Owning and operating The Rookwood Inn is the achievement of a long-time dream for my late husband, Stephen, and me. For more than 16 years, we had planned and prepared for innkeeping and finally, in October 1996 our dream came true, we became the owners of The Rookwood Inn.
Steve and I both grew up in New York City: he in the Riverdale section of The Bronx, and I in Queens. As children, we each spent a few summers in the Berkshires attending camp. Many fond memories of attending events at Tanglewood and Jacob’s Pillow with our families brought us back to The Berkshires. Many years after camp, we were introduced to each other in Philadelphia where Steve was working as a social worker and I was a graduate social work student. In 1980 we were married and subsequently spent nearly 20 years working in the fields of social work, adoption, and health care. Our two daughters, Nina and Maya, were adopted as infants from Mexico in 1985 and 1988, respectively.
While living in the Philadelphia area, we purchased and restored a 1903 home in Lansdowne, a Victorian suburb. Always willing to help our community, we served on many boards of cultural, performing arts, and preservation organizations. We initiated and chaired several Victorian dinners, preservation house tours, Victorian teas, and two Centennial balls.
I have an extensive background in health care administration, training and marketing, and hold a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University. Steve received a Masters Degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell College. Steve left social work in 1995 and enrolled in the Hotel Management program at The Restaurant School in Philadelphia. In December of 1996, in the midst of a blizzard in Lenox, Steve graduated as valedictorian of his class, with a degree in Hotel Management.
In 1999, Steve succumbed to metastatic melanoma. While no longer physically among us, his presence is still very much felt at the Inn. We still cook with many of his recipes, while continuing to grow and test new ones that respect his commitment to reduced fat and sugar without sacrificing flavor or texture. His collection of Wallace Nutting prints and classical music fill the inn. A foundation has been set up in his memory. The Stephen Lindner-Lesser Memorial Foundation will make grants to local arts organizations, continuing Steve’s enthusiasm for and commitment to the Berkshire cultural scene. The Rookwood Inn’s Guide to Devouring the Berkshires – One Cultural Bite at a Time, our armchair guide to the culture in the Berkshires and cookbook featuring recipes from the featured cultural venues and The Rookwood Inn was published in late 2011. Its profits will be funneled to the memorial fund.
I am still very active in the community. I served two terms as President of the Lenox Chamber of Commerce, three years as President of Hevreh of Southern Berkshire and am currently a Vice-President of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires.
After hosting many weddings at The Rookwood Inn, and going through the full planning of my mother’s second wedding I decided to combine my skills and interests and became a Justice of the Peace. I specialize in planning individual, original weddings for each couple.
I am grateful for the opportunity to continue a dream. Thank you, our guests, those who have come before you, and those who are yet to come, for helping us live this wonderful life.