I have an absolute love for old mansions and castles etc., but I don’t think I have actually ever slept in one before…until our stay at Seven Hills Inn.
The Berkshires are nestled out in western MA, right along the border of New York. It’s about a 2 hour drive from Boston, which makes the Berkshires a perfect weekend getaway for those in the city. It’s seriously so pretty in Berkshires, so it’s no surprise that it used to be a place where many famous people called home during the Gilded Age.
Seven Hills allows you to stay in one of the mansions from the Gilded Age. The Inn has recently undergone a renovation, bringing in modern touches to the Old World wonder of the place. The house has a really interesting legacy, originally a tiny farmhouse and then renovated into a mansion. Then when it switched hands again, the new owners shipped pieces from all over the world to renovate it with, like the fireplace from France, the staircase from England, and columns from Italy. This owner was named Emily Spencer and she used to host parties in her home with her piglet afoot. The kids really wished there was still a piglet on the property!
The Inn offers huge grounds for your family to run around and explore, a pool, and our children’s favorite, the outside giant chess game.
We thought the mansion was the perfect place for a family to stay while in the Berkshires, but the property is so dreamy that I’d happily have gotten married here or I think it would be the perfect place to have a family reunion or a girls trip with your closest friends.
Aside from the Inn, there is so much to do in the Berkshires, here is a list of our 8 favorites, but please don’t skip an Italian dinner at Frankie’s Ristorante Italiano in Lenox (same town that Seven Hills Inn is).
- The Norman Rockwell Museum – this is not to be missed, we’ve gone twice now and both times us and the children really loved it. Rockwell’s art has so much humor and human heart in it that the kids really get absorbed with the paintings. They offer scavenger hunts for children and they have a creative room for kids in the basement to allow them to do some art of their own during your visit. Children are free.
- Hancock Shaker Village – This is a really fun step back in time, plus children under 12 are free! The children can experience weaving on a loom or spinning wool, along with other activities and the property is filled with heritage breed animals for the kids to pet. All food is farm-to-table.
- The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art- we have been several times and this place is so special. The entire exhibit of art is all illustrations from picture books, which I guess you probably could have guessed by the name of the Museum 😉 They also have a fantastic art room for the children and the gift shop is the best in the world (my opinion).
- The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home – this is located right next door to Seven Hills Inn, so you could literally walk right on over and say, “hi!”.
- Ventford Hall Mansion – This house is amazing and it is the set of the film Cider House Rules.
- Naumkeag House and Gardens – just another gorgeous mansion tour, I can never get enough of them and if you can’t either, then this one is great!
- Crane Museum of Papermaking – This is a great museum about the history of paper and you can make your own paper currency while you are there.
- Town drives – Our favorites are Stockbridge and Lenox, but there are so many scenic drives and I think putting an audio book on for everyone and just enjoying the area is a great idea!
A bonus excursion is to stop at The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield on your drive to or from the Berkshires.
*I will say that not all of these are geared towards children, but that’s not how we travel. We often put our kids through tours of something that might not initially fancy their interest, but more times than not they end up learning something or enjoying something they otherwise wouldn’t have. With mansion tours of people my children might not be interested in, we set up the idea in their head to pretend it is their home or to imagine what it would be like to be a child growing up there. Museums with children’s collection or activities are amazing, but our advice would be not to avoid more adult things just because you have children with you. Because you can always go to a playground afterwards 🙂
*our stay was hosted by Seven Hills, but our opinions are our own and completely truthful.