Eighteen years ago today we became the owners/innkeepers/stewards of The Rookwood Inn. This day was beshert.
For those of you without knowledge of Yiddish, beshert means “destined or meant to be.” This couldn’t have truer for October 8, 1996 would have been my mother-in-law’s 73rd birthday. It was through her passing and legacy that we were able to purchase the inn.
The house we owned in Lansdowne, PA, a small town outside of Philadelphia, was painted, by us, in Sherwin Williams’ hisoric paint colors. We used Rookwood Red and Rookwood Green, among others. Our address in Lansdowne was 117; the inn’s street number is 11 and the post office box is 1717. And the owners, our predecessors, bought from sent their son to the same camp as our daughters had attended, albeit many years apart.
The people we bought from also shared experiences with us. The wife was from PA and was in healthcare prior to innkeeping. I too was in healthcare. Their daughter and our younger daughter were born less than a week apart. How could we not see this purchase and life change were meant to be?
Both Stephen and I had some health issues the year before we purchased The Rookwood Inn and decided that you need to live the life you have and not necessarily the life you want. We thought that we would wait until our children were in college before buying an inn. But decided to take the plunge then because, “who knows what the future might bring?” This was also fortuitous because a mere two and a half years later Stephen lost his battle with malignant melanoma.
In these eighteen years we (I) have made many changes and updates to the inn from a complete Victorian “Painted Lady” color scheme to installing a whole-house sprinkler system to bumping out the south side of the third floor and adding gas fireplaces to three of the rooms to renovating some of the guest rooms and baths to installing WiFi and phones. Many changes are visible while others are part of the heating and cooling systems and would only be noticeable if not working.
Eighteen is a significant number in my Jewish tradition. Eighteen in Hebrew is “chai” which means life and what a life it has been here at The Rookwood Inn! I have been fortunate to have been able to be involved in my daughters’ lives and have watched them grow from little girls to talented, intelligent, productive and loving women.
Nina is a teacher and lives with her husband, Greg, in Jacksonville, Florida where he is stationed in the Navy. Maya is happily employed with a large hotel chain, a trained aesthetician, and in a loving relationship with a very nice man. I was able to spend time with Steve during his illness and am now able to have the time and flexibility to care for my mother and step-father as they age.
Throughout these eighteen years, I am lucky to count many of our guests as friends and have been lucky to attend weddings (some of which I’ve been honored to perform in my capacity as Justice of the Peace), meet their new babies and grandchildren, and share a meal or a holiday. Others share their lives with us when they visit. Some share their joys. Some share their sorrows. But all share their lives. For that I am deeply grateful.
I thank each and every one of you for sharing your lives and your time over these eighteen years with me, with my family, and with our Rookwood family (employees and other guests). I look forward to many more visits with you all!
On February 22, 2014 from 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm readers of all ages are invited to experience a New England classic literary piece in a new way at the second annual marathon reading of Ethan Frome. This classic Edith Wharton novella was based on a true sledding accident which occurred on the hill in front of The Rookwood Inn.
On Saturday, February 22nd, Edith Wharton’s cozy Drawing Room will come alive with readers making Wharton’s story come to life in the very house where she wrote it. Peer out the windows upon the snowy Berkshire landscape where she gleaned inspiration for the fictitious town of Starkfield, Massachusetts! Spend the night at The Rookwood Inn and view the actual hill where the accident occurred.
Visitors are encouraged to drop by the Mount for a chapter or two, or stay for the full reading. Seating is limited and reservations are strongly encouraged.
If you’d like to lend your voice to this exciting program, please contact Kelsey Mullen at 413-551-5110 or firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. For room reservations, pleae call us at The Rookwood Inn at 800.223.9750 or book online at http://www.rookwoodinn.com
One of the highlights of our winter season here in Lenox, is the announcement of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s schedule. Returning this summer are favorites such as the Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, along with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Joining them will be the Hong Kong Ballet, As I Remember It, the Trey McIntyre Project, Unreal Hip-Hop, Bleu!, Moses(es), Ballet 2014, Dorrance Dance, Circa, Chalk and Soot, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Stardust, Companhia Urbana de Danca, Doug Elkins Choreography Etc., A Jazz Happeing, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and Leesaar the Company. Again there will be world premieres and some live music to accompany the troupes.
A complete schedule is available on their website and you can click on the photo link above to order your tickets and take advantage of their $10 off special.
And don’t forget to book your room at The Rookwood Inn!
The exciting details of Tanglewood‘s 77th season (June 28 – August 30) have been released giving all of us another reason to be thankful this weekend!
This summer, Tanglewood and the Berkshires welcome Andris Nelsons for his first festival appearances as BSO Music Director Designate.
