October 8, 1996 — that was the date my late husband, Steve, and I became the owners/stewards of The Rookwood Inn. This is my story of our inntroduction to innkeeping – – our inncredible first week as innkeepers. Happy 19th Anniversary to me!
On October 6, we packed up most of our belongings from our house in Lansdowne, PA and set out on our journey to Lenox, MA and The Rookwood Inn. So began our move from PA to MA and our lives as innkeepers.
We arrived at the inn with a car towing a U-Haul driven by Steve accompanied by our daughter, Nina. I followed with my car and daughter, Maya, with our four cats. Our dear friend, Liz, brought up the rear in her loaded to the gills car.
During our five plus hour drive from PA, Maya and I were serenaded by a meow symphony — no match for the BSO and Tanglewood!
When we arrived in the Berkshires, Maya and I went straight to a kennel to drop the cats off until we closed on the inn and settled into our apartment.
On Monday morning after breakfast, we left the full house of guests, and Steve and I went to closing. Liz took our girls to find pumpkins.
Closing went smoothly and we returned to the inn that afternoon as the new innkeepers. That evening we again had a full house of guests including a large group of hikers who checked-in that afternoon.
Liz left for her home in New Jersey on Tuesday in the middle of a nor’easter. That evening we lost power! We searched the inn for candles but didn’t find any. So I grabbed the girls and the three of us set off to find the supermarket.
Steve stayed at the inn to help guests and begin breakfast preparations. After buying all of the votives in the supermarket, we returned to the inn. Boy do I wish there were smart phones with cameras in those days! We walked into the kitchen and found Steve with a flashlight between his teeth and a whisk in his hands prepping breakfast! What a sight!
As customary, on Wednesday when the hikers were checking out, we held aside the Williams Suite so they could shower and change before leaving. Everything was going smoothly until we got word that there was a woman locked in the Suite’s bathroom because the doorknob fell off!
Steve grabbed a ladder and helped the woman out through the window. (Again, a missed photo opportunity!) He then climbed into the bathroom through the window, fixed the doorknob and we were almost ready to greet the next group of guests (of course, after the room and bath were cleaned).
Lest you think this was the end of our inauguration as innkeepers, our first week wasn’t quite over and neither were the challenges.
Friday was a full turnover of guests and a full house coming in. We had brought the cats to the inn on Wednesday and they seemed to be adjusting well. Our veterinarians had suggested that we not allow them outside for at least two weeks so they could fully acclimate to to their new surroundings.
That evening as guests were arriving, I was sitting at my desk and looking at what I thought was a reflection of our Ashley (the white cat) in the window. What I didn’t realize for a while was that the window was open and I was seeing her sitting on the railing outside.
When I realized, I tried to grab her but she ran away. I ran outside to tell Steve who was directing guests to park. He had his flashlight and looked a lot like an airport runway attendant. (Later some of our guests affectionately referred to Steve as the “Parking Nazi” for the way he directed traffic. However, when he was in charge of parking, we never had guests parking on the walkway or blocking the front entrance or driveways — something to be said for the “Parking Nazi.”)
After the guests were parked, Steve and I, with flashlights in hand, crept around the perimeter of the building whispering Ashley’s name. We didn’t want to wake or disturb guests who might have been asleep at 11:30. Finally she came to us and allowed us to bring her in.
As many of you might remember, Ashley was the queen of The Rookwood for many years. She loved our guests and their attention and was often found being pet and loved on the front porch.
What a first week we had and what memories it made! Driving to the grocery store surrouded by the Berkshire hills afire with the most spectacular fall foliage made mundane tasks enjoyable. Nineteen years later I am still sure that I live in God’s country.
I am so very grateful for the experiences I have had with Steve and my daughters here, and for the friends, family and guests who have come and stayed with us and shared their time at The Rookwood.
I am very grateful for the wonderful women who make up Team Rookwood — Chris, Mel, Jen, Kali, Lana — and the others who served along the way. I look foward to seeing what the future brings as I embark on the beginning of my twentieth year as innkeeper of The Rookwood Inn!
I’m looking forward to seeing you here soon. The Rookwood Inn is where memories are made — I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing some of mine.
We hope that this New Year brings you back to visit The Rookwood Inn, Lenox and the Berkshires!
With love from all of The Rookwood Inn Team!
