Gay Travel: Dream Time In The Berkshires

Author: , July 27th, 2015

Berkshire Hills

This April, my first return visit to the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts in nearly 25 years began with me, my belle Beth and local friends Dr. Tom Kaegi and Kathy Corkins being chauffeured in a limo up a remote mountain road to find a former bordello and speakeasy recommended to me by an insider as “the center of the universe in the middle of nowhere.” If that sounds like a strange coordinate for your Berkshires family trip, rest assured, the all-welcoming, kid-friendly, gay-owned Dream Away Lodge is your definitive off-the-beaten path beacon.

Hidden on a mountaintop above historic Becket (best known for pioneering dance school and performance center Jacob’s Pillow), the Lodge–or “Brigadoon” as owner Daniel Osman calls it–is not for overnight stays (yet), but certainly for dreaming with eyes wide open.

While attending Williams College in the mid-1980’s, an hour north of Becket in Williamstown, I romped the Berkshires far and wide, but never knew of the Lodge. That’s probably a good thing. Given my psylocybic proclivities back then, I’d likely have squatted there permanently, penning incoherent poetry while fathering a pack of wild animals.

By Jeff Heilman – Full Story at Passport | Berkshires Gay Travel Resources

MA: Great Places to Eat in the Berkshires

Author: , April 19th, 2012

Berkshires RestaurantsThe Berkshires, nestled amid the rolling landscape of western Massachusetts, once played host to some of the country’s most notable artists and authors, including Norman Rockwell, Herman Melville, and Edith Wharton. Summer cottages flourished as city folk flocked to the bucolic hills for fresh mountain air. The onset of two World Wars and the Great Depression temporarily diminished the area’s growth, but over the last several decades the Berkshires has become the go-to summer getaway for those on the lookout for music, theatre, and dance. It also plays host to a bevy of carefully honed restaurants that rely on the region’s boutique farming industry. All of the restaurants highlighted here are members of Berkshire Grown (www.berkshiregrown.org), an organization that supports and promotes locally based agriculture by establishing local food and farm networks.

THE DREAM AWAY LODGE

There is, perhaps, no other locale in the Berkshires that embodies the creative marriage of food and music more than the Dream Away Lodge. Originally opened by local legend Mamma Maria Frasca and rumored to have been a speakeasy during the Great Depression, the 90-year-old property gained national attention from a famed 1975 visit by Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and the Rolling Thunder Revue. The Dream Away Lodge subsequently appeared in Dylan’s film epic Renaldo and Clara and has since become a haven for artists and foodies alike.

The Dream Away Lodge has been under the watchful eye of openly gay owner Daniel Osman since 1997, whose epiphany for a multi-dimensional space came to him after a three-week stint at a Radical Faery sanctuary. The menu originally focused on classic comfort foods, but with the arrival of chef Amy Loveless several years ago, international influences now offer a more modern culinary expression. Loveless grew up on a small farm in nearby Stockbridge in a family that grew much of their own food. “I had chickens and a cow and a goat. I was connected from my childhood to using ingredients that were at hand.”

Full Story from Passport Magazine

Click here for gay travel resources in the Berkshires.

 

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Bed & Breakfast at Howden Farm, Sheffield, Massachusetts

Author: , March 18th, 2012

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

B&B at Howden FarmLocated three miles below the village of Sheffield Massachusetts, in the Berksires, the Bed & Breakfast at Howden Farm is convenient to the many enriching outdoor and cultural activities that the Berkshire Hills area of southwest Massachusetts is famous for.

From the symphonies of Tanglewood to the antique shops, from hiking the mountain trails and fishing on the nearby Housatonic River to the abundance of fine dining throughout, the B&B at Howden Farm and the Berkshires offer a rich palette of opportunities for every visitor.

Located conviently to all Berkshire attractions such as Colonel John Ashley House, Bartholomew’s Cobble, a nature preserve-excellent for birding- which are both just down the road. Or spend the weekend browsing in Sheffield’s more than 40 antique shops.

See the B&B at Howden Farm Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in the Berkshires

The Berkshires – All Weather Enjoyment

Author: , January 5th, 2012
by Nana Simopoulos, Topia Inn, Adams, Massachusetts
Email Nana | Visit the Topia Inn Website

Visit the Purple Roofs Berkshires page

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The Berkshires

The Northern Berkshires is a place where outstanding nature and culture experiences combine for all weather enjoyment. Mt Greylock is the tallest peak in Southern New England. There are many trails to the summit that start in Adams for hikers of all levels as well as lakes and waterfalls to swim in.

Across the valley is Savoy Mountain National Forest with pristine lakes and sandy beaches. The Aschuwillticook rail trail is now a smooth 11 mile bicycle path alongside rivers, a bird sanctuary, lakes and mountain views. Mass MoCA is the largest contemporary art museum in the country with a year round performing arts center. The contemporary music ensemble Bang on a Can are among their resident artists every summer.