2014’s program highlights American music. Along with the concert performance of Bernstein’s Candide and the movie presentation with live orchestra of The Wizard of Oz, mentioned above, Tanglewood will present American baritone Thomas Hampson in a selection of Old American Songs by Aaron Copland, with Christoph von Dohnányi conducting (7/18), and the world premiere of William Bolcom’s Circus Overture to open a BSO concert celebrating Leonard Slatkin’s 70th birthday (8/8).
The American music theme will extend to the season-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of Ozawa Hall with an appearance by Chanticleer in a program entitled She Said/He Said, with music ranging from Renaissance madrigals to new arrangements from Chanticleer’s popular and jazz repertoire (7/9); a performance of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.
The 2014 Festival of Contemporary Music, July 17-21, under the direction of John Harbison and Michael Gandolfi, will present programs featuring works by American composers, with a special emphasis on music from a younger generation of Americans, many of whom have been Fellows at the Tanglewood Music Center.
The Boston Pops Orchestra with Keith Lockhart and John Williams will be joined by two American icons: Jason Alexander, and Josh Groban. Besides leading the Boston Pops in the score to The Wizard of Oz to accompany the universally beloved movie classic (8/22), Keith Lockhart will conduct Boston Pops concerts featuring Broadway veteran and Tony Award-winner Jason Alexander in a program of comedy, song, and dance (7/13), and superstar singer Josh Groban in a program that brings the 2014 Tanglewood season to a close on August 30. John Williams will lead Tanglewood’s Film Night, one of the most eagerly-anticipated evenings of the Tanglewood season, with special guests to be announced at a later date (8/2). The annual day-long musical celebration, Tanglewood on Parade, culminating in an evening concert with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Music Center orchestras, led by Keith Lockhart, John Williams, and Stéphane Denève will take place on August 5.
Tanglewood welcomes back James Taylor and his extraordinary band for two performances in the Koussevitzky Music Shed, July 3 and 4. A spectacular fireworks display over the Stockbridge Bowl will follow the concert. Mr. Taylor, who regularly performs to sold-out audiences at Tanglewood, has returned to the festival 21 times since his first performances there in 1974.
Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning on January 26, 2014 ; and for James Taylor’s July 3 and 4 concerts on Thursday, January 16. All proceeds for the July 4 concert to benefit Tanglewood. Rooms at The Rookwood will start filling up sooner. Make your reservation early to avoid disappointment!
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!
Do you love to get outdoors, hike, explore, canoe, bird-watch, and picnic? The Rookwood Inn is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and unique nature sanctuaries teeming with wildlife.
In fact, two Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries — Pleasant Valley and Canoe Meadow — are within minutes of The Rookwood, each offering extensive hiking trails, riverfronts and lakesides, acres of forests, meadows, mountains, and local wildlife sightseeing opportunities.
Here’s a custom map of where these sanctuaries are in relation to The Rookwood Inn:
View Nature Sanctuaries Near The Rookwood Inn in a larger map
Pleasant Valley (~ 2 miles from The Rookwood)
Pleasant Valley is about two miles from the Rookwood Inn and boasts a thriving beaver population in the Yokun Brook. Their lodges can be found along the shores of the brook and, although primarily nocturnal, you may be lucky enough to see a beaver swimming along in the water or working on its dam. In the springtime, there is notable Salamander migration along the West Mountain Road.
The park also has trails that wind through hardwood forest, wetlands, meadows, and along Lenox Mountain’s slopes. The Housatonic River and area lakes also feature canoe trips from mid-May through Columbus Day.
Canoe Meadow (~ 6 miles from The Rookwood)
Canoe Meadow is a mere mile from the center of Pittsfield, and is most notable for its plentiful variety of birds, such as Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, Waxwings, Hummingbirds, Owls, Hawks, and Bobolinks, depending on the time of year. The meadow is a bird-watchers dream, with programs such as the Birds to Watch, Focus on Feeders bird count in February, and May’s Bird-a-thon.
Canoe Meadow also has trails winding through woods, wetlands, fields, and along the Housatonic River. Nature enthusiasts regularly sight beavers, otters, and Wild Turkeys.
This summer, come to Lenox, Massachusetts to explore acres and acres of nature. And after a day of outdoor adventuring, it’s just a short drive back to luxurious comfort, afternoon refreshments and a delicious breakfast in the morning at The Rookwood Inn.
The Rookwood Inn is fortunate to be nestled in the midst of a vibrant and multi-talented theater-loving community.
Within just a few miles of our Berkshires bed and breakfast are several wonderful, varying stage productions and theater groups that offer endless opportunities to be entertained and surprised. Whether you love Shakespeare, drama, live bands, comedy, musicals, thrillers — even rock and roll! — Lenox, MA and the Berkshires have it all.