Are you looking for something different to do these upcoming autumn weekends? Look no further than The Rookwood Inn for apple picking, hay rides, pumpkin picking and carving, memoir writing and for Halloween Weekend – ghost stories and Frankenstein – getaways!
As the nights cool down and the brilliant colors of fall appear, The Rookwood Inn team has been planning some fabulous activities for guests. We have collected the best orchards for apple and pumpkin picking, compiled a list of farm stands for fresh apple cider and apple cider donuts, identified places for fun hayrides and hikes for amazing scenery and leaf peeping, and can even point you in the right direction for hard cider and seasonal beer tasting.
During September, Lenox celebrates the apple with its Apple Squeeze (September 26 27). This is a two day downtown event with music, food and great sidewalk sales and art exhibits. Couple this with some apple picking and lots of wonderful apple themed food at The Rookwood and you’ve found yourself a great escape from your hectic life right into quintessential small town New England.
In addition, during the weekend of September 25-27 The Rookwood Inn will be hosting its second Women’s Memoir Writing Weekend co-sponsored by the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. The facilitator for this weekend will be Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D. who is the co-founder of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and Writing Fire Press and a professor at Simon’s Rock College. The focus of this weekend will be on place…Spend a wonderful weekend surrounded by new and supportive friends in a beautiful location, with Apple Squeeze activities surrounding you. We will provide the accommodations and scrumptious food. You bring your writing implements and ideas and be prepared to embark on the writing journey of your life. Call us for details! 800.223.9750
Halloween is coming and our ghosts and goblins are planning a fun-filled spooky weekend. We’re stirring the cauldron and getting some witches’ brew ready for you. Arrive at The Rookwood on Friday night, October 30th. We’ll have some special refreshments for you and ghost story readings by some local actors. Perhaps one of our own ghosts will make an appearance.
On Saturday, after a ghoulish breakfast, go apple picking or select your pumpkin; take a hayride to the top of Hilltop Orchard; try their Johny Mash Hard Cider, explore Lenox and the Berkshires. Afternoon refreshments will be to die for…then after dinner enjoy a staged reading at the Lenox Library of Frankenstein. Sunday morning enjoy your breakfast and then a leisurely morning in town before heading home. Complete two night packages start at $594. Call for details and reservations. 800.223.9750
August is a very special time for me. It is the month of my birth and cause for celebration for me. But it also marks the time for huge changes. The hot summer days are waning and with that start the cool nights and fabulous sleeping weather. I remember the nights we would take our daughters, Nina and Maya, to Tanglewood for a concert and pack their sleeping bags and sweat suits. The temperature differences and moisture are good predictors for our leaf peeping season. The bigger the difference in temperatures (day and night) coupled with a decent amount of precipitation mean that the colors will be brilliant and long lasting.
Fall is a wonderful times to enjoy the Berkshires! The colorful trees provide a great backdrop for drives along country roads. Lenox is known for its annual Tub Parade and the Apple Squeeze as well as the Josh Billings Run Aground. The Tub Parade is a yearly event where horses and carriages decorated with flowers parade around the downtown area. It is a throwback to the turn of the century when the wealthy “cottagers” would celebrate the end of the summer season and harvest by decorating their carriages (tubs) and have a parade. This year the 24th Annual Tub Parade will be held beginnng at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 12th. Following the parade, join the horses and carriages at Shakespeare & Company for cider and donuts.
The 36th Lenox Apple Squeeze Festival will be held on September 26 & 27th in downtown Lenox. Come and experience small town New England at its best. Here you’ll fid hadmade crafts sculptures and origial art works fillig the streets along with handmae jewelry, textiles, wood carvings, leather goods and hand woven clothing. Taste the harvest with foods wines, beers and delicacies from near and far. Farmers will be displaying the biggest and best of their harvests. Apples and all kinds of apple recipes abound. There will be live music throughout the village and special entertainment for kids of all ages! For more information, call the Lenox Chamber of Commerce at 413-637-3646.
Throughout the fall most of the historic homes and museums are open, without the crowds of summer. There is still theatre happening and our restaurants are open. It’s a perfect time to experience the Berkshires without the crowds and the scenery is perfect. Contact The Rookwood Inn now for reservations (800-223-9750).
