Nature and Nurture in The Berkshires

by Jimmy Im
Autumn in the Berkshires

The Berkshires has everything a traveler would seek in a vacation: luxury resorts, fine dining, art galleries, prestige and privacy.

Jimmy Im

The resort’s Manor House offers 8 elegant guest rooms, and there is also a separate, century-old Carriage House with 11 guest rooms (renovated in 2017), though guests who want a little more privacy can book one of 4 stand-alone cottages (within walking distance to the mansion), each with their own private parking.

Joshua and I booked Cottage by the Path, a 1,000-square-foot, twobedroom, two-bath cottage with period furnishing and modern amenities (such as Molton Brown toiletries), fully equipped kitchen, sitting room with fireplace, and a back porch on the edge of a manicured lawn. It was perfect for my dog Ruby (the cottages are pet friendly), who spent hours out here keeping herself busy, or we’d take the short hiking trail that led back to the resort. While it did rain during our stay, it was a blessing in disguise. The cottage was comfortably cozy, and we spent time in front of the fireplace, drinking wine and staying relaxed.

Café Boulud at Blantyre - The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Café Boulud at Blantyre

The new Miraval Berkshires (55 Lee Road, Tel: 413-881-1234. www.miravalberkshires.com) is so close to Blantyre’s front gate, you could walk there. Opened July 2020, the adults-only, all-inclusive destination wellness resort is hard to miss. Miraval majestically sits on the top of a hill, like royalty on its throne, amidst 380 protected acres of land. There are 100 guest rooms, each equipped with Tibetan singing bowl and stacking stones, as well as luxe amenities, though guests spend most of their time immersed in their curated wellness programs that focus on mindfulness, including yoga, meditation, golf, fitness, culinary, nutrition, and life-affirming private sessions with wellbeing specialists. Naturally, the spa is a highlight here, featuring indoor to outdoor spa pool, steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs and indoor water treatment rooms, as well as a state of the art fitness center, two yoga and meditation studios, and healthy spa cuisine. While most activities and three daily meals are inclusive of a stay, guests can pay an additional fee for more involved activities, like aerial yoga or birth chart readings with an astrologer.

On the Miraval property is Wyndhurst Manor & Club, transformed from a historic mansion, which is a traditional resort experience (children allowed, not all inclusive). There are 11 rooms and 3 cottages, and guests can book day passed to Miraval.

For a more intimate stay, The Inn at Kenmore Hall (1385 State Road, Tel: 413-698-8100. www.theinnatkenmorehall.com) is a five-room inn opened in 2018 by Frank Mutyjens, former head of menswear at J. Crew, and his partner Edward Scott Cole. Transformed from a 1792 manor house, the stylish, rustic inn is incredibly quiet, set on 20 acres of meadow that’s perfect for dogs and their owners. The rooms are uniquely designed with high-end amenities and features such as heated mosaic tiled floors in bathrooms, hand-carved woodwork details and vintage Eames lounge chairs.

Mt Greylock in the Berkshires, Massachusetts

A sign at the Summit of Mt Greylock welcomes visitors to the highest point in Massachusetts

While the resorts have plenty of outdoor space, guests make a point to traverse the scenic hiking trails in the region. The 1,142-acre Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (472 West Mountain Road, Tel: 413-637- 0320. www.massaudubon.org) is among the most popular spots. Guests can trek 7 miles of trails and an iconic large pond, and while there’s no guarantee for wildlife sightings in the Berkshires, chances are best here, including a resident beaver by the dams.

Nearby, my friend and I hiked Kennedy Park, a network of trails dating back to the mid-19th century. There’s little to see here except for a historic cold spring, but that’s the point. We were surrounded by vast, natural beauty, removed from the normal chaos of city life, swept into a forest of stillness with no other hikers in sight. It was quite possibly one of the highlights of my trip.

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