Below are a few of the more prominent groups and stages in the area.
With over 150 contributing artists who strive to perform as the Elizabethans did — their roots in classical ideals and a love of universal mystery, poetry and physical prowess — Shakespeare & Company has been creating theater of unrivaled excellence since 1978. View their calendar.
Shakespeare & Company is approximately 1/2 mile from The Rookwood.
The Berkshire Theater Group supports performing arts on five stages around Lenox. The group is involved in a wide range of the arts, including theater, dance, music and entertainment. View their full events list or choose a stage.
Their theaters include:
- Fitzpatrick Main Stage, about 5 miles from the Rookwood
- Unicorn Theater, about 5 miles (housed on the same campus as Fitzpatrick)
- Neil Ellenoff Stage, about 5 miles (also housed on the same campus as Fitzpatrick)
- The Garage, about 6 miles from the Rookwood
- The Colonial, about 6 miles from the Rookwood
During early fall, South Main presents some of the world’s leading chamber music soloists and ensembles. Built in 1918, the Colonial-styled concert hall is now on the National Register of Historic Buildings. View their concert schedule.
South Main is approximately 5 1/2 miles from The Rookwood
With several award-winning plays and musicals to its credit, the Barrington Stage Company attracts upwards of 50,000 patrons each year on its two stages. They are nationally recognized for having productions of superior quality, as well as educational programming. View their calendar.
Barrington Stage Company is approximately 7 Miles from The Rookwood.
You’re just a click away from Rookwood relaxation and enthralling entertainment. Why not treat yourself to a restful vacation and quality theater?
We turned our clocks back this past Saturday night and many of us, myself included, are in desperate need of that lost hour. The positive part of Daylight Savings Time is that as I sit at my computer writing this blog at 6 pm it is still light out! This brings up a whole lot of reasons why an escape from your early spring routines with a Rookwood Inn Escape is perfect at this time of year!
The tranquility of our location lends itself to a feeling of complete relaxation. You can meditate, if you want, or add a massage to enhance the relaxation. Pick up that book or magazine you’ve wanted to read for months and actually start, or finish, it. Visit Colorful Stitches in Lenox Village to find that special wool for a project or learn how to create your own work of art and come back to The Rookwood Inn to knit or crochet in front of a cozy fire. Visit Rhythms or Kripalu for a yoga class or workshop. Take a hike and explore flowers, trees, birds and animals awakening from their winter hibernation. Returning birds can be seen (we have a huge pileated woodpecker here at The Rookwood).
Perhaps you prefer culture. Shakespeare & Company is in production, the Berkshire International Film Festival is in swing, and there is always a concert or movie to be found. The Clark Art Museum is open and through May offers free admission to its wonderful exhibits.
We’ve turned our winter special into a Spring in the Berkshires special valid through April. Stay any two nights in a standard or deluxe room for $299 (plus tax and gratuity) or in a mini suite for $499 (plus tax and gratuity). Our delicious breakfasts and afternoon refreshments are included, as is our warm welcoming service.
Whatever the season, you’ll find the reason to visit The Rookwood Inn, Lenox, and the Berkshires!
New Year’s Eve carries with it the idea of something very special. Some people go all out to find a special place to have dinner,
perhaps go dancing. Others find a cozy meal at home or with friends to be their special way of celebrating. This year, start a new tradition at The Rookwood Inn.
Spend two, or three nights including New Year’s Eve at The Rookwood, enjoy the beauty of the Berkshires both inside and out. Go skiing (downhill or cross-country), try snow-shoeing or snowmobiling. Stroll through the unique shops and villages like Lenox and Stockbridge. Enjoy exhibits at the local museums such as the Norman Rockwell or Clark Art Institute or MassMoCA. Take in some music. Savor delicious meals at one of the fine local restaurants. Or spend your time at the inn snuggling in front of a fire, reading, playing a board or card game, or talking with friends – old or new.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve join us for a dessert and cheese gathering along with a special champagne toast. Sleep in on New Year’s Day and then join us for our our famous brunch. Check-out is extended until 2 pm to allow you to have a lazy morning. If you spend three nights we’ll give you 25% off our New Year’s rates. Two nights, take 10% off.
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.
Thanksgiving reminds us to take time out of our busy lives to pause and think about the people and things we are grateful for. At The Rookwood Inn, YOU are at the top of our gratitude lists! Thank you for your continued support of The Rookwood through your visits, your wonderful reviews of your stays, being our Facebook friends, and sharing us with your friends and family. We appreciate your visits, your weddings, your girls weekends away, family reunions, just to name a few of the reasons you come. We love reading your letters and emails and sharing in your lives.