As the dog days of summer wind down I find myself anticipating the arrival of fall in the Berkshires, Lenox and at The Rookwood Inn. Nights begin to get cooler and sleep comes easier for this innkeeper. Just as school children anticipate the first days at school, I can’t wait for the brilliant colors of autumn to emerge – the deep crimsons, the yellows, the orange and even the browns and tans. Each leaf, just as each guest of ours, is unique and I love the diversity and the opportunty to learn about all!
September in Lenox provides a great opportunity to experience small town America. There are two events which occur annually and are lots of fun for people of all ages. The first is the Tub Parade. This is a recreation of a Gilded Age event which celebrated the close of the summer season for the “cottagers” who summered in Newport, RI and then Lenox. As in the past, horses and carriages (known as tubs) are decorated with flowers and driven around the center of Lenox. Join the carriages and their riders after at Shakespeare & Company where cider and donuts will be served. The Tub Parade begins at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, 1015.
On Saturday, September 26 and Sunday,September 27 the Lenox Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the 36th Annual Apple Squeeze. The village opens its doors and streets to celebrations honoring the apple harvest. Store owners offer great deals on merchandize, galleries open their doors to visitors and some have live demonstrations. There are food purveyors in addition to our fabulous restaurants. Music fills the streets. There are even game areas for children. It a fantastic street festival for folks of all ages.
The Rookwood Inn, along with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, will be offering its second Memoir Writing Weekend from Friday, September 25 through Sunday, September 27. The focus this time will be on place. Participants will write from personal experience Experienced leader, Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D., will again facilitate. For more information, contact The Rookwood Inn. We would love to have you!
You know you have a million great stories to tell, but you’re not sure how to get going, or how to organize the stories into a coherent narrative. You want to share your life’s highs and lows with others, whether just friends and family or the whole wide world, but you’re not sure what to include and what to leave out. You know how to write your story descriptively and chronologically, but you’d like to think creatively about using narrative techniques like flashback, internal monologue, dialogue and detail to bring the reader along with you into the most powerful scenes of your life. You want the support and encouragement of a circle of women all working together to bring out the best in each other’s writing.
Spark your creative fires while enjoying the hospitality of the beautiful Lenox Rookwood Inn. Find new entries into the story of your life in a warm, supportive atmosphere. Bring your memoir in progress, your ideas, or just your enthusiasm to these intensive weekend writing workshops that will provide structure and support for a memoirist in any stage of the writing journey, from working with the initial concept of the memoir to fine-tuning the details and narrative arc.
Your Workshop Leader
Weekend Writing Retreats
(June 5 – 7, 2015; September 25 – 27, 2015 & January 15-17, 2016)
Retreats include Friday night welcome reception (BYOB), breakfast on Saturday and Sunday, lunch Saturday and Sunday, breaks, and instruction. All inclusive rate of $718.25 per person for a standard room or $835.50 for a deluxe room per person; add $467 per weekend for a second per (commuter fee is $425/weekend; limited commuter slots). Discounts for early bird registration and multiple weekends. There will also be an optional Saturday night dinner with entertainment.
Call us at 800.223.9750 to register.
1. Make Plans for your Spring and/or Summer Vacations. Tanglewood tickets are on sale to the public so you can call the Boston Symphony or go to their website and order your tickets for Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, the Symphony or the Boston Pops, for Bernadette Peters, Idina Mendez, or a host of other wonderful concerts.After that, go to our website (or call us at 800.223.9750) and book your room.
2. If music isn’t your thing, how about theatre or dance? The Berkshires offers different types of theater through its different companies: Berkshire Theatre Group (in Stockbridge and Pittsfield), Barrington Stage (two venues in Pittsfield), Shakespeare & Company (two venues in Lenox), the Williamstown Theatre Festival or Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
3. Perhaps you enjoy the white stuff when its prepared properly. There are great locations for downhill and cross country skiing near the inn as well as opportunities for snowshoeing and snow tubing. Some offer rentals and many have places to warm up with a hot chocolate. We promise to have plenty waiting for you at the in along with a delicious afternoon treat.
4. Prefer to cuddle up with that special person in front of a beautiful fire? Book one of our fireplace rooms, bring your special honey and we will supply the romantic ambiance. Check out our packages on our website for some special goodies (Sweetheart Package, Spa Indulgence Package for example) to add to your visit.
