The Berkshires, a mountainous region in western Massachusetts, offers a unique blend of culture, nature and excellent food, all roughly two and a half hours from Boston and New York City. This area, like Newport, was once the summer playground for wealthy tycoons like Andrew Carnegie, the industrialist responsible for building some of the area’s Gilded Age mansions. Although the Berkshires offer plenty of winter sports, summer is one of the best times to visit, when Tanglewood is in session and the weather is warm enough to hike or canoe. For the perfect Berkshires day, base yourself in Lenox, hire a rental car and get ready to eat, hike and enjoy art.
The Harper-recommended Blantyre (16 Blantyre Rd.) is one of 12 remaining Gilded Age mansions in the Berkshires. The Tudor Revival estate recently underwent a multimillion renovation to its public spaces and guest rooms, including a collaboration with lifestyle décor brand Serena & Lily. Head to the hotel’s brasserie-style Bistro for a traditional English breakfast or brioche French toast. If you’d rather eat in downtown Lenox, which is just minutes away by car, settle into a seat at local favorite Haven Café and Bakery (8 Franklin St.) for freshly brewed coffee and huevos rancheros, topped with a thick dollop of sour cream. Pick up a bag of the homemade granola for an edible souvenir.
With a full stomach, head north beyond the town center and up a winding gravel road to reach the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (472 West Mountain Rd.), owned by the Mass Audubon Society. Register at the visitors center and choose a hike that winds through 1,000 acres of forest, meadows and wetlands. If you have time, sign up for a guided canoe trip.