Have you heard about Small Business Saturday? This Saturday, November 24th Guests Receive a $25 Credit for any purchase over $25 made at a participating small business when paying with their American Express card. This can be for a stay this weekend (we’ll make sure to charge your Amex on Saturday the 24th), or for a deposit for any stay in the future, or for a Gift Certificate for a special holiday gift. So, make your reservation or buy a gift certificate on November 24th and get a $25 credit from American Express. To participate you need to enroll an eligible American Express Card at www.shopsmall.com. The number of enrollments is limited and closes at 11:59 p.m. MST on November 24th, unless the limit is reached earlier. So don’t wait!
This is also a time to be thankful that the summer schedules will soon be available. Stay tuned for the Tanglewood announcement (the link will be both a blog post and a regular e-newsletter) which should be released soon after Thanksgiving. Remember to book your room early to avoid disappointment.
Stay tuned for some exciting winter promotions. We want you to see what we love about the Berkshires this winter!
November 11, 2012 was the third time The Rookwood Inn participated in the Bed and Brekfasts for Vets program. Three years ago, we offered 8 rooms at no charge to active, reserve and retired service men and women as a way of saying thank you for their service. Last year we offered 10 rooms. This year, thanks to the generosity of The Rookwood’s employees (Chris Manarchik, Lana Schafer, and Jennifer Kahlenbeck) who donated their time and skills, we offered all 20 rooms at no charge to the service men and women.
It was a wonderful evening and breakfast time here. We had men and women from all branches of the service here. They represented many arenas but shared the common bond of being in the service. Everywhere I turned there were groups of guests sharing their stories and giving each other helpful advice on where to go for services. The sound of laughter and conversation pealed through the inn.
Through my employees’ generosity we were able to provide each room with flowers and candy, a sumptuous display of afternoon refreshments including fresh apple cider and donuts donated by Bartlett’s Orchard of Richmond.
Here is a letter we received from one of our guests:
Dear and staff,
Now-a-days it seems that any letter you receive is someone complaining about one thing or another, but I have the honor of writing to you to say thank you for a wonderful Veteranss Day stay. You, Lana, Chris, Jennifer and Isabel made our stay wonderful and I felt the need to write and tell everyone how much we appreciate all you did. As a Vietnam vet I cannot express how much your kindness means, as the vets from southeast Asia were not viewed as returning heroes, but your hard work makes up for our being slighted. So you should be very proud of all that you and your staff do on Veterans Day and you should be proud of your patriotism and your thoughtfulness.
Please let everyone know that you and the Rookwood Inn made a lot of people very happy and gave us a place to get together and feel comfortable talking about our lives.
Bill and Sherrie Brassard
Welcome to the first Rookwood Rambings Blog. For those of you who’ve been Rookwood friends and family for a while the name, Rookwood Ramblings, isn’t new. It has been the name of our newsletter (remember when it was printed and mailed out?) and then our email version. Being a creature of habit, I decided not to mess with tradition. The newsletter will be e-Ramblings and will continue to be emailed to our loyal followers up to 6 times a year. The Ramblings Blog will be posted on a more regular schedule, hopefully weekly.
The purpose of the blog will be to communicate with you on a more personal level. I plan to share some of the local charm, lore, charater and events in a way not possible in a newsletter. I will share news of what’s happening, new openings, shows, restaurant reviews and more of my opinions than I normally do. If you have ideas of what you’d like to see featured, email me. I’ll try to incorporate as many of our readers’ ideas as possible.
It is absolutely incredulous to me that as I write this post on March 23, 2012, I am sitting the front porch (veranda) of the Inn. The sun is bright and the temperature is almost 70 degrees! It is mind blowing to imagine a more beautiful 3rd day of spring. Our daffodils have bloomed (something I’ve never seen before in the Berkshires!). The rhododendron buds are bursting forth. Forsythia is blooming all around us! Chris, my assistant innkeeper, had dusted off the porches, removed the wicker and cushions from their winter cocoons and brought them onto the porches. The wooden benches have been restored to their rightful places on the front lawn. In short, The Rookwood and its inhabitants (animate and inanimate) are awakening from a brief winter slow-down and are ready for our guests to return!
There are two exciting events which will be happening in and around Lenox. I’m going to mention them now and then detail them in other posts. The first is the Berkshire Cycling Classic a 62 or 81 mile bike race starting in Lenox and winding through picturesque southern Berkshire County on May 6. The other event is the Berkshire British Car Show. If you or anyone you know loves British cars like MGs, Austin Healey’s, Rolls Royces, Bentleys or anything British then Father’s Day weekend (June 9 and 10) is the time to come to Lenox. Call us for special offers both weekends!