5. Bring your BFF(s) and have a girls weekend. We can arrange for massages, yoga classes, meditation for you at the inn. We have jigsaw puzzles, board games,cozy robes to make your slumber party extra special!
6. Did you know that March is Berkshire Festival of Women Writers’ 5th Anniversary? What that means is that there are literally tons of workshops and readings by women for women (and men) throughout the month of March. In addition, The Rookwood Inn will be co-sponsoring a three part series on memoir writing in conjunction with the Festival. The first weekend will be June 5, 6, & 7th at The Rookwood. Details will be coming out soon! Space is limited so if you’e interested, email me so I can get you the information soon!
For any new, direct bookings in the month of February, The Rookwood Inn will add gourmet chocolates, sparkling cider, and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to your luxurious room, free of charge.
Sweep the love of your life off his or her feet with a surprise getaway to our peaceful, fairy-tale Berkshires bed and breakfast in the charming village of Lenox, Massachusetts.
On the Road to Romance
Snuggle up in front of the fireplace in our parlor.
Take a romantic snow shoe hike or cross country ski the nearby trails and parks.
Enjoy a night out at one of Lenox’s many delicious restaurants or a night in, uninterrupted by the outside world’s worries and responsibilities.
Valentine’s Day (or any other February night) at The Rookwood Inn is sure to be an irreplaceable and treasured memory.
New February reservations only, please. Not to be combined with any other discounts or gift cards. Photo Credit: CC Image Courtesy of Liz West.
Do you love extreme sports? Then you need to be in Lenox to see the 2013/14 Banff Mountain Film Festival. Take a look at this preview of some of the films you will be able to see February 14 and 15th. During each of these two nights, the Arcadian Shop of Lenox will present more than 3 hours of award winning films from this year’s Banff Mountain Film Festival. Each night will have a different lineup, with only a few of the most popular movies being repeated.
Pre-film you may enjoy a dinner menu and baked goods offered by the Lenox Crew Team or take your sweetheart to dine at one of Lenox’s fantastic restaurants. During the intermission you’ll still have a chance to support the Crew team by purchasing baked goods and refreshments.
Tickets are $12 and may be purchased directly through the Arcadian Shop. If you purchase them online the shop will remove the freight when they complete the sale on their end. All tickets will be held at the door and may be picked up before hte show on either night. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the films begin at 7 p.m.
The performances will be held at the Duffin Theatre, Lenox Middle and High School, 197 East Street, Lenox, MA.
Reserve your room for this special weekend at The Rookwood Inn and we’ll take off the price of your tickets (show us you purchased them) and have a special Valentine’s Day special gift waiting for you in your room. Mention Banff Special when booking your reservations.
For the fourth year in a row, The Rookwood Inn is offering its rooms as part of the B&Bs for Vets and as our way of thanking our military for their service. Every one of our 20 rooms is available at no cost for the night of November 10 to active, reserve, discharged and retired military personnel, with proof of service. The Rookwood Inn is also offering additional consecutive nights (up to three) for 50% off the regular winter rates.
Arrive at The Rookwood and enjoy our afternoon refreshments. Last year, our regular offerings were augmented by Bartlett’s Orchards (a fantastic apple orchard and farm stand in Richmond, MA – just over the mountain from the inn), and a very generous baker and friend of The Rookwood Inn, Terrill. Then you’re off on your own for a delicious dinner in one of the great restaurants in and around Lenox.
Awaken in your comfy room on Veteran’s Day to the aromas of one of our delicious breakfasts. You can choose a table for just the two of you, or decide to share with a fellow service man or woman. When it’s time to go, you’ll leave with wonderful memories and some additional thank you for protecting us gifts and our desire that you’ll be back to stay another time. B&Bs for Vets – our way of saying thanks for taking care of us!
October is your last — and scariest — chance to tour one of Lenox’s most popular sightseeing destinations, the home of American author Edith Wharton, known as The Mount.
The Mount, a 42-room country home designed by the author herself and built in 1902, is reminiscent of a 17th-century English mansion. Situated at the grounds’ high end, it overlooks several restored gardens, which include an Italian walled garden, alpine rock garden, lime walk, form flower garden, and extensive grass terraces.
The grounds are open year-round, but The Mount itself is only open to the public from May to October, with the exception of special events.
