took my own advice and did some travel to expand my mind and practice some self care. It was my first there and the first time I traveled abroad on my own, although I met up with some friends on my second day there. The purpose of my trip was to attend a two day retreat with my coach and to share a full day photo shoot with three other women. Both were eye and soul opening experiences and I have to say were successes. There’s a photo of me  (below) with the Eiffel Tower lit up in the background. I had so much fun doing the photo shoot that I scheduled the photographer for a full day here at the inn. I’ll be sure to start using the new photos more!

We are also almost finished with the inn’s paint job. It was on the books for September, but Mother Nature did not cooperate and sent us too many rainy days. Next it was to begin at the end of April, but it was still too cold. I’m happy to say they started mid-May and even with the rains of spring we are only a few days away from finish! The Rookwood is looking mighty spiffy with her fresh coat of paint, if I may say so myself!

Those Blooming Gardens!

Bloooming lavender lilacsThose Blooming Gardens, I say! No, it isn’t a bad thing. It is a beautiful thing; something to be celebrated and visited!

Which gardens would be the best places to experience the Berkshires in Bloom? I would say the Berkshire Botanical Garden, Naumkeag, the Mount and Chesterwood for starts. Each one for its own reason.

The Berkshire Botanical Gardens is the largest public garden in the Berkshires. They have an amazing array of plants and displays to please any lover of flowers. Established in 1934 as the “Berkshire Garden Center” and revered as one of the older public display gardens in the Northeast, Berkshire Botanical Garden is a not-for-profit, membership-supported educational organization encompassing more than 15 acres of land in Stockbridge. The Garden is open year-round for classes, lectures, workshops and exhibits, and the display gardens can be toured daily from May 1 through Columbus Day.

A showcase of horticulture and garden design and a “museum of living things,” Berkshire Botanical Garden features dozens of display areas that are educational, functional, and highly ornamental, with plant collections emphasizing plants that are native to the Northeast or that thrive in Zone 5b. Among the oldest in the region, the gardens have evolved and expanded over the years in breadth and variety.

Naumkeag in Stockbridge, is a quintessential country estate of the Gilded Age, a 44-room Berkshire “cottage.” The stunning home was designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, & White and served as a summer retreat for three generations of Choates. Joseph Choate was a leading 19th century attorney from New York.

With its views of Monument Mountain, its stunning collection of gardens, its original artwork, and its shingle-style house, Naumkeag creates an unforgettable experience for visitors. Walk through the equally beautiful Afternoon Garden, Tree Peony Terrace, Rose Garden,

Evergreen Garden, and Chinese Garden to encounter the playful,

Cascading steps, waterfalls, birches and gardens at Naumkeag
The Blue Steps garden blooming at Naumkeag

inventive spirit of Miss Choate and Fletcher Steele. In a PBS special on the wonders of the world, Audrey Hepburn waxed poetic about the Naumkeag gardens, especially the striking Blue Steps, a graceful cascade of staircases, white railings, pools and paper birch trees.

Edith Wharton’s home, The Mount, in Lenox is another spectacular Berkshire “cottage.” Here you may tour the stable, walk through the property and experience the sculpture on your way to the mansion. The Mount is one of only five percent of National Historic Landmarks dedicated to women. It is an autobiographical house, one that embodies the spirit of its creator.

The classically inspired Main House, elegant Georgian Revival Stable, formal gardens and sculpted landscape represent the only full expression of Wharton’s influential architectural and landscape theories. make sure to visit the two main gardens there: the formal garden and the Italian Garden garden, a favorite spot for weddings.

Wharton envisioned her gardens as an elegant series of outdoor rooms, in harmony with the house and the surrounding natural landscape.

The sunken Italian Garden uses serene tones of greens and whites which, combined with porticos and alcoves in the stone walls, creates a cool, shady respite from summer sun. The centerpiece of this garden is a rustic rock-pile fountain surrounded by white begonias.

A gravel promenade of linden trees connects the Italian Garden to the more formal French Flower Garden. The French Flower Garden’s rectangular pool is surrounded by beds of annuals, perennials and shrubs creating vivid but orderly burst of colors. Wharton loved phlox, stocks, lilies, hydrangea, dianthus, delphinium, and dahlias, all of which still grace the flower beds.

Then there is Chesterwood, the summer home, studio and gardens of sculptor Daniel Chester French, most famous for his sculptures of the Minute Man and the Lincoln Memorial. Many of French’s plaster sketches, including models of Abraham Lincoln, are on view at Chesterwood.

floral arbor
Blooming floral arbor ready for a wedding at Chesterwood

While French was initially attracted by the beauty of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, the view of Monument Mountain, in particular, became a primary focus for the location of his Studio and Residence as well as the landscape at Chesterwood. Also a talented landscape designer, French transformed the agrarian landscape, to suit his professional, social and utilitarian purposes, creating formal English gardens and woodland walks throughout the property.

