Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday in the Berkshires

Photo courtesy of earl53

It is currently 15 degrees here in Williamstown and the snow continues to fall! For all of you skiers and snowboarders out there, this is THE PERFECT snow for hitting the slopes. I visited Jiminy Peak in Hancock, MA yesterday and their slopes are beautiful already and with lots of skiers enjoying the snow. For more information regarding Jiminy Peak trails and the snow accumulation there, you can visit their snow report site at I also still have discounted Jiminy tickets available at The 1896 House Inn so start planning your winter vacations with me!

Aside from the skiing, there are lots of other events taking place in the surrounding areas for those of you staying with us for the Holidays. There are always plenty of things to do for visitors of all ages and of all interests here in the Berkshires and I know all about all of them! So feel free to ask me at check-in! Here is a calendar of some of the events that caught my eye that I thought many of our guests would enjoy during their visit.

Daily until December 29, 2013

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Shakespeare and Company of Lenox, MA presents: It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, inspired by Frank Capra’s classic 1946 film starring Donna Reed and James Stewart, is filled with just the right hint of nostalgia, charm and straight-from-the-heart moments. In true old-fashioned radio style, Ware brings audiences this poignant, funny and unique play-within-a-play that will leave you believing in angels!

Weekly on Sun, Fri, Sat until December 29, 2013
A Christmas Carol
Berkshire Theatre Group of Pittsfield, MA presents, A Christmas Carol! Revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas as told in the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is reformed and shown the error of his ways by four spirits. Journey back to Victorian England and experience the classic story filled with terrific turns and infused with holiday music.

December 21

Winter Solstice Celebration
Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center of Windsor, MA presents their Winter Solstice Celebration with Gaia Roots world music in Brattleboro Vermont Saturday December 21st at the Stone Church 210 Main St – celebrate the winter solstice with ceremony and song, Gaia Roots will perform traditional West African & Caribbean drumming music and original pieces starting at 10pm. 

Starts December 23 daily until December 28, 2013

School Vacation Week Workshop: Picture Books!
Visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA with the kids for their winter vacation week workshop! Invent your own storylines, characters, plots, and settings inspired by the picture book art on display.

December 26 through the 31st

December Break for Art
MASS MoCA of North Adams, MA presents, “One-Minute Art-Making Festival” (December 26th and 27th) where the kiddos can make 15 art projects for 60 seconds each. Close out the year with their “Rockin’ Art Countdown” (December 30th and 31st), an art-making countdown of the top 10 hits from over 14 years of Kidspace art projects.

Whether you will be here at The 1896 House with us for the holidays, or at home with family friends, we wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe holiday! If you are traveling to Williamstown, MA this week we encourage you to travel safely and plan ahead as our winter weather tends to hinder travel plans! As always, we’re looking forward to seeing our guests and sharing the holidays with you J

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In Preparation for the Holidays

Photo courtesy of earl53

I assume many of you are busily preparing for the upcoming holiday as it is quickly approaching. Much like everybody else, the locals of the Berkshires are scurrying to shopping malls, Christmas tree farms and grocery stores checking off their holiday “to-do” lists. The holiday has snuck up on a lot of us, the gift wrap aisles look like they’ve endured a hurricane of their own and Christmas trees on car roofs whip by at record speeds this week. This afternoon however, has slowed down quite a bit as Mother Nature started sprinkling fluffy snowflakes over our valley. A steady fall left a white blanket over Berkshire County and everybody who got their snow tires early this season, got to put them to good use today. For those of you thinking you’re not visiting until later this week and you might have missed the snow, do not fret! We’re expecting one of our famous Nor’easter storms this weekend! Forget the cute Christmas sweaters I mentioned last week, you’re going to need shovels, snow plows, and don’t forget those ice-scrapers and brushes for the cars because we could be receiving anywhere from six to eighteen inches of snow this Saturday into Sunday! It will be very cold and very white, so to all of our visitors, brace yourselves!