Visiting The Mount in October
For the remainder of October, passes and tours are available nearly every day. Opportunities to explore The Mount vary from passes to the grounds to a 45-minute, room-to-room guided tour by experts of Edith Wharton, introducing you to her life, her works, and her home. There is also a Terrace Café open, with scenic views of the garden terraces and Laurel Lake.
The Mount also holds a reputation for being haunted, offering ghost tours throughout September and October. The mansion was even featured in an episode of “Ghost Hunters” on the SciFi Channel.
Special Halloween Events
In celebration of Halloween, there will be several special events held at The Mount during late October, including special Halloween ghost tours and a dramatic reading of Edith Wharton’s own ghost tale, “Kerfol,” on Halloween night.
Rooms cannot be booked at The Mount, but there is gracious hospitality available a mere five-minute drive from the mansion at The Rookwood Inn. Don’t miss your chance to visit The Mount before the season ends or to stay at The Rookwood and learn about its connection to Edith Wharton’s writings. (Hint: she wrote “Ethan Frome” based upon a true story of a sledding accident which took place at the bottom of the Old Stockbridge Road hill which passes in front of The Rookwood Inn.)
Even after the hubbub of summertime, the towns surrounding The Rookwood Inn are as eventful, lively, and entertaining as ever.
Whether you’re looking to relax, eat some delicious food, or put your athletic ability to the test, Lenox, Massachusetts has an event that will suit your fancy.
Here are a few of our favorite events coming this September:
The Tub Parade – September 15th, 2013
Held in downtown Lenox, the Tub Parade is an extravagant display of festive carriages and horses, decorated with local flowers. The small carriages, known as “tubs” trot around the downtown loop twice before heading out. The traditional parade dates back to the 1800s when New England’s rich and famous showcased their finest carriages and horses in a friendly competition which celebrated the fall harvest and the end of the summer season. This year, the Tub Parade is just one event of an entire heritage weekend. Some of the original Berkshire estates will be open for tours.
Josh Billings RunAground – September 21st, 2013
The Josh Billings RunAground is the 2nd oldest triathlon in the United States.
Hundreds of participants bike over 27 miles of back country, rolling hills, and through five towns in the Berkshires; then canoe, kayak, or paddleboard five miles around Stockbridge Bowl; and end with a six mile run around the lake to Tanglewood. Afterwards, everybody comes together to celebrate at the Josh “Bash” with awards, food, and live bands.
Hurry! The last day to register is September 14th!
The 34th Annual Apple Squeeze – September 28th, 2013, 11am-4pm
The annual Apple Squeeze in Lenox is a two-day autumn and harvest festival celebrating all things apple-related. There will be apple cider, apple pies, apple cobbler, caramel apples – even apple pizza. The event also includes pony rides, children’s dog shows, hayrides, crafts, sidewalk sales, and much more.
If you didn’t get as much vacation time in as you’d hoped for this summer, or really missed out on that truly relaxing weekend away, book a room at The Rookwood. We look forward to seeing you this September!
Whether or not we want to accept it, the holidays are quickly approaching. Even if we wanted to forget them, the stores and television commercials keep reminding us. Chanukah and Christmas will be here soon! Can’t bear the thought of another tie or pin? Don’t want to buy fuzzy socks or scarves? Look no further. The Rookwood Inn has some great gift ideas for you – one size fits all – including your budget!
How about a weekend (12/7 & 8 OR 12/8 & 9) at The Rookwood Inn including two tickets to the Lenox Holiday Inn Tour, Choral Festival and Gingerbread House Contest? We’ve wrapped this one just for you with a very special package price of $299 (plus tax and gratuity)!
If you can’t get away this weekend, a gift certificate make the perfect gift for anyone in your life – a loved one, business associate, good friend, birthday or holiday. You pick the amount of the certificate and we do the rest. We will issue a certificate and mail it to you or the recipient with a note. They can then use it toward any Rookwood getaway, at any time of year and toward any room they wish. As our special holiday gift to you, we’re offering a second gift certificate for you to use however you wish for 10% of the purchased certificate value. This means that if you purchase a $500 gift certificate for Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill, we will send you a certificate for $50 for you to use yourself or gift to someone else.
Should you prefer a smaller gift, Rookwood Inn mugs, bathrobes and cookbooks are available.