These are four of many wonderful historic homes and gardens in which to experience the Berkshires in Bloom. Call us at 413.637.9750 to make your reservation today! Isn’t it time to enjoy the flowers?

Planning a Vacation? Business Trip? Weekend Getaway? Where to Search

Search The Rookwood for Availability
The Rookwood Inn

When you’re searching for a location and a hotel, inn, bed and breakfast or guest house, where do you start your search?  Google? Bing? Yahoo?

It really doesn’t matter, because you will probably see the same results everywhere. Why?

Expedia, Bookingdotcom, Tripadvisor, AirBnB etc are all fighting for your lodging dollars. Why?

They make their money by charging a commission to the hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts and guest houses that are listed on their websites. So the more rooms you book the more money they make.

As a consumer, what does this mean for you when you book through one of these?

  1. Best price?
  2. Wide variety?
  3. Easy to book and cancel?
  4. That’s what the ads say. Are you sure?

Hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts and Guest Houses want you to know that you will be getting the best lodging, in your ideal location at the best price by booking directly with the property.

Book Direct. What does that mean for you?

  1. lower rates,
  2. perks and extras
  3. upgrades
  4. special offers.
  5. dietary concerns honored
  6. actually communicating directly with the facility

You can make a reservation or pick up the phone and talk to a real person…

Once you’ve found a place that fits your needs, simply type the name of the hotel in the search box to find the website. Sounds easy enough. However, what you will find is a list with the name of the facility but with a link to expedia, bookingdotcom,etc.

Scroll down below all of those ads to find the name of the hotel. There may even be more places listed who do not use the travel sites.

Why should you care?

Book on a travel site and you are their customer. Need to cancel? Want a refund? Change dates? It can be a challenge because the travel site is the middle man.

Book directly with a property, like The Rookwood Inn,  and you are their customer. Any changes are easily handled because you are their guest. You will find a place to return again and again.


Adapted, with permission,  from a blog byChris Mason, Chef/innkeeper at the Parish House Inn located in Ypsilanti, MI for 24 years.
You can reach Chris by email at:

Update on my Rescue Dog Migo

Update on Migo – 2 years since this rescue dog who rescued me arrived at The Rookwood Inn.

A little over two years ago, after my dog Reo passed away  I knew I wanted another dog to keep me company and for the inn. I was smitten with Migo’s intellect, his quirky personality and his funny little face; not to mention his spotted paws. There was never a question in my mind…Migo was for me!

Migo was the first dog I saw and fell immediately in love with him. Here is his history. Migo was found as a stray walking along a highway in North Carolina and rescued by a wonderful woman. He was young and scared. He lived for about a year and a half in a no kill shelter but nobody was interested in him because he was very shy and timid. The shelter decided that he would be a good candidate for their “New Leash on Life” program at a minimum security prison. He has spent four months there learning to trust and be comfortable with his trainer, learning to socialize with other dogs, lots of people and learning basic obedience skills. Migo and his trainer worked on agility skills such as learning the balance beam and jumping hoops.This program, and the many others in minimum security prisons around the nation are life savers for the inmates and the dogs. The inmates learn a skill (dog training) and have the opportunity to gain self confidence and unconditional love that only an animal can provide. The dogs are spared a death sentence which unfortunately is a high likelihood in overcrowded, high kill shelters and learn to love and trust.

Migo arrived on January 30, 2016, along with almost 20 other dogs traveling to their new homes! He has settled into his life as both a family dog and inn dog and enjoys running and exploring in all weather, except rain.

I bring him to visit my mother at her assisted living facility and he is loving and gentle with all of the residents. He loves greeting everyone and giving kisses. He has even attended Friday night services at the facility. Migo also enjoys our guests of all ages, other dogs and even my cats!

Migo has become our official Rookwood Inn ambassador and, with permission, loves,  to greet our guests. He happily welcomed almost 100 guests at our last Holiday Inn tour from his spot in front of the living room fireplace. He also loves to welcome our guest dogs (did you know your dog is welcome in our two first floor rooms,, with prior arrangements?) and has been known to share a treat and information about the best places for walks

I want to thank everyone who made  it possible for Migo to come into my life and the life of The Rookwood Inn. Today marks the two year anniversary of Migo’s “Gotcha Day” when we were united. We have had many adventures and he has provided much love and laughter for not only me, but for guests and staff at The Rookwood.

Migo hopes you’ll come visit and meet him soon. He is eager to make new friends!

Tanglewood – Summer 2018


Time to Plan for Music Under the Stars

It is finally here…the schedule for Tanglewood Summer 2018! Everyone who is a fan of Leonard Bernstein will enjoy this year’s program, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth! There are performances galore, guest conductors and guest artists to please everyone.

