5 issues to do when visiting Stockbridge


Stroll a twinkling historic property, go climbing, and step right into a Norman Rockwell portray.

Essential Avenue at Christmas in Stockbridge. Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce

Stockbridge is a western Massachusetts city filled with tradition and nature that’s nationally famend for its Christmas spirit, mentioned Carole Owens, a resident for 50 years.

“It’s actually the quintessential New England village,” mentioned Owens, a retired physician, creator, and editor of stockbridgeupdates.com.

American painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell famously lived and labored in Stockbridge through the ultimate 25 years of his life.

“Lots of people suppose that Norman made Stockbridge well-known, however the factor is that Stockbridge impressed Norman,” Owens mentioned. “In all these parts that you simply search for in Christmas — the neighborliness, the generosity, the heat, the quaint magnificence — all that’s nonetheless in Stockbridge and that’s what makes it a village that symbolizes Christmas.”

Owens shared her picks for what to see and do when visiting Stockbridge.

1. Step right into a Norman Rockwell portray

Each December, Stockbridge re-creates Norman Rockwell’s 1967 portray “Stockbridge Essential Avenue at Christmas (Dwelling for Christmas)” through the annual Stockbridge Essential Avenue at Christmas pageant filled with vacation markets, stay performances, historic property excursions, horse-drawn carriage rides, and extra. This yr’s pageant takes place Dec. 1-3.

Rockwell accomplished the oil-on-canvas portray in 1967 for publication in McCall’s journal. The portray “has come to represent Christmas in America,” wrote the Norman Rockwell Museum. Owens was current on the very first Stockbridge Essential Avenue at Christmas, which is now in its thirty fourth yr.

Organizers shut the portion of Essential Avenue that’s within the portray to visitors and recreate it with particulars corresponding to strategically positioned classic vehicles and a Christmas tree within the window above the Stockbridge Basic Retailer, which was Rockwell’s studio from 1953 to 1957.

Owens mentioned her favourite a part of the weekend is the Caroling Luminaria Stroll, the place carolers stroll with candles from The Purple Lion Inn to the First Congregational Church.

“It’s simply stunning,” she mentioned.

The Purple Lion Inn in Stockbridge. – Purple Lion Inn

2. Dine on Essential Avenue

Talking of Stockbridge’s Essential Avenue, it’s an awesome place for eating, Owens mentioned.

It’s nicely value spending time at The Purple Lion Inn, featured in Rockwell’s portray and “virtually a vacation spot in itself,” Owens mentioned.

The property options 4 totally different eating experiences: the historic Essential Eating Room with crystal chandeliers, vintage china, basic New England entrees, and an intensive wine checklist; Widow Bingham’s Tavern, a family-friendly tavern named after one of many inn’s authentic house owners; The Courtyard, the place diners chill out exterior throughout heat climate; and The Lion’s Den, a historic speakeasy. Winter hours fluctuate on the eating places, so guests ought to test the web site earlier than visiting.

Elsewhere on Essential Avenue are “some enjoyable surprises” in the best way of eating, Owens mentioned.

Essential Avenue Cafe is a “fantastic” breakfast and lunch spot, she mentioned. She known as The Misplaced Lamb “a first-rate bakery,” and As soon as Upon a Desk is a farm-to-table restaurant that’s “fairly eclectic and fairly stunning,” Owens mentioned.

3. Attend the theater, a live performance

Stockbridge shines in relation to theaters and concert events, Owens mentioned.

Theater-goers can try “A Christmas Carol” this vacation season at The Unicorn Theater, a part of The Berkshire Theatre Group. Sensory-friendly performances can be found for the present. The Berkshire Theater Group has two theaters in Stockbridge, and the opposite is The Fitzpatrick Essential Stage.

Tanglewood, located on 500 acres, is a famend Berkshires venue and summer season residence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Tanglewood welcomes greater than 350,000 guests every summer season. Performances are held on the open-air Koussevitzky Music Shed, Seiji Ozawa Corridor, and the Linde Heart for Music and Studying. 

“It’s a tradition within the nation expertise,” Owens mentioned. “It’s nature and tradition. So you might be exterior in a wonderful area, comparatively undeveloped, and you might be there to listen to music and it might be classical, it might be pop, it might be full orchestra, it might be a quartet, it might be a duet. It’s an exquisite expertise.” 

View hundreds of winter lights at Naumkeag in Stockbridge. – The Trustees of Reservations

4. Go to a museum, historic property

Stockbridge boasts wonderful museums and historic properties, Owens mentioned.

The 48-acre Naumkeag, a public backyard and historic residence inbuilt 1886 by New York lawyer Joseph Choate, shimmers with hundreds of lights each vacation season throughout Winterlights.

The Norman Rockwell Museum, positioned on a scenic 36-acre campus, provides 10 galleries showcasing the work of Rockwell and different main illustrators. Guests can at the moment try “Norman Rockwell: Winter Wonderland,” that includes Rockwell’s connection to holiday-inspired artwork, which opened in November and runs by Feb. 25, 2024.

“It’s fabulous,” Owens mentioned in regards to the museum. “They embody issues which can be very fashionable like Marvel comedian books they usually have a look at the entire scope of illustration, however at all times with the give attention to Norman Rockwell,” Owens mentioned.

The Mission Home is a Colonial-era home, museum, and backyard the place guests can be taught in regards to the Stockbridge Mohicans and missionary John Sergeant. The home is at the moment closed for the season, however the backyard is open day by day.

The 24-acre Berkshire Botanical Backyard, established in 1934 and billed as “one of many older public show gardens within the Northeast,” will function a Vacation Market Dec. 9-10.

5. Go on a hike

Stockbridge has nice climbing trails for all talent ranges, Owens mentioned.

Hikers will discover trails on the 95-acre Gould Meadows and the 42-acre Bullard Woods.

The Laurel Hill Affiliation of Stockbridge, the oldest village enchancment society within the U.S., maintains greater than 460 acres with trails. Owens recommends a path named after her good good friend Mary Flynn, a longtime trainer and public servant on the town.

The Mary V. Flynn Path is a 1.2-mile loop alongside the Housatonic River that’s “straightforward and wonderful,” Owens mentioned. One other path, Laura’s Tower Path, is a 1.5-mile reasonably troublesome mountainous climb to a summit tower with panoramic views of the Berkshires. And the Ice Glen Path is a troublesome 1-mile hike in a glacial ravine.

“Ice Glenn is a geological phenomenon,” Owens mentioned. “It’s not a simple path. There’s a little bit of scrambling up and down rocks. It is a critical stroll however completely beautiful and unforgettable.”

Contained in the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. – Norman Rockwell Museum

What readers advocate

“Simply strolling in all instructions from the middle of city is so stunning. It’s a genuinely gorgeous place,” wrote @suzannestonehouse

Meals and drinks:

The Misplaced Lamb — @conboy.gary

The Purple Lion Inn — @kmarsland, @emroyo, @je.nnifer946, @katken5585, @barb06791


Berkshire Botanical Backyard — @conboy.gary

Kripalu Heart for Yoga & Well being — @je.nnifer946

Nationwide Shrine of the Divine Mercy (Stations of the Cross) — @conboy.gary

Naumkeag (Winterlights) — @jordanbradfordd

Norman Rockwell Museum — @mhhaber, @emroyo, @barb06791

Stockbridge Bowl — @conboy.gary

Stockbridge Golf Membership — @Chris845s

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