Snow or no snow there are always lots of things to do for all ages here. This week we have everything from Holiday farmers’ markets to Shakespeare plays to pajama and pillow parties! I’m sure there will be something offered to ensure you will not have a boring trip! “But, Blair, what if there’s TOO much snow? What will we be able to do?” there, there my little motel visitors, there’s no such thing as too much snow! In such cases, ask me about local ski resorts and discounted tickets! Ask about local sleigh rides when you arrive or fantastic hills to take the kids sledding. I’m a fun-in-the-snow professional!

December 12

National Theatre Live: The Habit of Art
The Clark Art in Williamstown, MA presents, Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera, Death in Venice, seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, W.H. Auden. During this imagined meeting, their first in twenty-five years, they are observed and interrupted by, amongst others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station. Alan Bennett’s play reflects on growing old, on creativity and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion’s spent: ultimately, on the habit of art.
The Outlet at Pine Cone Hill Pajama & Pillow Party!
Pine Cone Hill Outlet in Pittsfield, MA! Take an extra 20% off decorative pillows, sleepwear, and loungewear, including their fabulous Sheepy Fleece robes. Enjoy popcorn, movies, wine, maybe even a pillow fight. Wear your pajamas—they will be too!

December 13

Julius Caesar

On the 13th and 14th Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA presents, Julius Caesar! The visceral meets the intellectual in the psychological drama. Follow the conspiracy against the Roman dictator and the aftermath of his assassination. Featuring, The Conservatory at Shakespeare & Company, an audition-only three month intensive training program for professional artists to master their craft.

December 14

A Christmas Carol
Starting December 14th and continuing weekly on Sunday, Friday and Saturday until December 29th , Berkshire Theatre Group in Pittsfield, MA presents, A Christmas Carol. Revel in the joy and redemptive power of Christmas as told in the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the infamous miser who is reformed and shown the error of his ways by four spirits. Journey back to Victorian England and experience the classic story filled with terrific turns and infused with holiday music.

Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Market
Berkshire Grown of Great Barrington, MA will be holding a Holiday Farmers’ Market on the 14th and the 15th. Featuring locally grown and produced foods, including fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, bread, pies, pickles, jams, and more, Also, enjoy live music and children’s activities. Saturday: Monument Valley Middle School, 313 Monument Valley Road, Great Barrington. Sunday: Williams College Towne Field House, 82 Latham Street, Williamstown.

December 15

Christmas at Trinity

Cantilena Chamber Choir of Lenox, MA will be presenting Christmas at Trinity.The performance by the Cantilena Chamber Choir at Trinity Church 88 Walker St., Lenox, will feature the Quartre motets pour le temps de Noel by Francis Poulenc and music for Christmas by Russian masters Rachmaninov and Titov. In continuation of Benjamin Britten’s 100th Birthday celebration, the choir will perform Hymn to the Virgin and his rarely heard Chorale on an Old French Carol. Also on the program are favorite John Rutter settings of French carols including Noel Nouvolet and Il est Ne le Divine infant. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Photo courtesy of imagefactory

With the weather getting colder every day here in Williamstown, the holiday d├ęcor begins to make an appearance all through town. Lights are being hung, chimneys are puffing out smoke, cookies are being baked and Christmas lists are being made J This might be my favorite time of year, holiday music plays on the radio on my way to work and holiday movies are playing when I wind down and snuggle up each evening. Hot cocoa is a staple that I keep in my home all winter long and we begin clearing space for a Christmas tree! But I’m not the only one getting excited for the holidays; the Berkshires are in full Holiday swing too! There will be lots of ways to celebrate the holidays here whether it be a family event you’re trying to plan, Christmas Tree lightings or holiday concerts that Williams College will be putting on, come celebrate with us!