Natural BridgeUp the road from the museum is Natural Bridge (at left), a unique geological formation carved out by glacial melt water over 13,000 years ago. Tanglewood hosts stirring Boston Symphony Orchestra performances, the Williamstown Theatre Festival presents inspiring plays and local museums unveil captivating exhibits.

Visit MASS MoCA, Clark Art Institute and the Norman Rockwell Museum for the best in classic and modern art. The Clark Museum has a collection of nineteenth-century European and American painting, as well as French Impressionists. For their 50th anniversary they had an all night pajama party open to the public. Williamstown Theatre Festival is an awarding-winning regional theatre company that has helped launch the careers of many actors and continues to attract top talent.

The Autumn leaves are one of the main attractions in the Northern Berkshires. In the late summer visitors can enjoy berry picking at local farms. A drive or hike to the top of Mount Greylock has stunning colorful vistas in the fall. There are rivers and lakes ideal for canoeing and fishing among scenic vistas and mountain views.

Winter in the BerkshiresWinter fun includes downhill and cross country skiing along groomed trails as well as snow shoeing anywhere you want to go in pristine virgin snow.

Restaurants in the area are equal to any you would expect to find in a large metropolitan area with a selection of diverse cuisines from Thai to Pizza to Vietnamese, steak houses, fisheries and more.

The Berkshires welcomes you with four seasons of culture, history and outdoor adventure. Whether your idea of paradise is sipping fresh cider on a romantic New England bed and breakfast hearth or traveling scenic country roads through the Berkshire mountains, Berkshire County is the perfect year ’round destination.

BerkshiresFall is the perfect time to take a picturesque foliage tour along the historic Mohawk Trail or visit fascinating Hancock Shaker Village and purchase a piece of famous Shaker style furniture to remember your New England vacation. During winter and spring, enjoy the best of New England skiing and then spend afternoons exploring the charming small towns of Williamstown, Lee and Lenox, Massachusetts.

Be sure to stop in the many quaint New England antique shops and one-of-a-kind Berkshires art galleries. Whether you’re spending a long weekend at cozy vacation village in the Berkshires or a week enjoying the amenities of our New England ski resorts, your trip is sure to create lasting vacation memories.

Following in the footsteps of its nomadic tradition, the Storefront Artist Project continues to find vacant commercial spaces in Pittsfield for artists to use for temporary projects. Available for periods of up to 6 months, these projects occasionally take place at the Storefront Artist Project’s mainspace at 124 Fenn St. in Pittsfield.

Upper Pecks FallsThanks to Berkshire Bank, Richard Stanley, Anthony Barnaba and LMR Group, they have artists working in empty storefronts and other spaces ready for installations. The Salon is a monthly gathering for artists and the art-interested. Salons rotate between meeting at the Storefront Artist Project and at other locations. It is, therefore, a roving Salon meant to build community and discussions around the arts.

In North Adams, Massachusetts, in the northwest corner of the Berkshires, a former textile mill known as the Eclipse Mill, has been converted into forty artist live/work studio loft condominiums.

Each artist had the opportunity to design their own loft during the restoration of the mill, which began in 2002 and was completed in 2005.
The founding purpose for the development of Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts was to provide live/work spaces for the serious pursuit of creative/artistic endeavors.

Owners and tenants are expected to contribute to a sense of community and are encouraged to participate in artistic events held throughout the year. Residents of Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts contribute to the rapidly growing art scene in the northern Berkshires.

Union & Field is a salon for contemporary art set in the domestic interior loft of artists Maureen Meyer and Timothy Nazzaro, an industrial space that was once home to a 19th-century textile mill in North Adams, Massachusetts. The salon unites artists working predominately in the visual arts in an intimate and engaging setting to stimulate unique, uninhibited experiences with contemporary art and culture. It provides an inviting space for visitors that transcends the exhibition site of a conventional commercial gallery and the formalities that often accompany it, instead fostering an open field for dialogue and viewing without limitations.

Topia InnTopia Inn is an all organic oasis with 9 artist decorated rooms. Chosen by Budget Travel, Yahoo! Travel, CNN and Huffington Post as a top 20 “Best New Boutique Hotels”, it has organic beds and linens. An all local and organic home baked breakfast is included as well as free wireless internet. There is a 4.2 Kw Solar Electric PV system on the roof generating the inn’s electrical power.

The inn burns 100% waste veggie oil to heat the building in winter and the hot water year round. It is located at the base of Mt Greylock and Savoy Mountain, minutes away from hiking trails, waterfalls and swimming lakes. The Aschuwillticook rail trail passes directly behind the inn. Guests can rent bikes at affordable rates. Mass MoCA and Natural Bridge are 8 minutes north and the Clarke and Williamstown Theatre Festival are a 15 minute drive away. According to the New York Times it is an “oasis from environmental affronts”.