Bernstein’s close relationship with the Boston Symphony Orchestra spanned a half-century, from the time he became a protégé of legendary BSO conductor Serge Koussevitzky as a member of the first Tanglewood Music Center class in 1940 until the final concerts he ever conducted, with the BSO and Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1990.

For me,  growing up in NYC, I remember Lenny’s Young peoples concerts at Queens College. His daughter, Jamie, will host a special hour-long program on 8/10 inspired by  these concerts and conducted by Andris Nelsons.

On August 25, Bernstein’s birth-date, The Bernstein Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood, will be conducted by BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, Christoph Eschenbach, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, and John Williams. It will feature an astonishing array of guest artists, including Audra McDonald, Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Susan Graham, and Thomas Hampson. The BSO will be joined for this very special occasion by members of numerous other orchestras with which Bernstein maintained close associations.

Presentations of Unprecedented Number of Bernstein Theatre & Film Works

There will be a staged production by the POPS of On The Town  directed by Keith Lockhart with preeminent Broadway Singers (7/7).  A BSO West Side Story film presentation with orchestra accompaniment led by  David Newman (7/28); and Fancy Free with the BSO, Boston Ballet and Andris Nelsons (8/18). Performances in Ozawa Hall include: Trouble in Tahiti with Broadway stars Alexandra Silber and Shuler Hensley (7/12), Facsimile with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra (7/23); A Quiet Place  with Tanglewood Music Center Fellows (8/9), and Candide with The Knights (8/22 & 23).

Summer 2018 – Bernstein Centennial

The Bernstein Centennial Summer celebrates Lenny at Tanglewood! Don’t miss this season spotlighting Bernstein’s inspiring talents as a composer, conductor, and educator, as a supreme innovator and cultural influencer of the 20th century. View the full Tanglewood 2018 Schedule here. Tickets go on sale to the general public at the end of January.  Make sure you book you reservations at The Rookwood soon! Call us at 800.223.9750 or book online today!


Dance at Jacob’s Pillow Summer 2018


The schedule of dance performances for this coming summer at Jacob’s Pillow in 2018 has been released. As always, there are many performances packed into an 8-week schedule.

I grew up the daughter of  dancer. My mother was a modern dancer, like Martha Graham. My childhood was spent gong to lots of different performances of every type available. We went to see The Paperbag Players, American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Martha Graham, and many others all over New York City. But my all-time favorite was going to see a performance of any troupe at Jacob’s Pillow right here in the Berkshires. I have to admit that one of the reasons my late husband, Stephen, and I were so excited to find a bed and breakfast here with its proximity to all of the fabulous cultural venues. I would be able to enjoy visits to Jacob’s Pillow often and relive my childhood memories! For the past 21 years, it has also been my pleasure, as curator of magical experiences at The Rookwood and beyond, to share my Berkshires with thousands of Rookwood’s guests.

This summer, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival has another exciting array of dance companies bringing performances from around the world to the Pillow. The 2018 season runs from June 16 with the opening Gala through August 26th and will include performances by the Royal Danish Ballet, Limon Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance, Houston Ballet, Stars of the American Ballet, Philadanco, Batsheva – the Young Company and more. Some of the performances have live music.

oo!In addition to performances in the two indoor performance spaces, Jacob’s Pillow offers free dance performances on their outdoor stage before the main performances. These Inside/Out performances may be found on their website and provide a perfect opportunity for late afternoon entertainment and picnics in a buccolic setting.

Jacob’s Pillow has a lovely area for outside dining with either your own food or food from their restaurant as well as beautiful grounds to stroll before and after performances. There is a museum which houses a wonderful collection of photographs taken throughout the history of the Pillow and a gift shop.

When planning your Berkshires visit make sure you include at least one performance at Jacob’s Pillow and a stay at The Rookwood Inn!

Hancock Shaker Village Welcomes Baby Animals

Spring means many things, but one of my favorite things is that Hancock Shaker Village welcomes baby animals. Spring is the rebirth of all living things: plants, trees, flowers and animal babies! Each year Hancock Shaker Village celebrates its growing family of animals. The round barn, a very unusual stone structure in itself, shows off new calves, piglets, ducklings, chicks, and lambs.

Enjoy your visit with the babies and their parents and take the time to explore the entire village. Volunteer led tours take you into the buildings and give you a glimpse into the lives of some of the Shakers who lived and worked in the Village. They were very industrious and, at the same time, religious. Everything they did was in service to God. You will hear some of the hymns they sung as they put their hands to God. They danced, sang, gardened, crafted stunning boxes and quilts, and farmed.

Visit their gift shop while there for some of their handcrafts. There’s a restaurant on site for lunch which specializes in farm to table food mostly from their own gardens.

Book your stay with us and we will make sure you get discount admission tickets. The baby animals will be available for viewing from April 15 ( re-opening day of the Village) through May 7.