Celebrate the Holidays at The Mount!
The Mount in Lenox, MA is open on three consecutive Saturdays this holiday season until December 14th. They will be debuting their new Backstairs tour – learn about the daily routines and the men and women who ran The Mount! The gift shop will be open for holiday shopping from 11am – 3pm with Backstairs Tours at 12pm & 2pm.
 “Backstairs” tours will be given at 12:00pm and 2pm.

Williams College Music for December
Beginning on the 1st and continuing daily until December 31st, Williams College will be putting on numerous concerts for the holiday season!
Williams College Department of Music calendar for December:
December 4th MIDWEEKMUSIC at Chapin Hall, stage, 12:15PM
December 4th Violin Studio Recital at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, 4pm
December 4th Small Jazz Ensembles at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, 7pm
December 5th Senior Viola Recital with Lysander Jaffe ’14 at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, 7pm
December 6th  Piano Studio Recital at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall , 4pm
December 6th  Williams College Wind Ensemble at Chapin Hall, 8pm
December 7th Voice Studio Recital at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, 1pm
December 7th  A Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols at Thompson Memorial Chapel, 4pm
December 7th  Williams Student Symphony at Chapin Hall, 8pm
December 8th  A Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols at Thompson Memorial Chapel, 4pml
December 9th  Senior Piano Recital with Kirk Swanson ’14 at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, 4pm
December 9th  Cello Studio Recital and Voice Studio Recital at Chapin Hall. 6pm
December 9th  MIDWEEKMUSIC Tuesday at Chapin Hall, stage, 12:15pm
December 10th Clarinet Choir with students of Susan Martula at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, 4pm
December 10th Jazz Guitar Studio Recital  at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, 7pm
December 10th  Chamber Music Studio Recital at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, 8pm

North Adams Tree Lighting Celebration
Join hundreds of festive faces on December 4th as North Adams, MA gears up for the holiday season with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Hometown Holidays kick-off event! A crowd will gather around the tree at Monument Square on Main Street (between the First Congregational and First Baptist Churches), and count down the seconds until the switch is thrown and thousands of twinkling lights adorn the downtown. Santa will stop in for a visit with free goodie bags for the little ones. Holiday music will be provided by the Drury Band. 5pm – 7pm.

Lenox Christmas Tree Lighting
The Traditional Lenox Town Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on December 6th at 6pm at Lilac Park. Visits with Santa and Holiday Goodies will be at the Lenox Community Center directly following the Ceremony at Lilac park.

Holiday Concert with Solas
On December 6th, the eve of Williamstown’s popular Holiday Walk weekend, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute of Williamstown, MA welcomes Irish-American band Solas for a holiday concert. The event takes place in the Clark’s auditorium at 8 pm. Tickets are $35 ($30 members). Call 413.458.0524. Order early as holiday concerts almost always sell out.

Festival of Trees Family Day and Children’s Holiday Shopping Boutique
Admission is only $3 for everyone (even Santa). Bring the entire family to Bennington, VT to the Bennington Museum on December 7th for a special day of celebration. Children (under 18) who bring a personal care item for adults or children that will be donated to a local food pantry come in free. For the children ages 4 to 12, the Children’s Shopping Boutique offers unusual gifts for all people on their gift list. Prices range from $1 to $7 and include gift-wrapping. While at the museum, do not forget to visit with Santa! Be sure to view the “Children’s Forest,” a display featuring tabletop trees decorated by area elementary school classes.

Williamstown Holiday Walk
Join in the festivities on December 7th at the 30th Annual Williamstown Holiday walk livening Spring Street with the festive Reindog Parade, musical performances, Penny Social, Christmas Tree Showcase, Santa Claus, holiday cookie bake – off, tree lighting and much much more. 3pm – 6pm.

Pack your Christmas sweaters and we’ll be sure to make the cocoa and come visit us at The 1896 House for the Holidays! Rooms are filling up quickly this season so be sure to act fast and book your rooms with me while there are still some left!